Malaysian Tamarind Shrimp

James Carrier

Notes: Like dates, fresh tamarinds, with their sticky, dense flesh and dry exterior pods, last indefinitely stored at room temperature. You'll find the pods in many supermarkets as well as in Mexican, Asian, and Indian food markets. To use them, pull off and discard the hull; pack the fruit and seeds to measure. Tamarind pulp (with seeds, and often some shell) is sold in solid blocks in the same ethnic markets as the fresh fruit. You'll also find liquid tamarind concentrate from Southeast Asia and Mexico; substitute 1/2 cup concentrate for 1/4 cup pulp. Serve shrimp on hot cooked basmati rice.

Yield: Makes 4 servings
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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 353
  • Calories from fat: 17%
  • Protein: 36g
  • Fat: 6.5g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrate: 38g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Sodium: 1062mg
  • Cholesterol: 259mg


  • 1/4 cup packed tamarind pulp (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon salad oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds shelled, deveined shrimp (15 to 24 per lb.), rinsed and well drained
  • 2 green onions, ends trimmed, cut into thin slivers


  1. 1. In a small bowl, mix tamarind pulp and 3/4 cup boiling water. Let stand until lukewarm, 8 to 10 minutes; rub pulp with your fingers to mix well and release from seeds. Rub mixture through a strainer into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan; discard residue.
  2. 2. Add sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and hot sauce to frying pan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat and stir often until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Scrape the reduced sauce back into a bowl (or, if making up to 1 week ahead, into a jar or refrigerator container; cover and chill).
  3. 3. Rinse the frying pan and wipe dry. Place over high heat and add the oil; when hot, add shrimp and stir until they begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Pour into a bowl. Add the tamarind sauce to pan and stir until it's boiling vigorously; return shrimp to pan and stir until opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part (cut to test), 3 to 6 minutes longer.
  4. 4. Spoon shrimp and sauce onto plates or into a bowl. Garnish with green onions.
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