Friday, May 04, 2007

May 1, 2007: 'Fish' with tamarind sauce

On a weekend trip to Piedemontes, I noticed and picked up a box of Lamyong vegetarian chunky fish: a soy-based product with a seaweed 'skin'. My mind spun instantly to our recent meal at the White Lotus, and Michael needed little convincing that we could attempt this dish at home. So it was on to the internet, with a swift selection of this recipe. A quick scan of the ingredients indicates what an intense sauce this is: salty (soy sauce), sweet (brown sugar), hot (red chilli) and sour (the eponymous tamarind) hit your taste buds in roughly that order. (And then the garlic lingers...) Only a sparing dollop is needed if you're to have any hope of tasting the fish underneath! Some simple steamed rice and veges are the most advisable side. The faux fish was akin to the slightly rubbery (but otherwise delicious) faux chicken I'm accustomed to and didn't quite live up to the fragile texture of the layered bean curd at the White Lotus. However the potent sauce could well become a stir-fry fixture in this kitchen.

Tamarind sauce

2 red chillis, or up to your tolerance
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon tamarind puree
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar (I might try palm sugar instead sometime)

Roughly chop the chillis and shallots, mince the garlic. Mush them up in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle. Heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the spice mix and stir it around as it sizzles and those pungent aromas are released (careful of the chilli!). Add the tamarind puree, soy sauce and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat. Add water, to your desired potency and texture, and keep warm until serving.


  1. That sauce sounds really, really good.

  2. Back when I was disciplined enough to maintain my vegetarianism, I had a deep love affair with fake meats so it's always interesting to hear people's experiences with them. Sounds like the sauce had a real hit to it and would probably go well with a lot of things.

  3. Lucy, it's a short list of fantastic punchy ingredients, isn't it? I'm sure it could be adapted to a lot of different dishes with a bit of imagination, as Truffle noted.

    Truffle, I think of fake meats as a bit of fun and they can be useful for recreating past meaty favourites. They're a bit processed and salty so I try to ration out my indulgences. :-)

  4. How weird! I was laughing at this exact product in Piedimontes just last week. Good to hear your experience of it. I am not a fan of a lot of faux meat, as I never liked a lot of meat before I went vegetarian but it is fascinating. But the sauce looks interesting - I am working up to using tamarind sauce.

  5. If you never really liked meat, Johanna, don't bother with the fake stuff! You'll do much better on all those legumes that you prepare so well. :-)

  6. hi cindy, thanks for your kind comments about my cooking - as you wisely suggest, I do steer clear of most faux meats (veggie sausages excepted). But I am still delighted to see supermarkets stocking it so the choice is there :-)

    (PS I thought I posted a reply to you last night but it appears the net is messing with my mind!)