World Sauces Cook Book By Mark C. Stevens
Why sauces? As the saying goes," What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." While I wouldn't say sauces are a cultural universal, as are proverbs, they do have a widespread dispersion that's worthy of reverential contemplation.
The Family of Sauces by the author, Mark C. Stevens
Nam Jim by Chef Alyssa Han
(Sweet and Sour Sauce)
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes to steep/ Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes about 2/3 cup
Flavor notes: Fragrant, Sweet, Spicy, Vivid
Type of sauce: Dipping, Condiment
Nut-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free
Heat Index: 2
"Thai cuisine is full of rich sauces and condiments. Nam Jim means “dipping sauce” in Thai, and there are many kinds. This sauce is a sweeter chili sauce that is commonplace on Thai and Laotian tables. It also serves as the base for other Thai dipping sauces, made by adding more ingredients. Alyssa Han, owner of Food and Arts by Alyssa—an eco-friendly Thai cooking retreat outside of Bangkok—graciously provided this recipe that works with Thai appetizers, and steamed and grilled meats. To make the sauce vegan, use soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos instead of fish sauce."
For the tamarind sauce (2/3 cup)
7 tablespoons water
7 tablespoons seedless tamarind pulp
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup granulated palm sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons superfine or caster sugar
For Nam Jim (2/3 cup)
2 tablespoons dried Serrano chilies (or chili of choice)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped coriander roots (or chopped cilantro stalks and 1 teaspoon ground cumin)
1 tablespoon onions, chopped
3 tablespoons tamarind sauce
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
Special equipment needed: Blender or food processor
To make the tamarind sauce
1. In a small saucepan, boil the water and add the tamarind pulp. Stir until mixed, and let sit for 30 minutes. Squeeze through a sieve to remove any pulp or plant mass.
2. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the tamarind concentrate, and bring to a boil. Add the fish sauce and then the palm sugar.
3. When everything is dissolved, add the vinegar and caster sugar. Cook on low for 5 minutes, until the tamarind sauce is thick and syrupy. Set aside.
To make the Nam Jim
1. In the food processor, blend the chilies, garlic, shallots, cilantro roots, onions, and 3 tablespoons of tamarind sauce until you have a paste.
2. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and add the paste. Bring to a simmering boil. Stir to combine.
3. Lower the heat. Add the remainder of the tamarind sauce, and season with salt. Take off the heat and let cool.
Storage: 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator, in a glass jar or plastic container
Parings and Serving Ideas
· Pan-Seared Crispy Skin Duck Breast
· Pan-Seared Boneless Chicken Thighs
· Vegetable Stir-Fry
· Pan-Roasted Veggies
· Mixed Green Salad
Ingredient Tip: Asian or Indian specialty markets will likely have cilantro with the roots still attached. Another trick is to ask a neighborhood Thai restaurant if you can buy some of theirs during their next order.