King Prawn Sambal

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

This is a really tasty, simple dish, and once you’ve made the paste, it’s so easy from there. If you want to cut down on cooking time, you could use peeled prawns. For me, though, half the fun of this dish is sucking the prawn shells.


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) green king prawns (shrimp)
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated palm sugar (jaggery)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind water
  • juice of 2 limes


    Pound all the spice paste ingredients in a mortar with a pestle. Or use a blender to process the ingredients, adding a little water if necessary.

    Heat the oil in a wok and, when hot but not smoking, add the spice paste. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the prawns and cook for a minute, then add the palm sugar, sea salt, coconut cream and tamarind water and simmer for a further 1–2 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked. Squeeze the lime juice into the wok, transfer the prawns to a plate and pour the sauce over to serve.