A table condiment similar to ketchup--but much more pungent--sriracha sauce is named after a seaside town in Thailand. Increasingly popular, this sauce is found on the tables of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants all over North America. Fresh red chiles are the key to the flavor of this recipe.
Although this dish was developed as a way to prepare zucchini from my garden, you can substitute fresh asparagus and/or thinly sliced green beans in this recipe. The toasted garlic tastes like nuts when sprinkled on top of the vegetables. This elegant dish is a great accompaniment to just about any meal so don’t limit yourself to Asian or Chinese.
Indonesian satays (or sates) are grilled, skewered bite-sized pieces of meat that are eaten as a appetizer or part of the meal itself. They contain meat only and are served with a sauce on the side. When serving a marinade as a sauce that has been used with raw meat, it is essential that it be boiled and simmered for 15 to 20 minutes to kill any bacteria. Or, reserve some of the mixture to be used as a sauce and not use it as the marinade.
This sweet and sour fish sauce dip is made spicy with chopped chilies and garlic, while fresh-squeezed lime or lemon gives it a sour edge. Called nuoc cham or nuoc mam cham in Vietnamese, it is the ubiquitous condiment of the Vietnamese table. Drizzle it over grilled meat set atop thin rice noodles tossed with shredded vegetables for refreshing fare, perfect for summer.
The first food I prepared with a salt block was a Szechuan citrus scallop and shrimp appetizer (this could also be an entrée if you increase the number of shrimp and scallops per serving). Following the manufacturer’s recommendations I placed the dry, room temperature salt block on an unheated grill and turned the grill on to its lowest temperature allowing the salt block to warm (this also removes any moisture that might be on the block). Then I slowly increased the grill’s temperature until the salt block reached the desired temperature… for me the process took about 45 minutes until the block reached 550 degrees F. The key is to slowly increase the temperature, otherwise the block may shatter.
Once the block is at the desired temperature, add the food and cook until done. For the shrimp and scallops, it only took about two or three minutes per side until they were done.
Brazil, the largest country in South America, was colonized by the Portuguese hence the spelling empadinhas or empadas. This Bahian-style empada filling can also be made with scallops or for a variation, used in puff pastry.