Remove the shrimp heads and using a fine
needle, devein shrimps, leaving the tails, shells and legs intact.
Rinse the shrimps under running water and
pat dry with paper towels.
Finely chop half the spring onions. Cut
the rest into 4 cm long pieces and then finely shred the pieces into
Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan.
Add the garlic, chopped spring onion
(scallion) and shrimps. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes,
tossing the shrimps until they turn pink.
Drizzle the caramel sauce and nuoc cham
sauce over the top and cook for 1 minute.
Add the lime juice, sugar, salt and
remaining spring onion.
Toss well and serve immediately, garnished
with the red pepper.
If the shrimp shells are tender, they can
be eaten, but supply finger bowls and napkins at the table so your
diners can peel the shrimps if they prefer.
Caramel Sauce :-
To make the caramel sauce, combine 4
tablespoons of sugar with 3 tablespoons of water in a small pan. Stir
over low heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the
syrup to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 5
minutes, until the syrup turns dark golden. Take care not to burn it.
Remove the pan from the heat and add 4
tablespoons of water - it will spit and sizzle, and the caramel will
form hard lumps. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring, until
the lumps become liquid again. The sauce can be stored in the
refrigerator for up to 1 week.