easy recipe : Tom Kho Vietnamese Caramelized Prawn

prawns cooked with fish sauce and cane sugar

This one is my husband's favorite dish.  I make it every so often at home and for our group of friends when we get together for "Com Gia Dinh" (loosely translated as "family dinner").  Each of us would bring our favorite dish to the host's house and dine together.  Less work for the host and comfortable for those with kids (we're the only one with 2 so it's best for us).

Without further adieu, here is how to make Vietnamese tom kho:

- 1 pound of fresh/thawed prawns (If use black tiger prawns, remove the shell as it's too rough to chew.  If use white prawns, you can choose to leave the shell on or remove it) 
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sugar (I use organic cane sugar as I like the light and smooth taste)
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
- 1/4 of yellow or white onion, diced (about 2-3 tablespoon) > I like to add some purple shallot !
- 4 tablespoon of water
- black pepper to taste

OPTIONAL - chilli (sliced or minced)
Garnish:  sliced green onions


- In a pan, heat up some vegetable oil, then add the garlic and onion. 
- Sauteed until fragrant, then add the prawn and cook until pink.
- Add the water, fish sauce and the sugar (add chilli if you like)
- Lower the heat to med/low and let it simmer for 7-10 min, stir every so often and let the water reduce (I like it dry so I add in less water and cook until liquid all evaporated)
- Stir the prawn around until golden then sprinkle with a few dashes of black pepper.

Add more fish sauce or sugar as per your liking.

This is awesome with  rice.  At our house, we make eat mixed-rice.  We use half white rice, half brown rice and 1/2 to 1 cup of quinoa.  It has a nice nutty rich taste.  It goes quite well with the salty peppery prawns.  Now you just need a veggies dish to eat this with.  Enjoy !
Depending on the type of prawn you used, you will get different result.  This one is with butterflied prawns.
This one is made with white prawn.  Because the shell is softer than black-tiger prawn, I like to leave the shell on.