This recipe for Tamarind Shrimp, also known in Malaysia as Asam Prawns, is a quick and easy dry curry dish that is definitely one of my favourites.Serve it with a side of rice and some sliced cucumbers on the side, and you have a hearty, satisfying meal ready to be devoured.
I remember the first time I introduced Hubby Dear to Malaysian food. It was during our initial dating days and I’d read about this family-run Malaysian restaurant in Toronto which seemed to have great reviews. Now, the only Malaysian food I’ve ever been exposed to are the dishes that either came out of my Mom’s kitchen or that of her family’s back in Malaysia as well as the road side stalls over there. Needless to say, up until then, I’d only had the good fortune of eating authentic, homemade Malaysian cuisine. So like Hubby Dear, I was equally excited and intrigued to eat at this particular joint.
The menu looked promising – all the popular favourites that I had briefed Hubby Dear about were available, included this Tamarind Shrimp or Asam Prawns, and I started to order us a scrumptious sounding meal. Then came the dreaded question from our server: “What spice level did we prefer?”
For those not in the know, typical Malay food tends to be on the spicier side – even more than the average Indian heat level. Most of the time it really depends on the dish itself, but if you’re a first timer to this delicious cuisine, I’d suggest going a milder route. I had already mentioned this to Hubby Dear prior that if in any case they were serving authentic versions of the dishes then it would be quite spicy. But he was to have none of it! As an Indian, he prided himself on the number of chillies he could muster in a meal. With a broad smile on his face, he proceeded to ask the server to make our food “spicy”.
The rest as they say, is history! The food was absolutely delicious, no doubt, and thanks to Hubby Dear we managed to put out the fire on our tongues after every spoonful with glasses upon glasses of iced water. It was a lot of water we had that evening, but the flavours triggered a new found love for him like no other. Malay food is a favourite in our house and and one that we have multiple times in a week.
So here’s to you Hubby Dear – for 20 years, over a million laughs and countless acts of love, all shared together. And also to many more to come. May the spice level never die down!
- 2 tbsp light cooking oil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes finely chopped
- salt to taste
- 15-20 large-sized shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- handful of chopped cilantro for garnish
- Heat oil in a large non-stick pan and sauté ginger, garlic and onions until soft and lightly browned. Mix in the spices and tomato paste, and fry for a few seconds.
- Add in chopped tomatoes, season with salt and cook covered until the tomatoes start to soften and turn to pulp.
- Slowly add in the shrimp and tamarind paste, and give it a quick stir to mix well. Cook covered for a few minutes on medium-low heat until the shrimp is cooked through.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve warm.
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