Holiday Shrimp Cocktail

Those of you who know me, know that once I traveled in Vietnam I absolutely fell in love with the country, the people and the food. This shrimp cocktail has some great flavors and is a beautiful holiday presentation.

If you are in a hurry you can skip cooking your own shrimp (although my recipe really has great flavor) I understand sometimes, we all run short on time. And if you do not wish to make your own aioli, you may doctor up some mayo by adding the Thai basil, fresh minced garlic, lime zest and juice



1 carrot coarsely chopped

1 stalk lemon grass chopped

2 lemons quartered

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 pounds large shrimp

Cocktail Sauce:

1 3/4 cup ketchup 

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

juice and zest of one lime

1 tablespoon samba chili paste

1 tablespoon lemon grass sliced finely (some markets have paste in the produce section)

1 tablespoon fresh mint minced

pinch of salt & pepper

Thai Basil Aioli

2 large egg yolks

2 cloves garlic minced

3/4 cup chopped Thai basil leaves

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon dijon

1 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon lime juice

warm water to thin as necessary

For the shrimp: get a large stock pot add water and all the ingredients except the shrimp. Bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook just until they turn opaque. Remove the shrimp, place on a sheet pan and put into the refrigerator to cool.

For the cocktail sauce: combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium- low heat. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and let cool. Place in refrigerator to chill.

For the Aioli: In a small blender place the egg yolks, garlic, basil, dijon, lemon juice and salt. Pulse a few times. Slowly incorporate the olive oil a little at a time. Use warm water to thin if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use.