Home Malaysian Recipes Tamarind Prawn (Assam Prawn)

Tamarind Prawn (Assam Prawn)


Tamarind prawn or assam prawn is a MalaysianNyonya recipe, one that I grew up eating as my late mother made a killer dish of assam prawn, or “assam heh/亚参虾” (in Hokkien dialect).

While most Nyonya recipes call for long list of ingredients and tedious preparations, tamarind prawn (assam prawn) is surprisingly easy to make and takes only a few ingredients: tamarind, sugar, and salt.

Despite the easy recipe, tamarind prawns (assam prawns) are impossibly delicious as the tamarind gives the prawns the bold and tart flavors while accentuating the briny sweet taste of prawns…(get tamarind prawn or assam prawn recipe after the jump)

I highly recommend this tamarind prawn (assam prawn) recipe if you love prawns/shrimps and wish to venture into Nyonya cooking.  It will the best prawn dish you have yet to savor!

How Many Calories Per Serving?

This recipe is only 167 calories per serving.

What Dishes To Serve with this Recipe?

For a wholesome meal and easy weeknight dinner, I recommend the following recipes.

Yield: 4 people

Tamarind Prawn (Assam Prawn)

Tamarind prawn (assam prawn) is surprisingly easy to make and takes only a few ingredients: tamarind, sugar, and salt.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Total Time
20 minutes


  • 8 oz. (226 g) shell-on prawns
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil


  1. Mix the tamarind pulp with 4 tablespoons water. Extract the juice from the tamarind by pressing the pulp.
  2. Remove the heads of the prawns. Devein the prawns by slitting the back. Rinse prawns with water and pat dry with paper towers. Add the tamarind juice and pulp, salt, and sugar into the prawns and mix well with your hand. Marinate for 15 minutes. Remove the tamarind pulp before cooking.
  3. Heat up a wok and add cooking oil. As soon as it’s heated, drop the prawns into the wok and pan fry until cooked and slightly burnt. Dish out and serve immediately.


Some recipes call for dark soy sauce but I always do without the dark soy sauce as it will make the prawns too dark in color, and hence less appealing in presentation. You can also leave the heads on, for photography purposes, I had them heads off. You can also pan-fried the prawns with the tamarind pulp if you wish.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

4 people

Amount Per Serving

Calories 167Total Fat 11gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 142mgSodium 588mgCarbohydrates 4gSugar 4gProtein 11g

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