I just kept procrastinating and sort of gave up on the idea. Until yesterday. Was at Bollywood Veggies at Kranji Countryside for lunch and they had a makeshift stall selling farm produce. Sugarcane was on sale at 2 for $1. Initially I wanted to buy, then once again hesitated coz I didn't know if I could split the sugarcane into small sticks required for the dish. Anyways, I bought some vegetables and when paying, the kind store owner gave me a stick of sugarcane! So sweet and nice of her :)
Started off with preparing the sugarcane sticks. It wasn't that difficult after all. First hold the sugarcane vertically, use a sharp knife to cut into the top part of the skin then chop downward, the skin would just split by itself. Likewise for the sugarcane flesh, simply cut into the top part, chop downwards and the flesh would split by itself. Lengthwise, it's quite easy to cut through once each stick is slim. In no time, I had more than a dozen sugarcane sticks.
Vietnamese Sugarcane Shrimp (Chao Tom)
(recipe from Vietworld Kitchen, makes 6 sticks)
- 12 pc medium size shrimp (about 230g), deshell and devein
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 3 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp palm sugar
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1/2 egg
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 cloves shallot
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- Place the shrimp and the rest of the ingredients into an electric chopper and blend into a coarse shrimp paste. Chill the shrimp paste for at least 30 mins.
- To make the sugarcane shrimp, first wet the hands. Take a ball of shrimp paste and place onto the palm. place a sugarcane stick in the middle and wrap the shrimp paste around the sugarcane stick.
- Steam the sugarcane shrimp on high heat for about 3-4 mins. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To pan-fry, heat a tsp of olive oil on medium low fire, place 3 sticks of sugarcane shrimp onto the pan and pan-fry till golden brown.
- To air-fry, place sugarcane shrimp into the air-fryer, air-fry for 8 mins at 180 degree celsius.
- Serve warm with Vietnamese dipping sauce or thai sweet chilli sauce.