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Nasi Lemak Recipe (Part 2) - Tamarind Prawns

Tamarind Prawns recipe by SeasonwithSpice.com

We can't have the dish that represents tropical Malaysia - Nasi Lemak - without seafood...

One of the advantages of living on an island is the accessibility to seafood. At the morning markets, there are always an abundance of fish, mussels, squid, and my favorite - prawns (or shrimp).

A simple & delicious way of savouring prawns is to cook them up with the spice that we have just introduced. Yes, tamarind. The dish is called Asam Prawns, or Tamarind Prawns. A Malaysian favorite.

The tamarind gives the prawns a subtle sourness that is not quite lemony, and the tang of a sweet, fruity vinegar. No wonder the spice is said to be a sublime component to seafood, boosting the overall character of many briny seafood dishes.

how to make tamarind prawns for malaysia nasi lemak?

Cooking this dish is easy if you have the prawns cleaned in advance (deveined and head removed).

Marinate the prawns with tamarind pulp; stir-fry the prawns with shell on; toss in basic seasonings; cook over high heat; and then let simmer until the gravy caramelises.  The result is a beautiful homey seafood dish.

You can enjoy tamarind prawns with plain rice, but it's even better as a component of Nasi Lemak.

Tamarind Shrimp recipe by SeasonwithSpice.com

Grandpa & Grandma's Nasi Lemak Recipe
Part 2 - Tamarind Prawns (Asam Udang) 亚参虾 
by Season with Spice
Mom's recipe - serves 4 to 5

15 large prawns, deveined (and remove head, but leave shell and tail on)
1/2 cup fresh tamarind pulp
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
dash of salt to taste
2 tbsp water

The process:
1. Clean the tamarind pulp by quickly rinsing with water (no need to remove the seeds or fibrous pieces - we want to get a thick, flavorful gravy from the pulp)
2. In a bowl, marinate prawns with the tamarind pulp and sugar (coat well and let sit for 15 minutes)
3. Heat oil in a wok or deep frying pan. When oil is heated, toss in the prawns together with the tamarind pulp.
4. Add dark soy sauce, soy sauce and water immediately.
5. On medium heat, fry the prawns until the flesh turns opaque. When the prawns are almost ready, turn the heat on high and fry for another 2 minutes to get the shells slightly charred and gravy caramelised.
6. Transfer to your serving plate and enjoy.

- To devein the prawns, slit the back of the prawns with a sharp knife or food scissors.
- I remove the heads of the prawns to make it easier to eat, but you can leave them on if you
- To prepare Nasi Lemak, the classic Malaysian coconut milk rice:
   Part 1 - Sambal Belacan as the spicy condiment
   Part 2 - Tamarind Prawns
   Part 3 - Sambal Ikan Bilis
   Part 4 - Coconut Rice
   Serve along with cucumber slices and hard boiled eggs. Or a fragrant pot of Kapitan Chicken Curry for a hearty Malaysian meal. 


Tamara said...

I have never tried tamarind, but this looks super delicious!

SeasonWithSpice said...

Thanks Tamara. You might be able to find tamarind in Croatia. May be in a paste form? Let us know if you get a chance to experiment tamarind in your gorgeous baking. May be some sweet tart pastry or yummy jam?:)

blackcatx3 said...

Hmmm-- I hadn't thought of tamarind as a possible lemon substitute-- my son hates lemon. Worth exploring!

George said...

Wow! Your prawns look amazing!

Nessie said...

I want to lick the screen! These look intensely good. Thanks heaps for sharing!

SeasonWithSpice said...

Hi Blackcat - Both tamarind and lemon are wonderful sour agents, but each will bring you quite a different result. In my opinion, tamarind has a much more complex flavour. It is absolutely worth exploring. Enjoy!

SeasonWithSpice said...

Thanks George & Nessie:)

Ca4ole said...

Great recipe. Would you be happy to put up a link to it in my Food on Friday – Asian Food Series.

Ansh said...

This just brought back memories of all things beautiful in Malaysia. The food, the people, the landscape. I so miss it.

Season with Spice said...

Hi Ansh - thanks for leaving a note. I am missing my colorful country too (expect the weather) since we have just moved from Malaysia to the States two days ago!

Emily said...

This looks amazing, and I would love to try the spice... but it's something I've never seen before. Do you know if there is a source for it in the US?

Season with Spice said...

Hi Emily - you should be able to find tamarind at Asian grocery store near you. I know tamarind comes in two forms in the US. I'm much prefer the fresh pulps, instead of the one comes in paste form. I've never used the one in paste form, but I know some readers who have tried the recipe with tamarind paste enjoyed it.

You can also get the tamarind pulps online: http://www.asiansupermarket365.com/Assam-Jawa-Tamarind-p/ctpaqj.htm

Have fun trying it out! Let me know if you have further questions.

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