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Main | July 2007 »

June 2007

30 June 2007

Sockeye Salmon with Naam Jim Sauce


Thais have long had a gift for the fusing of salty, sweet, sour and spicy sensations. An example of this mouthwatering fusion is Naam Jim sauce.

Naam Jim pairs well with just about any meat but is especially complimentary with seafood. I spent many a weekend in Hua Hin as a child peeling prawns and smothering them in Naam Jim, and still do. this time however I paired the sauce with poached Wild Sockeye salmon. The result was a sublime combination of the rich and succulent Sockeye with the power-packed Naam Jim.

While on the subject of salmon, I should note that Copper River Sockeye is the fish god's gift to Alaska. Copper River salmon have a large store of natural oils and fat that allow them to thrive in the cold waters. These characteristics result not only in a very tasty fish but also a healthy dose of Omega 3.


1 Wild Salmon Filet
1 Stalk of Lemongrass
1 tbs Naam Pla (fish sauce) - I use Squid brand fish sauce
1 cup Rice

Naam Jim Sauce

4 tbs Naam Pla (Fish Sauce)
3-4 Limes
2 Bird Chilies
3 Garlic Cloves
2 tbs Palm Sugar
1 1/2 tsp of Coriander Stems

1. First thing to do is to cook your rice. I use my beloved new rice cooker which produces perfect rice each time.
2. Wash the rice and then add 2 cups of water. Cook.
3. Squeeze the limes and add the juice to the Naam Pla sauce.
4. Mince the chilies. You may want to remove the seeds if you don't want the sauce to be too spicy. Don't rub your eyes whatever you do! Add the chilies to the sauce.
5. Mince the garlic and coriander stems and add them to the sauce.
6. Add the palm sugar to the sauce mixture and stir. Taste and decide if you need more spicy, sweet, salty or sour. Adjust to your liking.

Poached Salmon

1. Bring about 2-3 cups of water to the boil. The amount depends on how much salmon you are cooking. You are just going to poach the fish so you don't want to cover it completely in water.
2. Cut the lemongrass stalk in half and add it to the pot with 1 tbs of Naam Pla to salt the water. Cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to low.
3.Cut the salmon into generous chunks (7cm x 4cm).
4. Add the salmon to the pot and cover. Cook gently for about 10-15 minutes depending on how you like your fish.
5. Once cooked, remove the fish with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. Spoon the Naam Jim sauce over it and serve with rice.

Arroy Dee!

29 June 2007

Thai Beef and Bamboo Shoot Curry


This simple yet always filling Thai red curry consists of ground beef, bamboo shoots and Thai basil. I often plan to make it if I know I am going to be home late and need to whip something up quickly. And in that case, I use canned bamboo shoots instead of fresh ones. To be honest, the canned version taste just as good and manage to retain their fantastic crunch. The beef can be substituted with chicken or pork but I find beef makes it a little more hearty. The recipe is from the comprehensive Thai Table website.

Continue reading "Thai Beef and Bamboo Shoot Curry" »

Lebanese Chicken Skewers (Shish Tahouk) with Garlic Sauce and Tabouleh


One of the restaurants I miss most in Sydney is Fatimas Lebanese restaurant on Cleveland Street, Surry Hills. A dark and narrow little place in need of some fresh paint, Fatimas is the spot to head at 3am for some late night nourishment. Actually, head there any time of day for fresh and delicious BBQ'd chicken skewers or lamb koftas. But what makes this place special is not just the succulent meats but the heavenly garlic sauce. It is simply spectacular and I think about it often! I don't know what they put in it as I have tried to replicate the secret recipe to no avail.

Fatimas also makes the best falafels in town - plump, golden and garlickly, served with a side of pickled jalapenos and radishes.

So that leads me to Thursday night's dinner...Chicken and Lamb Souvlaki skewers served with my version of the garlic sauce, Tabouleh and flat bread. Yes, there was some greek in there with the Souvlaki and that is because this time I actually cheated and bought the skewers from my local butcher as I didn't have time to marinate the meats. I buy my whole wheat flat bread from a fantastic Iranian shop near my apartment. The bread costs a mere 59c!

There is just one more thing before the recipe...you might smell a bit garlicky for a little while. Not too long..really, just a few days.

Continue reading "Lebanese Chicken Skewers (Shish Tahouk) with Garlic Sauce and Tabouleh" »

27 June 2007

What shall we eat tonight? Masoor Daal.


Up until the past year the question 'what shall we eat tonight' was a common and strangely irritating one in our household.

Trying to decide what to cook after a long day at work became unnecessarily stressful and often quite volatile. That being said, the stress was largely due to me becoming a real dragon when I am hungry.

That was until my partner Nic suggested planning a menu each week. At first I was quite opposed to the idea, believing that it would make our lives dull and regimented. Not so! In fact, it has had the opposite effect.

Gone are the days of scrambling to rustle up something for dinner and we actually we eat better than ever.

Each Sunday we write the menu and prepare the shopping list. The menu only covers Sunday through to Thursday which allows us a bit more creativity on the weekends. Of course the menu is not always adhered to, if we go out for dinner, but it at least gives us a guide.

One of the dishes on the menu last week was Masoor Daal and Basmati Rice. Masoor Daal,otherwise known as Red Daal, makes me happy. It is so easy to cook and it makes my mouth water. Red Daal doesn't require soaking so it makes an excellent quick and healthy meal.

Continue reading "What shall we eat tonight? Masoor Daal. " »

26 June 2007

Pantry Essentials - The List

A few months ago I helped a girlfriend back in Sydney 'build' a pantry. Having just moved out of home, and thus, away from mum's cooking, she had to start with an empty cupboard. So, I put together list of the basic essentials and fired it off in an email to her. I believe she is half way there. It can be an expensive business to start from scratch but if you just add to your collection bit by bit then your purse strings won't notice it.

The list that you are about to read is a lot more detailed than what I sent my friend. The list details MY Pantry Essentials but there are some good basics in there to start with. I have marked the beginner esstentials with an asterisk.



  • Bay Leaves*
  • Black Peppercorns*
  • Cardamon seeds and ground
  • Cayenne*
  • Chilli Flakes*
  • Cinnamon sticks and ground
  • Cloves
  • Corinader seeds
  • Cumin seeds and ground
  • Curry powder (I have madras)*
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Garam Masala
  • Paprika*
  • Saffron
  • Salt (Natural Sea Salt)*
  • Tumeric
  • Yellow Mustard Seeds

Dried Herbs

  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary*
  • Savoury
  • Thyme*

We have recently started growing fresh herbs on the windowsill...not as good as a garden but it does the job, very well in fact, and I won't deny that I was quite excited by the new born Tiny Tim Tomatoes. Some of the herbs we are growing include:

Fresh Herbs

  • Chives
  • Coriander
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Thai Basil
  • Thyme
  • Sweet Basil


Pantry Essentials Continued...

  • Anchovies
  • Baking Powder*
  • Baking Soda*
  • Canned Tomatoes* (try getting a good quality brand like San Marzano)
  • Chinese Red Wine Vinegar
  • Coconut Milk*
  • Corn Starch*
  • Curry Pastes (Green, Red and Yellow)
  • Fish Sauce (Squid Brand)
  • Flour (I use unbleached)
  • Good quality olive oil for salads and things
  • Maggi Sauce (Great on a fried egg 'Thai' Style)
  • Mirin
  • Mustard (English, Dijon, Seed)*
  • Japanese Chilli Pepper flakes
  • Oil (Vegetable, Canola and Sesame)*
  • Organic Chicken Stock & Bouillon*
  • Organic Beef Stock & Bouillon
  • Organic Vegetable Stock & Bouillon*
  • Pasta*
  • Pure Vanilla Extract*
  • Rice (Basmati*, Jasmine, Japanese, Wild)
  • Sugar (white*, brown, raw cane*, Palm)
  • Soy Sauce*
  • Tabasco*
  • Tinned tuna and salmon*
  • Vegemite*
  • Wasabi
  • Worcestershire
  • White truffle oil
  • White Vinegar*

Ok, enough for now. These ingredients allow us to cook all types of cuisines from Thai, Japanese, Italian to Morrocan, so that's a good start. Plus, I don't have any more room in the pantry for anything else! 

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