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Thai Recipes

14 February 2008

Gai Bai Toey: Pandan Chicken

Thai-Pandan-Chicken

In my last post, I wrote about my third time lucky successful attempt at a Thai-inspired soufflé using coconut milk and pandan leaves.

I happened to have a few leaves left over so I made another Thai favourite: Gai Bai Toey, which are marinated chicken pieces wrapped in the leaves and then deep fried for several minutes. I have to say, it was some of the tastiest chicken I have ever eaten. The trick is to marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours.

The leaves are wrapped around the chicken just before frying where they protect the meat from being overcooked and infuse it with the wonderful pandan aroma. The delicately thin leaves are surprisingly hardy and can withstand being tied in a knot and then deep-fried.

Don't be put off by the fact that they're deep-fried: the pandan leaves seem to save the chicken from being oily. The meat is succulent and tender with just the right amount of crispiness on the outside.

Tying the leaves around the chicken can be a bit tricky but because the leaves are so hardy, if you make a mistake, you can try again and again without fear of tearing them. Just make sure that most of the meat is enclosed in a little parcel.

This recipe is an excellent appetizer to serve at parties to wow your guests but they have to be ok with using their fingers a little! They won't be disappointed. 

Continue reading "Gai Bai Toey: Pandan Chicken" »

06 February 2008

Pandan Soufflé -- a soufflé with a Thai twist

Pandan-Souffle

Over the past few weeks I have been attempting to make a soufflé. Let’s just say that each time has been miserable in its own special way.

The first recipe I used omitted the flour resulting in a rocket of egg whites, at first so promising and then so demoralizing, when it grew as tall as a chef’s hat and then proceeded to fall from that great height.

In my second attempt, the soufflé failed to rise at all. In fact, it looked like a shriveled up little toad. I must admit though, it was a delicious little toad. But that’s not the point: because it looked awful and so I cried.

Anyway, I finally plucked up the courage to try my hand again, and, as the saying goes: third time lucky.

I decided to do something a little different – to give my soufflé a twist, a Thai twist. Some of the most common ingredients found in Thai desserts include coconut milk, palm sugar and the deliciously fragrant Pandanus leaves, known in Thai as Bai Toey.

Pandanus leaves are very versatile. They are used to not only flavour desserts but savory dishes as well. They are often folded like origami to make little containers for the desserts. They are used to flavour iced water and for their natural green food coloring. And, because they smell so good, they are even used as air fresheners in taxi cabs!

The combining of coconut milk with pandanus leaves is a perfect alchemy. Their combination adds a fragrant complexity whenever they appear together.

Pandan-Essence-3

So, there you have it: a soufflé Thai-style. It was delicate, subtle and delicious. The only thing I would change next time would be to add a little more palm sugar. I used three tablespoons, next time I will use four. I also think this recipe would be even better with duck eggs but I can't seem to find them in Vancouver. Duck eggs, which also feature largely in Thai custard desserts, are much richer than chicken eggs.

I was lucky enough to buy a whole bunch of the fresh pandanus leaves from the South China Seas Trading Co however they always carry frozen packets as well.

Now that I know I have an endless supply of the leaves, I have been giddy with all the coconut-pandanus possibilities. Coconut-pandanus pie, coconut-pandanus crème brulee, coconut-pandanus cheese cake, coconut-pandanus gelato – it’s endless. If any of these should emerge from my kitchen, I shall be sure to let you know.

I am submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted this week by Ulrike from the blog Küchenlatein.

Weekend Herb Blogging 

Continue reading "Pandan Soufflé -- a soufflé with a Thai twist" »

30 January 2008

Satay Nuea: the perfect beer snack

Beef_satay

Satay Nuea, otherwise known as beef satay, is my idea of the perfect beer snack. Found on many a street corner in Bangkok, the smell of satay barbecuing over hot coals is everywhere. The only difference is that the satay is more often pork than beef.

Satay is thought to have originated in Indonesia but it is widely eaten across South-East Asia. Thais tend to serve it with satay sauce made from fresh peanuts and another dipping sauce made up of vinegar, cucumber, red chilis, shallots and sugar.

This time round, I didn't make the second dipping sauce and chose instead to serve the satay sauce with a side of shallots and cucumbers - just as delicious. The shallots add a real kick to the flavours but not too much as to mask the fragrant meat which had been marinated in coconut milk, coriander and curry powder for several hours.

I kind of cheated with the satay sauce - I used peanut butter instead of fresh peanuts in the recipe. Oh well, why not when I have a massive jar of it just sitting in the pantry screaming out to be eaten!

If you have a barbecue to cook the satay then great but not to worry if you don't - the stove will work just as well. Try to use a heavy-based griddle pan if possible as this just helps with cooking meat evenly.

I am submitting Satay Nuea to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging being hosted by Claudia of Fool For Food.

Weekend Herb Blogging

Continue reading " Satay Nuea: the perfect beer snack" »

14 December 2007

Black Sticky Rice Pudding

Kao_niew1_s

Kao Niew Dum is black Sticky rice which is eaten in Thailand and Southeast Asia as a sweet snack. The nutty wholegrain rice is encased in a deep purple husk which contains a type of antioxidant called an Anthocyanin. White sticky rice is a different strain from black sticky rice. You cannot polish the husk off the latter and expect to find a white grain. The grain is much lighter than the deep purple husk, but it's certainly not white.   

Kao Niew Dum is most often steamed and then mixed with sweetened and salted coconut milk. Because of its rich flavour, black sticky rice is not usually accompanied by fruit (unlike white sweet sticky rice). Instead, its flavour is enhanced by a garnish of toasted sesame seeds or shredded coconut.

I always make the Black Sticky Rice Pudding from Kasma Loha-Unchit's recipe.

I do also love to eat Kao Niew Dum when it is served with a Thai dessert called Lod Chong. This particular dessert, which I have only ever eaten in Thailand, does not look that appealing but it tastes fantastic. It consists of green rice flour noodles that are flavoured with pandan and served with black sticky rice, crushed ice and a delicious sweet syrup. The syrup is made from coconut milk that has been boiled with palm sugar. It is heavenly, especially after eating a particularly spicy Thai meal.

Rochong

I am submitting this post to Sugar High Friday's The Proof is in the Pudding which is being hosted by Kochtopf.

Continue reading "Black Sticky Rice Pudding" »

13 November 2007

Thai in Ten: Hoi Lai Pad Prik

Thaibasilclams1

Hoi Pad Prik translates to Fried Clams with Roasted Chili Paste. I use the Mae Pranom brand of paste which I picked up in Thailand recently. It contains vegetable oil, dried shrimp, dried chili, onion, garlic, tamarind, sugar and salt. The paste can sometimes be labeled in English as 'Chili paste in soy bean oil'.

Roasted_chili_paste

If you can't find it, don't fear! Up until I got hold of the Mae Pranom brand, I used a Chinese dried chili oil paste, which worked just as well and is easier to find.

It is really important though to cook the clams over a hot flame so I always use our portable gas cooker for this dish.

This recipe is so simple to make and literally takes only a couple of minutes to cook. Even on these colder days, it's fun to slurp up the clams, beer in hand, sauce on chin and pretend we're at the beach in Thailand.

Continue reading "Thai in Ten: Hoi Lai Pad Prik" »

07 November 2007

Thai Red Duck Curry

Duck_curry_5

I recently made this Thai Red Duck Curry to warm us up on a chilly Sunday evening. I always think duck meat is best complimented with something sweet like plums, honey or, as in this case, lychees and pineapple. These fruits really add layers of flavour to the curry. Canned lychees are ok for this recipe but it is important to use fresh pineapple to take full advantage of its tropical tartness. Canned pineapple doesn't work because its sweetness isn't balanced by any acidity.

It is also really important to try and use Thai Basil in this recipe as it has a stronger flavour than other sweet basils and a faint licorice essence.   

I kind of cheated with the duck. I didn't cook it myself. Why bother when Chinatown is five minutes away with hundreds of freshly barbecued ducks for sale!

This week I will submit this recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted this week by The Expatriate Chef from The Expatriate's Kitchen

aaWeekendHerbBlogging   

Continue reading "Thai Red Duck Curry" »

15 October 2007

Kao Thom: soup for sickies

Soupy_rice_condiments 

Kao Thom with tasty, tender pork meatballs is the perfect 'I'm feeling sorry for myself' food. It is comfort food. And, it is the only thing I eat when I have a bad cold. What's more, it is very easy to make which is what you need when you're not feeling so crash hot. Most importantly, it is absolutely delicious. So delicious, that when I eat it, I forget I am sick.

Kao Thom is a Thai breakfast staple that is actually eaten at any time of the day. Another similar breakfast dish is called Johk which has more of a porridge-like consistency like Congee.

The standard condiments that are always served with Kao Thom include slivers of fresh ginger, a handful of Chinese celery leaves (normal celery leaves will do), crispy fried pieces of garlic and red chillies in vinegar sauce, otherwise known as Naam Som.

Condiments

Kao Thom with Pork Meatballs Recipe
(Serves 4)

Soup

5 cups of organic chicken stock
2 cups of cooked white rice
1/4 tsp of Chinese White Pepper
2 tbs of Thai fish sauce
1.5 tbs of light soy sauce (I use Thai Healthy Boy brand)

Pork Meatballs

450gms of lean ground pork
2 tbs of grated ginger
3 cloves of grated garlic
1/2 tbs of fish sauce
1/2 tbs of light soy sauce
A dash of Chinese white pepper

Condiments

6 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
2 tbs of vegetable oil
Slivers of fresh ginger
Chinese celery leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbs of white vinegar
1 red chili, sliced with most of the seeds removed

Method:

  1. In a large pot, heat the chicken stock on a medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add fish sauce, soy sauce and white pepper to the stock. Stir well and reduce heat to low and cover.
  3. Now for the meatballs. Mix together all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Once the ingredients are mixed though, roll small meatballs that are about 2cm in diameter. Set aside on a plate.
  5. Time for the condiments. Heat the vegetable oil in a small fry pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic slices and fry until crispy and golden brown but not burnt. Drain the garlic and set aside.
  6. Add the chili and vinegar to a small serving bowl and set aside.
  7. Arrange the the ginger in a small serving bowl. Add the celery leaves to a small serving bowl. Set aside.   
  8. Uncover the soup and turn the heat up to a medium high heat. When the soup starts to simmer, add the meatballs. Cook the meatballs for about 3-4 minutes or until they rise to the top which means they are ready.
  9. The final stage in preparation for this recipe is to spoon about a cup of cooked rice into a soup bowl. Ladle on the soup and meatballs and then garnish with prepared condiments.

11 October 2007

Thanksgiving with a Thai twist

Pumpkin_top_2

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists in Massachusetts held large celebration as a show of thanks for the bountiful Autumn Harvest. It is believed that the feast was shared with the Wampanoag Indians, who may have played a large part in helping the colonists survive the harsh new landscape.

So what exactly was served at this Thanksgiving feast? Dishes that commonly adorn the table today such as pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and turkey didn't even exist until much later on. The only documented account of what was served on the day was found in a journal entry of Edward Winslow, a Mayflower pilgrim and eventually Governor of Plymouth. His entry told of large amounts of venison and wild fowl on the menu.

It is believed that other available food sources at the time included seal, eagles, lobster, pumpkins and beans, amongst other things.

So this year, I wanted to add a twist to our Thanksgiving lunch (and seal and eagles were out of the question), so we decided to serve our pumpkin pie Thai Style. In fact, it wasn't really a pie at all but more like a pumpkin with custard in it.

Steamed_pumpkin_custard

The traditional Thai dessert is so easy to make! It's known as Sangkhaya Fakthong is usually made with duck eggs which make the custard more dense and rich. However, after scouring Chinatown for a few duck eggs, I finally gave in and used chicken eggs. Apprently ducks around here only lay eggs of the salted or preserved kind.

The custard mixture is very simple. It is first mixed and then poured into an empty pumpkin shell. The pumpkin is then steamed for about 30-40 minutes and then chilled for several hours. Once set, the pumpkin is sliced and served. The delicate, sweetness of the custard is complemented by the earthy sweetness of the pumpkin.

Steamed Pumpkin Custard Recipe
(Serves 4)

5 large eggs
1 cup of coconut cream
1 cup of loose palm sugar
2 small Japanese pumpkins or squash

Method:

  1. Gently cut the top of the pumpkin or squash. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits and set aside. Keep the tops for covering.
  2. Combine the eggs with the coconut cream and palm sugar. Beat on a medium speed until frothy.
  3. Pour the coconut mixture into the pumpkin shells and cover them with the tops.
  4. Gently place pumpkins in the steamer. Cover with a lid and steam for about 30-35 minutes.
  5. Once the custard has set, remove the pumpkin from the steamer and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
  6. Finally, place the pumpkin in the fridge for about 1-2 hours.
  7. Serve chilled.

Arroy dee!

18 August 2007

Pla Meuk Tod Gratiem: Thai Garlic Pepper Calamari

Pla_meuk_tod_gatiemc

This was my first attempt at cooking squid. I have always been worried about over-cooking it so I have stayed away. However, after making this recipe, my worries vanished. The calamari was tender and succulent with the moist flesh coated in the delicious crunch of the golden garlic.

The recipe took 10 minutes to make and 3 minutes to completely demolish, it was so good.   

Calamari_prep

Pla Meuk Tod Gratiem Recipe

3 medium squid bodies, cleaned
3 tbs of fish sauce
1 tsp of ground white pepper
10-15 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs of tapioca starch
1 tbs of unbleached flour
3 cups of peanut oil
A handful of coriander to garnish
Sriracha Sauce (a popular Thai chili sauce) for dipping

Method:

  1. Wash the squid body well. It will be very slippery so hold on to it tightly. Pat dry well with a paper towel.
  2. Slice the squid to make calamari rings around 2cm wide.
  3. Place in a bowl and cover in fish sauce. Set aside for about 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, mince the garlic. Set aside.
  5. Mix the tapioca starch and flour in a bowl with the pepper.
  6. Drain the calamari rings of fish sauce, and dredge evenly in the flour and pepper mixture and then the garlic.
  7. When you're ready to fry the calamari, heat the oil to a medium high heat in a wok.
  8. Test the oil by dropping in a piece of garlic. It should sizzle and not burn. Watch out for hot spitting oil!
  9. Gently add about 4 calamari rings, one at a time, into the hot oil with a either a large slotted spoon or chopsticks.
  10. Fry the calamari for up to one minute or until the garlic turns a golden colour. Once the rings are ready, remove them with a slotted spoon and place gently on paper towels.
  11. Remove the pieces of garlic floating in the oil before the next batch of calamari goes in.
  12. Once the calamari is ready, serve on a plate and garnish with the coriander and serve with Sriracha sauce.

31 July 2007

Crying Tiger

Seua_rong_hai_2

Crying Tiger, a Thai dish otherwise known as Seua Rong Hai is sliced barbecued beef accompanied by a Nam Jim dipping sauce of which there are several different variations. The name 'Crying Tiger' is thought to be attributed to the small yet extremely potent red bird chilis in the sauce that are hot enough to bring tears to a tiger's eyes. The particular Nam Jim I prepared consisted of toasted rice powder which gives the sauce a nutty taste.

The meat used in this dish should always have a thin layer of fat on it, which when flamed grilled, adds to its smokey and delicious flavour.

Continue reading "Crying Tiger" »

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