When writing about Emeril’s Wok Seared Duck Salad, I mentioned his recommendation for fish sauce with the ingredient list. Shortly after posting, Red Boat Fish Sauce asked if I would try their sauce to compare. I only recommend products I like and use, so it has taken me a couple of weeks to put it to the test.
Starting with Shrimp Lo Mein, I was pleased with the clean, bright flavor that melded perfectly into the sauce without being too salty or fishy. We tried it in this recipe of Pad Thai with Beef (below) as well as Pad Thai with Shrimp, and again, it brought a balanced dimension of savory flavor. I was equally pleased to discover this new sauce has so few ingredients, just anchovies and sea salt.
Additives like hydrolyzed vegetable protein is commonly used in commercial fish sauces as a short cut to enhance flavor. According to Celiac Solution, “HVP (hydrogenated vegetable protein), HPP (hydrolyzed plant protein), TVP (textured vegetable protein), MSG (monosodium glutamate) could contain wheat if made outside of the U.S.A.” This is a concern for anyone trying to avoid gluten and still enjoy Asian foods.
We cannot always be sure about the ingredients used in restaurants, but at home, I use pure, whole ingredients as close to the natural source as possible. I look for products like Red Boat to add to my pantry because quality ingredients make a difference in taste and eliminating unnecessary additives from our food is important to us.
Adapted from Emeril’s Pad Thai
- 8 ounces dried rice noodles
- ¼ cup Red Boat Fish Sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3-4 tablespoons coconut palm sugar, adjust to taste
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb beef, pork, or chicken (or a combination), sliced in ¼" strips; or shrimp halved lengthwise
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups chopped green onions (2-3 bunches), white and green parts separate (the exact amount of each is not important)
- 8 ounces bean sprouts (about 2 cups), rinsed and dry
- 1½ tablespoons Bonito flakes, or more to taste
- ½ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 whole lime (optional) -- cut into wedges for garnish
- In a large bowl, combine the noodles with enough warm water to cover. Soak until just tender, about 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, vinegar, tamarind paste, crushed red pepper, and sugar; stir until the tamarind paste and sugar dissolves and is well blended. Set aside.
- In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or just fragrant. Add the meat and cook until the just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
- Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, stirring to break up into small pieces, about a minute. Add the white part of the onions and cook for 2 minutes to soften. Add the sprouts, Bonito flakes, green part of the onions, fish sauce mixture, and noodles, and cook until mixed well and warmed through, stirring frequently. Taste and add more Bonito flakes, as desired.
- Add the reserved meat and peanuts, and cook for 30 seconds to incorporate into the noodles. Toss with the cilantro, lime juice, and serve immediately with lime wedges and Sriracha sauce on the side.
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