Assam Prawns is one of my family’s favorite assam dishes. Great when enjoyed with just some steamed rice. One of the key ingredients in this mouth-watering dish is the fresh “bunga kantan” or torch ginger flower. Unfortunately, whenever I cook this dish in Vancouver, I had to substitute it with frozen or dried torch ginger flowers instead as it’s not available over there. I took the opportunity to cook-up this Assam Prawns using fresh torch ginger flowers which are available everywhere here in Kuala Lumpur. Simply fantastic!
20 g Dried Chilies, soaked in boiling water and drained
3 Fresh Red Chilies, seeded
100 g Shallots, peeled
15 g Fresh Turmeric, peeled
2 tsp Shrimp Paste (Belacan)
4 to 5 Tbsp of Peanut Oil
80 g Polygonum Leaves
3 Fresh Ginger Torch Flowers (Bunga Kantan), halved
50 to 80 g Tamarind Pulp + 3 ½ Cups of water
2 to 3 Tbsp of Sugar
6 to Large River Prawns or 800 g Large Prawns
1 medium Red Onion, sliced
12 Okra (lady fingers)
2 Tomatoes, quartered
1 Cup Freshly cut Pineapples
Sea Salt to taste
15g Fresh Mint Leaves
Finely grind the spice paste ingredients with a little water in a blender or food processor.
In a large wok or saucepan, heat the peanut oil over low to moderate heat. Cook the spice ingredients until fragrant (about 5 minutes)
Then add the torch ginger and polygonum leaves. Cook the mixture for about 4-5 minutes. Turn the heat on high and mix in the tamarind water and sugar. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
Then add the prawns, onions, okra, tomatoes, and pineapple. Bring the mixture to a boil again and reduce the heat to simmer until the prawns and vegetables are cooked. Season the Assam prawns with sea salt and sugar, if necessary. Serve immediately with some fresh mint leaves.