Friday, October 26, 2012

Last Friday at Sap’s, 10.191.2012

I stopped by on the way home from work and decided on a couple of things I seldom order, and boy, was I glad I did. The first dish was Sweet Hot Bamboo Shoots, S-P33 on the menu, which is a bowl of bamboo shoots that have been sautéed with some scrambled egg, brown sugar, thick slices of jalapeño chiles, fish sauce, soy, and lots of garlic. Lots of folks order it with a meat thrown in, but I got it solo, as it is on the menu. It’s crunchy from the shoots, sweet and salty, spicy (I requested 4 star heat, so it was loaded with zippiness), and rich. An under-appreciated and excellent dish.

I also got Chu Chee Salmon, S-P17. Chu chee is a traditional curry that is  paired exclusively with seafood and if you are in Thailand, the curry paste vendors in the markets will sell chu chee paste for the dish. Chu chee paste is basically a red curry paste with less coriander and cumin added, heavy on the galangal (galangal is especially used with seafood to remove the "fishiness", although all seafood in Thailand is pristinely fresh), krachai, and Thai lime leaf (all of which are often paired with seafood). It has plenty of garlic and red chile, with the zest of Thai lime fruit, white peppercorn, roasted shrimp paste, shallots, and lemongrass. Some restaurants use red curry paste, or they combine red curry paste with panang curry paste to make the dish. The paste is the background flavor; upfront you taste shredded Thai lime leaf, red chile, rich coconut milk, fish sauce, and palm sugar. It’s rich, spicy, salty, and sweet and it pairs perfectly with the richness of salmon fillet. I haven’t ordered this in a while, because frankly, I’m not a huge salmon fan, but the fish was moist and cooked exactly like it should have been, and the sauce was amazing. A fantastic dish.

Mick Vann ©


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