I’ve written about Thi before in the Gazette. In any vernacular she was a fabulous cook with beautiful technique, but of course, she had her specialties. These special recipes were top secret. After we sold J&L, our catering company, Thi finally came to my house and taught me some of her best dishes. Since she worked by smell and taste rather than with measurements, I would follow behind her with a measuring cup or a teaspoon, desperately trying to catch ingredients as they fell from her hand into the bowl.
Thi died almost three years ago. Although I promised never to share her secrets, I think there’s no harm now in keeping her recipes alive. Grilled shrimp was a favorite among our customers at J&L. This is how Thi prepared them for the grill. I’ve published it before, but it is delicious enough to repeat.
For 2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp chili paste
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup soy
1/4 cup oil (shallot oil preferred)
juice of 1-2 limes, to taste
1/2 tsp salt
2 green onions, minced
Whisk together all ingredients and marinate shelled and deveined shrimp for at least an hour and up to 8 hours. Drain the shrimp and cook briefly over a hot gas or charcoal grill.