Prawn and omelette curry

Prawn and omelette curry

Leanne Kitchen

The most memorable version of this dish that we ever ate wasn’t in Thailand at all, but rather in West Hollywood in LA, at a neighbourhood restaurant called Jitlada. A humble place in a shopping strip and with a huge cult following, their food is off-the-dial amazing. Don’t despair if you can’t procure cha om (acacia leaves) – although they can be found in the freezers of specialist Thai grocers. You can substitute very finely shredded English spinach leaves which, though they won’t deliver that distinctive, almost medicinal flavour, will still taste great.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
80ml water, boiling
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 litre Chicken stock
60ml fish sauce
12 large raw king prawns, peeled and deveined
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste

Curry paste

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons belacan (malaysian shrimp paste)
10 medium dried red chillies, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, drained
4 medium fresh red chillies, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 large red asian shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh turmeric
or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric


Quantity Ingredient
110g frozen thawed cha om (acacia leaves)
5 eggs, very well beaten
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. For the curry paste, wrap the belacan in foil. Heat a small, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, add the wrapped belacan then dry-fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until fragrant. Cool and unwrap then transfer to a food processor with the other ingredients and process until a smooth paste forms, adding a little water if necessary. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
  2. Combine the tamarind pulp with the boiling water in a bowl and stand for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve, using your fingers to press down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
  3. For the omelette, use your hands to wring as much liquid from the cha om as possible, then coarsely chop it. Put it in a bowl with the egg and fish sauce and stir to mix well.
  4. In a large, heavy-based, non-stick frying pan over medium–high heat, cook the egg mixture in the oil, swirling to coat the base of the pan evenly. Cook for about 3 minutes or until set on the base and light golden, then carefully invert onto a large plate. Slide the omelette back into the pan, uncooked side down, and cook for another 2 minutes or until firm. Invert onto the large plate and cool. Cut into wedges.
  5. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the curry paste in the oil, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the stock, tamarind liquid and fish sauce and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper then add the prawns. Cook over medium–low heat for 3–4 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked through. Stir in the lime juice. Divide the omelette wedges among serving bowls, ladle over the curry and serve.
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