Best Substitutes for Salted Shrimp in Kimchi Recipe
If you have made kimchi before, you know there are thousands of ways to make it and just as many ingredient variations. This may be a slight exaggeration, but maybe there is some truth.
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, which is why I decided to do a little research; this is what I came up with for the best substitutions for one ingredient, particularly salted shrimp.
This incredibly delicious and out-of-this-world kimchi recipe called for multiple shrimp/fish ingredients, starting with:
3 oz of Korean dried cod
¼ cup of salted shrimp (saewoo juht)
¼ cup of anchovy fish sauce
¼ cup of lance fish sauce
So, in this instance, if you omitted the salted shrimp altogether, 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 shrimp paste, which I used as my substitute ingredient. Shrimp paste is the same thing as salted shrimp in paste form.
It is a ground-up salted shrimp that has been fermented. Here is a great brand of shrimp paste.
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, the fish sauce provides the desired umami flavor and 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.
Shop: Best Fermentation Crocks for Making Kimchi (Amazon link)
Another great substitute is dried shrimp. Dried shrimp have been sun-dried and shrunk to thumbnail size, providing a delicious umami taste.
Here is a dried ground shrimp made in Louisiana, 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, red miso is an excellent substitute for salted shrimp.
Red miso is made with fermented soybeans, barley, and other grains; its color ranges from dark brown to red, making it perfect for kimchi.
Furthermore, red miso paste contains 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 made of 100% Organic Rice & Soybeans and 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 a fishy taste, and the miso, 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 your 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.