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Recipe: Prawn Tamarind

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As the nights draw in, the temptation to settle down with a fish curry and DVD box set becomes almost too much. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect recipe for an autumn Sunday evening. Simple, fast and a variation on the humble prawn curry, this meal is proof that a good sauce can turn a simple dish into something special.

Co-author of The Vietnamese Market Cookbook Anh Vu says you should play with the ingredients when you make the tamarind sauce, as it really brings out the flavours. Now, what to watch?

Kcal: 232 per serving

Fat: 6.9g per serving

Sat fat: 0.8g per serving

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • 20g seedless tamarind pulp cut from a slab (found in all major supermarkets)
  • 2 tbsps sugar
  • 2 tbsps fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
  • 4 tbsps hot water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallot
  • 150g fresh prawns, peeled
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander

Method

Step 1: In a small bowl, soak the tamarind pulp in just enough hot water to cover it. Leave it for approximately 10-20 minutes, until it becomes soft. Strain the juice into a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Add the sugar, fish sauce and lemongrass to the tamarind juice. If you prefer a slightly more sour taste add more lemongrass. Similarly, for a sweeter sauce adjust the quantity of sugar according to taste.

Step 3: Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or wok for several minutes and sauté the crushed garlic and chopped shallot.

Step 4: Stir in the prawns, turning them frequently. When they start to turn pink, add the tamarind, lemongrass and sugar mixture and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Step 5: Garnish with slices of spring onion and sprigs of fresh coriander. Serve immediately with rice or noodles.

The Vietnamese Market Cookbook by Van Tran and Anh Vu (£20, Random House) is out now in hardback.

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