Assam Prawns: A Delicious Spicy Seafood Dish – Seaco Online
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Assam Prawns: A Delicious Spicy Seafood Dish

Assam prawns, also known as tamarind prawns, are a popular Malaysian dish that is both delicious and easy to prepare.

Sweet and sour seafood dishes are a great choice for an after-work recipe that's sure to impress.

A sizzling pan of Assam prawns, with vibrant red chili peppers and aromatic lemongrass, surrounded by a medley of fresh herbs and spices

Assam prawns get their signature tangy flavour from tamarind, a fruit that is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine.

When combined with sugar and salt, tamarind creates a unique sauce that perfectly complements the juicy prawns.

Best of all, the dish can be made in just a few simple steps, making it a great option for busy weeknights.

To prepare and cook assam prawns, you'll need to start by marinating the prawns in a mixture of tamarind paste, sugar, salt, and water.

Once the prawns have absorbed the flavours, they can be stir-fried in a hot wok until they're cooked through.

The result is a dish that's both sweet and sour, with a little bit of heat from the chillies that are often added to the recipe.

Key Takeaways

  • Assam prawns are a delicious and easy-to-prepare Malaysian dish that's perfect for busy weeknights.
  • Tamarind is the key ingredient that gives assam prawns their signature tangy flavour.
  • To make assam prawns, marinate prawns in a mixture of tamarind paste, sugar, salt, and water, then stir-fry them in a hot wok.

Understanding Assam Prawns

A sizzling wok of Assam prawns, surrounded by vibrant red chili peppers, fragrant lemongrass, and fresh green kaffir lime leaves

If you are a fan of Asian cuisine, you might have heard of Assam Prawns. This Malaysian Nyonya dish is a popular seafood recipe that has a unique sweet and sour taste.

In this section, we will take a closer look at the origins and cultural significance of Assam Prawns, as well as the key ingredients that make this dish so special.

Origins and Cultural Significance

Assam Prawns are a type of Nyonya dish, which is a fusion of Chinese and Malay cuisine.

The term "Nyonya" refers to the descendants of Chinese immigrants who settled in Malaysia and Singapore during the 15th century.

Over time, they developed a unique culinary style that combined Chinese cooking techniques with local ingredients and spices.

Assam Prawns are a prime example of this fusion cuisine. The dish is believed to have originated in the state of Malacca, which was a major trading hub during the colonial era.

Today, Assam Prawns are a popular dish in Malaysian cuisine and are often served during special occasions such as weddings and festivals.

Key Ingredients

The key to making delicious Assam Prawns is using the right combination of ingredients.

The dish typically consists of fresh prawns cooked in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce that is thickened to perfection.

The sauce is made by mixing tamarind juice with sugar and other flavourings such as kaffir lime leaves and chillies.

Here are the key ingredients you need to make Assam Prawns:

  • Fresh prawns: You can use either shrimp or prawns for this dish, depending on your preference. Make sure they are fresh and deveined before cooking.
  • Tamarind paste: This is the main ingredient that gives the dish its signature sour taste. You can either use tamarind paste or tamarind juice concentrate.
  • Sugar: You will need both brown sugar and white sugar to balance out the sourness of the tamarind.
  • Kaffir lime leaves: These leaves add a fragrant citrusy flavour to the dish.
  • Chillies: Use red chillies or bird's eye chillies to add a spicy kick to the sauce.

Preparing and Cooking

Fresh prawns being cleaned, marinated in tamarind and spices, then cooked in a sizzling pan with aromatic herbs and coconut milk

Marinating the Prawns

Before cooking Assam Prawns, you need to marinate them to get the most flavour out of the dish.

The marinade consists of tamarind paste, sugar, salt, and water.

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl, add the prawns and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes. This will help the prawns absorb the flavours of the marinade.

Cooking Techniques

Assam Prawns can be cooked using different techniques. The most common techniques are stir-frying and sautéing.

Heat up a pan or wok with some oil and add the marinated prawns.

Cook for a few minutes until the prawns turn pink and are cooked through.

You can also boil the prawns in the marinade for a few minutes. This will give the dish a more soupy consistency.

Serving Suggestions

Assam Prawns are best served with steamed rice.

You can use white rice or Nasi Lemak, a fragrant rice dish cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves.

To serve, place the cooked prawns on top of the rice and pour the sauce over it.

You can also garnish the dish with chopped coriander leaves or sliced red chillies to add some colour and flavour.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sizzling pan of Assam prawns, surrounded by aromatic spices and herbs, steaming and ready to be served

How do you prepare a classic Assam prawn dish?

To prepare a classic Assam prawn dish, you will need to marinate the prawns in tamarind juice, salt, and sugar for at least 30 minutes.

Then, fry the prawns until they turn golden brown and set them aside.

In a separate pan, sauté onions, garlic, and chillies until fragrant.

Add in the tamarind juice, sugar, and water, and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Finally, add in the fried prawns and let them cook in the sauce for a few minutes before serving.

What's the average cost for Assam prawns?

The cost of Assam prawns can vary depending on where you are located and the quality of the prawns. However, on average, you can expect to pay around £10-£15 per kilogram.

Can you substitute tamarind in an Assam prawn recipe?

Yes, you can substitute tamarind with lime juice or vinegar in an Assam prawn recipe. However, keep in mind that this will alter the taste of the dish.

What are the unique ingredients in a Nyonya Assam prawn dish?

The unique ingredients in a Nyonya Assam prawn dish include tamarind pulp, belacan (shrimp paste), torch ginger flower, and galangal. These ingredients give the dish its distinct sweet, sour, and spicy flavour.

How do Assam prawns differ from other regional prawn dishes?

Assam prawns are a popular Malaysian dish and differ from other regional prawn dishes in terms of their unique sweet, sour, and spicy flavour.

The dish is made with tamarind pulp, which gives it a tangy taste and is different from other regional prawn dishes that use coconut milk or curry powder.

Where are the majority of Assam prawns sourced from?

The majority of Assam prawns are sourced from Malaysia, where the dish originates from.

However, you can also find Assam prawns in other Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Indonesia.