Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shrimp and Avocado in Tamarind Sauce

My daughter is home from college on spring break - yay!  I can't believe how fast this year has gone by.  It looks like I will actually survive the first round of empty nest syndrome.  We are now anxiously awaiting college acceptance letters for my younger daughter.   The college process is exciting, stressful, emotional, and expensive! 

Well for now I am enjoying the week with everyone home and enjoying the warmer weather!  The snow is just about all gone from my yard and it finally feels like spring will be here soon.    

My daughter requested an Asian inspired dinner.  We have some of the greatest food here in NJ but we seriously lack any good Asian restaurants.  You must travel or make your own.  I had bookmarked this shrimp recipe from epicurious.com and decided to give it a try.  It was quite easy to throw together especially with the help of my daughter.  There is some chopping and measuring involved but no complicated steps.  My whole family absolutely loved it.  I loved all of the different flavors and textures - just perfect!  This recipe is definitely a keeper and sure to satisfy Asian takeout cravings.  Its four fork rating is well deserved.  Trust me, this is so good!! 

Notes:  I substituted about a tablespoon of tamarind concentrate for the tamarind pulp.  The tamarind concentrate is sold in the Indian section of the International foods aisle of my local Wegmans.   My family enjoys spicy foods but you could remove the seeds from the pepper for a milder dish.  I also only used one large avocado which I thought was plenty. 

Shrimp and Avocado in Tamarind Sauce
Gourmet April 2005

Yield: Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/4 cup tamarind pulp (from a pliable block) (I substituted tamarind concentrate)
1/2 cup boiling-hot water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 firm-ripe California avocados (I used one large)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (1 1/2- to 2-inch-long) fresh Thai chiles or 1 serrano, stemmed and minced (including seeds)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb), peeled, leaving tail and first segment of shell intact, and deveined
1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped

Accompaniment: jasmine rice

Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs

Fry shallot and make tamarind sauce:
Heat oil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then fry shallot, stirring, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain (shallots will crisp as they cool). Reserve oil.

Soak tamarind pulp in boiling-hot water in a small bowl until softened, about 5 minutes. Force pulp through a sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Add sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Cut avocados and cook shrimp:

Halve, pit, and peel avocados. Cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks and toss with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice in a bowl.

Transfer reserved oil to a 12-inch heavy skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté ginger, garlic, chiles, and salt, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and sauté, turning over once, 2 minutes total. Stir in tamarind mixture and simmer until shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes more.

Spoon shrimp and avocado over rice, then sprinkle with peanuts and fried shallot.


  1. I've never cooked with tamarind - only eaten it in prepared dishes at restaurants. Your dish looks so delicious.

  2. This looks great! I have never cooked with tamarind. Do you live in southern Jersey? I have not seen any Wegmans in Northern Jersey or lower NY.

  3. This looks so delicious! I love, love, love anything with avocado.

  4. The tamarind caught my attention and it all looks amazing over that bed of rice. I definitely want to give this recipe a try.

  5. Mmmm I love the tamarind sauce on the shrimp! It sounds phenomenal!

  6. Oh I so need to find tamarind. This is exquisite. I survived the "empty nest syndomre" and then they came back. No complaints. Saving money as they go to college and grad school.

  7. I have never used tamarind! This looks and sounds fantastic.
    I love shrimp w/ my favorite avocado.
    They belong together.
    Is it spring yet?

  8. Yay, I hope you enjoy your time with your daughter! This looks so flavorful and healthy -- shrimp and avocado are a great pair!

  9. That is a really nice dish-no doubt made nicer with your daughter assistance in preparation.
    Almost a full empty nester....Lucky!