The absolute star of this dish is Vietnamese fish sauce caramel, a deeply flavorful sauce that is basically that it sounds like: fish sauce and brown sugar cooked down until you have a caramelized sweet-and-sticky glaze that goes perfectly with all different kinds of seafood, especially big plump shrimp. This recipe was such a hit the first time I made it, we ended up eating the shrimp straight out of the pan!
For this book, I wanted to take these crispy caramelized shrimp to another level—sort of Vietnamese meets Thai meets P.F. Chang’s takeout—so we wrapped them in lettuce leaves along with quick-pickled radishes and carrots and tossed them with some garlic, chile powder, scallions, hand-crushed peanuts. WOW.
We went from eating out of the pan to fighting over the last lettuce cup. A note about the shrimp: I’ve called for peeled here, but since the shells will soften after they’re cooked in the caramel, you can also use the shell-on kind and eat them whole if you’re into that.
Reprinted from The Pepper Thai Cookbook Copyright © 2021 by Vilailuck Teigen Photographs copyright © 2021 by Jenny Huang. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
¼ cup hot water
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 medium carrot, julienned
4 medium red radishes, julienned
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, minced ½ teaspoon Roasted Chile Powder (page 226) 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp Kosher salt
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, lemon juice, or white vinegar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
12 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
½ English cucumber, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
2 cups cooked jasmine rice, warmed (optional)
Rich, tomato-y, and meltingly tender, inspired by my late mom's recipe.
A shortcut version of the classic creamy (but vegan!) Mexican drink.
Cozy fall vibes, but edible.