It had been too long since I had last had shrimp and I was craving some. I remembered seeing a recipe for caramel shrimp a while ago when I was looking for recipes for the kabocha simmered in caramel sauce that sounded good. Apparently simmering or braising in nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel sauce) is fairly common in Vietnamese cuisine. Generally if you want to add some sweetness to a recipe you just add some sugar but why not take the opportunity to add some flavour at the same time by using caramel instead of sugar?
I am getting better at making caramel the more I make it and this time it came together easily and without any problems. The caramel shrimp was nice and quick and easy to make and turned out great! I really enjoyed the sweetness and saltiness of the sauce on the succulent shrimp and there was just the right amount of heat. The caramel flavour in the sauce worked really well! I served the caramel shrimp on coconut jasmine rice and the rice soaked up all of the extra sauce and became super tasty. I will definitely be making this again though I think that next time I will add some lime juice for a touch of tartness.
Vietnamese Caramel Shrimp (Tom Rim)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 shallot (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
- 1 small chili (chopped)
- 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deviened)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
- Heat the sugar and water in a large pan on medium-high heat until it caramelized and turns a dark brown.
- Carefully add the water and heat until the caramel dissolves. (Caution: The caramel sauce will foam up quite a bit so you need to be careful as you add the water.)
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a pan.
- Add the shallot, garlic, ginger and chili and saute for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the shrimp, 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce, fish sauce and pepper and simmer until the shrimp is pink all over, about 2-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil and cilantro.