A New, If Slightly Pseudo, Fish Sauce Arrives
Add oomph to your Asian-style cooking with a hekshered fish sauce.
Now that we have a hekshered fish sauce, remember that nam pla is not intended for sprinkling straight from the bottle onto food. It’s not like ketchup, Worcestershire sauce or tabasco, but more in the nature of tomato paste or hoisin sauce, to be used for cooking.
Because it's so assertive, you’d be smart to use fish sauce in conjunction with other ingredients that balance its robust personality: chili peppers, lime juice, cilantro, curry and garlic, for example.
You don’t, however, have to stick with Asian-style foods. Although nam pla may taste and feel most familiar in noodle salad, soups and curries, you can branch out and add some to marinades for meat, fish and poultry. You could also include a small amount in vinaigrette dressings for salad, sprinkle some into a chili pepper-based frittata or mix some into your favorite recipe for old-fashioned fish cakes. At a holiday party, or when watching football, consider adding a few drops to rev up your Bloody Mary.
Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author and cooking teacher in Stamford, Conn. Her latest book is Hip Kosher. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, at www.ronniefein.com, and follow her on Twitter at @RonnieVFein.