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Thai Tom Yum Prawns Recipe - UPDATE

Saturday, May 31, 2014 | Labels: , , , , , |

This is an appetizing, spicy, tangy and umami-filled seafood dish with delicious Thai flavours.  I used tom yum paste for today's prawns and accentuated the flavours with some fresh lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.  Tom yum paste or rather most spice pastes can be so versatile and this is a great way to use it other than in the usual tom yum soup which is of course no less delicious.  Apart from prawns, you can use the paste as marinade for chicken nuggets, fish or as a stir-fry sauce for rice or noodles - endless possibilities.  I like to cook my prawns shell-on, to me they just taste better that way but feel free to use shelled prawns/ shrimp and if you do that, you can skip the shallow-frying part as well.  I suggest to shallow-fry the prawns before cooking with the paste and the rest of the ingredients for a crispier texture.

Thai Tom Yum Prawns 冬蔭蝦

You can either make the tom yum paste from scratch like what I did here or just find a good store-bought version.  I think it is totally fine to use store-bought pastes when the lack of time calls for it and since I almost always feel the need to doctor up my pastes, I have not really have bad experiences with any store-bought pastes I've used except for probably once or twice.  Those were not really bad per se, but I had to add so many ingredients of my own as the pastes were too bland that I felt I was cooking from scratch so I guess those pastes were totally disposable :O.  

Thai Tom Yum Prawns 冬蔭蝦

I am very excited this week as I will be seeing some friends I have not seen in years, all thanks to the wonders of the internet, well Facebook to be exact.  The nicest thing about seeing 'long-lost' friends is that I don't feel any discomfort or awkwardness despite the years in between, we just pick up where we leave off and that's the beauty of friendship, I think.

This updated post is now part of my Yuen Chun Recipes, an ongoing project on this blog.
Serves 3-4
Serving suggestion: with steamed rice


16 medium sized prawns, shell on (use shelled prawns if you prefer and skip the shallow-frying step)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, white parts smashed and cut into 3 inch lengths (approximate measurement)
Handful of fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn to release fragrance
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons tom yum paste (the paste I used was very flavourful and I did not have to add additional seasoning at all but use fish sauce if you need to)
3 tablespoons of water or more if the dish looks too dry
1 teaspoon light soy sauce (I used Yuen Chun's)


Firstly, butterfly the prawns lightly by trimming off the legs, the eyes, the hard tip on top of the head and make a slit across the back of the prawn.  Repeat with the rest of the prawns and place prawns in a dish.  Lightly sprinkle a tiny bit of salt and marinade the prawns with the salt.  Set aside.

Prepare a hot wok or pan with enough oil for shallow frying of the prawns.  Fry the prawns until the shell on both sides turn lightly whitish and reddish.  This should take about 1 minute.  Remove from wok and place in a separate dish.  If your wok or pan is a little too small to fit all the prawns together, fry in batches to avoid overcrowding.  Overcrowding will usually result in non-crispy fried food.

Next, wash the pan or wok well.  Dry and return to the stove.  Heat your wok until almost smoking.  Add about 3 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat.  Turn heat to low and add garlic, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.  Fry until aromatic.  Add the paste.  Add a little bit more oil if it looks dry.  Once you can smell the aroma of the tom yum paste, add in the prawns.  Stir-fry well to coat.  Add about 1 tablespoon of water.  Only add the rest if needed.

Do a taste test.  If required, add some fish sauce for savouriness and if you find the sauce too salty, apart from adding a bit more water (another 2 tablespoons), you can add a squirt of fresh lime juice to tone down the saltiness.


Xiaolu said...

Mmm I love shrimp and tom yum your version!

J said...

That shrimp looks marvelous... wish I could have some!!! :-)

tigerfish said...

The lemongrass and kaffir leaves most importantly make this so delicious and appetizing!

You must be excited to meet up your long-lost friends. :D I have a few good friends that I gradually lost contact due to me being away for so long but as good true friends we are usually able to pick up where we left off too.

Littlecornerofmine said...

Wow, great mind think alike.  I cooked a very similar dish before but I think I got the inspiration from Amy Beh @ kuali.

Jeannie said...

What a tasty looking dish! I love tom yam and always have a bottle of tom yam paste in my fridge for times when I crave these kind of dishes, so convenient!

Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen said...

ooough... i loooove tom yum! it's got to be one of my favourite asian flavors! Spicy and sour and so full of flavors that come together like puzzle pieces. My first tom yum was a white clear soup! but one sip and i choked. It was so spicy... but i couldn't help taking another sip and another choke... then when i got used to it, i realised i had finished one whole bowl wanting more. I've rarely ever thought of using tom yum in any other way except noodles and soups. This is a new idea! Thumbs up Jen!

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

haha really? no I didn't get the inspiration from Amy Beh...I don't visit Kuali anymore since a long time ago as I don't like some of the recipes I've tried from her.  I cooked this as I wanted to use the paste my brother bought back from Chiang Mai :)

Tastehongkong said...

Love dishes, soups, noodles in tom yam style. I heart these shrimps particularly with the added of fresh herbs.

Simply Tia said...

This is mouthwatering!! Thanks for sharing. 

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

thank you!

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

thanks J! :D

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

thanks Tia!

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

thanks dear!

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

 thanks Jeannie!

Hyosun Ro said...

Wow this looks absolutely amazing! I will need to find a good tom yum paste somewhere. Thanks for the recipe.

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