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.
2 red chillis, or up to your tolerance
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.