January 21, 2020
The Umami Shop in Lethbridge is one of the most interesting stops for food lovers in the province. A world grocery boutique with cookware and gifts with lunch to stay or go (think bibimbap, ratatouille, spicy curry noodles and ginger beef pasta) and an area where they hold hands-on cooking classes, it’s a destination sought out by locals and visitors alike. Owners Patricia and Sven recently launched a line of flavourful, versatile bottled sauces, all made right here in Alberta.
Milano is cooked in an open kettle using traditional methods and grape musts from the Milano region of Italy. It pairs well with dumplings and dim sum, or you can use it as a tasty vinaigrette or sauce to bring out the best flavour in your salads and stir-fries.
Da Lat is handcrafted with peanuts and spices for an incredible depth of flavour—use it straight from the bottle for your salad rolls, satay dishes and noodle bowls.
Bangkok is made with Thai bird’s eye chilis dried under the Bangkok sun—they provide a distinctive, gentle spiciness and a hint of fruitiness. Pair it with dumplings and dim sum, or use it as a tasty vinaigrette for your salads and a simple sauce for stir-fries.
Saigon is a blend of Vietnamese flavours all in one bottle perfect for salads, summer rolls, as a marinade or dipping sauce. Traditionally made using fermented Vietnamese anchovies out of the city formerly known as Saigon, this sauce has a delicate yet rich flavour—it’s the epitome of umami.
Drunken noodles is a Thai dish that’s quickly cooked in one skillet, making for a fast meal; you can use any number of veggies in season, and swap fresh or raw shrimp or cubed or crumbled tofu for the pork if you’d like it plant-based.
canola and/or sesame oil, for cooking
1/2-1 lb ground pork or diced tofu
Bangkok Umami Sauce, to taste
200 g dry flat rice noodles
1/2 small red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
a handful of Thai basil, holy basil or regular basil, chopped
lime wedges, for serving
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and cook the pork, breaking it up with a spoon, until it's no longer pink. As it cooks, stir in a few tablespoons of Bangkok sauce and continue to cook until the pork starts getting crispy on the edges.
Meanwhile, cook or soak the noodles according to the package directions. Drain them well and add them to the pan along with the red pepper and basil and toss with tongs, drizzling with more Bangkok sauce, to coat and heat everything through. Transfer to a platter or plates and serve with lime wedges. Serves about 4.
- Julie Van Rosendaal
Alberta is known for its high quality wheat—and Calgary is a city that loves its pancakes, par-ticularly during the first week of July.
Sometimes on a hot summer day, or after a job well done, you just want to crack open a cold one to feel truly refreshed.
Sometimes it’s the finishing touch that makes all the difference to a dish—an extra sprinkle or drizzle can add texture and balance flavours.