Soy sauce has been a staple in the Far East for two millennia. The potent, salty infusion is celebrated for it’s versatility in the way it can bring dormant flavours to life. In this month’s foodboard, we’ll be exploring some delights of the South East, incorporating Soy sauce with the equally-revered Oriental staple Mirin, and some classic peanut butter for a sweet-savoury finish.
Chicken Pad Thai
Pad Thai, a delectable dish you’d expect to find in any good Eastern eatery. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t rustle it up at home for a tasty weekday treat. For the peanut sauce base, combine half a cup of peanut butter with 2 tablespoons of mirin and soy sauce, add tamarind and chilli powder and squeeze lime juice to taste. Pad Thai is traditionally made with flat rice noodles, as these serve as the best vehicles for flavour. Once you’ve cooked your noodles, chicken and vegetables, flash everything in a hot wok and mix in the peanut sauce to tie it all together. Crushed peanuts, fresh sliced chillies and crispy-fried onions also make an excellent, authentic, finish for those looking to take it to the next level.
Many might associate Satay with the pre-packaged chicken skewers you find at most buffets, however this simple recipe will bring a pleasant surprise to your guests taste buds with an authentic, Oriental, flavour you’d be hard pressed to find in your local supermarket. Although marinating makes for some deeply infused flavours, we suggest searching for some fresh and healthy mushrooms and adding the sauce when cooking to let the raw flavours speak for themselves. For the sauce, heat canola oil and soy sauce in a pan before sweating ginger and garlic, and adding coconut milk and peanut butter to simmer. Pour the sauce over your mushroom skewers whilst cooking and leave some for extra dipping.
Far East Broccoli
This provocative trifecta also lends itself to broccoli, making for a healthy snack or starter for any occasion. Blend the trio together with some chopped garlic and demerara sugar and toss into a wok with pre-boiled broccoli until the broccoli is coated and heated through.
Bringing out the full potential of tofu is a difficult thing to master, but there’s a good reason this featured trio is so well respected; it can help you do exactly that. Start by pan frying tofu on a high heat with a generous splash of olive oil until golden brown. Remove the tofu and add soy sauce, mirin and peanut butter, simmering until the mix forms a glaze. Add the tofu back into the pan and fry for a few minutes before adding some finely chopped asparagus and serving on a bed of white rice.
Massaman is a staple Thai curry respected for its inspiring flavour infusion and diversity. A great way to make this is with beef and potatoes, the fibres in the meat and the starch in the potatoes absorb the salts and sugars, making them tender and succulent. You can find an excellent recipe for beef Massaman on BBC Good Food here
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