Just in time for the Chinese New Year, I could have titled this “Extremely Easy Oriental Part 1”, had I thought about it a bit more. At the risk of paraphrasing Jamie Oliver, this is a 30 minute meal. In this instance, the 30 minutes includes eating time. The star of the dish is the tamarind. On a recent trip back to Ireland, my brother who lives in Dar es Salaam, brought me a supply. Not that Dar is in the Orient. But, it’s easier to find there than here.
The ingredients list is very short but the flavour punch is excellent. In this case, I cooked for two people.
- 16 decent sized prawns
- A clump of tamarind (see the picture)
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
- 6 to 8 spring onions
- A squeeze of lime
- Rice to serve
Side note on flavours: There are a number of strong flavours in this dish. Salty soy. Umami tamarind. Sweet sugar. Sharp lime. They all work in harmony to provide a range of tastes and tanginess. They elevate the prawns taste and bring the rice to life.
Place the tamarind in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover.
Stir the tamarind until it turns the water a nice mid brown and thickens up nicely. Sieve the tamarind into a bowl. Chop the spring onions.
Heat some oil in a wok and add the prawns.
As soon as they start to turn colour, add the spring onions.
Add the sugar, stir it in and then add the tamarind liquid, soy and a squeeze of lime.
Once the liquids have combined, serve the prawns over rice, spooning the sauce over so it infuses the rice with lovely flavours. Serve it immediately.
If you manage to not overcook the prawns, this dish will be prepared, cooked and eaten inside 30 minutes. It’s the simplest Oriental dish I have cooked in a long time. It’s also one of the tastiest. Spend the little bit of time needed and enjoy a flavour sensation. Happy Chinese New Year!