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Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp (Tom Rim)

Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp, or Tom Rim, is a quick and easy dish found in most Vietnamese households. I remember as a child eating this once or twice a week. It's a simple dish and it keeps well for several days. It's sweet and salty, making it the perfect complement to steamed white rice.

Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp (Tom Rim)

Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp (Tom Rim)

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs raw shrimp; remove head
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves; minced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut soda/juice
  • 1 stalk green onions; thinly sliced at a diagonal (in the above picture, I ran out of green onions so I used cilantro)
  • 1/4 teaspoons pepper

Directions

Prep the shrimp

Devein the shrimp without peeling. How you ask? Use a toothpick. 

Deveining shrimp with toothpick. Step 1: Insert toothpick under vein

Deveining shrimp with toothpick. Step 1: Insert toothpick under vein

Deveining shrimp with toothpick. Step 2: Pull toothpick up to remove vein

Deveining shrimp with toothpick. Step 2: Pull toothpick up to remove vein

  1. Marinate the shrimp with fish sauce, sugar, and MSG for 15 minutes.
  2. In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil on medium high.
  3. Add the garlic. Cook until fragrant and lightly brown (about 1 minute).
  4. Add the shrimp and all its marinade.
  5. Cook until liquid reduces to 1/4. You are looking for the sugar to caramelize as in photo below. This provides the beautiful color to the dish.
  6. Once you have a nice bright orange caramelizing going on, add the coconut juice. Let it cook and reduced until the liquid is almost completely evaporated. 
  7. Topped with pepper and green onions.

Serve with white rice and a side of boiled greens. You are now officially Vietnamese.

Caramelizing the shrimp

Caramelizing the shrimp