Dried Shrimp Relish | Balachaung

I made this dried shrimp relish in order to make kye thar hin, or Burmese chicken curry as it is known in English.

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In order to stick to my self imposed challenge of cooking a dish from each region in my Curry recipe book I had to make this dried shrimp relish known as balachaung. This is a Burmese hot relish, made of dried shrimps with plenty of garlic and chillies. Once made, it can be kept in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to a month. It is worth making a good quantity. Now, I have to tell you that it does not smell pleasant, so if you are going to make this, make sure all your windows and doors are open!

kye thar hin using Dried Shrimp Relish
kye thar hin

I had to travel a fair distance to purchase these ingredients. We do not have shops where I live that specialise in unusual ingredients. In order to make this, I drove a one hundred and 10 kilometer round trip. For most people that would be extreme. But the drive was worth it just to meet the challenge of making this..

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Balachaung – Dried Shrimp Relish

Recipe Category: Condiments
Makes enough for: 1 batch Balachaung
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from Curry page 170


  • 225 g dried shrimps soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and then drained *
  • 45 mls groundnut oil
  • 4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 30 mls toasted sesame oil
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped (or 2.5mls 5mls chilli powder)
  • 10 mls finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 2.5 mls ground turmeric
  • 2.5 mls salt (or more, to taste)
  • 30 mls hot water
  • 1 lime, juice only (or lemon)


  • finely chop the shrimps and blend until fine and set aside
  • heat the oil in a wok and fry the shallots and garlic for 2 - 3 minutes until they are slightly coloured
  • remove with a slotted spoon and set aside
  • add the sesame oil and heat
  • then add the chillies, ginger, turmeric and salt be careful as the fumes from the chilli can be quite strong
  • fry for 2 minutes, stirring all the time
  • put in the ground shrimps and continue stir frying for 1 minute
  • add the hot water and the lime / lemon juice
  • stir until the liquid is absorbed
  • mix in the shallots and garlic
  • the relish should be moist
  • taste and add salt if you think more is needed
  • when cold, store in an airtight jar
  • serve cold as a relish


* I could not find dried shrimps so I used a jar of shrimp paste, without soaking it. This could have contributed to the very potent smell

At the time of writing this blog post, photography was not my main focus!

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12 thoughts on “Dried Shrimp Relish | Balachaung

  1. LOL! I can imagine the pungent odour wafting out from your windows and doors. But well done Tandy…..I would imagine you can only really use it in very particular regional recipes. xx

    1. The Balachaung is for cooking from the Myanmar region. I am holding onto the recipe as I may need it for the next PFB challenge *holding thumbs*

  2. Yum! I know you think no way you were eating this, you made it just for having said you did, but it sounds delicious to me! Cook up some jasmine rice, add a little butter to it, and mix in a bit of this and shovel into your mouth. Granted, the version I’m familiar with is fairly dry, but I think eliminating the water and cooking it till dry will get me the texture I want. It is the burmese version of the japanese furikake – comes in endless variations and everyone makes theirs just a little differently. My favorite has crushed peanuts and sesame seeds mixed in too.

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