Gound dried shrimp
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Yummy... the beginning of a great Asian or Mexican meal! I generally buy whole from Chinese market but have never used whole -- always end up grinding them. :)
Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese are the cuisines that I've encountered that use them most. I've seen them for sale in Mexican grocers, but am not acquainted with dishes that use them.
Fried rice occasionally makes use of small or ground dried shrimp.
Mexican = shrimp patty/cake. Maybe other foods but that's all I'm familiar with.
Basically they are used as a flavor enhancer for shrimp dishes or to add shrimp flavor to any dish! Primarily used in Asian culture but also has some South American roots! I would use it in soups and sauces for unusual flavor notes. Experimentation that's what makes cooking and feeding the masses fun! Here's an idea to try:
Cactus in Red Chile Sauce with Shrimp Patties
This is a very old recipe which still uses dried shrimp even though fresh shrimp are in great supply.
Red Chile Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion,
peeled and finely minced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1/2 cup ground dried red chile*
1 cup cold water
3/4 cup fresh nopalitos, cut into 1/4-inch
strips and boiled for 15 minutes
4 large eggs
1/2 cup ground dried shrimp
Vegetable oil, for frying
* use mild, medium or hot chiles
Red Chile Sauce
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic in oil until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground red chile, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Take care not to inhale the vapors from the chile. Stir in the water to make a sauce, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Fold in nopalitos and cook the sauce, stirring once or twice, for 5 minutes. Do not add salt to the sauce, since the shrimp patties are somewhat salty. Cover and keep the sauce warm.
Separate eggs by putting the yolks in a small dish and the whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until they are stiff. Continue to beat the stiffened egg whites as you add the ground shrimp and then the egg yolks to make a batter. Beat only until all the ingredients are blended.
Heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium heat to approximately 400 degrees F. Ladle 1/4 cup batter into the skillet. It should float and begin to sizzle immediately. Fry the shrimp patty, turning once with a spatula, until golden, about 1 minute per side. Remove the patty with a slotted spoon to a large plate lined with paper towels and drain. Repeat the procedure until all the batter is used. This makes about 9 or 10 patties.
To serve, pour red chile sauce with the nopalitos on each of 4 plates to make a pool. Place 2 shrimp patties in the center of each pool. Serve at once with rice and beans and warmed flour or corn tortillas, if desired.
Serves 4 to 5.
There are other Mexican recipes floating around the internet in which the cake is less "shrimpy" - mixture of mashed potato and dried shrimp. Personally, I'd try those first.