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Turmeric Prawns (Shrimp) with Kaffir Lime Leaves

Turmeric shrimp with kaffir lime leaves by SeasonWithSpice.com

How would you describe the foods you grew up with?

That question for me conjures up images of my mom over a steaming wok, throwing in spices, herbs, and other fresh ingredients without measuring any. 

Like many Malaysian households, Mom's cooking is a combination of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Thai, reflecting the melting pot of cultures in Malaysia. Sometimes sweet & sour or peppery, sometimes really spicy, and sometimes fragrant with coconut and banana leaf.  But more often than not, a blend of every flavor.

Do I stay true to Mom's recipes? At times, especially when attempting her signatures dishes.  But I usually add a twist or experiment with new approaches.

For this seafood dish, I'm combining turmeric, one of mom's favorite spices, with kaffir lime leaves, one of my favorite herbs.

kaffir lime leaves with turmeric spiceA perfect partnership - kaffir lime leaves and turmeric.

A popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, kaffir lime leaves not only enhance the look of a dish, but also add a refreshing, citrus aroma.

southeast asian cooking ingredients
Garlic, shallots, red chilies, and kaffir lime leaves - simple ingredients that give your dish a wonderful depth.

Cooking prawns with the ingredients above and a touch of turmeric spice, will result in this warm yellow-golden hue, with the wonderful taste of lime and lightly burned garlic that complement the juicy, sweet seafood.

Turmeric shrimp with kaffir lime leaves by SeasonWithSpice.com

Turmeric prawns with kaffir lime leaves by Season With Spice
Serves 2 -3 

10 medium or large prawns, deveined with shells intact
6 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons of diced shallots
1 tablespoon minced fresh red chili peppers
1 teaspoon of Season with Spice's turmeric powder
1 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper to taste
2 kaffir lime leaves (one leaf=both segments), center spine removed, sliced thinly
Squeeze of lime juice (or lemon juice)

Remove the heads of the prawns and devein them by slitting the back. Rinse prawns and pat dry with paper towel. Squeeze some lime juice and a generous dash of black pepper to marinate the prawns. Keep it in refrigerator while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cooking method:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan or wok.
2. Add garlic, shallots and red chili. Fry until fragrant.
3. Toss in sugar and turmeric powder. Do a quick stir.
4. Drop the prawns in and pan fry on medium fire. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes.
5. When prawns look done (meat turns opaque white), add salt & pepper to taste. Turn the heat up to get the extra crunch for the prawns in the last 30 seconds.
6. Set on plate and sprinkle with kaffir lime leaves. Add a squeeze of lime juice over the prawns and enjoy!

Tip: While cooking, add a little water when needed to prevent the dish from drying out.