Thai Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)
This has been a late arrival in this country, and in the beginning was only available in specialist oriental food shops.
Now it is much more widely distributed, and in supermarkets at last. You could almost say this is an Eastern version of Worcestershire sauce, not so much in flavour but in the way it gives the same kind of lift to other ingredients.
As its name suggests, it is a fermentation of small, whole fish (sometimes shrimps) and is quite salty, so a little goes a long way. It's an essential ingredient in Vietnamese and Thai cooking, and because of the growing popularity of these cuisines (which I personally love), it has become a staple storecupboard ingredient.
This recipe was given to me by chef Norbert Kostner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok when I visited the cookery school there. It's lovely served as a first course or included in a cold-buffet menu.
A trip to Thailand inspired Delia to recreate this Asian classic when she got home ... and it was well worth it. Give it a try - it's not one of Thailand's most popular dishes for nothing.
You won't believe how utterly simple and easy this is, and yet it tastes exotic and wonderful and, what's more, it can all be prepared well in advance and the fish added about 10 minutes before you want to eat it.
Pineapple crops up in many Thai dishes and here it offers a juicy, tangy counterpoint to fat, succulent prawns, all cooked in a spicy sauce. Quick and easy, Thai curries are the perfect midweek solution when you are tired and hungry.
A Thai Tom Yum soup full of flavour and with hardly any fat, this lovely recipe is just as good made with prawns.
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