Shrimp Paste known as Alamang Guisado or Bagoong to Filipinos. Shrimp paste is a condiment commonly used in Asian cuisine. It is made of small shrimp or krill mixed with the same amount of salt and fermented for several weeks. The mixture is stored in large earthen jars while fermented.
Shrimp paste should be cooked before consuming. It is used in cooking or as a condiment since it is very salty. When I lived in the Philippines, my Dad and I loved unripe mangoes with bagoong (shrimp paste). Since moving to the US I no longer eat shrimp paste with unripe mangoes. Unripe mangoes are scarce and hard to find. But I add it when making mango salsa.
When I was growing up my mom, who is very picky when it comes to food made her own shrimp paste. I don’t blame her. At least she knew how her food was prepared. When I take her grocery shopping at an Asian store she’ll stare at the different shrimp paste brands and she’s always asking “how come they are dark”.
My mom is used to the raw pinkish color. Some shrimp paste sold are already cooked like the Alamang Guisado or Bagoong.
There’s a couple of brands that I prefer to buy and I like it spicy.
In the Philippines, when my mom cooks bagoong she’ll fry small pieces of pork with fat until it is crunchy. Then she’ll saute the onion, garlic and shrimp paste. She’ll take half of the shrimp paste and add sautéed chili peppers. This is so good with unripe mangoes. Guisadong Alamang with fried pork fat and rice is so delicious too. Yum!
People not accustomed to this are probably wondering what’s good about it. It has a pungent aroma that can be offending to others. Shrimp paste varies in saltiness, texture and smell. We grew up smelling and having it. It is essential in Asian cooking and to us it smells so good. I cannot have Kare Kare without bagoong. It is definitely an acquired taste.
You are probably wondering why am I cooking a store bought cooked shrimp paste. First of all, it taste better when sautéed in garlic, onion and chili peppers. Better if I add some fried pork with fat but I try to keep it healthy. After all it’s already salty. Second, the only canned good I don’t cook is sardines everything else is cooked in some way. So in short, it is just my thing that I acquired from my picky mom.
How to Cook Shrimp Paste (Alamang Guisado or Bagoong)
- 1 bottle shrimp paste small 8.8 oz 250 g
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 4 Thai chili peppers chopped (optional)
Note: If you like to add fried pork with fat cut pork into small pieces (½ in x ½ in). Add 1 cup of pork. Fry it until crunchy. Leave it in the pan and follow the instructions below.
Saute onion for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until golden.
If you like it spicy add the Thai chili peppers or skip this step.
Stir in shrimp paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes over low heat.
Transfer to a container or use the same bottle.
This will last for months in the fridge.