This Thai dish is similar to tom yum goong, except that this particular soup dish uses tamarind as its base. Tom yum goong, on the other hand, relies on lemongrass as its primary souring agent. In addition, the tomalley from the shrimp's head is pureed and used in this dish, as you can see in the picture.
Originally, the recipe called for crayfish. They have been hard to find lately, so I substituted regular prawns.
The tamarind leaves in this dish provide that extra tartness along with the tamarind water. They are commonly used in soup dishes in Southeast Asian cooking. The leaves are sour, although not as sour as the unripe fruit. Although I have never tried sorrel leaves, it's been said that tamarind leaves have a similar taste to them, which can be used as a substitute.
Hot Sour Prawn Soup With Tamarind Leaves
Recipe(source: Thai Food by David Thompson)
12 large freshwater crayfish or prawns
4 dried or fresh long chillies (soak for at least 15 minutes, if using dried chillies)
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed
5 red shallots, unpeeled
4 cups stock
pinch of salt
1 bunch washed tamarind leaves or 2 bunches sorrel leaves
palm sugar, to taste (optional)
2 tbsp (30 ml) tamarind water
2 tbsp (30 ml) fish sauce
Blanch crayfish or prawns in salted boiling water. Plunge in ice water as soon is its color changes. Shell and devein.
Even charred lemongrass smells wonderful.
Bring stock to a boil, add salt, chillies, lemongrass, shallots, tamarind leaves (or sorrel leaves) and the crayfish (or prawns) with their tomalley.
Season with sugar (optional), tamarind water and fish sauce. The broth's taste should be a balance of hot, sour and salty.
Similar recipe(s): Filipino version