Last year, I had a life-changing food find.
I was perusing the shelves of Onggi, one of my favorite stores where I live in Maine, and I saw a bottle with a bright label that read “Nong’s.”
The sauce is a tangy, sweet, and savory mix of ginger, soy sauce, coconut palm sugar, soybean paste, vinegar, chiles, garlic, and Thai pandan leaves. It’s the stuff of Thai street food dreams.
And I had just learned I could get it from Nong’s (via either my neighborhood shop or online order) anytime I wanted.
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The sauce was incredible on everything I tried it with, but I wanted to learn more about the origin of the recipe. I also wanted to make khao man gai myself, to let the sauce shine with its original intended accompaniments.
Happily, I searched for the dish on our site and realized that Bryan Roof and the gang at Cook’s Country visited Nong’s for a 2020 issue.
Making the dish from scratch is relatively simple, and it’s a great way to learn more about cooking with flavors from Southeast Asia. And nothing is more comforting when I’m sick than a bowl of aromatic, steamy chicken and rice with piping hot broth and a side of khao man gai sauce.
But some ingredients for the sauce, including fermented soybean paste and pandan leaves, can be difficult to source. Asian grocery stores will carry them, but buying the bottled sauce is a great shortcut to getting khao man gai on the table quickly.
Whatever your decision—bottled or homemade—you can’t go wrong with Nong’s.