Burmese Shrimp Powder

So many Southeast Asian cuisines are known for their dishes that incorporate hot, sour, salty and sweet elements.  But Burma seems to place no less importance on umami, which is often referred to as the fifth taste.

We’ve already covered two vegan Burmese basics that add some umami (golden crispy shallots and toasted chickpea flour), but this dried shrimp powder might just be the ultimate way to add some funky umami punch to your favorite Burmese dishes.

Although you certainly won’t be doing anything wrong if you just blend up dried shrimp in your food processor or high-speed blender, I’m going to defer to Southeast Asian cuisine expert extraordinaire, Naomi Duguid on how to correctly make shrimp powder at home.

Duguid recommends soaking the shrimp a bit to soften them up, which is helpful if your blender or processor blades aren’t quite as sharp as they once were.


Burmese Shrimp Powder

Yield: approximately 1-1/2 cups

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


* 1 cup small dried shrimp, preferably 1/2-inch long or larger


Place the shrimp in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Place the shrimp in a high-speed blender or food processor. Process until the powder is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally, if necessary, to wipe down the sides of the blender jar or processor bowl.

Recipe from Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid

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5 Responses to “Burmese Shrimp Powder”

  1. #
    ashley — March 20, 2013 at 9:17 am

    ‘hot’ is not a taste quality. the one you’re missing is bitter.


    • Cate — March 20th, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

      You’re sooo right… not sure what how that brain lapse occurred. Thanks for the correction :)


  2. #
    Audrey — March 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    HI Cate – Ethnically, I’m Chinese but my parents were born in Burma and I grew up eating very yummy Burmese cuisine. Here’s a great way to enjoy the shrimp powder: Cut raw cauliflower and tomatoes into wedges. Add thinly sliced shallots. Sprinkle shrimp powder and fish sauce to taste. Enjoy!


    • Cate — March 20th, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

      Awesome- thanks so much for the suggestion Audrey!


  3. #
    Sara — August 10, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I just got this book and am really looking forward to it. So many (new to me) flavors to try as well. I have some Alford-Duguid books that I love and I’m sure I”ll love cooking from this one as much as I love reading it.


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