Kitchen Tips

Gapi – Fermented Bean Paste

Thai food is an embodiment of unique flavours and ingredients. The Thais use authentic spice, sauces and paste in their cooking which makes the dish exceptional and unmatchable to other cuisines in the world.

GapiFermented Bean Paste is made by mixing group shrimp with salt. It is salted, fermented and sun-dried and cut into blocks. It is an essential ingredient in many curries and sauces. It is often an ingredient in dip for fish or vegetables.

The shrimp paste, Gapi has a strong and pungent smell and is loved by the people of Thai. The richness and depth of this paste is something that is indisputably the best you can ever have.

Gapi - Fermented Bean Paste

Image Courtesy: Ron Dollete used under the Creative Commons Licence

Once you taste a Thai curry, chances are that you will get addicted to it because of the gapi paste.

There are different versions of the gapi paste varying across countries. However, the Thai version is dark purple-brown in colour and has a thick consistency.


How is Gapi made?

As mentioned earlier, Gapi is made by salting and sun-drying the shrimp for several days. However, the size of the shrimp is also a factor to be considered which may take several days to months to ferment and dry.


Recipes that use Gapi

Gapi is present in most of the sauces, paste and dips however; it is most popularly used in the nam prik gapi (shrimp chilli paste) dip that is often served with fried mackerel and vegetables.

It is also known to be a primary ingredient in shrimp paste fried rice (khao kluk gapi). It also forms the base of the sauce used in the Thai appetizer, miang kham.


The use of Gapi in Thai Cooking

Gapi is roasted in a banana leaf wrapper on the grill before use, to enhance the flavour. The banana leaves char on the surface completely and this is an indication that the gapi is ready to use.


Where is Gapi found?

Gapi is available in most of the Asian grocery stores and supermarkets and of course from online specialty stores. Look for dark purple paste sans the additives.


How is Gapi stored?

Gapi can be stored for a long time in the refrigerator. It is best to store them in airtight containers or zipper bags to lock the flavour.


So enjoy the rich paste of shrimp and savour the flavours of exotic Thai.

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