Prawns with tamarind, chilli and peanuts

  • Serves 2 as a starter or supper
  • Hands-on time 25 min, simmering time 15 min
  • Easy
The garlic is fried until crispy to add crunch to this Asian-style prawn recipe.

Nutritional info per serving

  • Calories445kcals
  • Fat28.8g (5.6g saturated)
  • Protein29.7g
  • Carbohydrates16.3g (11.4g sugars)
  • Fibre0.2g
  • Salt2.3g
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  • Handful unsalted peanuts
  • 12-14 large sustainably sourced king prawns, depending on size
  • Groundnut oil for frying, plus 2 tbsp extra
  • 3 garlic cloves, 2 very finely sliced, 1 crushed
  • Thumb-size piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced
  • 2 heaped tbsp tamarind paste (from the world food section oflarge supermarkets)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (available as above)
  • ½-¾ tbsp palm sugar (we like Thai Taste), to taste
  • Small bunch fresh coriander, leaves roughly chopped
  • Zest and juice 1 lime
  • Steamed sticky rice to serve (optional)


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Tip the peanuts onto a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven, leave to cool, then chop quite finely.
  2. Meanwhile, shell the prawns. Pull the heads off, then crack the bodies between the legs. Peel off the shell, leaving the tail intact. Butterfly them if you want to (see Know-how).
  3. Heat 2cm groundnut oil in a small saucepan. Once shimmering, drop in the sliced garlic. It should sizzle immediately – try with one piece first to check the heat. Cook the garlic for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden, then quickly remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. The garlic will crisp as it cools and will have a slight bitterness to it. Don’t let it get otoo dark or it will taste very bitter.
  4. Heat a frying pan or wok with the 2 tbsp oil over a medium heat. Once warm, add the crushed garlic, the ginger and chilli, then fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar, then cook for a minute or so. Add the prawns to the pan, toss them in the sauce, turn up the heat and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until pink all over and opaque in the centre.
  5. When the prawns are cooked, add the coriander and most of the peanuts, then toss together. Let the coriander wilt for a few seconds off the heat, then serve the prawns scattered with the extra peanuts, crispy garlic and lime zest, with the lime juice squeezed over. Steamed sticky rice makes a great accompaniment.
  • To butterfly shelled prawns, first shell them. Run a small, sharp knife down the centre of the back to make a shallow incision, then remove the dark intestinal tract with the point of the knife. If you want, do the same on the underside and pull out the bloodline (neither are harmful, but they can taste bitter).
  • An aromatic, exotic white, such as perfumed, melon and rose-tinted gewürztraminer, is a treat here

From February 2014

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