Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Belacan is made from fermented ground shrimp. It's in usually in a block form and is extremely pungent. Try cooking it and you house will be filled will the smell of belacan that doesn't seem to go away and your neigbours will probably smell it too! :P You either hate it or love it. And I love it! :P
You can only use belacan when it's cooked, so the best way (for me) is to cook the whole block of belacan so I will have ready belacan on hand and my place only smells once. :P
It's simple to 'cook' it but the process is a long one. Basically, you just need to chop the belacan into smaller pieces and dry-toast in on a pan, on medium low fire.
I keep using the the spatula to press on the belacan at first to 'mash' it and at the same time keep stirring it. Keep repeating till you start to see the belacan drying up. Stir it so it doesn't get burned. Continue stirring until all belacan is dried up and they start turning powdery and sandy.
The whole process takes about 25 - 30 mins. You can further grind it into fine powder if you want but as you can see from mine (below), the toasted belacan are like granules.
Oh! And don't be surprise on how much the block of belacan 'shrunk'. I appropriately only get about slight more than half from the original block of belacan.
Once it's cooled, you can store it in an air-tight container for future use.
I was told that light a candle next to where you toast the belacan can help minimum the spreading of the smell. You might want to give it a try next time when you do it. I will. :)