stir-fried prawns with Tamarind

stir-fried prawns with Tamarind

The sour, tangy flavour that is characteristic of many Thai dishes comes from tamarind. Fresh tamarind pods from the tamarind tree can sometimes be bought, but preparing them for cooking is a laborious process. The Thais, however, usually prefer to use compressed blocks of tamarind paste, which is simply soaked in warm water and
then strained.


Serves 4-6

  • 50g/20z tamarind paste
  • 150ml/¼ pint//²⁄³ cup boiling water
  • 30ml/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 30ml/2 tbsp chopped onion
  • palm sugar 30ml/2 tbsp
  • 30ml/2 tbsp chicken stock or water
  • 15ml/1 tbsp  fish sauce
  • 6 dried red chilies, fried
  • 450g/1lb uncooked shelled prawns
  • 15ml/1 tbsp fried chopped garlic
  • 30ml/2 tbsp fried sliced shallots
  • 2 spring onions, chopped, to garnish
1. Put the tamarind paste in a small bowl, pour over the boiling water and stir well to break up any lumps. Leave for 30 minutes. Strain, pushing as much of the juice through as possible. Measure 90ml/6 tbsp of the juice, the amount needed, and store the remainder in the fridge. Heat the oil in a wok. Add the chopped onion and fry until golden brown.
2. Add the sugar, stock, fish sauce, dried chilies and the tamarind juice, stirring well until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil.
3. Add the prawns, garlic, and shallots. stir-fry until the prawns are cooked, about 3-4 minutes. Garnish with the spring onions.

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