This simple dish exemplifies how the Vietnamese kho method of cooking sends an already tasty ingredient such as shrimp into a new dimension. Nowadays, it seems uncouth to overcook seafood. However, in this application, the longer cooking allows all the flavors to thoroughly penetrate the shrimp. Unlike other kho dishes, this recipe doesn’t ask you to sweat the juices out by covering the pan with a lid; shrimp is delicate and requires faster “open” cooking to concentrate the flavors. The onions should practically disintegrate into the sauce. Adding the oil at the end lends a bit of extra richness; traditionally more lard or oil was added than prescribed here to also give an appetizing sheen to the shrimp.
This may seem like a lot of shrimp for four, but I’ve observed my friends snap these guys up like crazy, sometimes even eating them without rice.