In a bowl toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon oil, salt, cornflour, sugar and pepper then set aside.
With a mortar and pestle or food processor blend the shallots, chillies, garlic and shrimp paste until they become a thick and clumpy paste. Confetti sized bits of chilli are fine.
In a wok heat the remaining oil over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Drop in a little chilli paste. If it starts to sizzle the oil is ready. Add the rest of the chilli paste and stir continuously for another 4 to 5 minutes. The paste is ready when it has a much mellower fragrance, is several shades darker than the raw paste and has separated from the oil.
Add the prawns and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the prawns just turn pink; about 4 to 5 minutes.
Pour in 1/4 cup chicken stock and reduce the heat to low. Scoop up the prawns and set aside. Don't worry if you leave some chilli paste behind.
Pour in the remaining stock and dissolve any leftover paste in the liquid.
Add the tofu and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the tofu for about 15 to 20 minutes until almost all the liquid has been absorbed.
Pour in the coconut milk and raise the heat to medium but do not boil. Stir and mix well. Return the prawns to the wok and stir for another 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.
This was delicious!
Admittedly we had a slightly modified recipe: 400g of prawns, 3 shallots [spring onions] and 2 tspns of sambal olek instead of 25 chillies, oh and 1 cup of chicken stock. so more of a soup but the basic idea was there and it was great. Thanks Pat.
K S - 22 May 2012