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“There is no sauce in the world like hunger.”

Miguel de Cervantes

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Entries in lime (2)

Friday
Dec282012

Diana Henry's Thai sweet chilli sauce

My sister will be surprised when she sees this. I have always berated her love of the shop-bought stuff. But when I read Diana Henry’s introduction I was intrigued:

“So much better than anything you can buy. It doesn’t have that cloying flavour of commercial bottles, but barks at you with biting, fresh taste.”

This led me to the list of ingredients, which looked very promising. And she is right, it is so much better than the shop bought version. Indeed, it might as well be another sauce.

The recipe is from Salt, Sugar, Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish, a lovely book full of recipes, tips and techniques for the home preserver. “I am a home cook” writes Henry, “I don’t have masses of special equipment and I don’t do things on a grand scale.” Her style is approachable and encouraging, showing that preserving isn’t just for “elderly ladies in floral pinnies or country-based downsizers with a vehicle big enough to transport several dead animals.”

I made this first to use up some chillies which my flatmate, Jen, had grown on our kitchen windowsill.  I liked it so much I decided to make it for Christmas presents in place of my usual jams or chutneys.

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Monday
Feb072011

Larbilicious

One of the nice things about writing this blog is that I find out a lot of interesting things in the process. I have been making larb for years – it is a staple canapé for our annual Christmas Eve party and Dad entrusted me with it early on because it is extremely easy. I have always thought it was ubiquitous in Thai cuisine, just as it is in Sydney’s Thai restaurants, but I have just discovered that it is actually a regional dish from Isan, in north east Thailand, and probably originated further afield. In his book, Thai Food, David Thompson shares some theories on the salad’s historic origins:

A larp is an ancient salad. Some argue that it has the same origins as steak tartare, raw meat eaten with onions. The merchants of this part of Asia, the Haw, may have helped to spread the dish from the south-west of China and now, throughout northern Thailand, there are adaptations of this style of salad. 

Wikipedia suggests that larb may have come to Thailand from Laos:

Laotian cuisine has strongly influenced the neighboring cuisine of Northeastern Thailand (Isan) ... The most famous Laotian dish is Larb ... a spicy mixture of marinated meat and/or fish that is sometimes raw (prepared like ceviche) with a variable combination of herbs, greens, and spices. 

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