Assam Prawns Chinese Recipe: A Spicy and Tangy Delight – Seaco Online
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Assam Prawns Chinese Recipe: A Spicy and Tangy Delight

Assam prawns, also known as tamarind prawns, is a popular Chinese recipe that originated from the Nyonya cuisine in Malaysia. This dish is a perfect combination of sweet and sour flavours, with a hint of spiciness that elevates the taste of the prawns. The recipe is simple and easy to make, with only a few essential ingredients needed.

A sizzling wok tosses plump prawns with garlic, ginger, and fragrant spices in a rich, glossy sauce. Green onions and red chilies add a pop of color and heat

To prepare assam prawns, you will need fresh prawns, tamarind pulp, sugar, salt, and dark soy sauce. The prawns are marinated in a mixture of tamarind pulp, sugar, and salt for at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavours. The prawns are then fried until golden brown and served with steamed rice. The tamarind sauce is thickened to perfection, creating a delicious coating that complements the prawns.

If you are a seafood lover, you can also use other types of seafood such as fish or squid to make this dish. The recipe is versatile and can be adjusted to suit your taste preference. Assam prawns is a must-try dish for seafood lovers who are looking for a flavourful and easy-to-make recipe.

Key Takeaways

  • Assam prawns is a popular Chinese recipe that originated from the Nyonya cuisine in Malaysia.
  • The dish is a perfect combination of sweet and sour flavours with a hint of spiciness that elevates the taste of the prawns.
  • The recipe is simple and easy to make, and can be adjusted to suit your taste preference.

History of Assam Prawns

A sizzling wok filled with plump prawns, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers, emitting a fragrant aroma of soy sauce and tangy tamarind, surrounded by vibrant green scallions and cilantro

Assam prawns, also known as tamarind prawns, are a popular Malaysian Nyonya dish that is easy to prepare and has fantastic flavours. This dish is a sweet and sour prawn dish that is thickened to perfection with a tamarind sauce. The dish is typically served with steamed rice and is perfect for any occasion.

Origins of the Nyonya Dish

Assam prawns are a Nyonya dish. Nyonya cuisine is a combination of Chinese and Malay flavours that originated in Malaysia. The Nyonya people are descendants of Chinese immigrants who settled in Malaysia and intermarried with the local Malay population. The cuisine is a fusion of Chinese and Malay flavours, and it is known for its bold and complex flavours.

Assam Prawns in Chinese New Year Celebrations

Assam prawns are a popular dish during Chinese New Year celebrations. Chinese New Year is the most important festival in the Chinese calendar, and it is celebrated with family gatherings, feasting, and the exchange of gifts. Assam prawns are a popular dish during this time of year because they are easy to prepare and can be served as a main dish or a side dish.

If you are looking to add seafood to this dish, you can use prawns or shrimp. Fresh prawns or shrimp are the best options for this dish, but you can also use frozen prawns or shrimp if fresh ones are not available. Make sure to devein the prawns before cooking them to ensure that they are clean and safe to eat.

Overall, Assam prawns are a delicious and easy-to-prepare dish that is perfect for any occasion. Whether you are celebrating Chinese New Year or just looking for a new dish to try, Assam prawns are sure to impress.

Essential Ingredients

A sizzling wok stir-fries succulent prawns with aromatic ginger, garlic, and chili, while a rich, dark sauce simmers on the stove

Choosing the Right Prawns

When it comes to making Assam Prawns, selecting the right prawns is crucial. You want to choose fresh and firm prawns that have a sweet, briny taste. Tiger prawns, king prawns, and jumbo prawns are all excellent choices for this dish. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try using other types of seafood such as squid or scallops.

Understanding Tamarind's Role

Tamarind is the star ingredient of this dish and gives it its unique sweet and sour flavour. Tamarind is a fruit that grows in tropical regions and is commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking. You can find tamarind in various forms such as tamarind pulp, tamarind paste, or tamarind concentrate. In this recipe, we will be using tamarind pulp.

To prepare tamarind pulp, soak it in hot water for 15-20 minutes, then strain it to remove any seeds or fibres. Tamarind pulp can be quite tart, so you'll need to balance it out with some sugar and salt. Garlic, onion, and ginger are also important flavourings that add depth to the dish.

To cook the prawns, you'll need some oil for frying. Peanut oil or vegetable oil are good choices for this recipe. Dark soy sauce is also used to give the dish its signature dark colour.

In summary, the essential ingredients for making Assam Prawns are:

  • Fresh, firm prawns (e.g. tiger prawns, king prawns, or jumbo prawns)
  • Tamarind pulp
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Ginger
  • Oil for frying (e.g. peanut oil or vegetable oil)
  • Dark soy sauce

If you're a seafood lover, you can also try using other types of seafood such as squid or scallops.

Preparing the Prawns

Prawns being marinated in tangy Assam sauce, surrounded by traditional Chinese cooking ingredients

Deveining and Cleaning

Before you start cooking your Assam prawns, you need to ensure that they are clean and deveined. Deveining is the process of removing the vein that runs along the back of the prawns. You can do this by using a sharp knife to make a slit along the back of the prawn and then removing the vein with your fingers.

Once you have deveined the prawns, you need to clean them thoroughly. Rinse the prawns under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris. You can also remove the shells and heads of the prawns if you prefer, but it is not necessary for this recipe.

Marinating for Flavour

Marinating the prawns is an essential step in making delicious Assam prawns. The marinade is a mixture of tamarind paste, sugar, and salt that will infuse the prawns with flavour.

To make the marinade, mix together tamarind paste, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Then, add the prawns to the bowl and stir until they are coated in the marinade. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the prawns to absorb the flavours.

You can also add other seafood such as squid or scallops to the marinade to add more flavour and texture to your dish. Just ensure that they are thoroughly cleaned and prepared before adding them to the marinade.

By deveining and marinating your prawns properly, you can ensure that your Assam prawns are flavourful and delicious.

Cooking Techniques

Assam prawns sizzle in a wok with ginger, garlic, and chili. Steam rises as the chef adds tamarind, sugar, and soy sauce, creating a fragrant, flavorful dish

Stir-Frying in a Wok

Stir-frying is a popular Chinese cooking technique that is perfect for preparing Assam Prawns. The key to a successful stir-fry is to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. This includes your prawns, vegetables, and any sauces or seasonings you plan to use.

To stir-fry in a wok, heat your wok over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add your cooking oil and swirl it around the wok to coat the surface. Once the oil is hot, add your prawns and stir-fry them for 2-3 minutes until they turn pink and start to curl. Remove the prawns from the wok and set them aside.

Next, add your vegetables to the wok and stir-fry them for 1-2 minutes until they are crisp-tender. Add your sauce or seasonings to the wok and stir-fry for an additional 30 seconds until everything is well combined. Finally, add your prawns back to the wok and toss everything together until the prawns are coated in the sauce and heated through.

Achieving the Perfect Char

One of the hallmarks of a great stir-fry is achieving the perfect char on your ingredients. To do this, you need to make sure your wok is hot enough and your ingredients are dry before you add them to the wok.

To get a good char on your prawns, pat them dry with paper towels before adding them to the wok. This will help them cook evenly and prevent them from steaming in the wok. Make sure your wok is hot enough before adding your prawns to the pan. You should hear a sizzle when the prawns hit the wok. If you don't hear a sizzle, your wok isn't hot enough.

Once your prawns are in the wok, let them cook undisturbed for 30 seconds to a minute before tossing them. This will help them develop a nice crust. Toss them every 30 seconds or so until they are cooked through and have a nice char.

If you're using other types of seafood, such as squid or scallops, the same principles apply. Make sure your seafood is dry before adding it to the wok and let it cook undisturbed for a bit to develop a nice crust.

Serving and Nutrition

A steaming plate of Assam prawns, with vibrant red chili peppers and fragrant lemongrass, surrounded by bowls of fresh ingredients like ginger and garlic

Accompaniments

Assam prawns are best served with steamed rice or plain rice. The rice helps to balance the flavours of the dish and also provides a good source of carbohydrates. You can also squeeze some lemon juice over the prawns to give it a tangy taste.

Seafood lovers can also try using other types of seafood such as squid or fish instead of prawns. This will give the dish a unique taste and texture.

Dietary Information

Assam prawns are a good source of protein and contain low levels of carbohydrates. However, they can be high in sodium and cholesterol, so it is important to consume them in moderation.

One serving of Assam prawns contains approximately 250-300 calories, depending on the portion size and the ingredients used.

To reduce the sodium and cholesterol content of the dish, you can use low-sodium soy sauce and limit the amount of oil used in the recipe.

Overall, Assam prawns are a delicious and nutritious dish that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sizzling wok tosses plump prawns, ginger, and spices in a fragrant cloud, as a chef in a bustling kitchen prepares Assam prawns

What's the best way to marinate prawns for a Chinese-style dish?

Marinating prawns is an important step in Chinese-style cooking as it helps to infuse the prawns with flavour. The best way to marinate prawns is to use a combination of soy sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt. You can also add garlic, ginger, and chilli flakes for some extra flavour. Seafood such as squid or scallops can also be used in place of prawns.

Can you suggest a simple method to stir-fry prawns with garlic?

Stir-frying prawns with garlic is a quick and easy way to prepare a delicious Chinese-style dish. Start by heating up some oil in a wok or frying pan. Once the oil is hot, add minced garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds until fragrant. Then, add the prawns and stir-fry for a few minutes until they turn pink. Add a pinch of salt and some chopped scallions for flavour. Seafood such as lobster or crab can also be used in place of prawns.

What ingredients are essential for an authentic Chinese prawn recipe?

The essential ingredients for an authentic Chinese prawn recipe are soy sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, and scallions. These ingredients are used in various combinations to create different flavour profiles. Seafood such as clams or mussels can also be used in place of prawns.

How long should prawns be cooked to avoid overcooking them?

Prawns cook very quickly, so it's important to keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking. Generally, prawns should be cooked for 2-3 minutes until they turn pink and are just cooked through. Overcooking can result in tough and rubbery prawns. Seafood such as squid or octopus can also be used in place of prawns.

What are some good side dishes to serve with Chinese-style prawns?

Some good side dishes to serve with Chinese-style prawns include steamed rice, stir-fried vegetables, and egg drop soup. You can also serve prawns with a side of steamed bok choy or broccoli for a healthy and delicious meal. Seafood such as clams or oysters can also be used in place of prawns.

Could you explain how to properly devein prawns before cooking?

To devein prawns, start by removing the head and shell. Then, make a shallow cut along the back of the prawn with a sharp knife. Use the tip of the knife to remove the dark vein that runs along the back of the prawn. Rinse the prawn under cold water to remove any remaining debris. Seafood such as shrimp or lobster can also be used in place of prawns.