This recipe is an old friend, which I developed more than ten years ago and which was a firm favourite in its time. I was reminded of it recently when I attended a Guild of Food Writers’ pepper workshop run by Steenbergs of Yorkshire at Ristorante Santini in London where one of the dishes we were served was a lovely prawn and mango salad flavoured with the aptly named Passion Berry Pepper which is grown in Ethiopia. So I have resurrected my original Vietnamese Stir-Fried Prawns with Mango and Dry-roasted Peanuts recipe and reworked it to complement the wonderfully fresh and citrusy flavour of Andaliman Pepper, also known as Bataks Berry and wild harvested on the island of Sumatra. It comes in little clusters, rather like a bunch of raisins and is best ground in an electric spice grinder rather than a pepper mill or a mortar as the thin little stems do not break down easily. And make sure to sniff it as soon as you have ground it – the aroma is positively exhilarating.
Just a quick note on peanuts: I prefer to buy raw peanuts and roast them in the oven with a bit of coconut oil and sea salt as the commercial ones which come in packets tend to be roasted in unhealthy oils.
1 heaped tbsp Andaliman Pepper
75 ml/5 tbsp olive oil
7.5 ml/1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
30 ml/2 tbsp fresh lime juice, about 1 large lime
6 spring/salad onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 mild red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
5 ml/1 tsp runny honey or maple syrup
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1 cm/1/2 in dice
250 g/9 oz raw peeled tiger or king prawns, deveined
50 g/2 oz peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
A good handful each of coriander/cilantro and mint leaves
1 lime, halved (optional)
Fine sea salt
Cooked rice, to serve (optional) – I love to serve these prawns with Black Venus Rice
Grind the Andaliman Pepper in an electric spice grinder. Set aside half a teaspoon.
Mix together in a medium bowl 5 tbsp of olive oil, the fish sauce, lime juice, spring onions, garlic and runny honey. Stir in the mango.
Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and add the prawns. Stir-fry them on high heat just until they turn pink, 3 or 4 minutes. Salt them lightly (the fish sauce is salty), sprinkle in all but the reserved half teaspoon of pepper and cook for another 30 seconds. Spoon the prawns into the bowl, along with the peanuts.
If there is a lot of liquid left in the frying pan, boil it over high heat until it is reduced to a syrup, just a minute or two.
Mix the coriander and mint leaves together and divide them between two plates.
Check the prawns for seasoning and spoon them over the herbs. Sprinkle with the reserved Andaliman Pepper.
See also my other pepper recipes: Black Venus Rice with Pomegranate, Mango and Passion Berry Pepper; Tenderstem Broccoli with Ginger, Chilli and Timur Pepper; and Tunisian Carrot Purée with Red Long Pepper