Vietnamese Tamarind Prawn

*There’s a video tutorial at the end of this post.

Vietnamese food_Tamarind_Prawn_Family meal_Indiechine
A typical three-course Vietnamese meal with tamarind prawns, sautéed winged beans, and clam soup in tomato and pineapple broth

Vietnamese food_Tamarind_Prawn_Indiechine-2

Happy New Year!!!

I know it’s late, but this is my very first recipe of 2016, and the Vietnamese Lunar New Year is coming in three weeks, so I’m still high up in the New Year mood!

To start the New Year, we went to my hometown to have what we Vietnamese call “a happiness announcing celebration”, a less formal version of a wedding ceremony. We got married in the U.S. more than a year ago, so it was expected that we had a casual celebration in Vietnam so that my relatives could “see what the groom looks like in person”. Our guests at the party were amused because mixed couples were not very common in my hometown. Almost all of them asked me if my husband could speak any Vietnamese and if he liked Vietnamese food at all. “A little” and “a lot” were my answers respectively.

Vietnamese food_Indiechine_Tamarind Prawn-9

Vietnamese food_Indiechine_Tamarind Prawn

So, this dish I’m introducing to you today is very typical of Vietnamese cuisine, specifically Southern style. It’s so flavorful but really easy and quick to prepare. Tamarind is used to create a sweet and sour sauce, which matches so well with crunchy prawns.

Vietnamese food_Tamarind_Prawn_Indiechine-4

If you’re not familiar with tamarind but a fan of Thai food, especially Pad Thai, then you know what tamarind tastes like. In Southern Vietnam, tamarind is very popular in sautéed seafood (prawns and crabs) or seafood soup like this Vietnamese sweet and sour soup.

Tamarind Prawns_Vietnamese food_Indiechine-2

Check out the video below to see how to make it for yourself. Chúc ngon miệng!



  • Prawn: 700 grams (1.5 lb)
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper: 1 teaspoon
  • Minced garlic: 3 tablespoons
  • Cooking oil: 5 tablespoons
  • Scallion and cilantro: chopped and to taste

For the sauce:

  • 100 grams tamarind paste (available in Asian supermarkets)
  • 200 ml boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


  1. Preparing the sauce: Add boiling water to the tamarind paste. Use a spoon to break it apart and let sit for 15 minutes to soften. After 15 minutes, mash the paste and strain the seeds. Add sugar, fish sauce, pepper and mix well.
  2. Peel and devain the prawn. Add salt and pepper. Mix well and marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat a pan over high heat. Add cooking oil. Add minced garlic and stir until brown and fragrant. Add prawn and stir until it turns pink (about 1-2 minutes). Add tamarind sauce. Stir well and cook until the sauce is reduced by 1/3 to half. Stir occasionally when cooking.
  4. Turn off heat. Add chopped scallion and cilantro.
  5. Serve immediately on its own or with jasmine rice.

Chúc ngon miệng! (Bon appétit)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *