Experienced chef advises not to overcook shrimp and add this fruity sauce for a fragrant, crispy, and shiny result.

Shrimp and crawfish stir-fry is a popular and distinctive dish that has become a famous local delicacy in many restaurants.


River shrimps are small shrimps caught in rivers, ponds, and freshwater lakes. These shrimps have a small size and thin shell that can be eaten whole. There are larger ones called prawn and smaller ones called shrimp. Grilled river shrimps with lime leaves are a special, delicious, and crispy dish that often appears in many local meals. However, how to grill these shrimps to make them crispy, delicious, firm, without any fishy or pungent taste is a secret.


Prepare the ingredients

Fresh shrimps/prawns, trimmed and left with the shells

Pork belly (if grilling with pork belly)

Salt, flour, sugar, lime leaves, lime

Step 1: Preparing the shrimps

After buying the shrimps, remove the whiskers to avoid getting stuck while eating. Choose fresh shrimps that are still jumping. After removing the whiskers, the shrimps should be cooked immediately to prevent them from becoming smelly and rotten, which can be toxic as the protein in the shrimps can transform into dangerous toxins.

If the shrimps have eggs, after washing, pour boiling water over them so that the shrimps can quickly embrace the eggs and the eggs won’t fall off when grilling.


Step 2: First grilling

Put the shrimps in a pan, turn on the heat and keep flipping the shrimps until they are dry and the shells turn crispy and pink. Then turn off the stove and take out the shrimps.

Step 3: Second grilling

Add minced shallots to the pan and heat it up until fragrant, then put the shrimps from the first grilling in. Grilling the shrimps with pork fat will be more delicious than with cooking oil. Keep the heat low and keep flipping the shrimps, add a little sugar to make the shrimps have a beautiful color, add salt, and soup powder according to your family’s taste. Grilling the shrimps with a slightly salty taste will make them crispier. Keep flipping to let the spices absorb into the shrimps.

If you want to grill the shrimps with pork belly, you can grill the pork belly first and when it’s almost done, put the shrimps from step 2 in and grill them together at the end.

Do not cover the pan while grilling the shrimps because covering the pan will trap the moisture, making the shrimps less crispy and particularly covering the pan will make the shrimps have a pungent and fishy smell. This is a very prominent feature of grilled river shrimps. Opening the pan will help release the nitro compounds in the shrimps, so there won’t be any fishy smell when eating.

When the shrimps are crispy and cooked, pour lime juice over them (half a lime for 5 kg of shrimps). Flip the shrimps to evenly let the lime juice soak in and evaporate. Lime juice helps make the shrimps crispier and more fragrant. Then sprinkle some thinly sliced lime leaves and flip them to mix well before serving.


Lime juice and lime leaves make the shrimps more fragrant.

The finished shrimps are crispy, well-seasoned, with shiny shells, fresh red color, firm and fragrant meat, not dry.

Tips for delicious grilled river shrimps:

First, you must choose fresh river shrimps. Absolutely do not cover the pan when grilling.

Grilling the shrimps with two fires will be more delicious than with one fire.

Lime juice or traditionally people used persimmons and squeezed a little persimmon juice, or pickled cucumber water, or vinegar to make the shrimps crispy. But squeezing lime juice into the shrimps will make them the most fragrant and crispy, more fragrant than vinegar or pickled cucumber water.

When making the dish “Grilled river shrimps with persimmons”, squeeze the persimmon juice by hand to get lime juice, then add the squeezed persimmon into the dish with the shrimps.

Grilling the shrimps with pork fat will make them have a rich and fatty taste than grilling with cooking oil.

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