Saturday, November 13, 2010
Shirmp Paste, Ka-Pi
Now we are talking stinky - stinky but delicious. I believe every nations have their own delicious-stinky foods that they have to cringe their noses when smelling it, but when putting it into the mouth, it is like seeing the heaven on earth. Shrimp paste is a perfect fit in that category.
It is one of the important ingredients in South East Asian cooking. It's made from krill, Thais call Kueey shrimp. Fresh krill are fermented with salt over night, made into paste the next day then brought it out to Sun-dry for a day before storing it in an air flowed container for another seven days to be used later . We call the finish process Ka-Pi.
Ka-Pi is widely made trough out the area coast where krill are found. Kra-Pi made from krill give a very delicious gentle salty taste and not too pungent smell - in my mom' s words "Lovely Smell"....
Shrimp paste can be pricey depends on the quality of shrimps used for making Ka-Pi. Some qualities of Ka-Pi are good for making all kind of curry pastes such as red, green, Massaman curry paste etc. Those Ka-pi have strong salty taste and smell and quite dark in color, which make a perfect taste once mixed with water.
As for the dishes that uses Kra-Pi as a main ingredient which normally show off the taste of Ka-Pi, such as spicy shrimp paste dipping called Numprik Kra-Pi or the rice dish called Kaw Klook Ka-Pi (cooked rice tossed with Ka-pi) we would use Ka-Pi that is not too strong in taste and smell. In these dishes, Ka-Pi will be grilled with very low heat before using to make it more "delicious" smell.
Some women might love to splurge on their perfume....well, that's not the case of my mom. Mom loveees to splurge on Ka-Pi. She's always proud of herself if she got top-notch Ka-Pi from someone, somewhere and will announce it to everyone who happens to set foot in her kitchen, and she will make to-die-for Numprik Ka-Pi that everybody loves.