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Old 06-22-2006, 06:04 PM   #11
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and definitely some fish sauce or soy sauce. What you are lacking, seems to me, is umami, which you'll get from a fermented product.
I had to look that term up

What about if I add dried shitake mushrooms, but took them out before thickening? Or is that a no no

I was avoiding soy and fish, not for any reason though, just thought it wouldn't add to the taste at the time. I thought of oyster sauce too.

Would it be worth adding fish sauce since you are eating it with fish? A bit of a noob question I guess.
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:52 PM   #12
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Basil is my favorite herb, I just love it's aroma. What are the differences between Basil and Thai Basil?
Thai Basil to me has more citrus-type tones and has less of that grassy flavor that regular basil can sometimes have.

Another thing that you can add to give sweetness would be mirin, a sweetened Japanese cooking liquid made from a by-product of rice wine. It has no alcohol in it though, and you should be able to find it at any market that sells Asian foods.
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Old 06-22-2006, 10:34 PM   #13
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Mirin nice, I'll give that a go
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:43 AM   #14
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If you really want this to be a asian-style sauce, you need to use the right ingredients/techniques. You have a good beginning but IMO need to add the things that are traditional to asian food if you want an authentic taste.

Both Thai and Vietnamese recipes often use the sugar/water syrup that I mentioned. Vietnamese recipes generally call for the syrup to be cooked until well carmelized, but Thai recipes usually don't.

Try putting 1/4 cup water into a pot and bring it to a boil. Then carefully add 1/2 cup sugar, turnj the heat down, and stir to combine thoroughly. If you take it off the heat right away, you have simple syrup. But if you leave it on the heat for a minute (maybe less) still stirring, it will start to brown. Once you see it brown a bit, take it off the heat and let it cool.

A teaspoon would add both sweetness and depth of flavor.

If you have an asian grocery store around, Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass simmered in the sauce would also add wonderful flavor.

Asians are not big users of straight salt. They add seasoning generally with sauces like soy sauce, fish sauce, kojujang (Korean hot bean paste), etc. These add both saltiness and umami (savoryness). I can't imagine a Thai-style sauce withought some fish sauce added, as fish sauce is the very essence of Thai cookery. Fish sauce or Soy sauce shouldn't be avoided in asian-style recipes -- they not only add to the flavor, they are really the very basic building block of their flavor.

Oyster sauce would be ok, but would take your sauce in another direction, in that it would be a dominant flavor, whereas fish sauce or soy sauce would be a background one.

Shitake mushrooms? YUM. But why take them out of the sauce? Shitake mushrooms and fish are wonderful together.

Mirin would also be a nice addition, with a subtle sweetness. I am under the impression, though, that it is a type of rice wine and does have alcohol in it, though the type you find at the asian market for cooking has only a small amount.

Coconut milk is a very traditional Thai ingredioent that would add wonderful flavor and body to your sauce. But again, it would become the dominant flavor, which is great if you want it to be, but probably not a good idea if you don't want to make a coconut sauce. It comes in pretty big cans, so adding a tiny amount isn't that practical. It will make your sauce creamy-looking.

The key, IMO, is to obtain some of these ingredients and experiment with them until you have a sauce that has the taste and texture that you are looking for.

GOOD LUCK
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:56 PM   #15
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Mirin would also be a nice addition, with a subtle sweetness. I am under the impression, though, that it is a type of rice wine and does have alcohol in it, though the type you find at the asian market for cooking has only a small amount.
Depends on which brand you buy. Kikkoman "Kotterin" Mirin and Shirakiku, which are the two brands most commonly found in mainstream stores are alcohol free. Kikkoman also has an "Aji Mirin" which has alcohol but you'll usually only find that at a store that specifically sells Japanese products.
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Old 06-23-2006, 06:40 PM   #16
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Depends on which brand you buy. Kikkoman "Kotterin" Mirin and Shirakiku, which are the two brands most commonly found in mainstream stores are alcohol free. Kikkoman also has an "Aji Mirin" which has alcohol but you'll usually only find that at a store that specifically sells Japanese products.
I've never looked for it in a regular supermarket since I am at the asian store all the time. But I will pay closer attention the next time I'm there. Aji mirin has corn syrup in it most of the time (and salt too) so I try to find the unadulterated stuff, which usually has 10% or so alcohol.

I make a glaze for fish with mirin and miso and some of that sugar syrup which is really nice.
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:17 PM   #17
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Don't forget Thai cooking is about flavour extremes, typically lots of Thai dishes have highly salty, sweet and citris flavours in the same dish. Principally palm sugar, lime juice and Fish sauce are the holy trinity of Thai sauces. Plus palm sugar has the added advantage that due to the types of starches in it will thicken the sauce removing the need for the Cornflour.

It seems you are aiming for the light citrus and aromatic flavours and steering away from the savoury salty flavours which tend to get over used in home versions of Thai cooking.

The problem with the sauce as it is, is that you are using the juice of 4 Limes to achive this which although you get a nice citrus sauce it also ends up overly sharp.

My advice to you would be swap the cornflour for some palm sugar, which will sweeten and thicken the sauce.

Ease up on the lime juice and added some Fish sauce, these two togther counterpoint each other flavours on the palette and add some depth to it. If you still want a really strong lime flavour add a tbsp of lime zest

I would swap the Ginger for Galengal (avalible for a Thai Groccer) which if you are not familar with is partly simailar to ginger but has a more sutble spice and a gentle citrus tones. Ginger commonly overshadows the subtle aromatics used in Thai and is more suited to chinese and Indian cooking

Lastly but entirely optional is to experiment with schezwan pepper corns (not stricktly Thai), which are midly spicy and citrus flavored. Plus they go expentinally well with fish. If you do decide to try Schezwan swap the Corriander leaves for Thai basil as these two flavaors where made to go together.

Edit:spelling error
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