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Thai-style fried shrimp in spicy sauce

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

Stir-fries are common in Asian cuisine, the wonderful flavors of flash fried vegetables and meats in tantalizing sauses makes them a favorite of everyone. This recipe is no exception.

A wonderfully flavored dish that can hold its own, these shrimp are the perfect balnce of spicy, sweet and herby. This is a rather involved recipe that starts with making the chili jam, sweet and spicy, this jam forms the basis for the dish. The shrimp are flavors with additional Thai herbs, lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves and Thai shrimp paste adding notes and flavors for a complex dish. I choose to serve it directly over Thai jasmine rice so that the sauces are absorbed by the rice and balance the dish beautifully. This dish disappeared quickly in front of me, a testament to the wonderful dish.

This is the ultimate book on Thai cooking, a massive tome filled with standard and unusual recipes like this one. This book covers all regions and cuisines in Thailand, a country with a diverse and deep food history. This is that book that every serious chef that must have on their shelves, or on their kitchen counter. You will see me post from this book more often

For more amazing recipes from this cookbook, click here.

Photo credit: Mercy Moses


1 piece galangal, about 1 teaspoon ground

2 lemongrass stalks, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 shallots, sliced

A few tablespoons water

2-3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons tamarind paste

1 tablespoon chili jam, see recipe below

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

6 jumbo prawns or 1 ib prawns

2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced

2 scallions, sliced

Cooked sticky rice or jasmine rice.

For the chili jam (1 cup):10 fresh Thai red chilies

5 dried Thai bird's eye chilies

8 cloves garlic, sliced

2-3 shallots, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

2 dried shrimp

1/2 teaspoon Thai shrimp paste

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

A few drops fish sauce

3 tablespoons palm sugar or jaggery

3 tablespoons oil

To make the chili jam:

Add all the ingredients, except oil, to a small blender and purée till very smooth.

Heat oil in a small saucepan and add the purée. Cook, stirring often, on a medium-low flame till the jam is thickened and the ingredients smell cooked, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Can be stored in an airtight container for about a week or frozen for longer.

To make the shrimp:

Add the galangal. lemongrass, garlic, and shallots and water to a small blender and purée till smooth. You are looking for a thick paste.

Heat the oil and add the purée and cook on a low flame till fragrant and the water has evaporated. The oil should begin to show in small droplets along the edges, but be careful not to brown the paste at all. Add the tamarind paste, chili jam and oyster sauce and stir to mix in and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the shrimp and sugar and mix in, turn the heat up to medium and cook till the shrimp have just turned opaque and are cooked, about 3 minutes. Stir almost continually at this point to get the ingredients mixed and coat the shrimp with the spices. Sprinkle with kaffir lime leaves and scallions.

Serve immediately over sticky rice on the base.

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