Tra Chang (Scale) brand Fish Sauce is a premium grade fish sauce imported from Thailand for your Thai recipes. The worldwide popularity of fish sauce has been rising with the growing popularity of Vietnamese and Thai food. Fish sauce is the most important sauce used in Thai cuisine and no Thai kitchen would forgo having at least one bottle on hand.
Traditionally, in Southeast Asia, fish sauce is produced by fermenting tiny anchovy fish mixed with salt for up to two years. Fish sauce is known as nam pla in Thailand, patis in the Philippines, kecap ikan in Indonesia, budu in Malaysia, nuoc nam in Vietnam and Cambodia and ngan pya ye in Myanmar.
The processing method for fish sauce can be different in each country, but the basic principle is quite similar. The main ingredients of fish sauce are fish and salt. The fish is washed and mixed with salt with the ratio ranges from 1:1 to 1:5. The mixture is left at room temperature for a period varying from 5 to 24 months. The liquid is skimmed off the top or drained from the bottom of the container. During this fermentation process, the fish will undergo *hydrolysis, both microbial and enzymatic. The resulting overall flavor of the fish sauce depends on the balance of the amino acids making up umami, sweet and bitter taste. As taste is subjective, there is no standard formula of a "balanced" amino acid composition in the making of fish sauce. One brand of fish sauce may be delicious to some but not to others.
There are just a few simple factors to consider when buying fish sauce. To purchase a good bottle look for clear, translucent, but dark amber color (not pale for general cooking) and also price is usally an indication of the quality of the sauce. The price factor does not hold for supermarket brands though, as they tend to be of lower quality,m being made from anchovy extracts (instead of whole anchovies), using unnatural processes to speed fermentation and diluted for Western tastes but with a higher price. It is worthwhile to seek out authentic Thai brands for the best quality and taste at a reasonable price.
Fish sauce features in many, many Thai recipes, making it an essential ingredient for the pantry of the Asian chef. It can be added to Western dishes also, including Ceasar salad, pasta sauces and bean soups to acheive that missing flavor. Try adding fish sauce to rescue the beef stew or other soups instead of adding salt. In Thailand, fish sauce is as common a table condiment combined with prik kee noo (fresh hot chilies) and lime juice, called nam plah prik. It is often added to soups like Tom Yum and spicy Thai curries. It is essential for all types of Thai salads including Papaya Salad.
*A hydrolysis reaction is responsible for breaking down large molecules (eg. digestion). It is a chemical reaction during which one or more water molecules are split into hydrogen and hydroxide ions.
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