Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hay Bee Hiam (Spicy Dried Shrimps)

When Nice Mrs Tan came over to my house to teach me Teochew-style Ngoh Hiang, she also showed me how she makes her own Hay Bee Hiam (Hae Bi Hiam? Hay Bi Hiam? Oh, whatever! They all refer to the same yummy thing).

Anyhow, hers is the crispy version, which goes very well with plain rice or porridge. I actually enjoy eating rice or porridge this way - accompanied by a lone dish of something yummy. It can be something as simple as Hay Bee Hiam or Sambal Ikan Bilis or Mui Choy or Kimchi. Anyone else is like me? Raise your hands!

- 500g dried shrimps (Hay Bee aka Udang Kering)
- 2 or 3 tbsp sambal (store bought or homemade)
- Dash of salt (add depending on how salty the sambal is)
- Sugar (optional, if you like it sweet-ish)

1. Give a quick rinse to the dried shrimps. Allow to drain until completely dry. Better still if you place them in the sun afterward.

2. Put dried shrimps into a food processor. Blitz till small, fine bits (but not into powder). Do not use a mortar and pestle.

3. Dry fry the shrimp bits until they darken slightly in colour and give off that distinctive, beautiful aroma.

4. Turn off the flame and add sambal chilli (and sugar, if you so desire). Keep mixing using your ladle.

5. Place shrimps onto a tray and allow to cool. Make sure the tray is free of any water.

6. Once cooled, immediately place shrimps into a bottle (of which bottle and cap have been sterilised in hot, boiled water and dried completely). This will ensure that the dried shrimps will keep longer.

This can be used in so many ways, for example:
- As a filling for buns / topping for bread
- Stir fried with veggies
- As an ingredient for fried rice or noodles
- Sprinkled on soupy dishes

Let your creativity rule :)

Today, I fried some Lady's Fingers (aka Okra) with oil, garlic and rempah. And then sprinkled some Hay Bee Hiam over it. Delish!


  1. Ciao sono felice di sentirti, ho visto in Tv la notizia del terremoto ed ho subito pensato a te, fammi sapere qualcosa.
    Complimenti per la ricetta, qui' da me alcuni suoi ingredienti sono diffcili da reperire.
    Ciao Daniela.

  2. I learn so much from you:) I remember that day you were in the kitchen having fun learning~How nice to pass it all along~

  3. Daniela: Grazie, mi amica! I feel very touched that you thought of me. I felt the tremors, quite strong. But we're not affected much in Singapore. I feel sorry for the people in Indonesia, where the earthquake struck :(

  4. Erm, just out of curiosity, why can't we use a mortar and pestle??

  5. Jo: Won't be as crispy :) Food processor will "cut" into fine bits, which will crisp better when you fry.

  6. This looks very good. I have some dried shrimps in the fridge, gotta try this one.
    Angie's Recipes

  7. yummy! we love to sprinkle these over things like banh beo (vietnamese rice cakes)

  8. what type of sambal do you use? is it the one for nasi lemak?


  9. Every time I come to your blog i learn something new. I really don't know much, anyhting in fact, about this cuisine.
    I was talking about you the other day with someone from (they want to be like Wikipedia only for food) and she asked if you will be interested to contribute from your knowledge on thier web site?

  10. Nicely done ! It has been quite a while I have not seen such a beautiful hay bee hiam. Most of them I have seen in the market are soggy...

  11. Delia: Yes, sambal for nasi lemak is good.

    Nurit: Thank you! You've got mail ;)

    Nyonyachef: Hay bee hiam shouldn't be soggy, that I agree!

  12. kaybeehiam's my favourite! especially when it comes to chilli.
    i love to have it with my breakfast at the 'chai beng' stall! :)

  13. Discovering new foods is one of life's pleasures. I have never had this, but would love to give it a try.


  14. Another great item. I can't wait to try this, I think I will sprinkle it on everything in sight. I've missed your great recipes! Ooh, one last thing, I saw a cocktail drink made with peppers this afternoon and thought of you (don't know if you drink, but know you love the heat). It sounds delicious but dangerous. Happy weekend.

  15. Looks so yummy. I think it wouldn't last long in my house!!

    This also reminds me of a similar thing made by a local lady in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai with deep fried pork rind, garlic, shallot and chilli. Wonderful on vegetables!

  16. hello ah nya ! this is pierre from Paris in France hope everythinG is OK LOVE this colourful rice and shrimps !! come and vist me I ahve a new recipe looks like "Haute couture"!!Pierre

  17. !!!
    i love my grandma's sambal hay bee so much.. that this year before i flew back to nz for uni, she made two bottles for me :D:D
    though none of my flatmates can stand the smell of it when i heat it up with my rice in the microwave! hahahah

  18. OOh that looks sooo good Ju! what a nice friend you have. I just might have to make some....would be such a good appetizer indeed!

  19. Just give me some with rice please!!!