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Stir fried Prawns with Tamarind

Fresh tamarind pods from the tamarind tree can sometimes be bought, but preparing them for cooking is a laborious process. The Thais, however, usually prefer to use compressed blocks of tamarind paste, which is simply soaked in warm water and then strained.

ingredients

serves 4 - 6
50 g (2 oz) tamarind paste
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup boiling water
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped onion
30 ml (2 tbsp) palm sugar
30 ml (2 tbsp) chicken stock or water
15 ml (1 tbsp) fish sauce
6 dried red chillies, fried
450 g (1 lb) uncooked shelled prawns
15 ml (1 tbsp) fried chopped garlic
30 ml (2 tbsp) fried sliced shallots
2 spring onions, chopped, to garnish

method

1. Put the tamarind paste in a small bowl, pour over the boiling water and stir well to break up any lumps. Leave for 30 minutes. Strain, pushing as much of the juice through as possible. Measure 90 ml (6 tbsp) of the juice, the amount needed, and store the remainder in the fridge. Heat the oil in a wok. Add the chopped onion and fry until golden brown.

2. Add the sugar, stock, fish sauce, dried chillies and the tamarind juice, stirring well until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil.

3. Add the prawns, garlic and shallots. Stir-fry until the prawns are cooked, about 3 - 4 minutes. Garnish with the spring onions.

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