Mei Ibach always seems to have something cooking. From her involvement with last year’s market hit, Hot Cheese (with friend John Ash) to dim-sum and tea pairings, teaching at SRJC or working on new recipes, Ibach is a culinary whirlwind.
But her newest project may be the closest to her southeast Asian heritage: Banh Mi sandwiches and Asian sauces and curries.
Mei has already set up shop in Windsor at the Sunday farm market where she launched Malaysian Mei green and red curries, pineapple chutney and a peanut sauce recipe cultivated after tasting dozens of sauces in Singapore. Made with nuts she roasts herself, it’s slightly chunky, with hints of kefir lime leaves, fish sauce, chilies and lemongrass — not the peanut-butter sauce often served at Thai restaurants. “I begged and pleaded with a chef in Singapore to give me the recipe. I said, ‘I’ll make you famous!'” So what’s his name. “I’d have to look that up,” she laughs. Good enough to eat straight from the container, they’re $5 and $6 each.
Starting on Thursday nights in Windsor, along with alternative Saturdays at the Santa Rosa Veteran’s Hall Market, she’ll also be selling the coveted Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches from her stall as well. Stuffed with pulled pork, lemongrass chicken or five-spice tofu, they’re crunchy hoagie rolls with layered with mushroom pate, spiced homemade mayo, carrots, daikon, jalapenos, cilantro and cucumbers. Each gets a dousing with one of her curries or peanut sauce as well. For $6 they’re a steal with the culinary stamp of approval of several local chefs (John Ash and Roger Praplan from La Gare were early testers, along with several food writers).
Sauces & Banh Mi:
– 6/16 through 8/24: Thursday Night Windsor Farmer’s Market
– Starting in June, first and third Saturdays: Santa Rosa Farmer’s Market (veteran’s building)