The use of fresh, aromatic lemon grass
for grilling, stir-frying or steaming shellfish is a classic feature of
Indo-Chinese cooking. Next to every fish and shellfish stall in every
market in Vietnam, there is bound to be someone doing just that - cooking
up fragrant, citrus-scented snacks for you to eat as you wander around the
market. The aromas will entice you to taste, but check what's cooking
first, because the Vietnamese also like to cook frogs' legs and snails
King shrimps (jumbo shrimp), cleaned with
Vegetable or sesame oil
Lemon grass, trimmed and finely chopped
Using a small sharp knife, carefully slice
open each king shrimp shell along the back and pull out the black vein,
using the point of the knife.
Try to keep the rest of the shell intact.
Place the deveined shrimps in shallow dish and set aside.
Put the nuoc mam in a small bowl with the
sugar, and beat together until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add
the oil and lemon grass and mix well.
Pour the marinade over the shrimps, using
your fingers to rub it all over the shrimps and inside the shells too.
Cover the dish with clear film (plastic wrap) and chill for at least 4
Cook the shrimps on a barbecue or under a
conventional grill (broiler) for 2-3 minutes each side.
Serve immediately with little bowls of
water for rinsing sticky fingers.