Yesterday we paid a visit to a very seedy looking Thai restaurant that's been in Asheville for years. The outside is greatly in need of sprucing up and the roof could use another coat of paint - makes one think they didn't have enough money to do the job properly.
We hadn't been there in a few years because it just looks so bad outside. The food was "all right", and we used to get the lunch buffet.
Yesterday, the buffet was gone (food too expensive - too much waste, according to the proprietor) so we ordered a couple of luncheon items (soup, spring roll, pad thai and a chicken stir-fry that was supposed to have a sweet and sour sauce but tasted neither sweet nor sour - very bland.
The sauce that came with the spring roll intrigued me. I had never had it before and really liked it. When I came home I starting researching what it might be and came up with the recipe below, which as you will read tasted like what I had, but which was way too thin.
While searching for spring roll recipes made with raw softened rice paper wrappers I came across
"Thai Crystal" sauce in of all places, "The Passionate Vegetarian". In that recipe I learned that I could thicken the sauce merely by cooking it down, which I did by simmering it uncovered for about a half hour. it was perfect and tasted great with Chinese egg rolls. I liked it even better than my beloved Gold's Duck Sauce.
Thai Dipping Sauce Recipe
Prep Time: 10 mins Total Time: 40 mins Serves: 6-8, Yield: 1.25 cup (less if thickened)
By J. Ko on October 02, 2006
About This Recipe
"This is the traditional Thai dipping sauce used for salad rolls, spring rolls
and almost everything else. Keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator."
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Indonesian chili sauce (sambal oelek)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup carrot, shredded
1. Combine sugar water and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
2. Reduce heat. Stir in garlic, fish sauce and chili sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Cool and add lime juice and shredded carrot.
Note: This was very thin. I did a lot of research and found you have to simmer it down to get it thicker – probably about 30 minutes or more. Just watch it and stir occasionally so you can gauge the thickness. Mine reduced by about one-half. Was excellent with traditional Chinese egg rolls.
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