Experiment with fish sauce by swapping it for soy sauce, but go easy as a little goes a long way. Create an Asian dipping sauce by mixing fish sauce with red pepper flakes and lime juice, or make an Asian-style broth by seasoning chicken stock with ginger, garlic and fish sauce. Fish sauce is an easy way to create umami, that sought-after savory "fifth taste," and some cooks keep it by the stove, adding just a drop or two to bring a subtle depth to all-American gravies, stews and soups.
Panang curry paste by Taste of Thai comes in foil bags in the international section of the supermarket. You can substitute red or green curry paste for the Panang. Serve this dish over jasmine rice so you won't miss a drop.
> Panang Chicken Curry with Basil
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
2 tablespoons panang curry paste (1.75-ounce package)
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, fish sauce
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/4 -inch wide strips
1 red onion, peeled and cut in 1/4 -inch wedges
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, shredded (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
4 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, peanut butter and lime juice; whisk well. Add red pepper and onion; stir to coat. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and cook, uncovered, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.
Add chicken, cover, and simmer until thoroughly warm, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil; simmer 2 minutes. Serve over rice.
Per serving: 320 calories, 16g fat, 45mg cholesterol, 19g protein, 26g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 360mg sodium.