Cocktail shrimp is making a comeback! Remember those days when shrimp served at parties was rubbery, and it came with an all too sweet or sour cocktail sauce straight from the can? Well, those days are over. Now we prepare the sauce ourselves and look to the East for some inspiration. This particular sauce is made with tamarind – a tropical tree with an edible fruit – that is used in cuisines all over the world. Tamarind is quite sour, but the fruit becomes sweeter as it matures. As an end result you get a spicy, sweet and tangy appetizer that can be served in many ways according to your personal taste.
4 cm/1.5 inch piece of tamarind
1 tsp fennel seeds
0.5 tsp black cumin
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
5 dry red chilies
2 tsp dark sugar
500 gr/1 pound large shrimp, cooked and peeled
fresh cilantro (coriander), finely chopped
Put a 4 cm/1.5 inch piece of tamarind in a small heatproof bowl. Pour a little bit of boiling water over the tamarind and set the bowl aside. Heat oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the fennel, black cumin and fenugreek seeds and swirl them around for a minute before adding the minced garlic, ginger and the red chilies. After another minute, add the tamarind liquid and the dark sugar into the mixture. Add the large shrimp and keep cooking for about 15 minutes until the sauce becomes syrupy and the shrimp have a pink color. Garnish with fresh cilantro. This dish is best served at room temperature with Martini bianco or Prosecco.