Tôm Kho Tàu (Vietnamese Braised Shrimp)

Tôm Kho Tàu always makes me think about my parents. Mom always made this using big water prawns when I was a kid. It was saved for special occasions because fresh water prawns are so expensive. Since I always ate too much, Mom always added smaller shrimp to it so I can enjoy more.

For this quick weeknight meal, I used deveined, shell on, 13-15 shrimp and cooked it in tons of chopped garlic, tasty shrimp paste/tomalley in soybean oil, and sweet coconut soda. This garlicky, sweet and savory shrimp was finger-lickin’ good with all the saucy goodness coating the shell and getting all over the rice.

You can see how I made it by checking out my Instagram Reel

1.5 pounds 13-15 Shrimp, deveined and shell on
7 oz. Pantai Shrimp Paste with Soya Bean Oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1.5 teaspoons salt
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 can Coco Rico Soda
4 green onions, chopped
4 Thai chilies
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons cooking oil


Sear Shrimp – Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add oil from the Pantai Shrimp Paste with Soya Bean Oil jar and cooking oil to a 12-inch skillet and sear shrimp over medium-high heat for 2 minutes a side until shrimp is almost cooked all the way through. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set a side.

Make Tôm Kho Tàu – Add minced garlic to the skillet and cook for about 30 seconds. Pour in Coco Rico soda and reduce down for 3 minutes. Add seared shrimp. Season shrimp with sugar and extra salt if needed, and let it cook down for another 3-5 minutes until liquid is reduced to your liking. With about a minute left in cooking, add chopped green onions and Thai chilies and give everything a final mix.

Serve Tôm Kho Tàu – Make a plate with steamed Jasmine rice, saucy Tôm Kho Tàu, fresh sliced cucumbers and tomato, and an over-easy egg. Enjoy!


  • I prefer shell-on shrimp for this dish, but you can use any shrimp you like for this recipe.
  • You can find Pantai Shrimp Paste with Soya Bean Oil online if you can’t find it at your local Asian grocery store.
  • I sear the shrimp first and add it back in later after making the sauce to avoid overcooking the shrimp.

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