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Garum/Nuoc Mam Suggestions?
#1
Salve all!! I'm a new member here at RAT, but I've been delightedly reading this forum for years.

Lately, I've taken a keen interest in ancient Roman cuisine and througout the course of my research, both here, elsewhere online and texts in my possession, it's evident that garum seems as standard an ingredient in Roman fare as salt or flour might be today. There seems to be a general consensus that Vietnamese Nuoc Mam or Thai Nam Pla is the closest modern, off the shelf, equivalent of garum.

So, in my quest to satisfy my culinary curiousity and in the interest of hands on (or should I saw mouth and tongue on? :wink: ) historical research, I purchased a 7 oz. bottle of 'Hokan' Fish Sauce. The bottle states, at top, "Nuoc Mam-Thai Seasoning-Patis-Nampla" and was bought for a song, for $1.49 at my local grocery. As with all the references to Nuoc Mam I've read, it consists of anchovy fish extract, sea salt and water. It seems I've acquired the right stuff.

Now, here's the rub. I'm a bachelor, in my mid-30s, who's absolutely clueless when it comes to cooking or dabbling about in a kitchen in general. The microwave and my oven are my tummy's best friend...and while I've been known to get a bit creative with both, I can't prep anything beyond Cajun flavored pan-seared bay scallops. :oops:

I came across this rather entertaining blog, which was written fairly recently, about a fella who (like me and I'm sure a good many others here) got bit by the garum bug. Here's his take: http://www.gourmet.com/food/2008/01/garum

I'm a bit hesitant about susbstituting ketchup with Nuoc Mam on a hamburger, but it seemed to delight that blogger. So, I might give that a try. Yet, what might you guys suggest for quick fix application of Nouc Mam/Garum? Is it possible to make a proper dipping sauce for bread with the stuff? In a nutshell, what do you suggest are the easiest ways and best foods I can try with this modern equivalent of garum?

Any and every suggestion would be greatly appreciated! Big Grin P
Javier Lorenz Jr.
______________

"The path to salvation is narrow and as difficult to walk as the razors edge" - W. Somerset Maugham
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#2
Javier, I'm familiar with the stuff you bought as Filipino "patis" (pa-tees). My family put it on practically everything and in cooking ... soups, stir-fries, stews, on roasted fish, meat, etc.

I'm not too sure about using it as a dipping sauce for bread though! Too salty! It can be used for marinating hamburgers ... chop up garlic into the meat mixture, add your garum/patis, pepper, and it's ready to cook.
Sara T.
Moderator
RAT Rules for Posting

Courage is found in unlikely places. [size=75:2xx5no0x] ~J.R.R Tolkien[/size]
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#3
I'd have to agree with Sharon....Garum/Nam Pla/Fish "sauce" is not primarily a sauce, like ketchup, at all.
It is primarily a cooking ingredient and in fact, when you use it , the 'smell' and strong taste disappear, a little like when you use garlic......you don't taste it directly (hardly), but it certainly contributes to the overall flavour of the dish.

Soups, Stir fries, marinade for meat etc are the way to go....I would suggest trying a simple stir-fry Thai or Vietnamese recipe that uses fish-sauce....there are plenty on the net, or I can post a couple if you like.......I'm sure you'll enjoy the results ! Smile , unlike the joker on the thread you posted.......
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#4
Quote: It is primarily a cooking ingredient and in fact, when you use it , the 'smell' and strong taste disappear.......

I agree. The Romans used it in the most unexpected of places. I've seen dessert recipes that call for a tad of garum, primarily for the salt content, I think.
Aurelia Coritana
aka Laura Sweet
[url:3tjsw0iy]http://www.theromanway.org[/url]
[url:3tjsw0iy]http://www.legionten.org[/url]

Si vales, gaudeo. (If you are well, then I am happy.)
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#5
Quote: unlike the joker on the thread you posted.......
:lol: Yeah, what was he playing at? Don't listen to that blogger, he doesn't know what he's doing.
Sara T.
Moderator
RAT Rules for Posting

Courage is found in unlikely places. [size=75:2xx5no0x] ~J.R.R Tolkien[/size]
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#6
Thank you kindly for the suggestions! Big Grin shock: Confusedhock: Confusedhock: Despite the stink, I poured in the teaspoon's worth. The effect was subtle and virtually unnoticable. If anything, I would contend that it made the fettucini simply tasted saltier. This would lead me to conclude that Garum might've simply been used as a substitute for salt, per Aurelia's suggestion. Smile P

Paullus Scipio, Senovara, I have no idea what that blogger was on about!! I still found his blog amusing, but I dread to think what garum/Nuoc Mam would taste like on popcorn! :? )
Javier Lorenz Jr.
______________

"The path to salvation is narrow and as difficult to walk as the razors edge" - W. Somerset Maugham
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#7
My husband and I use it a lot instead of salt, and we cook authentic Italian cuisine from Abruzzi. It tastes wonderful. We use it for all our seafood sauces such as clam sauce, scallop/shrimp/calamari sauce, and even with pasta primavera. I tried it on hard-boiled eggs at a Roman reenacting event once-YUMMY.

My 6 cats especially like it in their home-cooked food that I prepare for them. :mrgreen: :twisted:
Saluti, Love and Light
Iulia Cassia Vegetia
a.k.a Julia Passamonti-Colamartino
Legio III Cyrenaica
Maker of Amphorae
<a class="postlink" href="http://venetiancat.com">http://venetiancat.com
Once I learned to herd cats, I realized that ANYTHING is possible..."
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#8
Quote: I tried it on hard-boiled eggs at a Roman reenacting event once-YUMMY.

Now that's a good idea! A simple and delicious snack/breakfast! I must remember that one.
Sara T.
Moderator
RAT Rules for Posting

Courage is found in unlikely places. [size=75:2xx5no0x] ~J.R.R Tolkien[/size]
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#9
Ave all!!! Big Grin It's been far too long, since last I posted here at this wonderful forum.

I actually just spent about five minutes typing up a post, that was somewhat lengthy, whilst meant to be entertaining. Yet, that post went straight to Hades, when I inadvertently clicked on the 'Spell Check' button, thinking it was the 'Submit' button. Realizing my mistake, I attempted to close it. What I got was a constant stream of 'Spellcow' or somesuch windows opening...about 60 or so before I locked down my firewall!!! :x x x I would caution anyone to avoid using the Spell Check here.

That said, I'll now attempt to repost properly, in a nutshell.

I took in a stray cat, a little over two months ago, whom I've named Titus Pullo (after the character in HBO's 'Rome'). Sure, HBO's 'Rome' isn't the most historically accurate depiction of the fall of the Roman Republic. Yet, I loved the characters and show in general. So, I figured naming a young male cat after the rougishly charming Titus Pullo was in order. That notion was furthered upon discovering that 'Pullo' means 'young animal'. Smile

Well, I threw together a Myspace photo album, dedicated to my stalwart companion felis, Pullo. I captioned each photo with quotes, in the vein of what HBO's Pullo might say. There's one photo, where he appears to be daydreaming, which I captioned "I dream of frisky women, flowing milk and tuna, soaked in garum". Tongue

So, this got me thinking...would it be alright to serve the mighty Titus Pullo some tuna, with a few dashes of Nuoc Mam? I then immediately went to Google and plugged in "nuoc mam+cats". Much to my surprise, the first hit referred me back to this thread!!! Big Grin

Quote:My 6 cats especially like it in their home-cooked food that I prepare for them. :mrgreen: :twisted:

So, I must ask you Iulia, is it perfectly alright to season my wee man's food with a few dashes of Nuoc Mam? I've been thinking simply of canned tuna, with a few drops of the stuff. Though, might you suggest any more garumly seasoned delights for my Pullo? I dabbed a bit of the stuff onto a napkin and he seemed phenomenally intrigued by the scent!!! Big Grin
Javier Lorenz Jr.
______________

"The path to salvation is narrow and as difficult to walk as the razors edge" - W. Somerset Maugham
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#10
Dearest Methos,
What a wonderful story about your kitty. While I strongly advocate against feeding tuna, as it actually leaches vitamins and minerals from the animal (as per Anitra Frazer's "The Natural Cat") I DEFINITELY recommend garum. My cats adore it. I add it, a little soy sauce, and plenty of garlic powder,keeps intestinal tract free of worms, and is a natural antibiotic. The cats almost inhale the food!

Let us know how he likes it. That's funny that Google referred you back here. :lol:

BTW, lately, my husband has used it in our bean minestrone-DEEE-LICIOUS!
Saluti, Love and Light
Iulia Cassia Vegetia
a.k.a Julia Passamonti-Colamartino
Legio III Cyrenaica
Maker of Amphorae
<a class="postlink" href="http://venetiancat.com">http://venetiancat.com
Once I learned to herd cats, I realized that ANYTHING is possible..."
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#11
Iulia,

Thank you kindly for responding!! Big Grin D
Javier Lorenz Jr.
______________

"The path to salvation is narrow and as difficult to walk as the razors edge" - W. Somerset Maugham
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#12
My pleasure Methos. Big Grin
You can put the garum on any of his cat food. You may want to consider making your own food for him sometime, as most commercially available brands are highly toxic. The book I mentioned, Anitra Frazer's The Natural Cat explains it all, and goes into why most commercial foods are not good for your pet. I do high quality Wysong niblets in the am, and homemade with garum in the pm. I usually make up enough homemade for a month and freeze it in ziploc bags so that each bag=1 meal split 6 ways (about 325 grams). The wonderful thing that happens when you get the little furfolks off the commercial stuff is that they stop being "finicky" and they'll eat just about anything, and literally nothing in our home goes to waste. I know that up until recent times,(in Italy anyways) that's how folks fed their domestic pets. Mine are 100% healthier since I switched them-their fur is like silk, and they're slim and trim. Of course, the garum helped. :wink:
I use garum on so many things in place of salt-even burgers. The elixir is just wonderful.
Saluti, Love and Light
Iulia Cassia Vegetia
a.k.a Julia Passamonti-Colamartino
Legio III Cyrenaica
Maker of Amphorae
<a class="postlink" href="http://venetiancat.com">http://venetiancat.com
Once I learned to herd cats, I realized that ANYTHING is possible..."
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#13
Quote:Iulia,

Thank you kindly for responding!! Big Grin D

Try the modern recipe for yourself, leave the ancient one for.....Pullo?

Garum Fish Sauce

As they are with modern Romans, sauces and marinades were an
essential element in ancient Roman cuisine. One of the most popular was
garum, a salty, aromatic, fish-based sauce. Like so many other Roman
treasures, it was borrowed from the ancient Greeks. Apicius used it in all
his recipes, and the poet Martial wrote of it: "Accept this exquisite garum,
a precious gift made with the first blood spilled from a living mackerel."


I won't recommend you try the ancient version (see below). Instead, try
the easier modern recipe.

Ancient Garum Recipe
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Use fatty fish, for example, sardines, and a well-sealed (pitched)
container with a 26-35 quart capacity. Add dried, aromatic herbs
possessing a strong flavor, such as dill, coriander, fennel, celery, mint,
oregano, and others, making a layer on the bottom of the container; then
put down a layer of fish (if small, leave them whole, if large, use pieces)
and over this, add a layer of salt two fingers high. Repeat these layers
until the container is filled. Let it rest for seven days in the sun. Then mix
the sauce daily for 20 days. After that, it becomes a liquid.

- Gargilius Martialis, De medicina et de virtute herbarum, reprinted from
A Taste of Ancient Rome


Modern Garum Recipe
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cook a quart of grape juice, reducing it to one-tenth its original volume.
Dilute two tablespoons of anchovy paste in the concentrated juice and
mix in a pinch of oregano (Or Curry or Celery spice, or rosmary,
experiment) but DO NOT USE GRAPE PUNCH,use only Grape Juice!.

:roll:
Vale, Bryan
(Titus Rustius Lupus)
Armatus Et Ebrius

LEG XXX, Ulpia Victrix
Ontario, Canada



Thanks for having patience with me...
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