Prawn Tamarind

By Van Tran From the book The Vietnamese Market Cookbook
Prawn Tamarind

This dish dates back to our first supper clubs. Once our stall was going strong on Broadway Market we began hosting pop-up supper clubs in local restaurants. These were great fun to cook for, as the guests would take pleasure in each dish as it appeared. This recipe shows how a good sauce can make a dish. With sauces, cooks can let their imagination run free and Anh is always coming up with new concoctions.

For how many? Serves 2


  • For the Tamarind Sauce:
  • 20g seedless tamarind pulp, cut from a slab
  • 4 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp finely chopped lemongrass
  • For the Prawns:
  • 150g fresh prawns, peeled
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp chopped shallot
  • To garnish:
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • A few sprigs coriander


In a small bowl, soak the tamarind pulp in just enough hot water to cover it, for 10–20 minutes, until it becomes soft. Strain the juice into a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, fish sauce and lemongrass or if you want a slightly sourer or sweeter sauce, adjust the quantities according to taste.

To cook the prawns, heat the 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan or wok and sauté the crushed garlic and chopped shallot. Stir in the prawns, turning them frequently. When they start to turn pink, add the tamarind sauce and let simmer for a couple of minutes.

Garnish with slices of spring onion and sprigs of coriander.

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