Julie's Blog for Shrimp

An exciting aspect of Jeff’s Shrimp with Chinese Spicy Celery & Cashew Nut Stir-fry is that almost anyone in Ontario can shop for the ingredients in their local grocery store and easily prepare a stir-fry with incredible taste using many of the same ingredients used in the Sichuan Province of southwestern China!

Look for mango juice as opposed to a mango ‘beverage’, it will provide better flavour.  The bold flavours are amazing so use each ingredient. ‘Heat’ from the dish is controlled by the cook, which means simply ease up on the red chilies if a milder taste is preferred.

I want to mention the ingredient, fish sauce in this recipe; do use it because it will significantly enhance the flavour of the stir-fry (and other Asian inspired dishes).  The basic ingredients of a good fish sauce are simply fish, water, and salt. More ingredients usually mean additives. Does it smell?  Yes, it will have an aroma of the sea, perhaps even slightly fishy BUT the dish will not taste fishy at all.  Most dishes that call for fish sauce also call for lime juice, which balances the flavouring beautifully.

What you get from using fish sauce is a rich savouriness as well as complexity and depth, which points to a ‘thumbs-up’ dish!

Here are a few shopping hints when you go out to buy fish sauce. 

1.Buy glass over plastic bottles as glass indicates a better quality product.
2.Look for Vietnamese style fish sauce, which is lighter in flavor than Thai fish sauce. (Thai fish sauce is often saltier and heavier in flavour)
3.Start with a light amber colored fish sauce.

Good news! Fish sauce is used in more than just Asian dishes, it adds another layer of flavour in many Italian recipes, paring well with tomato and herbs.  Try a little when making Caesar salad dressing to give a delicious depth. Use some in soups, salads, curries, noodles, and vegetable stir-fry dishes. Cooking with fish sauce will lead you into new and exciting flavours in many dishes.