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Prawn In Tamarind And Plum Sauce

This tamarind prawn recipe have been on my list of “to do’s” for a while now. So, I thought it was about time I get to it this weekend. While the recipe had used crabs, I opted to use live fresh prawns instead as it was available and well priced from my seafood provider here.

After deciding on the shellfish to use for this dish, I was pressed to decide on which recipe I should use. Well, all my Vietnamese food cookbooks had a recipe for tamarind crabs and I liked all the options available.

In the end, I decided to use the recipe from Pauline Nguyen’s cookbook, “Secrets of the Red Lantern”. In my opinion, her recipe is probably the closest to a version of this dish, which I had at a Vietnamese restaurant here. Suanne and Ben of Chowtimes* had suggested dining at this restaurant recently and the food was just outstanding, especially, the irresistible Tamarind crabs!

* Chowtimes is a website from Vancouver, BC featuring Suanne and Ben's Food and Travel Adventures.

Recipe adapted from Secrets of the Red Lantern by Pauline Nguyen

Prawn In Tamarind And Plum Sauce


2 1/2 lbs Large Prawns
6 Scallions
2 Long Red chilies
1 Cup Potato Starch
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Fine White Pepper
Oil, for deep-frying
1 Cup Tamarind Plum Sauce
1 Large Handful Cilantro Leaves


Cut the scallions into 1 1/2 inch lengths and finely slice the chilies on the diagonal, and set aside. Combine the potato starch, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Pass each prawn though the potato starch to lightly cover, then shake off any excess starch.

Meanwhile, put the oil in a large wok, or large deep saucepan and heat over high heat until the temperature reaches 350˚F, or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds. Add the prawns to the wok in quick succession (you may have to do this in small quantities to maintain the high heat in the oil). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a colander to drain off excess oil. Carefully strain the hot oil from the wok into an appropriate container for discarding and place the wok back on the heat.

Add the scallions, chilies, and prawns to the wok, and toss well to combine the ingredients. Add the tamarind and plum sauce. Bring it to a boil and reduce the sauce while occasionally tossing the wok to coat the prawns with the sauce. Once the sauce has coated the prawns and reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes, turn it out onto a serving platter and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Tamarind And Plum Sauce
4 1/2 oz Tamarind Paste, without seeds
1 1/2 Cups Boiling Water
3/4 Cup Plum Sauce
3/4 Cup Oyster Sauce
1 Cup Superfine Sugar


Put the tamarind paste in a heatproof container and pour the boiling water over it. Once it is cool enough to handle, break the paste up with your hands, then pass the entire mixture through sieve, to make a smooth sauce.

In a saucepan, combine the tamarind sauce, plum sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar, and bring it to a boil. remove from the heat and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month


  1. Such stunning photos! I love your scalloped plate :)

  2. I love prawns with tamarind and they taste even better if on a BBQ. Great pics.

  3. Wow,I'll have to find some of the ingredients here but I'll definitely try this one.I am so craving for prawns right now!

  4. @finsmom: Thank you :-)

    @Jo: BBQ tamarind prawns sounds good too!

    @Alisa@Foodista: I hope you will like it:)


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