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.
- 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
Prep the shrimp
Devein the shrimp without peeling. How you ask? Use a toothpick.
- Marinate the shrimp with fish sauce, sugar, and MSG for 15 minutes.
- In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil on medium high.
- Add the garlic. Cook until fragrant and lightly brown (about 1 minute).
- Add the shrimp and all its marinade.
- 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.
- 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.
- Topped with pepper and green onions.
Serve with white rice and a side of boiled greens. You are now officially Vietnamese.