You can tell you grew up in Vancouver if your preferred choice of food is ethnic (although I suppose if we were in Hanoi, Canadian food would be ethnic....beaver tail anyone?). Both Shawn and I love all types of Asian food - Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, you name it. And I have an intense fondness for all things Indonesian.
Now that we live in Calgary, the choices for good Indian are limited (oh to go to Vij's again...hey Russ?), Chinese is so-so and Japanese, well you can get good sushi but you are going to pay $100 for 2 people to eat, so it's a once in awhile occurence. But Vietnamese food is great! There's a fabulous place across from the dealership (mmmmmmmmmmm bbq'd short ribs), and Shawn has a long standing Friday tradition with the mechanics at his dealership ordering from the place by him. But I've decided recently that I can make my own Vietnamese, especially when you want a quick, under 30 minute meal!
So tonight we made Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp. We served it with rice noodles, and the ever present Sriracha. Now this Thai chili sauce packs some punch, and if you don't like heat I'd recommend leaving it out. I can tell you that if you don't think it's spicy, try what I did a few months ago - I put about 4 tbsp on my noodles thinking it wasn't the spicy sauce. 47, yes 47!!!! napkins later, my nose finally stopped running around 3 in the afternoon (I'm sure I was a delight in my meeting that day...sniff sniff).
On the table in 24 minutes. Be careful pouring the 2nd helping of water into the caramel sauce...it's slighly uh, flammable. Shawn is missing just a bit of hair on his right arm (because I flung the sauce at him when it exploded). My sous chef may have just handed in his resignation ;)
Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp with Rice Noodles - adapted from...closetcooking.blogspot.com
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
1 shallot (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
1 small chili (chopped)
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deviened)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
Directions:1. Heat the sugar and water in a pan on medium-high heat until it caramelized and turns a dark brown.
2. Add the water and heat until the caramel dissolves.
3. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a pan.
5. Add the shallot, garlic, ginger and chili and saute for 3-5 minutes.
6. Add the shrimp, 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce, fish sauce and pepper and simmer until the shrimp is pink all over, about 2-4 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil and cilantro