SERVES 2 AS PART OF A MULTI-COURSE MEAL
½ lb. fresh medium shrimp, heads on
2 tbsp. each vegetable oil and sugar
1 shallot, sliced
1 tsp. garlic, minced
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, minced (bottom 4”-5” part)
1 Thai chile, whole
½ tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
2 tsp. fish sauce
Pinch black pepper
1. Peel and devein shrimp; reserve heads.
2. Remove tough outer layers from lemongrass, cut off stem end and coarse leaves, and mince bottom 4 to 5 inches of stalk. Discard tops.
3. Combine sugar and oil in a clay pot or saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until sugar begins to caramelize, 2 to 5 minutes or when it starts to brown. Add shallot and garlic; cook 5 seconds, just until fragrant. Add shrimp heads; sauté 30 seconds. Add lemongrass, Thai chile, and ginger; cook an additional 30 seconds. Add shrimp, fish sauce, and black pepper. Cook until shrimp is cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Serve with steamed rice.