Why reinvent the wheel? Everything you need to know about dried shrimp has already been written.
For those visiting Thailand, especially the eastern seaboard, take advantage of the country’s superior dried shrimp and buy a huge bag. As long as the shrimp is packaged in a sealed plastic bag, you won’t have trouble with customs. Dried shrimp keep a long time in the freezer.
These little guys you’re looking at have traveled to the US all the way from Si Racha, Chonburi (yes, the birthplace of the famous Sriracha sauce). They’re so worth the schlepp.
Many Thai recipes call for ‘pulverized’ dried shrimp (more accurately dried shrimp flakes). This can be done with a granite mortar and pestle, but the best tool for this task, in my opinion, is acoffee grinder. It’s small enough for the job and its blades — unlike those of a food processor — effortlessly catch each and every one of these little chewy critters. (Be sure to get rid of the fishy smell by grinding a piece of bread with the same coffee grinder before you grind coffee beans.)