Saturday, May 16, 2015

'Tis the season for fish sauce...

Life is rolling by fast and furious here in the Hoverter household.  We moved into a fixer-upper and somehow the house, the kiddo, the dog, the cats, our jobs, our friends and our family have taken every iota of our time, energy and money.  It's been a fantastic change (yard, anyone?) and a brand new adventure getting to know our new neighborhood in northeast Seattle.  It's a slightly more suburban area with significantly fewer restaurants and amenities, but one lovely surprise has been a superb Thai restaurant just two minutes from home.  Thai One On has gloriously fresh vegetables, high quality meats and some exotic flavor combinations to accompany the usual favorites like pad thai and green curry.  Their curry fried rice is to die for.

One of our family's current favorites is the Neua Naam Tok, or steak salad.  Thin-sliced flank steak, fresh spinach and sticky rice commingle to produce a tangy, spicy, funky experience we apparently can't get enough of.  So, naturally, we had to try to make it at home.

It turns out that the secret is the sauce.  Whatever combination of meat, vegetables and carbs you choose to put in this salad, it's the combination of fish sauce, lime juice and spices that makes it so delectable.  This sauce can go on anything.  Remember when Homer Simpson said "Marge, this is Thai food.  I want it for breakfast, lunch and dinner"?  This is why. 

For this simple meal, we grilled up some chicken thighs and veggies and threw it all over soaked rice noodles.  We added the sauce, then garnished with cilantro and green onions.  For the dish I photographed, we used broccoli, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas, but feel free to mix it up however you like.  And if you don't have a grill basket for your small vegetables, I suggest you get one--it makes life so much easier.

Neua Naam Tok Sauce recipe:
Modified from Pok Pok, by Andy Ricker

3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (I use Squid brand)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons beef broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1 stalk lemon grass, tender parts thinly sliced
pinch of cayenne

Place all the ingredients in a teeny-tiny sauce pan and heat just until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat but serve warm.


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