Salt and Pepper Stir Fried Shrimp – Tom Ram Man

One of my all time favorite comfort foods, this shrimp dish is something that my mother use to make very often for dinner in our house when pressed for time. Paired up with a simple vegetable soup, this was a simple yet very tasty dinner. It’s also one of those dishes that as soon as I smell it, I’m instantly transported back to my childhood with memories of sitting around the table with my parents and siblings, eating family style with the center of the table loaded up with a big pot of rice, a bowl of soup, this dish, and a nearby bowl of dipping fish sauce.

A very traditional Vietnamese dish, you will see that the shrimp here is prepared with shells on and eaten like so. It’s very tasty and because of the preparation, holds a lot of flavor while preventing the shrimp meat inside from becoming overdone. Shy not away from the shrimp shells, it’s actually very healthy for you to eat! Compose of chitin, an organic fiber, it’s used by the body to help aid in digestion. But really, more importantly, it’s just really tasty to eat. Give it a try and I promise that you will be wondering why you ever turned away from shrimp in a shell in the first place.

So literally translated, this dish means “quick stir fried salty shrimp” What the name fails to convey, however, is that the shrimp is literally caramelized in a salty sweet sauce that lends a beautiful caramel and taste to the dish. My favorite way to eat this is to drizzle copious amounts of that sauce onto my white rice and then make sure I get a good spoonful of caramelized sauced rice in with every delicious bite. The sauce is really quite that good!

Tom Ram Man
Adapted from Mom TastyDesu


1 pound whole shrimp, shells on, tails cut off
1 large onion, minced (we used the white parts of a bunch of scallions since it was all I had at the time)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1/4 cup Golden Mountain Boy seasoned soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon oil


Over high heat, heat oil until it shimmers, add onions and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add shrimp and continue to saute until shrimp begins to turn orange, about 3 minutes. Stir in sugar, fish sauce, and Golden Mountain sauce. Lower heat to medium and simmer another 5 minutes. Sauce will thicken and shrimp will take on a caramelized color. Remove from heat and stir in fresh pepper. Serve with white rice.


~ by tastydesu on July 19, 2010.

3 Responses to “Salt and Pepper Stir Fried Shrimp – Tom Ram Man”

  1. Wow this sounds really yummy! This is how I love to make prawn..but I probably leave heads and tails on 🙂
    I will have to try it this week 🙂

  2. Thank You. i did it and it was really good

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