Tom rang muoi – salt and pepper shrimp is a favorite dish of ours that my mom used to make whenever she saw large whole shrimps on sale. Even though mom is an awesome cook and knows all her recipes by heart, she still enjoys to watching TV cooking shows, particularly Chef Uyen Thy of the cooking show “Bep Nha Ta Nau” on SBTN, a southern California Vietnamese TV station. She also has a restaurant called Uyen Thy Bistro in Little Saigon that we enjoy. Uyen Thy is really charming to watch and the show is well produced with many practical Vietnamese recipes including tom rang muoi. But unfortunately for most, it’s entirely in Vietnamese. We enjoy watching it to brush up on our Vietnamese and learn recipes! We modified her recipe of tom rang muoi adding some sichuan peppercorns as well.
Salt and Pepper Shrimp Tom Rang Muoi (adapted from chef Uyen Thy)
- 10-12 large head on shell on shrimps
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1 tbs kosher salt
- 1 tbs fresh cracked pepper
- 1 ts sugar
- 1 ts sichuan peppercorns (optional)
- cooking oil
- 1 medium white onion, sliced in thin wedges
- 1 -2 jalapenos, sliced thin and use according to taste
- 1 scallion, cut about 1/2 inch length
- 1 tbs minced garlic
Wash shrimp in cold water and cut off long whiskers and sharp point on the head with scissors and dab dry with paper towel.
In small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and sugar and set aside. If you’re using the sichuan pepper corns, lightly toast and then using mortar and pestle, crush coarsely and add to seasoning mixture.
Heat large wok or deepfryer with cooking oil to high, about 350 degrees. Dredge the shrimp in the corn starch to get a light coating, shaking off excess. Deep fry the shrimps in small batches until nicely pink/red and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Remove and drain.
Heat another large wok/pan with a bit of cooking oil. When oil is hot, add garlic and then onions, jalapenos, and scallions. Quickly stir-fry the veggies for a minute or so and add the shrimp and sprinkle about 1/2-1 ts seasoning mixture. Continue to stir fry and make sure seasoning coats well, for another minute. Transfer to serving plate and serve immediately. Sprinkle on additional seasoning according to taste.
Some people add the seasoning to the cornstarch mix, but we find this doesn’t coat well because the cornstarch and seasoning have different densities and do not adhere to the shrimp evenly. If you don’t want to deep fry the shrimp, skip that step and stir fry the shrimp. Serve with rice or as appetizers.