A Gift from My Thai Kitchen
Creating a homemade gift is a wonderful way to express your heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your friends, families or associates. Every year I like to come up with something from my kitchen that will interest the recipients and be easy for them to love, such as curry paste, chutney, chili jam or seasoning salt—there are plenty of ideas.
This year it works out well for me to choose an old project—making a rice pilaf mix. This is something that I did with my son’s fourth grade classmates as a parent volunteer project, though this time my rice mix recipe is reconstructed from two favorite Thai rice dishes. You may recognize Thai Yellow Curry Fried Rice with Pineapple (Kao Phad Sapparos) and my favorite Southern dish, Phuket Chicken Baryani Rice (Kao Mok Gai). I trust that you will enjoy this versatile recipe often. My plan is to give the rice mix as a gift to friends and family, but it also makes a good side dish combined with leftover turkey. Right after Thanksgiving will be a great time for you to try out the recipe before making up the mix to give as a gift.
The rice dish made from the mix can also be called a rice pilaf, a traditional Persian dish, as I applied the science of baking rice in the oven instead of using the traditional Thai method of preparing it in a rice cooker or steamer. The recipe below has so much potential that you can add any vegetable you desire, just like in a rice pilaf. Following an American Holiday theme I use craisins instead of pineapple or raisins, which will be fun cooked with leftover turkey or served as a side dish with turkey. So make it fun and be creative with your own accent. I hope you have a chance to create a rice mix for a friend or simply pack a few boxes to take with you to your cabin. Let’s celebrate with a gift from our kitchens!
First start with the uncooked rice, then add the spices, dried fruits and nuts. Keep it simple and creative.
How to Make Thai Yellow Curry Rice Pilaf Mix
I purchased large quantities of all of the ingredients below and containers from the packaging specialty store. This recipe makes one gift package which will serve four as a main dish or eight as a side dish.1 two-cup container or a one-quart ziplock bag 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons jasmine, long grain or basmati rice 2 tablespoons dried chopped onions 1 to 2 tablespoons madras curry powder ½ cup chopped or 20 whole raw cashew nuts or almonds 1 teaspoon salt 3 bay leaves ¼ cup each craisins, cranberries and dried pineapple
Place all ingredients in the container or ziplock bag in this order: jasmine rice, dried chopped onion, curry powder, cashew nuts, salt and bay leaves. Cover the container or ziplock bag and seal well, then add printing cooking directions (see below). Add some gift wrap or a bow and your gift is ready.
(Cut the instruction-recipe below and insert in the rice pilaf box)
Thai Yellow Curry Rice Pilaf
Serves: 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side dish2 tablespoons canola oil 1 package Thai Yellow Curry Rice Pilaf Mix 1 2/3 cup water or chicken stock 4 cooked chicken thighs with bone in and skin on, or 4 pieces leftover turkey with bone in and skin on ¼ cup sweet chili sauce, as accompaniment 1 English cucumber, sliced for accompaniment 2 tomatoes, sliced for accompaniment 1 cup cilantro leaves for accompaniment
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat a Dutch oven or an oven-proof pan that comes with a tight lid on the stove top over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add canola oil and the Thai Yellow Curry Rice Pilaf Mix. Stir the mixture until it becomes fragrant and the rice grains turn opaque, about 30 seconds, being careful not to let it burn. Stir in water or chicken broth. Place chicken or leftover turkey in with the rice and the broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pan and place it in the center of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes without opening the lid.
Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes without opening the lid at all. Then stir it once to mix cooked rice together and put the lid back on. You can keep it warm in the oven at 100°F until it is ready to serve, but not longer than 30 minutes. Serve with accompaniment on the side.
Leftover turkey makes an excellent Kao Mok Gai or twice-cooked chicken in rich spices rice pilaf.© 2011 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen I Love Thai cooking Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com
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