Here is a quick side dish done in a Malaysian Thai belacan -ish fashion. All said, it took us about eight minutes beginning to end. Don’t fear the shrimp paste! It’s a tasty treat. You will need to use your “to taste” skills to get just the right amount of flavor without going too salty – your greatest risk.
Green Beans in Spicy Shrimp and Garlic Sauce
- 12 oz. Green beans (why 12? That is what was in the bag)
- ½ – 1 cup Shallots or onions, really add as much or little as you want
- 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
- Coconut or sesame oil for stir fry (NOTE: sesame will impart its flavor)
- Optional add-ins: shrimp, minced pork, tofu, ginger, red bell peppers, mushrooms
- Other vegetable options: kangkung, snow or snap peas, asparagus, Chinese broccoli, pea vine, okra, spinach, eggplant …
- 2 heaping tablespoons shrimp paste, we used the Panthai Norasingh brand – you can make from scratch (links below)
- 2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes in oil or other spicy add in like dried chilis (this is obviously optional)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (the concentrated, dark brown stuff – recommend phuc quoc brand)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (a little more if you think you need it)
- Water (about equal part to the sauce volume)
- Prep beans as you wish and then blanch the green beans and drain well. We were ingenious (some read cheated) and used our hot water dispenser.
- Mix the all the sauce ingredients together, except the water, in a bowl. Taste and adjust. Taste and adjust. You could take it one step further and mash together shrimp paste and chilis in a mortar and pestle to really integrate (and make a mess). Add in enough water to about double the volume of sauce. Most of this will just evaporate when stir frying. Stir to combine
- Heat up oil in wok or pan on medium high.
- Add in garlic and shallots/onions and stir around until brown.
- Add in drained blanch green beans and give it a few stirs around. Now would be a good time to add in shrimp. If using ground pork etc, I would put it in a minute or two after shallots and garlic to give it a head start.
- Add in shrimp paste sauce and stir around until cooked. About 3 minutes if you want them crunchy or a little longer if you like them softer.
I am going to have to try this from scratch some time. If you are looking for a great Malayasian restaurant or want to taste it before you try to cook it – my personal favorite is Malay Satay Hut on 12th and Jackson (also Bellevue location). They make fantastic food! I recommend the Roti Canai, Dry Curry Crab, Mango Shrimp, Belachan String Bean (similar to this recipe), Kang Kung Belachan and Malaysian Pork Chops.
Enjoy! Please share your recipes or favorites.