The tamarind, or Indian date tree, has been grown in India for centuries. It is the sweet and sour-tasting pulp around the tamarind seeds that is used in cooking; one of the most popular ingredients in Asian cuisine. Small jars of the concentrated fruit used in this recipe are sold in good Asian shops, delicatessens and some large supermarkets. The spicy, marinated prawns go well with plain boiled rice and a lightly dressed mixed salad.
Preparation time : 45 minutes,
Marinating time : 1 hour or overnight,
Cooking time : 10 minutes,
Calories per serving: 450
2 lb (900 g) whole uncooked prawns
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
3 tablespoons brandy
1-2 dried red chillies
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of saffron threads
Rind and juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons clear honey
2 oz (50 g) creamed coconut
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
1. If necessary, cut the heads off the uncooked prawns. Peel the prawns carefully, leaving the bodies intact, then cut along the length of their backs and discard the dark threads of intestine. Wash and pat dry.
2. Mix the tamarind concentrate and the brandy together until smooth. Finely chop the chillies. Peel I and finely chop the onion and garlic cloves. Heat the oil in a small saucepan and cook the chillies, onion, garlic and saffron for 5 minutes until soft, then remove from the heat.
3. Finely grate the rind of the lime and squeeze the juice, then add the rind and juice to the saucepan, along with the honey and the tamarind mixture.
4. Marinate the prawns in this mixture for at least 1 hour in a cool place, turning occasionally. Preheat the grill on a medium-high setting.
5. Reserving the marinade, thread the prawns onto 4 wooden skewers and place them under the grill for 3 minutes, until the prawns are firm and pink.
6. Meanwhile, gently heat the marinade in a small pan. Stir in the creamed coconut until it melts. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water and simmer gently for 2 minutes.
7. Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve the sauce separately.
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