Posted by: SV | June 18, 2008

Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Have you ever had Vietnamese salt and pepper shrimp? It’s very crispy and light, great as an appetizer or a side dish.  I like to make this with large prawns (U-15).  Traditionally this is made with the shell and heads on – personal preference.  I’ve left the shell on in this recipe.

If you go searching for this in a restaurant, it’s either called ‘Tom Chien Gion’ (Crispy Fried Shrimp) or ‘ Tom Rang Muoi’ (Fried Salted Shrimp).

To reheat, place in 350°F oven for 5-7 minutes and they will crisp up nicely.

Salt and Pepper Shrimp (Tom Rang Muoi)

(Serves 4-6)

  • 1 lb of large shrimp (U-15)
  • 1/2 cup oil for frying
  • ½ cup cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • 1-2 tsp of kosher salt (depending on taste)
  • 2 tsp of crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes (optional)

1.  Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat.

2.  Combine cornstarch, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a zip-loc gallon bag.   Seal and shake mixture until well combined.

3.  Place half of the shrimp into cornstarch mixture bag and seal.   Shake until shrimp is well coated.

4. Place the coated shrimp into the frying pan on medium to medium high heat.  Turn over when one side is lightly browned – about 3 minutes on each side.

5.  Repeat step 3-4 with the other half of the shrimp.

6.  Place the shrimp on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

Salt and Pepper Shrimp, originally uploaded by simpleviet.



  1. You were right! This is a great, light, and tasty appetizer. I made these for my tupperware party and I couldn’t keep up with the demand! Thank you simplyvietnamese.

  2. […] […]

  3. Just found your blog and thanks to you have a mustard green soup on the stove. I’m an experienced and adventurous cook, and I now live in an area full of Cambodians (the largest group anywhere in America, I believe), Vietnamese, Thai, Philippinos, Koreans, and more, so I have overwhelming access to Asian comestibles. My favorite store is my Ocean Garden Market neighbor, where they have everything and label nothing. I have spent hours peering into the produce case trying to figure out what these herbs are. Many of them I have figured out (not that I know what to do with them)…but there are some that totally defeat me. Just today I had a breakthrough at their freezer when I picked up a pack of one of the mysteries I recognized from the produce case; it was labeled “ground cucumber”. Don’t have a clue yet what that is or how to use it, but at least now I know what it calls itself. Often I can find out what the herb is but can’t find out how an indigenous cook would use it, so I always ask (they speak minimal english) at least whether they use it raw or cooked, and we do pretty well.

    The point of all this blather is that I would like to be able to forward fotos of these mystery herbs to you for your identification. Because I live where i can get just about any Asian ingredient I need, I’m pretty much focused on learning Asian food, particularly Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai. And I can send some on to you. Where do you live? How about some fresh rice paddy herb or sweet potato vine or keffir lime leaves? Actually, that’s not a bad idea. H-Mart is nearby, so I can shop for you. If it’s Southeast Asian, they’ve got it. What do you need?

    • Thanks for sharing. I’d be happy to try and identify ‘mystery herbs’. Look forward to it.

      • I’ll start bringing herbs home and sending you fotos. Can images go through this Comment window?

      • I’m not sure about images via comments. If you had a link to your pictures, I’m sure that would work, e.g.,

      • When I have the fotos, I’ll figure it out.

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