chickenfeet: (Default)
I had a bit of an urge to cook Thai again, or at least to be a bit more sophisticated than making a batch of pork with basil and chillis for the freezer. So I did. Last night we had:

Salad of green mango and shrimp
Pork stirfried with long beans and roasted chilli paste
Choo chee curry of tofu
Steamed gai lan with oyster sauce
Nam prik kapi with fresh and pickled vegetables
Rice

I couldn't be bothered to make a soup as well.

Tofu is a good choice for a choo chee curry. It's normal to use fish or seafood but the curry rather tends to overwhelm the seafood flavour and it ends up being mostly about texture. Firm tofu provided that quite well. Pickled garlic goes very well with this curry.
chickenfeet: (fishy)
Last night I decided to cook the classic Issan combo; grilled chicken, papaya salad and sticky rice.

Grilled chicken

Pound lemongrass, garlic, coriander root and white pepper to a paste. Rub it over the chicken (whole, parts or boneless chunks). Marinade for at least two hours. Grill, preferably over charcoal but whatever. Serve with sweet chilli sauce and/or Jaew.

Papaya salad

Peel, seed and shred one unripe papaya. In a mortar and pestle bash 5-10 bird's eye chillis, 4 or 5 cloves of garlic and a few coriander roots. Take two pieces of fermented fish (this is the Issan bit) and bring to the boil with 125ml of water. Simmer until the fish has dissolved then strain, reserving the liquid. (Have extractor fan on full blast and dispose of the strained fish solids rapidly. This stuff could be used for chemical warfare). Halve 8 or so cherry tomatoes and cut 3 or 4 long beans into 2.5cm pieces. Add the chilli/garlic paste, tomatoes and beans to the papaya and mix well. Now add some of the fish liquor and some lime juice to the salad and mix thoroughly, ideally pounding it a bit to blend the flavours. Keep adding, mixing and pounding until the salad is to your taste. It should be quite spicy, pungent, slightly salty and slightly sour.

Serve the chicken and salad with steamed sticky and a plate of raw herbs and veggies. When I had this kind of chicken in Thailand it usually came with white cabbage and cilantro. Last night we had sweet red pepper, black radish, long beans, cilantro and white turmeric.

For a non-Issan variant on this, serve jasmine rice rather than sticky rice. For the salad, use fish sauce instead off the fermented fish liquor, add a little palm sugar and some dried shrimps (or salted rice field crabs if feeling brave). Crushed peanuts may also be added.

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] gastrogasm
chickenfeet: (fishy)
I've been trying to pluck up courage to experiment with a staple of northeastern Thai food, Bplah Daek, otherwise known as fermented mudfish or gourami. Basically, it's boneless chunks of freshwater fish, salted and fermented. One buys it in jars at the Asian grocery stores.

Today I bought some and made a batch of Jaew, the northeastern version of Nam Prik Kapi. This is what you do:

Peel 4 shallots, 4 cloves of garlic and a piece of galalangal. Peel and chop a stalk of lemongrass. Cut the stalks off 6 bird's eye chilis. Roast this lot in the oven at 375F for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile put two pieces of mudfish and 250ml of water in a pan, bring to the boil and reduce by half.

Let everything cool a bit then chuck it in the food processor with 60 ml of fish sauce and 60ml of tamarind water. Grind it all to a thin paste.

Use it as a condiment with any Thai meal and/or as a dip for raw veggies or herbs, fried fish etc.

It is quite intense though no more so than Nam Prik Kapi. It has something in common with fermented beancurd or a washed rind cheese.

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] gastrogasm

Pad Se-Lew

Mar. 16th, 2007 11:44 am
chickenfeet: (fishy)
I was in the mood for noodles last night and I'd just acquired a new Thai cookbook; The Best of Regional Thai Cuisine by Chat Mingkwan, so I made one of her recipes, Pad Se-lew.

1/2 pound beef sirloin cut in strips and marinaded in 1T light soy, 1T oyster sauce, 1T granulated sugar, 1/2t salt, 1t ground white pepper.

1 pound fresh wide rice noodles or 8oz dried rice noodles soaked in hot water until pliable (what I had so what I cooked)

2 cups sliced gai lan or other greens (I used baby bok choy because I had it)

2T dark soy sauce
2T minced garlic
1T light soy sauce
1T fish sauce
1T granulated sugar
2 eggs beaten
1/2t ground white pepper

Heat 2T oil in a wok and add noodles and the dark soy. Stir until evenly coated and set aside.

Heat 2T more oil and stirfry the garlic until fragrant. Add the beef and cook until almost done. Add the greens, the light soy, fish sauce and sugar. Stirfry for a couple of minutes. Scramble the eggs in the bottom of the wok. Add the noodles and cook until everything is hot again. Sprinkle with the pepper.

Serve with chilis in vinegar, fish sauce, chili flakes and sugar as condiments.

It was really good.

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] gastrogasm
chickenfeet: (fishy)
More freezer stocking and laying in lunch and dinner supplies for during the week. Yesterday I made a big vat of Massaman curry. I also made a salad of shrimp and pomelo with lots of basil and mint in it. I steamed a Tilapia with garlic, lots of chillis and lime juice. Tilapia was perhaps a bit gelatinous for this recipe (red snapper would be excellent) but there was a real chilli endorphin rush. I also stirfried some amaranth with salted soy beans. Those four dishes and rice made up last night's dinner.

At the same time I was working on that lot I made some roasted chilli paste. Normally I buy this ready made but I haven't seen any anywhere recently. I have to say, I'm impressed with the home made result. It's a bit of a performance, involving drying shallot and garlic and then deep frying the slices. These are pureed with shrimp paste, dry roasted dry shrimp, galangal, tamarind and palm sugar and lots of roasted dried chillis. The paste is then fried again in the oil from cooking the shallots and garlic until a super fragrant oily, mahogany coloured paste results.

I also made a slab of crispy roast belly pork.

Tonight we'll have the curry and salad again (there is lots) but I'll make an extra dish by stirfrying long beans with slices of the crispy pork and some of the roasted chilli paste. Through the week I'll probably add a few more dishes as I've got tons of herbs and chillis to use up.

crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] gastrogasm
chickenfeet: (fishy)
So pork is dull and boring says one ongoing thread on LJ. Herewith then one of my favourite Thai curries. This is one of few Thai curries not including coconut milk that I really like. This is the recipe I pinched from Madhur Jaffrey and it's very good. I've seen other versions that may well be more authentic. See after the recipe.

Gaeng Hang Lae

Ingredients
For the curry paste:
3-8 dried hot red chillies, depending on hotness required
2cm cube fresh or 5 slices dried galangal or 2cm fresh ginger
2 sticks fresh or 2 tbsp dried sliced lemongrass
90g shallots or onions
10 large cloves garlic
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
2tsp ground cumin seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
You also need:
875g boneless pork, cut into 4cm cubes
1½tbsp Japanese soy sauce (shoyu) (or use dark Chinese soy)
3 x 2.5cm cubes fresh ginger
10-12 shallots or small pickling onions
10-15 small cloves garlic
2 or more tbsp tamarind paste or lemon juice
2 or more tbsp dark brown sugar
salt

Method
1. First make the curry paste. Put 250ml water into a small bowl and crumble the dried red chillies into it. If using dried galangal and dried lemongrass, add them to the water as well. Leave the dried ingredients to soak for 30 minutes.
2. If you are using fresh galangal or ginger, peel and coarsely chop it. If you are using fresh lemongrass cut it into very fine slices crossways, starting from the bottom and going up the stalk about 15cm, discard the strawlike top. Peel the shallots and garlic and chop them coarsely.
3. When the dry seasonings have finished soaking, put them with their soaking liquid and all the other ingredients for the curry paste into an electric blender. If you are using fresh galangal or ginger or fresh lemongrass, add them to the blender now. Blend until smooth. This curry paste may be made ahead of time and even frozen.
4. Next combine the pork, curry paste and soy sauce in a bowl and marinate for 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, peel the ginger and cut it into very thin slices. Stack a few slices at a time together and cut them into matchstick strips. Peel the shallots and the garlic, leaving them whole.
6. Put the pork and its marinade into a wide, heavy, preferably non-stick pan, set it over a medium-low heat and bring it to a simmer. Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes or until the meat starts to release its fat. Turn the heat to medium-high. Stir and fry for about 10 minutes or until the spice mixture begins to dry out and brown.
7. Now add 450ml water, the ginger strips, the whole shallots and the whole cloves of garlic. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the meat is tender.
8. Add the tamarind paste or lemon juice and brown sugar. Mix and taste, adding more of each if you think you need it. Add salt if desired. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to allow the flavours to develop and mingle. Serve.

My alternative recipe includes cassia bark and star anise in the curry paste. It also uses a mixture of belly pork (with skin) and blade (with bone) which sounds far more Chiang Mai style than lean boneless chunks. Further, the shallots are chopped and the whole garlic cloves are replaced with pickled garlic.

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] gastrogasm
chickenfeet: (Default)
OK. Last couple of days I've posted recipes for what I would consider mainstream Thai dishes. One might easily find something very similar on a restaurant menu in the West. The following recipe is a bit different. It's for a relish or condiment called Nam Prik Kapi and it's something you see a lot in Thailand, and there a myriad of variations. This is one is pretty basic. Nam priks are served with a platter of raw vegetables and sprigs of herbs alongside the rice and other dishes. One takes a spoonful of rice(1), a dab of the nam prik and some veggie and that makes a mouthful. It can also be mixed into warm cooked rice and eaten with some veggies as a breakfast or snack. This stuff is potent and a bit of an acquired taste but quite addictive!

Nam Prik Kapi

2 tbsp kapi(2), roasted (wrap it in foil and heat directly on the burner, turning frequently - have the extractor fan on its highest setting!)
1 tbsp dried shrimp
3 cloves garlic
5-10 thai chillies (red or green), stemmed
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice

Crush the solids in a mortar or pestle or pulverise in the food processor. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice. Let sit for a bit before serving to let the flavours blend. It should be hot, salty, pungent and slightly sour. Adjust the fish sauce and lime juice if necessary.

fn1: This is much easier if one eats with a spoon in one's right hand and a fork in the left, as the Thais do. Don't ask me where the idea that Thai food should be eaten with chopsticks originates. Chopsticks, in Thailand, are for noodles.

fn2: kapi is essentially the the same as the Malay or Indonesian belachan which may be easier to find.

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] gastrogasm
chickenfeet: (fishy)
This is a fairly typical Thai salad. IMO just about any Thai meal should include a salad (yam)or a larp.

Yam Som Oo

Pulp from a large pomelo (could use grapefruit I guess but would be wetter/softer)
3 tbsp shredded, roasted coconut
2 cloves garlic sliced and deep fried (or use the pre cooked ones or just chop the stuff)
3 red shallots sliced and deep fried or not - see above
1 tbsp coarsely ground roasted peanuts
2-5 fresh red or green Thai chillies finely sliced
4-6 mint leaves torn (or substitute any kind of basil)
2 tbsp cilantro leaves
100g cooked shelled shrimp (optional)
50g steamed and julienned pork (optional)

Dressing:
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar
1 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp chilli jam (sold in Asian markets as 'Roasted Chilli Paste')
2 tbsp coconut cream

Mix the dressing making sure it tastes salty and sweet and not too sour.

Toss everything together and serve on a large platter with other dishes and rice.

I used store bought deep fried garlic and shallot and didn't include the shrimp or prawns and it was still very good.

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] gastrogasm
chickenfeet: (fishy)
I often criticise the way Thai food is presented in restaurants in the West. So to be more positive here are a few quotes from one of my favourite Thai cookbooks, David Thompson Classic Thai Cuisine.

Usually only one main meal is eaten a day, and this is always accompanied by rice. Everything else Thais eat is either snacks or noodles.

Noodles are traditionally eaten at lunchtime or when one is in a rush or eating alone. They are one of the few foods that are not shared and they are always served with condiments - kreuang brung - that enable the noodles to be seasoned as desired.

A proper meal is inconceivable without [rice]. All other dishes, curries, salads, whatever else are on the table, are called gap khao, with rice. All wet dishes serve to dress and moisten the rice, making it more palatable. All dry dishes add texture, making it more interesting. It is, however, the rice that is being consumed, that is the sustenance. Any other dish, however attractive and delicious, merely acts as a condiment. In a Thai meal, the normal proportion of rice to other dishes is 3:2.

A Thai meal is not just a combination of textures and flavours within one dish, but a compilation of all the dishes to be served. There should be no duplication or repetition, but a balance. Not every dish should be served hot, nor should there be too many curries. Complex dishes should be accompanied by simpler ones so that the palate is not overwhelmed or cloyed. This is indicative of the manner in which Thais approach their food: different contrasting flavours, combined with variously textured garnishes that are then blended with rice. It is the compilation of so many small but powerfully flavoured dishes that entertain the palate and avoid tedious repetition.

No meal is considered complete without the inclusion of either a Nam Prik or a Lon...Nam Priks are always pungent, redolent of roasted kapi (shrimp paste) and hot.... Lons are a much gentler food - pork and prawns for example, simmered in coconut cream, then seasoned with tamarind water, palm sugar and fish sauce. These dips or relishes are always eaten with vegetables - raw, blanched or battered and deep fried - that are normally cut into bite-sized pieces.


X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] gastrogasm

By request

Oct. 12th, 2006 08:44 am
chickenfeet: (fishy)
[livejournal.com profile] fortunatecave wanted recipes so here's the pick of Tuesday's dinner.

Gkoong Dtom Gkati Kamin

1 large stalk lemongrass
250ml coconut milk
10ml peeled and crushed fresh turmeric
4 Thai chillies - crushed
+/-30ml tamariund juice
Palm sugar
salt
350g medium shrimp - peeled, deveined and butterflied
1 shallot chopped fine
3 red or orange serranos or jalapenos cut into slivers
4 kaffir lime leaves cut into slivers

1. Trim the lemon grass and cut on the angle into longish thin ovals.

2. Bring coconut milk to a boil. Add turmeric, crushed chillies and lemon grass. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes. Season to taste with tamarind, salt and sugar.

3. Increase heat and add shrimp, shallot and 2/3 of the chilli slivers. Cook gently until shrimp are done. Stir in half of the kaffir lime leaves and transfer to serving dish.

4. Garnish with reserved chilli and lime slivers.
chickenfeet: (fishy)
See previous post.

Shrimps with turmeric and coconut sauce. This was wonderful. Rich, mellow, fragrant, fabulous colour. Using serrano chillis was a big plus.

Yellow veg curry. A bit dull. I've found that with other stock based Thai curries.

Pomelo salad. I liked this one. It had a chilli jam and coconut cream dressing that really enhanced the pomelo and roasted coconut in the salad.

Hot and sweet fish sauce with veggies. Quite good. I could have used more oomph but the lemur liked it.

Squid steamed with chilli and lime. Quite good. The squid were on the large size and it might have been better with smaller, more delicate ones.

Mystery greens (might have been Siamese watercress, not sure) stirfried with garlic, chillis, yellow beans and oyster sauce. This is a staple veggie dish for Thai meals around here. It's always good pretty much whatever greens are used.

There is now a ton of stuff in the freezer!

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] gastrogasm

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