When writing about Emeril’s Wok Seared Duck Salad, his recommendation for fish sauce was included in the ingredient list. Shortly after posting the Duck Salad recipe, Red Boat Fish Sauce sent me a sample of their sauce to compare.
Starting with Shrimp Lo Mein, this fish sauce provided a clean, bright flavor that melded perfectly into the sauce without being too salty or fishy.
We tried it in 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.
Quality ingredients make a difference.
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.
Look for Red Boat Fish Sauce at Whole Foods Market or order online.
Try these other recipes using Red Boat Fish Sauce:
Adapted from Emeril’s Pad ThaiPrint
A bed of rice noodles and tender strips of beef coated with the savory flavors of tamarind, garlic and fish sauce, flecked with peanuts and cilantro.
- 8 ounces dried rice noodles
- 1/4 cup Red Boat Fish Sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3-4 tablespoons coconut palm sugar, adjust to taste
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb beef, pork, or chicken (or a combination), sliced in 1/4″ 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
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Bonito flakes, or more to taste
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 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.
- Using 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.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or just fragrant. Stir in the meat and cook until the just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
- In the same skillet, cook the eggs about 1 minute, stirring to break up into small pieces. Add the white part of the onions and cook for 2 minutes to soften. Stir in 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 sprinkle in more Bonito flakes, as desired.
- Toss in the reserved meat and peanuts, and cook for 30 seconds to incorporate into the noodles. Sprinkle with the cilantro and lime juice; serve immediately with lime wedges and Sriracha sauce on the side.
Dried Bonito flakes, known as katsuo-bushi or katsuobushi in Japanese cuisine, are thin flakes of dried, smoked bonito fish. Like dried shrimp or shrimp paste (often used in Pad Thai), bonito flakes add a savory flavor to any dish. Bonito flakes were easier to find than dried shrimp or paste in our area. Bonito is sliced so thinly it melts into soups, sauces, or stews for a umami flavor boost.
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