Vietnamese Sugar Cane Shrimp (Chao Tom)
1 pound medium shrimp, frozen, peeled and deveined (41-to-50 count)
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 garlic clove
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon white pepper or pepper
1 egg white
2 teaspoons corn starch
½ teaspoon vegetable oil
8 4″-sugar cane sticks (fresh or canned) *
* = I suggest using canned sugar as fresh sugar cane needs to be peeled and cut into 4″ sticks. Canned sugar cane can be found in Asian supermarkets. Fresh sugar cane can be found there as well or online.
electric grill pan
Serves 4. Takes 40 minutes. Allow for up to an extra hour if using fresh sugar cane. In this case, cut the sugar cane apart around the joints. Then use knives and cleavers to remove the hard outer shell of the can.
Add shrimp, fish sauce, garlic, salt, sugar, and white pepper to food processor. Blend until ingredients form a shrimp paste. Add egg white to mixing bowl. Whip egg white with whisk until frothy. Add shrimp paste and corn starch to egg white. Mix with whisk until shrimp is again well blended.
Preheat grill to medium high. Dip hands in vegetable oil. Take 1½ tablespoons shrimp paste and press it evenly around the middle of a sugar-cane stick. Leave ¾” sugar-cane stick exposed at both ends. Brush shrimp paste on sticks lightly with oil to prevent sticking. Add shrimp-covered sticks to grill. Grill for 8 minutes or until shrimp paste is golden brown on all sides. Turn gently, at least every 2 minutes, Bite into the sugar cane a bit as you eat the shrimp. This will add sugar juice to your bite.
1) Wherever the well loved Chef Tomasso went, everyone said, “Ciao, Tomasso.” Then one day he left his hometown of Padua in search of some squid ink for his next meal. He should have gone to Venice. Instead ended up in Hanoi as he was way too proud to ask for directions. Fortunately, the locals took him in. In gratitude, Tom, as he is now called, created this dish. Now, the Vietnamese greet him with “Chao, Tom” in honor of his cooking style .
2) Then, alas, tragedy struck.
3) Chef Tomasso fell off the edge of the edge of the Earth on July 1, 2018.
4) Apparently, he walked farther than normal and got lost.
5) He again refused to asked for directions and so, fell off the edge of the Earth.
6) Let this be a cautionary tale for all men.
7) This demise demised dumbfound all the physicists, who thought the Earth’s gravitational field would surely keep the good chef securely on terra firma.
8) Okay, the previous tidbit contained some ambiguity. It would be perfectly logical to wonder if, at some point, the physicists lost their dumfoundedness after Tomasso’s plunge into the interstellar abyss.
9) Let me clear up this confusion. These learned scientists remain perplexed by Tomasso’s misfortune.
10) It is amusing thought to think that Chef Tomasso truly lived life on the edge.
11) And if the word “dumfoundedness” from tidbit 8) is not a word, it ought to be.
12) Write your Miriam Webster and Oxford English Dictionary editors and ask them to include “dumbfoundedness” in their next editions. Thank you.
13) Tomasso’s great fall, shown on the 10 o’clock news, also flummoxed cartographers who, pretty much unanimously, agreed that our Earth is round like the globe in your fifth-grade classroom.
14) Meanwhile, maritime insurance rates have soared. If Tomasso, through no fault of his own, happened upon a spot that was the edge of the Earth, who’s to say that a freighter carrying wheat or a tanker bringing oil couldn’t fall off the edge of the Earth as well?
15) Can you imagine the following conversation?
Shipping CEO: Sorry, but your wheat will be a little late. Our freighter went over the Earth’s edge.
Food Importer CEO: Yeah sure, like I haven’t heard that one before.
16) As of yet, Chef Tomasso has not returned. His fate is still unlearned. I hope he will and that he’ll hsve a rattling good yarn to spin. In the meantime, watch your step.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.