~ -- Thai fish sauce, called nam pla. This amber-colored, odoriferous liquid - -- used in everything from stir-frys to sauces -- cooks down to a mellow undertone. Better brands are lighter colored and less pungent; Squid is a recommended brand.
~ -- Dried shrimp. Salty and intensely flavored, these are used primarily as a seasoning ingredient. Usually sold in 4-ounce packages, dried shrimp should be plump and resilient, retaining enough moisture to evidence a little "give" when squeezed.
~ -- Thai chili sauce, called sriracha. This is a sort of chili-garlic "catsup," fiery, flavorful and slightly sweet. Huy Fong Foods Inc., of Rosemead, Calif., makes an excellent sriracha, packaged in a clear plastic squeeze bottle with a drawing of a rooster on the front.
~ -- Holy basil. Thai cooking uses many different types of basil, and this type is intensely mint-flavored. Unless you grow it yourself, holy basil can be difficult to find; fresh mint makes a good substitute.
~ -- Thai "bird" peppers. These little hot peppers, usually green but sometimes red, pack a notoriously powerful punch and are not for sissies.
Serrano peppers make a good substitute if Thai chilies are unavailable.
~ -- CHILIES-IN-VINEGAR SAUCE (Makes about ½ cup); hot and sour ingredient in soups and pad thai etc.
½ cup distilled white vinegar ½ tablespoon Thai fish sauce 12 small Thai chilies, or 3 serrano chilies, finely sliced Combine all of the ingredients in a small serving bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
>Adapted from "True Thai --- The Modern Art of Thai Cooking" by Victor Sodsook with Theresa Volpe Laursen and Byron Laursen (William Morrow and Company Inc., New York, 1995). Reviewed by CURTIS GLENN, food columnist for the Courier in Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, IA. 6/ Recipe by: Curtis Glenn, 6/03/97, Courier.com Posted to MC-Recipe Digest by KitPATh <phannema@...> on Feb 16, 1998
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