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- 2 small shallots, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 cilantro roots or 5-6 stems
- 2 Thai chilies
- 250g large shrimp
- ½ cup chicken stock or water
- 3 Tbsp chopped palm sugar (35g)
- 1.5 Tbsp fish sauce
- 3 Tbsp Thai tamarind paste, store bought or homemade (what is tamarind?)
- ¼ cup red and green chilies, sliced into rounds or julienned (e.g. jalapenos, serranos, fresnos, spur chilies, or red and green bell peppers)
- Fried shallots, optional, but recommended (see recipe)
- Fried dried chilies for garnish (optional)
- Cilantro for garnish (optional)
- Jasmine rice for serving
Pound garlic, shallots, cilantro roots and Thai chilies in a mortar and pestle into a rough paste. Alternatively, process into a rough paste in a small food processor.
In a wok or a sauté pan, heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium high heat (if you’re making fried shallots, you can use the leftover shallot oil). When oil is hot, add shrimp and sear until browned. Flip and sear the other side. Turn off the heat, remove the shrimp from pan and set aside.
If the oil has darkened in colour, start the next step with a fresh wok and fresh vegetable oil, otherwise, you can use the same wok. Over medium low heat, add the herb paste and saute until aromatic and slightly browned. Add chicken stock, palm sugar, tamarind juice, and fish sauce. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Let sauce reduce until it is thick enough to coat the shrimp.
Add the shrimp and toss to coat in the sauce; if shrimp are not fully cooked at this point, let them cook until done. Toss in the red and green chilies, then turn off the heat. Remove the shrimp, leaving the sauce behind, and set them aside in a bowl. Pour the sauce on to the serving plate, then arrange the shrimp on top of the sauce. Top generously with fried shallots, and garnish with fried chilies and cilantro. Serve with jasmine rice.