On fish sauce (+spicy brussels sprouts)

I first cooked with fish sauce during a cooking class I took in Thailand in 2008.  It was one of the highlights of my trip – which I did solo for 3 weeks – and Asian cuisine was definitely not in my repertoire at the time!  Let’s revisit that day:

1034_515630655198_9155_nGreat apron, right?  We made curry and pad thai and sticky rice.  But about the fish sauce: it’s a staple of Thai cooking and is made by fermenting fish for months or even years with salt in huge vats.  It smells pungent, tangy – and definitely fishy, of course.  You only need a little bit in a recipe to add lots of flavor depth (due to their tasty umami glutamates); I add a splash anytime I do a stir fry or Asian-inspired sauce.  Look for it in the Asian aisle at the grocery store or any Asian market.

The RecipeRedux theme this month celebrates the round-up’s 54th month of postings (!!) – so everyone turned to the 54th or 154th page of a cookbook to put their spin on a recipe (click on the blue frog at the bottom for the rest of the recipes).

IMG_3128Truth be told: I like Gwyneth Paltrow.  I own her cookbook, IT’S ALL GOOD: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great, (thanks Gracy!) and I like that too – it’s full of veggie-centric recipes that are pretty simple.  And on page 154, she has a recipe for spicy brussels sprouts that includes fish sauce:

IMG_3125

I love that the sprouts are steamed and then sauteed – it cooks them quickly and still gives some nice browning, which you really need in a brussels sprout.  Since I didn’t have 4 cups, I tossed in some gorgeous colored cauliflower (yup, all natural and that vibrant!) which was delicious and beautiful.  The simple sauce gives a hit of spicy and then that delicious savory flavor – I chose to whisk that together and pour it on in the pan, instead of after as her recipe calls for.  And I think you could use the same sauce and cooking technique for a lot of veggies – carrots, broccoli – even winter squash?!  Try it!

Spicy Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brussels sprouts
  • 2 cups cauliflower (colored optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • dash kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons sriracha (or more if you like it hotter!)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (you can sub soy sauce for vegans)
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

Directions

Trim the ends of the brussels sprouts and cut in half.  Chop cauliflower into bite-sized florets.  Steam all together for 5-6 minutes.  Heat oil in a pan on high and add drained veggies.  Sprinkle on salt.  Saute, moving frequently, until sides are browned (another 5-6 minutes).  In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients with a fork and drizzle over veggies at the end of their cooking.  Toss to coat and serve warm.

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