This Thai Lemon Shrimp recipe (Goong Maa Now) features the flavors of lemon and sweet chili, one of my favorite combinations. It is the perfect mid week recipe, easy and quick. The worst part is peeling the shrimp. Grab a drink and turn on the news. Before you know it, they are peeled!
Once the shrimp are shelled, this baby is ready in 20 minutes and that includes marinading time.
If this is your first time cooking Thai, don't be afraid to go out and get some new ingredients. Believe me, after you see how easy Asian recipes are to prepare, you will be making them more often. I keep all my Asian sauces together in a basket in the garage where they are cool and out of the way but accessible when I need them.
SERVES 2-4 as an Entree
•15-18 raw large or jumbo shrimp/prawns (about 3/4 to 1 lb.)
•1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (available at Asian food stores and some regular grocery stores)
•2 Tbsp. lemon juice
•3 kaffir lime leaves (available at Asian food stores), or substitute 1 tsp. grated lime zest
•1/4 to 1/2 tsp. or more cayenne pepper (according to how spicy you want it)
•1 Tbsp. fish sauce (available at grocery store)
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•1-2 tsp. palm or brown sugar (to taste)
•1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped, plus a little more to garnish (cilantro)
•1/4 to 1/3 cup coconut milk
•a little oil for frying
1.Remove shells from the prawns but leave the tails on, if possible (this makes them easier to eat and also more attractive to serve).
2.Place prawns in a mixing bowl. Add the sweet chili sauce, lemon juice, kaffir lime leaves, cayenne pepper, fish sauce, garlic, and 1 tsp. sugar. Stir well to combine.
3.Allow to marinate for 5-10 minutes.
4.Place 1 Tbsp. oil in a frying pan or wok and set over medium to medium-high heat. Swirl the oil around the surface of the pan, then add the prawns and saute for a minute. Add the marinade. Also add the coconut milk (up to 1/3 cup depending on how much sauce you want) and chopped cilantro. Stir well.
5.Keep stirring slowly as the dish comes to a simmer. Once the sauce begins to lightly bubble, the prawns will cook fast - in 2-3 minutes. Try not to "boil" this dish - simmer is the key word (medium heat works best).
7.When the sauce is of a consistently reddish color and all the prawns are plump and opaque, the dish is ready. Try not to overcook, or the prawns will turn tough.
8.Remove from heat and do a taste-test for salt, sugar, and spice. This dish should be spicy, tangy, and a little sweet. Add more fish sauce if not salty enough, or 1 more tsp. sugar if you prefer it sweeter. Also add more cayenne if you prefer it spicier. If it's too sweet or too salty for your taste, add another Tbsp. of lemon juice.
9.To serve, simply slide the shrimp and sauce into a serving bowl and top with fresh coriander. If desired, garnish with whole red chilies and lemon slices. This dish goes well with plain jasmine rice or coconut rice!