Well, summer has just left out the door, and we decided to make the best of Labor Day by doing a bit of grilling. The Missus wanted some Bun (rice vermicelli) for dinner with grilled shrimp. She wasn't quite sure how She wanted the shrimp prepared, and just told me "try not to make it suck", which is better translated into "I'm craving this, so whatever you make better not suck......" So when I offered two possibilities, either Tamarind Shrimp or Lemongrass Shrimp, the Missus said to make them both.
I was kinda glad She chose the Tamarind Shrimp, as I had this bottle of Tamarind concentrate lying dormant in the cupboard waiting to be tried out. It had been an impulse buy God knows how many months ago. I usually will do the tamarind pulp thing, reconstitute in hot water into a paste, and strain out the pulp, and I really wondered how this would measure up. It actually did pretty well. It is perhaps a bit weaker than the stuff I make from scratch, but it worked perfectly fine on the shrimp.
The Tamarind Glazed Shrimp is a riff of Alan Wong's Tamarind Glazed Shrimp Tacos recipe in his book, Alan Wong's New Wave Luau. I added fish sauce and sriracha to give it a more savory and spicy kick. BTW, for those who think that Kalbi Tacos is something new, Alan Wong's been serving that stuff up since the late 90's, and there's a recipe in his book.
The Lemongrass Shrimp was based on a recipe from Mai Pham's Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table but has been modified to our taste, more garlic, fish sauce, and chili paste.
I realized when the shrimp were done that although they taste very different, it's hard to tell them apart:
The Tamarind Shrimp (on the left) have a nice shiny sheen from the basting, while the Lemongrass Shrimp (on the right) looks a bit drier. In the end, the Missus preferred the flavors of the Tamarind Shrimp. If you're using wooden skewers, don't forget to soak in water for about a half hour before using.
Tamarind Glazed Grilled Shrimp
1/2 Cup Tamarind Concentrate or Tamarind Paste
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
2 Tb Honey
2-3 Tb Sriracha
3 Tb Fish Sauce
1 lb 16-20 Shrimp, shelled, deveined, tail left on - skewered
- Combine all ingredients except salt and shrimp until sugar has dissolved.
- Lightly salt shrimp with sea salt.
- Place shrimp on the grill over direct heat (I use combo hardwood and Kiawe charcoal), and brush with Tamarind Glaze.I was surpised at the amount of basting liquid, but did use it all up with constant basting.
- Grill for about two minutes on each side. Baste one final time with glaze just before removing from grill.
4 Stalks of Lemongrass outer layers removed, pounded with the knife to release oils, and minced (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup).
3 Cloves of Garlic minced finely
1 Tb Soy Sauce
2 Tb Fish Sauce
1 Tb Chili Paste
2 Tb Sugar
2 Tb Canola Oil
1 lb 16-20 Shrimp, shelled, deveined, tail left on
- Combine all ingredients except shrimp in a bowl until sugar has dissolved.
- Add shrimp and gently mix until all the shrimp are coated with marinade.
- Place in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to let shrimp lightly marinate.
- Thread shrimp onto skewers.
- Grill over direct heat for about two minutes each side.
You really don't have to do the "Bun thing", but the Missus really enjoyed it.......