Nasi Lemak Recipe (Part 2) - Tamarind Prawns

Tamarind Prawns recipe by

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

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.