Recipe: Assam Prawns/Tamarind Prawns

Recently, I have been embarking on a journey of sharing some easy dishes due to the request of one of my friends who is residing in New Zealand. Check out our blog for more delicious and simple dishes to prepare.

Nyonya dishes are commonly known for the cumbersome preparations and involving loads of ingredients but not for the Assam prawns. It is considered to be one of the simplest dish to cook.  However, I have decided to cook this dish in a slightly different way as I personally prefer to have gravy or sauces for my dishes.  Hmm…. so, is this dish still classified under Nyonya cuisine?? The prawns cooked in this manner are succulent and infused with the sour-ish tamarind sauce which makes it amazingly appetizing.

As this dish is cooked best with the prawn shells on, I had to “painstakingly” use a pair of scissors to cut through the top of shell and devein the prawns so that the seasoning can seep into it. The best part of it all? Using your fingers to eat the prawns and sucking up the sauce and flavour on the shell.

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Serves 4 persons


500g medium/large prawns, deveined, washed, and drained well

90g tamarind pulp + ½ cup of water

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons dark soy sauce

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

2 red chillies

Some cooking oil


Preparation for the Prawns:

  1. Using a pair of scissors, cut through the top shell of the prawns and devein them.
  2. Rinse and put the prawns into a bowl.
  3. Add in the tamarind pulp, salt, sugar, dark soy sauce and water.
  4. Mix well and marinate the prawns for about an hour or more.

Cooking the Prawns:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil into a pan.
  2. Add in garlic and chilli and fry till fragrant.
  3. Add in the marinated prawns.
  4. Add in some water if the sauce is too thick.
  5. Once the prawns are cooked turned off the heat.
  6. Garnish with chopped spring onions and/or coriander. Serve immediately.

Mummy's Kitchen

Hi! My name is Josephine Go. I blog at in a segment called Mummy’s Kitchen. I love to use fresh and natural ingredients in my cooking to promote healthy eating. Some of my recipes may not be in line with the traditional methods of cooking to the extent that some of the ingredients are different, but hopefully new recipes are being created in my style. I certainly hope that what I do will help guide kitchen first-timers on how to cook their first meal as well as further equip kitchen veterans with new recipes. My loving husband and two wonderful children are my best guinea pigs and critics. They have enjoyed (or endured) the food that has been served to them for all these years. Mind you, I did not know how to cook or ever knew that I could cook till I got married. So there is hope for everyone. If I can cook, you can cook. You will not know how good or talented you are until you put your hand in the plough.

3 thoughts on “Recipe: Assam Prawns/Tamarind Prawns

  1. My husband and I are very excited to try this recipe! We love prawns and tamarind though we haven’t had them together yet.

    I am curious, why is this recipe called Assam prawns? Is this prawn dish a style popular in the Assam region for a particular reason? We drink Assam tea and love it.

    1. Hi Clara. Assam is another name for tamarind, hence the reason why the recipe is called Assam prawns. 🙂

  2. Karen Ho-Chan says:

    Thanks for sharing the assam prawns recipe. I will try it out soon.

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