I wanted to cook something special with the lovely tiger prawns I picked up at Eddie’s Seafood Market on a recent trip to Edinburgh. And so I reached out to Lap who really knows his shit, not least when it comes to Asian recipes. Here’s what he came back with:
I’m assuming about four to five prawns per person. So for four people this will make up to 20 medium sized prawns.
Prepare Prawns: cut legs off, slit down back of shell and remove vein. People will not appreciate the effort involved in doing this but you will!
Prepare Sambal Paste: soak ten to fifteen dried red chillies (the kashmiri style ones, mild to medium heat, very red, seeds discarded), when softened blitz with two cloves garlic, an equal measure of ginger and galangal (so in total the same as garlic), three small shallots and a thumbnail size of toasted shrimp paste (optional, you can use fish sauce later). You should have nice vibrant red paste. Use the soaking liquid to loosen it if required.
Prepare other stuff: Make some tamarind water. Lightly bash one stalk of lemongrass and tie into knot.
Cook: Heat up some oil, and gently fry some curry leaves, when fragrant add the sambal and gently fry that till aromatic. Add prawns and lemongrass. When almost cooked, season with salt (or fish sauce), tamarind and sugar. The final dish should not be wet but the sambal should stick to the prawns shell and have permeated where you’ve slit it. Dress it up how you like!
It was darned good with the spanking fresh prawns. However it was rather hot, so if you are a wuss you might want to cut down on the number of chillies a little.