Rosa’s Balichão

We got this shrimp paste from Rosa Ross, a cook from Macao. Balichao (pronounced "bali-chung"), smells much milder, and tastes much mellower, than the shrimp pastes of Southeast Asia, though it's actually more of a thick sauce than a paste.

Drain excess liquid from a 12-oz. jar of salted shrimp. Combine shrimp, 2 bay leaves, 2 dried chiles, 1 sliced lemon, 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns, and 3/4 cup shaoxing (rice wine) or vodka in a medium bowl. Pour into a glass jar, seal tightly, and leave in a cool, dark place for 100 days. Store, refrigerated, for up to three years.