Green Papaya Salad is a quintessential Southeast Asian salad, with a riot of flavors and textures. Known as som tam, this salad is claimed by both Laos and Thailand as a national dish. It’s fresh and crunchy with a vibrant dressing, and I add steamed shrimp read more
How do we love shrimp? Let us count the ways. There’s Green Curry, Salt Baked, Coconut, Spicy Salads, Noodles.…you get the drift. But when I want an easy appetizer that is sure to wow people, I reach for this Tamarind Shrimp. It’s super fast but has a sophisticated feel. The shrimp get nice and crispy, and the tamarind sauce is to die for. This is a Thai inspired dish, and the flavors will have you feeling the tropics.
Tamarind Shrimp Sauce
Tamarind concentrate, sometimes called tamarind pulp or paste, is a fundamental ingredient in Thai Cuisine. It has a complex sweet and sour flavor that is essential to foods like Pad Thai as well as countless soups, curries, beverages, and sweets. Here we mix it with fish sauce, sugar, and spices for an assertively fruity, funky sauce with just the right touch of sweetness.
Looking for ways to use up the rest of your tamarind concentrate? Check out:
The secret to shrimp that’s perfectly golden and crispy when lightly fried? Potato starch! A coating of potato starch limits the oil that the shrimp will absorb, helping them fry up to crispy perfection. It also keeps my Tamarind Shrimp gluten free. A little egg white helps the potato starch to adhere, and then they are ready to pan fry.
When the shrimp have absorbed all that amazing sauce, they are ready. Tamarind Shrimp makes a nice sized appetizer for 4, or a light supper for 2, especially served with Coconut Rice. Try them soon and let me know what you think by commenting and rating the recipe below, and by tagging us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen; we love hearing from you!
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 13/15 size)
- ⅓ cup potato starch
- 1 egg white
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 Tablespoons oil
- ¼ cup tamarind concentrate
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ ground coriander
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Combine the tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
- Place the shrimp in a bowl and add the egg white. Mix to coat the shrimp. Put the potato starch in a small bowl. Dip the shrimp, one at a time, into the potato starch so that it is well coated. Set aside.
- Heat a large pan over medium high heat for several minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat. Place half of the shrimp in the pan in one layer and cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate.
- Repeat with the other half of the shrimp.
- Return the pan to the stove. If the pan is dry, add 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and cook for 10 seconds. Next add the sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Add the shrimp to the sauce and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat the shrimp. The shrimp should have absorbed most of the sauce and the pan will be mostly dry.
- Serve immediately.
Keywords: tamarind, shrimp, seafood, appetizers, thai
Everyone loves corn fritters. That’s just an undeniable fact. I’m sure every culture has their own version. But I am really partial to Thai Corn Fritters, known as tod man khao pod. The addition of red curry paste for a bit of heat and a squirt of fish sauce for a drop of funk really takes this favorite treat to another level. My version of these corn fritters has very little batter, allowing each bite to be full of corny goodness.
These fritters are a popular street food in Thailand and you can see vendors frying these up on the street and in kiosks with big vats of oil. The rich scent of corn and the spices create a heady perfume that is hard to resist.
I recommend frying and eating them casually, maybe as friends congregate in the kitchen with some cold drinks. Otherwise, keep them hot in a low oven while you finish frying and serve them on a platter. Pro-tip: make sure to snag yourself a few before serving. I have made platters of these for parties before and they have disappeared before I could eat a single one.
Corn is a highlight of summer. And while we can get it all year round, I only make these fritters when corn is in season and at its sweetest. Look for corn that is plump and has a bright green, fitted husk. Avoid any that have brown shriveled husks, or slimy silk coming out of them. And not to give you an “earful”, but fresh corn should be used with a day or two. Otherwise the corn’s sugars turn to starch, and you lose that peak of season sweetness.
Start making the fritters by slicing off the corn kernels. Do it over a large bowl because this can be a messy business. (you can also put the bowl in the sink and do it there so any flying kernels are caught.) Hold the corn up vertically and slice down the corn with a sharp knife. Make sure you do not cut so deeply that you are cutting into the woody corncob, which is unpleasant to eat. If you feel a good amount of resistance as you cut down, you’re probably hitting the core.
You can fritter just about anything. Some batter, some veggie, and some oil and voila, you have fritters. Most of them though rely on a lot of binding batter which masks the veggies. Not these though! Just 4 tablespoons each of flour and cornstarch provide enough structure while letting the corn and spices shine.
The red curry paste is just enough to add some flavor and interest to the batter but not so much that it’s spicy. You can add a little more if you prefer a bigger jolt of flavor.
Then it’s time to heat the oil. Test that it’s hot enough by dropping in a tiny piece of batter. It should immediately sizzle. Stir the batter again and it’s time to fry. This is a very wet batter, it will spread quite a bit when dropped in the oil. Be very careful to avoid hot splatters. The corn fritters fry up quite quickly, about 2 minutes per side.
These corn fritters will disappear as soon as you make them, so plan accordingly. They’re also best eaten hot as they’ll start to lose the nice crispy texture. Any leftovers can be re-heated in an oven at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes.
They are wonderful served alongside Tropical Ceviche, or devoured as a snack with Lychee Mai Tais. Make them tonight and then take a second to rate and comment on the recipe below. Tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen; we love hearing from y0u!
- 4 ears of corn
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- ½ tablespoon fish sauce*
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 eggs
- 4 scallions finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- oil for frying
- With a knife cut off the kernels of corn and set aside.
- Combine the flour, cornstarch, red curry paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, and eggs. Stir the batter until it’s free of lumps.
- Add the corn, scallions, and cilantro and gently stir in.
- Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat for 10 minutes. The oil should be 350. Test with a small drop of batter; it should sizzle immediately.
- Mix the batter before taking a heaping tablespoon of batter. Gently lower the spoon and pour the batter into the oil.
- (The batter is very loose. Just pour the batter in one spot and move to another area of the pan for another. Keep doing this several times until you have 4-5 fritters. They will naturally spread out in the oil.)
- Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry for about 3-4 mins, flipping the fritters gently half way during the cooking process.
- Drain the fritters on paper towels. Continue frying in the same way until all of the batter is used.
- Serve immediately.
*to make vegetarian corn fritters, omit the fish sauce
Keywords: corn fritters, thai food