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Spiced Prawns with Coconut

This spicy dish is based on the traditional Indonesian dish sambal goreng udang. Sambals are pungent, very hot dishes popular throughout south India and South-east Asia.

ingredients

serves 3 - 4
2 - 3 red chillies, seeded and chopped
3 shallots, chopped
1 lemon grass stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
thin sliver of dried shrimp paste
2.5 ml (4 tsp) ground galangal
5 ml (1 tsp) ground turmeric
5 ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
15 ml (1 tbsp) groundnut oil
250 ml (8 fl oz) 1 cup water
2 fresh kaffir lime leaves
5 ml (1 tsp) light brown soft sugar
2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
250 ml (8 fl oz) 1 cup coconut milk
675 g (1 1/2 lb) large raw prawns, peeled and deveined
squeeze of lemon juice
salt
shredded spring onions and flaked coconut, to garnish

method

1. In a mortar, pound together the chillies, shallots, lemon grass, garlic, shrimp paste, galangal, turmeric and coriander with a pestle until the mixture forms a paste.

2. Heat a wok, add the oil and swirl it around. Add the spice paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the water and add the kaffir lime leaves, sugar and tomatoes. Simmer for 8 - 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.

3. Add the coconut milk and prawns and cook gently, stirring, for 4 minutes until the prawns are pink. Season with lemon juice and salt to taste. Transfer the mixture to a warmed serving dish, garnish with the spring onions and flaked coconut and serve.

Dried shrimp paste, widely used in Southeast Asian cooking, is available from oriental food stores. Ground galangal, which is similar to ground ginger and comes from the same family, is also available from oriental food stores.

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