Tamarind Shrimps (Asam Ko Prawns) – a popular Nyonya pan fried shrimp dish that is sure to whet your appetite. Fragrant, sweet, tangy, and easy to prepare.
If there was a dish that one never gets enough of is this Tamarind Shrimps (Asam Ko Prawns). It may not look the prettiest but it sure is yummy. Even the oil used to pan fry these shrimps is tasty. In fact, many home cooks add a little extra oil to fry these just so they can have the fragrant oil to drizzle on the steamed rice. It really is that tasty!
Quick and Easy to Prepare
The best part is that these Tamarind Shrimps fondly known as Asam Ko Heh are very quick and easy easy to prepare not counting the marinating time. Of course, the longer you marinate, the better they taste but 30 to 60 minutes will work. Since cooking takes only a few minutes, you can leave them to hang out in the refrigerator while you go about preparing the rest of dinner. By the time you are done, the shrimps will be ready for pan frying.
A Tasty Dilemma
These shrimps are usually cook whole with their shells on. Some families leave the heads on as well. The marinate tend to stick on the shells and so it is often a “dilemma” of whether to peel and discard the shells. I choose to discard the heads, leaving the shell on. I also like to slit the back to remove the vein. This allows some of the marinate to get onto the flesh so that all of it is not “lost”.
In the recipe below, I used only 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. If you want some of it for flavoring your steam rice at the end, please add sufficient oil to cover the bottom of your skillet or fry pan. Reserve the oil in a small bowl once the shrimps are cooked and removed from the pan.
Tools Used in Making These Tamarind Shrimps
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- Rinse tamarind pulp. Place in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoon hot water. Mash tamarind pulp with a fork.
- Remove the heads from the shrimps. Trim the tails and cut a slit down the back of each shrimp. Remove the vein. Rinse and drain. Place shrimps in a bowl.
- Add sugar, salt, ground pepper, prepared tamarind pulp, and sweet soy sauce to the shrimps.
- Mix well and allow it to marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet. Transfer shrimps with tongs from the marinate into the pan. Fry shrimps until slightly caramelized, about 6 to 7 minutes. Turn off stove.
- Remove and serve immediately.
Tamarind Shrimps (Asam Ko Prawns) are best eaten using your fingers. Steamed white rice is optional but highly recommended. 🙂