Tamarind prawns, or also known as Assam prawns, is one of the popular and typical Nyonya dishes found in Malaysia.
Although most Nyonya recipes are quite complicated and do have a very comprehensive list of preparations as well as ingredients, this particular tamarind prawn dish is relatively easy to prepare, make and cook.
The most common ingredients being used are sugar, salt and tamarind to enhance the sweet, savoury, fragrant and sour flavours of the prawns.
In this recipe, the prawns are usually cooked as a whole, including the shell. This is so that the juice and flavour of prawns culminate within its shell, topped with caramelised gravy of tamarind flavour, making it all the more tasty and delicious.
This is also essential to leave the shell while cooking as it can become slightly charred, boosting its flavour without overcooking the prawns.
Ingredients (3 to 4 servings):
- 8 oz of shell-on the prawns
- 4 tablespoons of water
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 3 tablespoon of cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 and a half tablespoons of tamarind pulp
- Rinse the tamarind pulp and extract the juice of tamarind pulp by using a fork to mash it into 1 and a half teaspoons.
- Pour the tamarind juice into a small bowl and mix it with 4 tablespoons of water. Soak the tamarind and use a spoon to stir the mixture gently.
- Remove the head of the prawns and trims the tails by slitting down the back.
- Rinse the prawns with warm water and make sure to pat them dry with paper towels.
- Pour and add the tamarind mixture with salt and sugar over the prawns. Allow it to marinate for approximately 15 minutes.
- Before cooking the prawns, separate the prawns from its mixture of marinated juice. Keep this marinated juice at the end of the cooking process.
- Pour 3 tablespoon of cooking oil into the wok. As soon as the cooking wok starts to get heated, add the prawns into the cooking wok and pan fry for about 30 seconds to slightly char the prawns.
- Use the wok spatula and flip the prawns to ensure the prawns are evenly cooked on all sides. Perform this action for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour the remaining marinated juice over the prawns in the cooking wok just right before the prawns are fully cooked. Add more water and stir inside the cooking wok if the tamarind sauce is insufficient for the prawns.
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