Vietnamese Shrimp Recipes

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Vietnamese Shrimp in Caramel Sauce (Tom Kho Recipe) Recipe

This evening, I finished preparing dinner but realized everything was vegetarian. And if you think like me, vegetarian food is good but it's still lacking one thing. What's missing, you might ask? I looked at our dining table and I immediately knew what would make dinner complete: a dish of shrimp.

I had one pound of small shrimp begging to be cooked. So in less than 30 minutes, I whipped up some tôm kho, which is Vietnamese for shrimp in caramel sauce. The key is the amber-color sauce cooked with coconut soda (if you're lucky and have fresh coconut water, it would taste even better), onion, garlic and a hint of good quality nước mắm (fish sauce). Even though the most of my family are vegetarians, if cooked properly, the scent of this seafood dish doesn't bother them.


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Vietnamese Ginger Shrimp Stir Fry Recipe Recipe

Tôm xào gừng is Vietnamese-style sautéed shrimp. As a little girl, Maman would make this dish very often whenever she needed to throw together a quick dinner, because shrimp cooks very fast. This particular preparation has touches of sweet and spicy in the form of ginger, lychee and chile. The ginger is used both grated and cut into small matchsticks. This is not traditional, but I also added lychee jam that I had in my pantry and finished the cooking by flambing the shrimp in lychee-flavored liqueur.

Cooking shrimp is always a delicate task. First, you have to make sure the shrimp are extremely fresh. Then, the cooking time has to be precise so as not to over-cook, otherwise they become horrible and very chewy. Lastly, the flavors that are paired with the shrimp should season them well without concealing the freshness of the seafood. This recipe definitely hits the mark, but don't just take my word for it!


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Cha Tom Recipe (Vietnamese Shrimp Cakes) Recipe

Chả tôm are lightly seasoned shrimp cakes. No tasteless fillers here; a sprinkling of tapioca starch, coriander, green onions, garlic and kaffir lime are the only ingredients added to supplement the flavor and texture of the shrimp. It is true Vietnamese comfort food.

These shrimp cakes make wonderful appetizers, but can also be served as an entrée. Just pair them with vermicelli (called bún chả tôm) and you'll have yourself a very traditional Vietnamese meal. You could also make mini sandwiches for a change of pace. I served them recently as appetizers for a dinner party with a plum dipping sauce. They will be delicious no matter how you choose to prepare them!


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Beef Hot Pot (Bo Nhung Dam, Shabu Shabu) Recipe

If you're a beef and seafood lover, this Vietnamese-style beef hot pot recipe is for you. Bỏ nhúng dấm (literally beef dipped in vinegar) is the Vietnamese equivalent of the Japanese dish called shabu shabu, but with additional seafood ingredients. The broth is made with coconut soda, chopped onions and tomatoes. On a separate platter, gather the raw beef, shrimp, baby squid and octopus, fresh pineapple, cooked rice noodles, bánh tráng (dried rice paper sheets) and various aromatic herbs. The prep work is quite labor-intensive; you have to have a lot of company to make the meal worthwhile. The more, the merrier.

Place an electric hot pot in the middle of the dining table and let everyone dip and cook the beef and seafood in the fragrant broth and assemble their own rolls using the rice paper sheets. Dip the rolls in mắm nêm dipping sauce. It's made of fermented fish paste, which is very strong. If fermented fish paste is too overwhelming, you could ultimately use nước mắm chấm (fish sauce) or soy sauce (nước tương chấm) for a milder flavor.

Vietnamese beef hot pot is a very festive meal because it's fairly expensive and quite time-consuming to prepare. It's what one of my uncles would call "đặc biệt", or "only for special occasions" in English. On my Papa's side of the family in France, all my cousins (including me) married non-Vietnamese spouses but I can guarantee you they all know the meaning of the word "đặc biệt" (which means special). Whenever, we're invited to my uncles' homes, they offer a lot of đặc biệt meals. "Lulu, it's đặc biệt, you should try this, it's delicious!" as one of my uncle always says to my husband. So this recipe is dedicated to my uncle François, whom I call Chu Bay (Uncle #7. He's Papa's 7th brother and that's how you show respect in the Vietnamese tradition).

It's perfect for a winter meal and just in time for the Chinese New Year, which is coming very soon.

Bo Nhunh Giam Recipe with Picture


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