PAN-GRILLED SHRIMP WITH THAI TAMARIND SAUCE (for four)
1-1/2 pounds jumbo (15 per pound) shrimp
3 teaspoons sea salt dissolved in 1-1/2 cups water
For the tamarind sauce:
1 tablespoon tamarind from a pliable block
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon chopped cleaned fresh cilantro roots and/or stems, pounded to a paste (Thai cooking often uses cilantro roots – their flavor is more pungent than that of the leaves)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Sriracha or other Asian hot chile sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons palm sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon nam pla or other Asian fish sauce, or to taste
2 fresh Serrano or jalapeno chiles, seeded, halved lengthwise and finely julienned crosswise, and fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish.
- Soak shrimp (still in shells) in salt water 5 minutes, then rinse well in a colander.
- Make the tamarind sauce. Place tamarind in a bowl with the water and rub with your fingers to dissolve pulp. Pour through a sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the solids with a wooden spoon, and discard solids.
- Heat oil in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook cilantro paste and garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in hot sauce, 3 tablespoons tamarind juice, palm sugar and fish sauce. Simmer until thickened to the consistency of a light syrup, about 3 minutes. (Tamarind sauce can be made 2 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.)
- Snip through shells of shrimp along the back using kitchen shears, exposing vein and leaving tail and last segment of shell intact. Devein shrimp leaving shells intact. Grill them in a hot, well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderate heat, turning once, until shells are pink and slightly charred and shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Spoon tamarind sauce over shrimp (still in shells) in a serving dish. Sprinkle with chiles and coriander
from Gourmet Magazine, June, 2000
THAI SHRIMP REDUX: Thai-style shrimp salad with cucumbers and tomatoes