So today we visited Vietnam. As I searched for recipes all I kept coming up with was Beef Pho. I didn't want Beef Pho. So I searched some more. And searched, and finally came up with a recipe for Caramel Shrimp Banh Mi. It got bonus points for being a sandwich, because my husband loves almost everything that comes in sandwich form.
The recipe called for pickled carrots and daikon. These are super cool because they pickle in 1 hour. Which is quite speedy for pickling. Overall, these were both easy recipes, and everybody loves easy, right? Well, I like complicated and long recipes, but I'm kind of weird.
Anyway, started off with the pickled daikon and carrots. Daikon is pretty easy to find, most large super markets carry it. But I've found that it's usually cheaper if you buy it from Asian markets. The only other ingredients you will need are water, vinegar, salt and sugar. And containers in which to facilitate the pickling process. I wanted to buy just a couple canning jars for this, but since you apparently can't buy those in quantities of less than 500 million, I settled for some weird plastic containers.
That being said, peel the carrots and daikon and cut them into matchsticks. Yes, doing this is a bit of a pain in the neck (literally if you're like me), but it's kind of fun at the same time. (And yes, before you ask, I need to get myself a larger cutting board, haha.)
Now when I tasted these, I thought that they were much, much to salty. DH thought they were amazing in every way. To each his own. If I made them again, I might use just a touch less salt.
On to the shrimp! First, you have to make the caramel. The thought of making caramel scares a lot of people. And it should, a lot of things can go wrong. I'm not going to say 'don't worry, it's easy, just try it.' Cause that's dumb. The sugar can burn easily, you can burn easily, smoke alarms can be set off, and a lot of sugar can be wasted. That being said, homemade caramel is delicious. So to start, take 2 Tbsp. of sugar and 2 Tbsp. of water and heat them over medium high heat until the caramel starts to turn dark brown. Not burnt, dark brown, but nice, yummy, caramel dark brown. It will get very bubbly:
Now all that's left is to assemble your sammich. In addition to the pickled daikon, carrot and shrimp, I used mayo and sliced cucumber. I put a chopped up red chili on DHs. I liked the shrimp, but didn't really care for the rest for the rest of the sandwich. So I gave mine to Erich and ate the rest of the pumpkin pie from yesterday :). Erich loved them. It's probably one of his favorites so far this month.
Caramel Shrimp Banh Mi
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. water, divided
1 Tbsp. oil
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbs. fish sauce
Heat sugar and 2 Tbsp. water in a pa on medium high heat until it caramelizes ad turns a dark brow. Carefully add the remaining water and heat until caramel dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside. Heat oil in a pan and saute garlic and shallot for 3 to 5 minutes. Add shrimp, caramel, fish sauce and pepper to taste and cook until shrimp is pink
1 baguette, cut into 4 sandwich lengths
4 Tbsp. mayo
1/4 cup each pickled carrot and daikon
1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
2 birds eye chilies, sliced, optional
Pickled Carrots and Daikon
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
4 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. salt (I would less if you want a less salty flavor)
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 lb daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Mix the water, vinegar, sugar and salt until sugar and salt dissolve. Place carrots and daikon into jars and cover with liquid.
Let pickls for at least an hour and store in the fridge for up to a week.