Food nostalgia is a common sickness when you live away from home. Although we cook 80% Thai food at home here in India, but the flavor of it is difficult to come close to the simple food cooked with rustic fresh ingredients only available in Thailand. I’ve learned to adapt and adjust to make my food here taste like home, but my kitchen in India will always lack of that something, and it always makes me miss home food in Thailand like crazy.
Pla Ra or Thai Preserve Fish is the most important ingredients in Isaan region (Northeast) of Thailand. It is used to flavor stew and salad. It’s also a key ingredient in making the pungent dipping sauce we love so much. I posted about making Pla Ra before, and the process of making this is quite elaborate and time consuming so I came up with Pla Ra Substitute made with dried shrimp. This Pla Ra Substitute is very easy to make, and it takes about 10 minutes or so to do it. The flavor of it is milder than the actual Pla Ra, and it tastes like a cross-breed between Pla Ra and Shrimp Paste which I find it quite satisfying. I use this Pla Ra in Thai Papaya Salad, Cucumber Salad, Isaan Stew and many other dishes. If you love humble Thai dishes, and you couldn’t find Pla Ra to give that delicious punch line, you will find this recipe very useful.
How to Make Pla Ra Substitute
Dried sea shrimp
Clean and pick dried sea shrimp.
In a large pan, dry roast the shrimp on low heat for 5-7 minutes. This process will make the pungent scent of your Pla Ra Substitute stronger and more prominent.
Transfer the shrimp to food processor and blend until it become powder.
Keep it in the clean dried jar. Your Pla Ra Substitute can be store in room temperature upto 2 months.