Fish Sauce Brings the Funk in This Superflavorful Recipe

This sauce was so delicious it caused a kitchen catastrophe.

Published Aug. 11, 2022.

I’m going to tell you a secret.

It’s a secret because, I’ll admit, it’s a little bit embarrassing. But it’s also telling of my new favorite recipe from Cook’s Country, Mark Huxsoll’s One-Pot Chicken and Rice with Coconut-Ginger Sauce, and how darn good the sauce is.

I was attracted to this recipe initially because of my favorite phrase, “one-pot.” But reading on, I just knew that I was going to fall further in love thanks to the undoubtedly funky sauce that the chicken and rice cook in, which is then spooned over the final product.

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

I use “funky” very purposefully here, because this supereasy, stir-together sauce imparts what can only be described as unambiguous funk. Coconut milk, brown sugar, fresh ginger, lime juice, and fish sauce come together to create something truly magical; a medley of sweet and savory, kicked up a level with a slug of spicy sriracha.

What makes this recipe so darn good is the addition of the fish sauce. I truly love fish sauce. A staple in many Asian cuisines, it’s made from fish or krill that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years, allowing the flavors to percolate and come to life. This sweet and salty ingredient gives any dish a kablam of umami flavor, bringing our aromatic one-pot chicken and rice dish to new heights. 

Product Review

Fish Sauce

We gathered five products from grocery stores and Asian markets and sampled them over white rice, mixed into a simple Thai dipping sauce, and in our recipe for Vietnamese Caramel Chicken.
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This is where I arrive at my secret.

Because as I was stirring the ingredients for the sauce together, like any competent cook, I tasted as I went to ensure that the flavors were balanced. Then I tasted again. And again. And then I did a few extra tastes while the chicken skin was crisping up just to make sure. Then, when it came time to cook the rice in ¾ cup of the sauce, I found that I had only about ½ cup left.

The rest had been . . . tasted.

One-Pot Chicken and Rice with Coconut-Ginger Sauce

A potent sweet-and-savory sauce enhances this classic dinner combo.
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Luckily, I was able to quickly stir together another serving of the sauce (the recipe didn’t call for the entire can of coconut milk, I realized, relieved) and carried on with making dinner. But I’m admitting this secret to you, dear reader, to show you just how powerful a little funk can be. And that alluring deliciousness came mostly from this dish’s most important ingredient: fish sauce.

Before you judge me, I implore that you go ahead and make this recipe. Or, if you want to probe the alluring power of fish sauce a little deeper, you can make these other, equally delectable and similarly tempting recipes for dinner tonight.

Neorm Sach Moan (Chicken Salad with Cabbage and Fish Sauce)

For a fresh, herb-packed chicken salad, we turned to a chef who has made it her personal mission to bring Cambodian food to America.
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Nam Prik Nam Pla (Chile Fish Sauce)

Make this ultrapopular, ultraflavorful Thai street food in your home kitchen.
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Thai-Style Fried Chicken

Tossed with a sweet-and-spicy sauce and fresh herbs, this might be the most flavorful fried chicken you'll ever taste.
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