Best Substitutes for Salted Shrimp in Kimchi Recipe
If you have made kimchi before, then you know there are literally thousands of ways to make it and just as many ingredient variations. This may be a slight exaggeration, but maybe there is some truth in it too.
Some of those ingredients can be a little unique and depending on where you live; it can be challenging to get your hands on them. I ran into this same situation, and that is why I decided to do a little research, and this is what I came up with for the best substitutions for one ingredient, in particular, salted shrimp.
The first time I made kimchi I followed “The Best Korean Kimchi Recipe” which I found on Cici li’s website. You can read about my experience https://fermenterskitchen.com/first-time-making-korean-kimchi-recipe/.
This incredibly delicious and out of this world kimchi recipe called for multiple shrimp/fish ingredients starting with:
3 oz of Korean dried cod
1/4 cup of salted shrimp (saewoo juht)
1/4 cup of anchovy fish sauce
1/4 cup of lance fish sauce
So, in this instance, I think if you omitted the salted shrimp all together, the other fish ingredients would have provided plenty of the desired umami flavor.
However, you might have a similar recipe that only calls for salted shrimp, so here are my best substitutes for salted shrimp that you must try.
The most similar substitute for salted shrimp is a shrimp paste, and this is what I used as my substitute ingredient. Shrimp paste is basically the same thing as salted shrimp; it’s just in a paste form. It is a ground-up salted shrimp that has been fermented. Here is a great brand of shrimp paste.
Now, if you can’t find shrimp paste, you might consider using anchovy paste.
* 2 teaspoons of shrimp paste may be substituted for the salted shrimp.
Although in a side by side comparison salted shrimp and fish sauce might taste pretty different from each other, the fish sauce does provide the desired umami flavor as well as the necessary saltiness. Because of this, along with the fact that it is sold in pretty much every mainstream grocery store in the country, it is probably the most popular substitute for salted shrimp.
*Consider anchovy fish sauce and lance fish sauce as well.
The fish sauce can be substituted just shy of 1:1 and the kimchi will still turn out great.
Another great substitute is dried shrimp. Dried shrimp are shrimp that have been sun-dried and shrunk to thumbnail size and provide a delicious umami taste. Here is a dried ground shrimp made in Lousiana, USA.
*An equal amount of dried shrimp may be substituted for the salted shrimp.
If you are allergic to seafood or avoiding shrimp because you are vegan or vegetarian than red miso is an excellent substitution for salted shrimp. Red miso is made with fermented soybeans and barley, and other grains; its color ranges from dark brown to red making it perfect for kimchi.
Furthermore, red miso paste is full of glutamic acid, the same element responsible for the savory, umami flavor. It is salty and pungent, and you’ll only need a little bit to add some serious umami to your kimchi. Here is a great Red Miso that is made of 100% Organic Rice & Soybeans and is additive-free.
Miso paste can be tricky to find in the local grocery store. Find out where to buy miso paste.
To expand on the umami flavor, take it one step further and combine the miso with dried seaweed or kelp powder. The seaweed would give it the fishy taste, and the miso which is salted and fermented soybean paste would give you the funky salty part.
All in all, there are quite a few salted shrimp substitutes. Don’t forget you can always use them for experimenting with making your own kimchi recipes.
Some fermented food ingredients are hard to find, grape leaves in particular. Check out my post on 11 Natural Sources of Tannins for Crunchy Fermented Pickles.