Dried shrimp are an ingenious way to add a seafood-like flavor to your dish, and this versatile item has long been a staple in Asian cuisine. Dried shrimp are quickly gaining popularity in the rest of the world due to their delicious flavor. But what if your local supermarket does not carry this unusual ingredient?
So, what is the greatest dried shrimp substitute? To replicate the seafood flavor of dried shrimp, use shrimp paste, dried anchovies, or fish sauce. Vegan substitutes such as fried garlic or fresh shiitake mushrooms can imitate the sweet, salty, umami flavor of dried shrimp.
Have a recipe that calls for dried shrimp but you can’t seem to get this tasty ingredient? Don’t worry, these substitutions will ensure that your dish still tastes fantastic! Let’s look at the best dried shrimp replacements and how to use them.
What Are Dried Shrimp?
Although dried shrimp are beginning to appear more often in dishes around the world, many people have likely never encountered this odd ingredient. This flavorful item is prepared by sun-drying fresh shrimp, as its name suggests.
This technique eliminates the tasty seafood’s superfluous water, causing it to shrink. The end result is a tiny, intensely flavored dried shrimp.
There are three distinct varieties of dried shrimp, and your recipe should specify which one you require. You can get dried shrimp of standard size either shelled or with the shell still on, as well as little shell-on dried shrimp.
There is a perception that larger dried shrimp are of superior quality, but this does not mean that you should shun the smaller variety. These are also delicious, but are employed differently!
There are numerous names for dried shrimp around the world. If you are preparing a dish with origins in Singapore or Malaysia, you may encounter the term udang kering.
If you often shop for items at a Chinese grocery store, seek for dried shrimp branded hai mi or xia mi. Tom kho is the Vietnamese term for dried shrimp, whereas kung haeng is the Thai term for dried shrimp.
Although drying shrimp is a method for preserving them for a longer period of time than fresh shrimp, they will not survive forever. You can find them in the refrigerated department of the grocery store, as well as frozen dry shrimp.
The shelf life of vacuum-packed dry shrimp in the refrigerator is up to two months, but the shelf life of frozen shrimp is significantly longer. If you’ve gone to the bother of locating dried shrimp, it makes sense to save any leftovers in the freezer for future use!
What Do Dried Shrimp Taste Like?
Dried shrimp have a flavor that’s stronger and sweeter than fresh shrimp. Because of the sun drying process, all of the water is removed from these tiny marine critters, leaving nothing but pure, powerful flavor.
The flavor of these little dried shrimps is reminiscent of the ocean, with a hint of sweetness. Adding to this is the amazing, highly flavorful umami flavor.
The texture of dried shrimp is firm and slightly chewy. Soaking them reduces their chewiness and makes them more pleasant to consume. Dried shrimps are quite concentrated, so only a pinch will do. A modest quantity of this flavoring may do wonders for your cooking.
How Are Dried Shrimp Used?
Many Asian cuisines use dried shrimp extensively because it gives meals a distinct umami flavor reminiscent of seafood. Depending on the needs of the recipe, they can be employed in a variety of ways. When used as flavoring, dried shrimp are frequently soaked in liquid before being put to the meal together with the liquid.
Shrimp are used whole or cut before being added to other dishes when the texture of the shrimp is desired. They are hammered with a mallet to soften the texture when producing authentic Pad Thai.
Dried shrimp are frequently used in stir-fries in Chinese cuisine, as well as in soups, salads, and dumplings. Dried shrimp are crushed up and used to sauces like sambal in Malaysian cuisine as flavor. Additionally, dried shrimp are diced and fried in Vietnam before being utilized as a crunchy topping.
Best Substitutes For Dried Shrimp
Now that we’ve piqued your interest in dried shrimp, it’s time to consider what you can use as a substitute for this delectable ingredient. There are plenty of alternatives, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t get dried shrimp! Here are our favorite dried shrimp replacements.
1. Thai Shrimp Paste
If you are looking for the flavor of dried shrimp, shrimp paste is the ideal substitute to utilize.This would be the perfect substitution if you have a recipe that calls for dried shrimp to be added to a sauce as a seasoning.
The shrimp paste features the same exquisite balance of salty and sweet flavors, as well as the highly sought-after umami flavor. And because it is produced from fermented shrimp, it retains the exquisite seafood flavor.
Given that shrimp paste is saltier and more powerfully flavored than dried shrimp, it is prudent to cut the quantity by half. Additionally, it is not as sweet as dried shrimp, so you may need to add a small quantity of sugar to your dish. The beautiful thing about substituting shrimp paste for dried shrimp is that it is widely available in supermarkets.
2. Three Crabs Brand Fish Sauce
Fish sauce can be used instead of dried shrimp to achieve the same briny taste. Fish sauce, which is fermented from fish, is a terrific way to enhance the seafood flavor of any dish. If you’d like to add the flavor of dried shrimp to your broth, soup, or sauce, this is a suitable alternative.
Given that fish sauce lacks the sweetness of dried shrimp, you may want to add some additional sugar to make up for this. You can use it in its place 1:1, but keep in mind that fish sauce has more salt than the original recipe called for.
3. 2funguys Shiitake Plug Spawn Starter Kit
Finding adequate alternatives for products like dried shrimp can be particularly challenging if you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet. Asian cuisines benefit greatly from the taste that dried shrimp adds, but an interesting swap can be made: shiitake mushrooms! Therefore, using fresh shiitake mushrooms could be the solution if you’re seeking to modify a recipe to make it meatless.
Fresh mushrooms are preferable to dried ones because the latter have a tendency to have a strong fragrance and flavor that will overshadow the dish.
Shiitake mushrooms have a fantastic umami flavor, but you might need to season your food with more salt and sugar. For every tablespoon of dried shrimp that your recipe specifies, use about five shiitake mushrooms.
4. Yamahide Hana Katsuo Bonito Flakes
Katsuobushi is a common ingredient in Japanese cookery that can be used successfully in place of dried shrimp. If you’ve never heard of it, katsuobushi is prepared from fermented, smoked, and dried tuna.
It is then broken into fine flakes that are used as a spice in meals. In terms of quantity, katsuobushi can be used to replace dried shrimp on an equal basis. It has a strong umami flavor but isn’t as salty or sweet.
5. Basmalah Africa Boney Fish
When you desire the texture and flavor of dried shrimp, dried anchovies are an excellent substitute. Anchovies have an extremely fishy flavor, and their dried form is soft and chewy. They may be utilized whole or in smaller pieces. Additionally, dried anchovies can be crushed and used to sauces and dips.
6. Maesri Fried Garlic
Crunchy dried shrimp are great when pan-fried briefly and sprinkled over salads or tossed with noodles. Chopped garlic cooked in oil until crisp is a great substitute for meat in vegetarian and vegan diets.
Garlic is easily scorched, so keep in mind that it should only be fried for a minute or two at most. Drain it on some paper towels and sprinkle it generously with salt. If you let it cool completely, it will still be crisp when you add it to your dish. If you’re looking for a dried shrimp substitute that won’t impart a fishy taste, try adding some garlic to your dish.
7. Dried Kelp from Hokkaido Japan for soup stock
When preparing fish meals, kelp stock is frequently forgotten, but it may be a fantastic method to give vegan or vegetarian recipes a sea flavor boost. Kelp stock, which is created by soaking dried kelp, has a rich flavor with a tinge of sweetness and salinity. Although you may purchase kelp stock that has already been made, it is also quite easy to manufacture your own using dried kelp.
Although kelp stock has a flavor profile similar to dried shrimp, it has a very watery texture, thus you might need to cut back on the other liquid ingredients to make up for this.