A popular flavoring in the cuisines of Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Burma and Indonesia. It is made from shrimp, sardines and other small salted fish that have been allowed to ferment in the sun until very pungent and odorous. It's then mashed and in some cases dried. Balachan is available in paste, powder or cake form in Asian markets.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.