Use Your Noodles: Asian Sauces
Two simple, classic sauces are perfect for weekday meals.
Pad Thai Sauce
This quick sauce is a balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavors. Serve it over cooked rice noodles for a quick lunch, or make a full Pad Thai by stir-frying the noodles with egg, shrimp or chicken, green onions and bean sprouts, tossed with the sauce. Top with chopped peanuts, cilantro and lime wedges. Find tamarind paste and palm sugar at Asian food stores.
1 ½ tablespoons tamarind paste
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup palm sugar or brown sugar
1–2 teaspoons chili sauce to taste
Measure tamarind paste into a small bowl and add 1/3 cup hot water. Stir until it dissolves. Add fish sauce, sugar and chili sauce and stir to combine. Makes 4-6 servings.
Ginger Scallion Sauce
This classic Chinese sauce is addictive. Make a batch and keep in the fridge for a few days. It makes a quick, tasty lunch mixed with ramen noodles (just buy a soup pack and cook the noodles without the flavor packet). Add steamed meat and/or veggies to bulk it up for supper. The sauce is also perfect for jazzing up plain chicken breasts or fish, mixed with plain rice, or in soups.
1 bunch scallions (green onions)
1 2-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled
¾ to 1 teaspoon coarse salt
¼ cup neutral oil (such as grapeseed or peanut)
Finely chop the scallions and ginger by hand or in a food processor. If using a processor, don’t over-chop. Mix in salt and oil and let sit for 15–20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Alternatively, you can heat the oil until it’s very hot, then pour it over the other ingredients and mix well. The sauce is ready to use immediately, and this version intensifies the ginger and scallion flavors. Makes 4-6 servings.