(Recipe excerpted from The Pepper Thai Cookbook.) The sticky part of this party recipe name comes courtesy of Vietnamese fish sauce caramel, made by cooking down the umami-packed liquid with brown sugar to form a syrupy glaze.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens


Credit: Jenny Huang

Recipe Summary

50 mins
3 cups shrimp mixture


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • For pickled vegetables: In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup hot water, the granulated sugar, and a pinch of kosher salt; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the vinegar. Add the carrot and radishes; toss to combine. Chill at least 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, in a wok or large skillet heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil over medium-high until shimmering. Add the garlic and Roasted Chile Powder; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp in an even layer and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, turning once, until the shrimp are lightly browned but still slightly translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and wipe out the wok with a paper towel.

  • Place a measuring cup with 1/4 cup water next to your cooktop. Set the wok over medium and add brown sugar, lime juice (this helps keep the sugar from crystallizing), and 2 Tbsp. of the water. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar turns an amber-color caramel, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in the fish sauce, soy sauce, and remaining 2 Tbsp. water. Return to heat, stir to dissolve caramel and cook until smooth and sticky (about as thick as honey), about 30 seconds. Add the cooked shrimp,* 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, the scallions, and peanuts; toss to coat. Continue cooking until shrimp are cooked through and evenly coated, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; let shrimp cool before transferring them and the sauce to a bowl.

  • Remove the pickled vegetables from the fridge and arrange the lettuce leaves, cucumber, and cilantro on a serving platter. To assemble, spoon some of the shrimp and rice (if using) into a lettuce leaf and top with a few pickled vegetables, cucumber, and a sprig of cilantro; roll up. Serves 4.


To avoid thinning the sauce, drain off any liquid before returning the shrimp to wok.

Pepper's Roasted Chile Powder

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread 2 cups dried red chiles (such as Thai chiles, arbol peppers, or japones chiles) evenly across a sheet pan and roast about 6 minutes, watching closely to make sure they don't burn. The chiles are done when they change color from red to a very dark reddish brown. Transfer chiles to a plate and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Place them in a mortar and grind with the pestle until they're the size of red pepper flakes. (Or use a spice grinder or small blender on high 10 to 15 seconds; make sure the blender is totally dry.) Store the chile powder in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 months or up to 1 year in the freezer. Makes 3/4 to 1 cup.

Nutrition Facts

252 calories; fat 9g; cholesterol 143mg; saturated fat 1g; carbohydrates 23g; mono fat 3g; poly fat 4g; insoluble fiber 2g; sugars 17g; protein 20g; vitamin a 3959.5IU; vitamin c 6.8mg; thiamin 0.1mg; riboflavin 0.1mg; niacin equivalents 3.9mg; vitamin b6 0.4mg; folate 70.4mcg; vitamin b12 1.3mcg; sodium 1884mg; potassium 544mg; calcium 119mg; iron 1.3mg.