Caramelized Shrimp

2008 Nov/Dec

Adapted from a recipe in East West Food, a collection of recipes from ten chefs. Savoury caramel is almost better than sweet caramel. Almost.


Caramel Sauce

  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • ¼ c. fish sauce (nuoc mam/nam pla) quality, like Golden Boy or Aroy-D
  • ¼ c. water

Boil ingredients until sugar dissolves and sauce is slightly thickened. Reserve.

Caramelized Shrimp

  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • ½ onion, sliced thin
  • 16 large, peeled, de-veined shrimp
  • ½ t. pepper
  • 1 – 2 t. chile oil or chile paste
  • 4 green onions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • Lettuce leaves & lime slices for serving


Heat oil in a wok. Add the garlic and onion and fry until golden. Add the shrimp, pepper, chili oil or paste, onions and 3 tablespoons of the caramel. Stir-fry until the shrimp turn pink and curl. Don’t overcook. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves and squeeze lime over. Drizzle with a bit more caramel. Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main dish with rice.