Who’s a lemongrass fan? Me! Who’s a prawn lover? Me! Me! Who’s a sambal fan? Oh yeah… Me! Me! Me! This dish is basically made for ME! Haha Its taste is just like what I envisioned and the zing it provides makes you keep wanting more and more. Enough said. ;) (tsk sorry lame intro kekeke) This is a Penang peranakan dish.
Creamy lemongrass sambal prawns → Love it.
Let’s start cooking.
Roast raw cashew nuts in a wok for about 5-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside.
Belacan is so intoxicating. It’s my first love. Long before kimchi came along. ;)
Crumble and toast the belacan until fragrant about 2 minutes.
Making my own coconut milk from grated coconut bought from sundry shop. The recipe ask for 100ml thick coconut milk and 200ml thin coconut milk. First, add 100ml water to the grated coconut. Then squeeze the coconut milk to a container below with a strainer in between to catch the falling grated coconut. Another way is using a cloth strainer. My way is called the lazy way because I hate washing the cloth strainer. :P Once done, repeat the same process but this time add 200ml water to the grated coconut to yield thin coconut milk.
Slice shallots and garlic thinly.
A packet of tamarind pulp. Keep in fridge once open. The same goes with belacan.
This is how tamarind pulp (paste) looks like. In Malay, it’s called asam jawa.
Don’t confuse this with tamarind peel which is called asam gelugor or asam keping.
Lemongrass. Trim the top and bottom a little.
Chop lemongrass into 3 sections. Remove browned and wilting leaves.
Using the top end of a Chinese chef’s knife (which look like a cleaver), pound lemongrass to release the fragrant.
Pounded lemongrass. You can also use a pestle to pound the lemongrass.
Heat oil in wok and fry garlic until fragrant and golden. Dish out and fry the shallots next until crisp and golden. Remove and set aside. (Just realized I mix up the photos, the bottom photos should be switched).
In the same oil, saute lemongrass and belacan. Add some oil if necessary.
Mix the thin coconut milk with tamarind pulp and strain mixture.
Then add thin coconut milk to the wok. Break up any lumpy belacan with wok turner. Let it boil and then give liquid a taste. Add salt if necessary. I added 1/2 tsp salt (following the initial recipe) without tasting and ended with quite a salty dish. This is because I forgot that belacan itself is salty.
Then add prawns and stir until cooked before adding in thick coconut milk.
Lastly, add half of the fried garlic and shallots. Mix well and dish out on a serving plate.
Garnish with remaining garlic, shallots, chilies and cashew nuts. Serve hot with rice.
Creamy Lemongrass Sambal Prawns aka Sambal Serai Prawn
Adapted from Nyonya Flavors
100g raw, whole cashew nuts
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
4 shallots, sliced thinly
4 stalks lemongrass, chopped and pounded
10g belacan (shrimp paste), toasted and crumbled
200ml thin coconut milk
5g tamarind pulp
300g medium-sized prawns, shelled and deveined
100ml thick coconut milk (from 1/2 coconut)
salt – depends as belacan is salty itself
1 red chili, seeded and chopped
2 green chilies, seeded and chopped – I omitted this
1. Lightly roast the cashew nuts in a wok over medium fire. Stir often to prevent burning for about 5-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside to cool completely.
2. Heat 100ml oil in a wok to fry the garlic until fragrant and golden. Dish out garlic and fry shallots in the same oil until crisp and golden. Remove and set aside.
3. In the same oil, saute lemongrass and belacan.
4. Mix the thin coconut milk with the tamarind pulp and strain the mixture before adding to the wok. Bring to boil. Use the wok turner to break up any lumpy shrimp paste. Now give the mixture a taste, add salt to taste.
5. Add in the prawns and stir until cooked before adding in the thick coconut milk and half the fried garlic and shallots. Mix well and dish out.
6. Garnish with remaining garlic, shallots and chilies. Top with cashew nuts. Serve hot.