Bagoong is a Filipino fermented shrimp paste with a pungent flavour and taste. It delivers a lot of umami – in the same way as a fish sauce but far more shrimpy and stronger. It smells pretty funky (as you would assume fermented shrimp to be).
There’s just one style which is pinkish and fresh and uncooked, and there is a brown style which I use a lot more often for the reason that it’s quite multipurpose. It has been cooked out extremely slowly but surely, so the sugars caramelise. It can be eaten straight out of the jar, although it’s not advised. There is a common beer snack in the Philippines with sour environmentally friendly mango that you dip in bagoong. The sour offsets the salty condiment. My favorite dish to use it in is binagoongang baboy. It’s pork that is been braised with bagoong, tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger.
I have added it to pasta, it is similar to adding anchovies. Bagoong, butter, a lot of garlic, some chilies … just toss some pasta through. It is seriously quick and uncomplicated to do – when you can not be bothered to do nearly anything. For an individual who’s not made use of it right before, insert a very little little bit much less than you assume you need to have. It is such a robust flavour and it can overpower a dish.
Ferdinand Montoya is head chef and founder of Sarap, 10 Heddon St, London W1B