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.

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