I was digging through my Vietnamese food archives to post my vermicelli picture on Facebook when lo and behold, I realized I never posted about these shrimp that turned out fantastic. In Vietnamese, I think this is tom ram but Google search results are not giving me any hits on that. I also searched "shrimp cooked in its own guts" and came up with nothing satisfactory. The only thing close were recipes for carmelized shrimp but this is a bit different. I hate when the internet does not understand exactly what I need.
Many Vietnamese children will recognize this dish. It's a real down-home comfort dish. I'm sure everyone's mom has made this. The following is made from my mom's verbal recipe. Like me, she doesn't measure and doesn't write anything down so although I will write my directions for you, I didn't measure anything.
First, you start with unpeeled shrimp with their heads on. The fresher the shrimp, the better. I bought these shrimp on sale but didn't have time to cook them so I froze the shrimp, defrosted and the dish still came out well. Wash the shrimp and take off the heads, squeezing the guts into another bowl. Do not discard the heads, they can still be eaten if you want. Ew, gross looking, right?!?
Then you mix in some fish sauce, sugar, and chopped garlic to taste. I mean eyeball it, don't actually taste it. I don't think it is safe to eat raw shrimp guts. If I had to estimate, I would say roughly 2-3 teaspoons sugar, and 1-1.5 tablespoons fish sauce. Add more sugar if you want sweeter shrimp and a more caramelized sauce texture. But also be warned, I am REALLY BAD at estimating measurements and time, I just eyeball everything. This is why I can't bake!
Heat veggie oil in a pan. Toss your shrimp until halfway cooked. Then throw on your sauce mixture and cook until the sauce reduces or appears caramelized. This is where I think the caramelized shrimp recipes are most similar to this. Serve with white rice. I hope this blogcipe was somewhat helpful for you.