Learn how to make ginisang bagoong! This sauteed shrimp paste is the perfect medley of sweet, savory, and spicy and makes a great condiment to green mangoes and your favorite dishes.
My yearly vacations to the Philippines are always a food-venture! I have aunts who love to cook as much as I do, and it's exciting to learn from them. On my recent trip, one of my aunts shared with me her secret to the best lumpiang sariwa while my other aunt taught me how to make her killer ginisang bagoong.
I hope you give their special recipes a try because they're the bomb! My aunt's sauteed shrimp paste is so much better than mine; I am updating this post to reflect her method.
What is Bagoong
Bagoong or alamang is a fermented condiment made of minute shrimp or krill. These small crustaceans are cleaned in a brine solution and mixed with salt.
The mixture is kept in earthen jars and allowed to ferment for about 1 to 3 months, with food coloring added to give the paste its characteristic red or pink hue. A by-product of this process is fish sauce which is a clear, yellowish liquid that accumulates on top.
Widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine, it is also a common ingredient in Filipino cooking such as in pinakbet Tagalog and binagoongan. Although it can be consumed "fresh", the extra step of sauteing or gisa makes it a better pair for dishes such as kare kare and of course, green mangoes.
How to make sauteed shrimp paste
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the raw shrimp paste to rid of the excess brine and drain well.
- In a wide pan, heat vegetable oil and add sugar. Cook until sugar is dissolved and browns.
- Add the shrimp paste and cook until it changes color.
- Add chili peppers, if you prefer if spicy.
- In a bowl, combine cornstarch and water and stir until smooth. Add the slurry to the shrimp paste and continue to cook until slightly thickened.
- Remove from heat, allow to cool, and transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid.
Ginisang alamang makes an excellent condiment for all your favorite meals, but the best way to enjoy it, in my opinion, is with crisp mangoes. My mouth is watering just looking at the photo above!
Weird as it may be to the uninitiated, tart green mangoes are indeed the perfect canvas for generous dollops of this pungent paste. The sourness of the fruit complemented by the sweet, savory, and spicy flavors of bagoong is seriously addictive!
How to Make Ginisang Bagoong
- 2 cups bagoong alamang, preferably colorless
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 Thai chili peppers, optional
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 tablespoons water
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse shrimp paste under cold, running water to rid of excess saltiness. Drain well.
- In a wide pan over medium heat, heat oil.
- Add sugar and cook, stirring regularly, until sugar is dissolved and lightly browns.
- Add bagoong and cook, stirring regularly, for about 3 to 5 minutes or until color darkens.
- Add minced peppers, if using.
- In a small bowl, combine corn starch and water and stir until smooth.
- Add cornstarch slurry to the pan and stir until well-distributed. Continue to cook until the shrimp paste is slightly thickened.