Another of my favourite starters, this sweet/sour delight is once again from Sabrina Ghayour’s excellent ‘Sirocco’.
This can be prepared in minutes, the only forward planning required is 30 minutes for the prawns to marinade. I pan-fry them here, but they work equally well when skewered and barbecued.
RECIPE – feeds 4 as a starter
For the marinade:
100g tamarind paste (I use a concentrate and dilute it)
75g runny honey
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
4 tbsp olive oil
400g raw tiger prawns, peeled with the tails left on
3 spring onions, finely sliced at an angle
a small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves only, chopped
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
Prepare the marinade: combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Season with salt to taste – you MUST taste this to get the balance of sweet, sour and salty correct.
Add the raw prawns to the marinade and work the marinade into the meat with your fingers. Cover with cling film and allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the spring onions and coriander.
When ready to cook, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and when it is hot pour a little of the marinade into it, with the chilli flakes. The marinade will bubble and start to reduce, leave it for a minute or so until it is visibly sticky, then add the prawns and cook for about a minute on each side until just pink.
Your pan will look like this, note the vigorous bubbling on the left hand side as the marinade thickens and reduces:
Serve on small plates, with a little of the reduced marinade and scattered with the spring onion, coriander leaves and sesame seeds.