Normally associated with South East Asian cuisine, tamarind features in the food of the Persian Gulf (probably due to its closeness to India and Africa). On its own, tamarind is very sour, but when tempered with sugar it becomes pleasantly tart. When simmering liquid that has tamarind in it, it is best not to use a seasoned wok as the acid tends to strip the seasoning away.






Skill level

Average: 3 (26 votes)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, coarsely grated
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) chicken or fish stock
  • 1 tbsp tamarind puree
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 24 peeled, deveined raw prawns
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • lemon wedges, to serve


Steamed burghul

  • 200 g (1 cup) fine burghul (see Note)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) boiling water

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon and chilli flakes. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomato and stock. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Meanwhile, place burghul in a heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes to soak.

Add the tamarind, sugar and prawns to the tomato mixture. Stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until prawns have changed colour. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach and coriander leaves and serve with the steamed bulghur and lemon wedges.



• Burghul (also known as bulghur) is dried cracked wheat, most commonly known for is use in tabouleh. Here, it is soaked in boiling water until tender – similar to preparing couscous. For a gluten-free alternative, replace with steamed rice.


Photography by Leanne Kitchen. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Dixie Elliot.