Hi, I'm Larissa, the unrepentant night snacker. This is the second installment in my effort to save myself from myself.
For my next low calorie, high fiber, high flavor TV snack I give to you:
Crisp celery dipped in a wondrous elixir of soy sauce and Vietnamese chili sa-te paste.
Mmm mmm good: salty, spicy and crunchy. The trifecta of late night snacking excellence.
This magical Tia Chieu SA-TE chili paste is sold by the jar in a Vietnamese market near me (thank you, thank you, Kim), and you could probably find a similar kind in a market near you. Try as I might, I can't seem to find this brand online. But if you are really dedicated you can make your own. I saw a recipe for it here, but *snorty snort* I'm not about to try it. Because I'm all about buying it in a jar.
The soy sauce adds saltiness, and the chili paste has a wonderful spicy heat with garlicy sweetness that is just so completely yummy with the slightly bitter celery. I mix a small amount of soy sauce (like one or two tablespoons) with just a teaspoon of the paste. Then I cut washed celery into nice, thin 3-inch stalks and double dip to my heart's content. One tiny bowl of this sauce is enough to last through a whole night's worth of celery dipping. A little goes a long way.
I've actually consumed an entire head of celery this way in one sitting. To the point where Michael had to just laugh out loud at the intrusive crunch crunch crunch noises coming steadily from my chair. I'm sorry, Michael. Being healthy is sometimes loud.
This same magic chili paste is also delicious when added to a myriad of things like noodles, stir fry and ahi poke (oh my word, nommy nom nom), so it will do much more than just make your celery snacking dreams come true.
I was curious so I did a little research at my local Publix and came up with this Thai Kitchen paste, hoping it was a good alternative. OK, it is tasty, but not on the same sublime level as the other sauce.
(I confess I actually used the Thai Kitchen sauce instead of the Tia Chieu SA-TE to stage the celery photo. I figured you guys wouldn't know the difference and I wouldn't risk wasting any of the good stuff, which is running dangerously low at the moment.)