Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shrimp in Tamarind Broth



When I'm craving something savory and sour, I make shrimp simmered in tamarind broth or "Sinigang na Hipon", a traditional Filipino soup. It takes about 15 -20 minutes for me to make this tangy concoction. I make this soup with a pound of large fresh shell-on shrimp. The shells prevent the shrimp from overcooking and becoming tough. I love this soup so much that I made it twice last week. My husband says this reminds him of another favorite soup of ours, Thailand's Tom Yum soup. However, Tom Yum soup is flavored with galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and chilies while this one is flavored with sour green tamarind. My family have used guava, citrus and kamias in place of tamarind. There is no need to extract tamarind pulp because you can buy a tamarind soup mix(or guava soup mix if you prefer it less tangy) in most Asian supermarkets. This is a peel and eat shrimp recipe so put an empty bowl next to your plate for the shrimp shells. In the Philippines, soup is served and eaten throughout the meal. Shrimp in tamarind broth is never the opening act but rather takes center stage at our dining room table.

1 Pound of large shrimp.
1/4 package of tamarind soup mix or a little more if you like it extra tart
4 cups of rice water(reserved water from washing the rice)
1 medium onion sliced into 1/2 inch slivers
3 roughly chopped plum tomatoes
2 cloves of finely chopped fresh garlic
1-2 tablespoons of the best fish sauce you can find.
1-2 cups of broccoli, green beans or long/yard beans cut into bite size pieces.
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil

Saute garlic and onions in extra virgin olive oil in a heavy duty pot until they are slightly caramelized. Add tomatoes and saute for five more minutes. Add the rice water, fish sauce and tamarind soup mix and cover the pot with a tight lid. Bring this to a boil. Uncover the pot and add shrimp and veggies. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and the veggies are tender-crisp. Season with pepper. Eat with freshly cooked white rice.


Karen said...

Mmmm...Jen, I am running out of ways to say "looks yummy!" All of your food makes me drool. Will you make this one on the show?

Karen said...

Forgot to ask - how do you judge quality in fish sauce? I've tried a few brands and some seem saltier than others, but other than that I didn't notice much difference. What am I missing??

Jen said...

We are still thinking about our menu for the show. We can certainly make this. :-) Really good fish sauce has a slightly sweet taste to it. The taste is salty with a hint of sweetness. The best fish sauce available in Boston is Three Crabs Brand from Thailand. Some of my other Southeast Asian friends here also cook with it.