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Delia Smith says that Fish Sauce (or Nam Pla) must be one of your kitchen cupboard essentials. I don't like to disobey Delia, but as I'd never used it in my life, I thought she might be exaggerating. But then I decided to cook her recipe for quick and easy Thai stir fried chicken and it required fish sauce. Perhaps there are cheaper brands, but Blue Dragon was all I could find in Tesco.
Fish Sauce really doesn't smell or look appetising. But when you add it to a stir fry, it gives a really authentic Thai taste. Don't miss it out! Also, don't add soy sauce if you use fish sauce, because you might die of oversaltiness.
The recipe I use is it marinate chicken in lime juice and zest for about an hour. Then stir fry in a really hot pan or wok. Then add sliced chilli or tabasco sauce, chopped coriander and spring onion. Add coconut milk and a tablespoon of fish sauce and simmer for about 5 mins. Then serve with rice and more coriander and spring onion. The fish sauce is the key ingredient to tie the flavours together. Now I've found it, it has become a cupboard essential. Well done Delia!
When it comes to cooking, sadly I'm not the best at it no matter how hard I try! Nowadays I do little cooking cos it seems silly to go to a lot of effort for just one person! However I do love Chinese and Thai food and because I generally suffer ill health I really do try to eat a fair amount of fruit and vegetables a week.
My signature dish is stir fry and fried noodles. I got really into them when i did weight watchers a few years ago but quickly got bored of simply frying vegetables in spray oil and adding soy sauce to the mix. I soon found by adding lemon, lime, chilli, garlic and this fish sauce that I could really get a tasty stir fry and at one point people were begging me to make them Chinese/Thai food! I became an expert in marinading food and whipping up a storm from literally nothing. As I say though nowadays food is less important to me (after shedding the weight) and me being lazy usually eats a ready meal or some toast lol. However of late I am trying to get back into cooking and knowing more about what I'm eating!
190ml glass bottle (you can see through) with a dark blue cap to the top of it concealing a small hole that simply twists on/off. Around the middle of the bottle there is a purple label and on that in black and white writing I'm told it is Blue Dragon (small picture of a blue dragon drawn on beside that) 'Thai' Fish Sauce 'Nam pla' 'An essential Thai Cooking Ingredient'. There is a photograph of a plate of delicious looking Thai food and I'm told the best before date is stamped around the neck of the bottle (which it is) and size is stated. On the back of the label I'm given serving suggestions and storage advice, ingredients are listed as is nutritional information given, contact details for G Costa & Co Ltd are there (the manufacturer of Blue Dragon products) and finally there is a bar-code on there too. the bottle is ok but the dark brown liquid looks kind of dirty and murky in the bottle and not very appetising at all!
Fish sauce is used extensively in Thai cuisine for the wonderful flavour that it imparts, just as salt is used in Western cooking and soy sauce in Chinese. Add a few drops to classic dishes like green and red curries or stir fry noodles (Pad Thai) to enjoy the unmistakable Thai taste.
If you love cooking you will love this just don't be put off by the appearance in the bottle of it. It looks like first morning wee (according to my Mother lol) and not all that tasty looking.
Smell wise it smells to me like a cross between marmite and fish! Not all that pleasant but it isn't disgusting so don't be off-put by my description lol.
Now as I have said I use it mainly when sort of making Chinese kind of food however this is Thai I just find it easy to use in both types of cooking. I add a few drops of the liquid in marinades for meat (or quorn) with chillies, garlic and lemon etc or I sprinkle some into stir fried vegetables and or noodles and cook with it.
This is basically liquid salt. Highly salty and rich in flavour you do not need to use soy sauce and/or salt in cooking as well and it's only for cooking with not a meal accompaniment (you really wouldn't like to dip chips in this stuff trust me on that!).
Now if you've owned the bottle a while you will notice that salt crystals appear to the lid. That's ok and we are told that's ok on the bottle! I was a bit shocked by this at first when it went a bit crusty but like I say I'm reassured this is fine!
Really this is a salt product mixed with anchovies, great mixed with other ingredients when cooking Chinese/Thai cuisine and if I miss it out of my cooking I really have grown to miss it. It smells quite weird but when cooked it loses that fragrance and basically gives a rich salty but natural taste to food! Really great and every serious cook should try this!
Mine came from Sainsbury's priced £1.39 a bottle but is available in many supermarkets.