Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All's Well That Ends Well

I won’t bore you with the details of the long story of my ill-fated attempt to replicate Pad Thai according to Primal dietary guidelines and my own sensitivities (suffice it to say that without eggs or peanuts, it ain't Pad Thai). I will share with you the single, shining pearl which resulted from the process: a great stir-fry seasoning/condiment. It can turn a humble pile of vegetables into something that tastes like it came from a great Vietnamese restaurant.

Vietnamese Style Stir-Fry Sauce

Adapted from a recipe by Mark Bittman

2 Tbsp. fish sauce (nam pla) with no added sugar (I used Red Boat brand)
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
4 tsp. tamarind paste
30 drops Stevita brand stevia (or equivalent of other brand; add a drop at a time to taste)
½ tsp. crushed red pepper

Put fish sauce, water, rice vinegar and tamarind paste in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer. Stir in stevia and red pepper and allow to cool.

Here is my favorite simple meal prepared with the sauce:

Simple Cabbage Saute

Serves 1-2

2 Tbsp flavorful fat (preferably poultry fat, but coconut oil will work)
1 lb green cabbage, finely shredded
5 scallions, sliced (both green and white parts)
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. Vietnamese Style Stir-Fry Sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil (optional)

Melt fat in wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, scallions ginger and black pepper. Cover for a few minutes to allow vegetables to sweat and soften. Uncover and stir fry until tender, or to your preferred texture. If you like it really tender, you can add a little water or broth, cover and cook for a few minutes, then uncover to allow any excess liquid to evaporate. Add stir-fry sauce and cook another few minutes. Remove from heat, toss with sesame oil (if using) and serve immediately

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