Filipinos first settled in the Gulf Coast of Louisiana about the time of the arrival of the Cajuns. The first Filipinos deserted and escaped from Spanish ships to settle in Louisiana and many established small fishing villages, mostly in St. Bernard and Orleans parishes. The Filipino fisherman began to make their living on shrimp boats and introduced their Filipino methods of drying shrimp to the Cajuns, methods that Cajuns still use today.
The first stage of sun-drying shrimp was to boil them for about 20 minutes in large pots filled with salt and water. Next, the shrimp were spread out in a single layer covering huge wooden platforms. The shrimp were then walked on to remove the heads. To insure uniform drying, the shrimp were stirred regularly with long wooden rakes. The entire process of sun-drying shrimp took three to 10 days based on the heat of the sun.
Cajuns have produced many recipes using dried shrimp to include fricassee, stews, sauce piquant, gumbos and as a snack. Our “Asian Cajuns” are to be thanked for their contributions to our excellent Cajun cuisine.
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