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.

Today’s inspirational recipe from Lavender and Lime ♥ Dried Shrimp Relish ♥ #LavenderAndLime Click To Tweet

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

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..

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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