This recipe is based on the structure of a bolognese sauce from The Joy of Cooking. We wanted to make a Sunday sauce and I trust that book. But when I looked at the particular recipe, I realized it wasn’t right for us, since I didn’t want to use milk, which is used to break down tough proteins to make for a more tender meat. I don’t do well with dairy. And we’re trying to not eat quite so much red meat these days, so after thinking about it, we weren’t in the mood for a big portion of meat on our pasta.
It was Shauna’s idea to look at the structure of the bolognese and build new flavors around it. What about if we made a Thai sauce for pad Thai noodles? Aromatics and coconut oil, lots of fresh herbs, mushrooms instead of meat, a depth of umami flavor, and some milky substance. The flavors of Thai food are hot, sour, sweet, and salty. So I played with it.
This sauce is so interesting to me. There’s depth of flavor with all these different components.