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Archive for July, 2010

Tamarind Drinks – All Natural Thai Drinks  

During the day, I often open a fridge and look for a drink. My eye was on tamarind concentrate – a leftover from Thai cooking class another day. I spent three minutes making a syrup. Now I have syrup ready for making a tea and soda.

Tamarind syrup is a good recipe to have. I always make one recipe to keep in refrigerator or more if I plan to freeze them. Mostly for the cocktail and soda but in the emergency situation –  it can be a cold remedy – it can be use in Phad Thai or curry. It has a hint of sweet, fruity but not as tart when add sugar. In Thai village we use tamarind and honey as a tea for a cold remedy. It is high in Vitamin C and also good for digestion.      

 

 Tamarind Syrup  

 Nam Chuem Makham

น้ำเชื่อมมะขาม 

 Yield: 3/4 cup

1/2 cup tamarind concentrate, freshly made or from the can 
1/4 cup brown sugar or honey

Combine tamarind concentrate, brown sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir and let it cook for 2 minutes. Strain into a clean jar, when it is cool then store in the fridge for a week or keep in the freezer for 3 months.

 Tamarind-Honey Tea 

Cha Nampung Makam 

ชาน้ำผึ้งมะขาม

3 tablespoons tamarind syrup, from recipe above 

To make a tamarind tea,  combine 3 tablespoons tamarind syrup (make syrup with honey instead of brown sugar) with 5 tablespoons boiling water in a tea-cup and serve warm.

Tamarind Soda 

 Nam Kham Soda 

น้ำโซดามะขาม

 Serves: 1

 1 cup ice cube
3/4 cup sparking mineral water
3 tablespoons tamarind syrup, from recipe above
1 mint sprig

Place ice cube in a glass, follow by sparking mineral water and tamarind syrup. Stir lightly and serve. Garnish with mint sprig.  

© 2013  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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A Romance in a Thai Granny’s Garden

Thai Country Style Soup with Lemon Basil    

Gaeng Leang Bai Meng Luck    

Every time I visit a Seattle Farmers’ Markets  and see Hmong-farmer stalls that have fresh lemon basil; I get excited and want to cook Gaeng Leang–a Thai country-style soup. It is our Thai ancestor’s creation and a classic soup that is known in every village in Thailand. Any vegetables that grow together in a Thai granny’s garden seem to go together in a pot with a finish touch of lemon basil — a romance of flavor is in the pot. Thais seem to keep it simple with three to five vegetables. If there are five kinds of vegetable with five-different hues of color then the classic name is “Gaeng Leang Benjarong” and one of the vegetables must be Kabocha pumpkin with its yellow-orange color.

Anchovy, red onion, watermelon rind, lemon basil

Thai food historians believe that the soup base or broth derives from the base of Nam Prik (Thai traditional Chili dip). Making Gaeng Leang Soup base typically it starts with pounding shallot, shrimp paste and chilli in a mortar with pestle to form a paste, and placing it in boiling water, similar to my recipe below. The alternative to a shrimp paste is dried salted shrimp, dried salted anchovy or dried grilled fish–think of it as Dashi, Japanese fish stock.

After making the soup base, the rest is simple. You may use any authentic Asian vegetable of your choice such as luffa, Kabocha pumpkin, young corn, melon, corn kernels or watermelon rind. The final touch is always lemon basil (Bai Maeng Luck).  Lemon basil is inseparable from this soup. In Seattle in the summer I always use lemon basil either from my garden or the farmers’ market.

Watermelon Rind Soup with Lemon Basil

I challenge myself to reconstruct a rustic Thai dish in a sophisticated way while keeping the original concept and authenticity. I cut anchovy fillets into small pieces and dice watermelon. The soup is gentle and not as hot and earthy as in Thailand with shrimp paste. Thais generally serve this soup warm. But my recipe is generous with the amount of watermelon rind so it is sweet and sophisticated enough that you can serve either warm or cold.  I love the simplicity of Gaeng Leang — a flavor of fresh seasonal vegetables  in a bowl.

Tomorrow my friend  will drop by for lunch. I want to prepare a summer soup for her, a country-style but elegant for girl lunch. I know she will like it. Our desert will be Yangon Almond Pancake with Berry and honeyed yogurt. All I hope for is a nice sunny day, so we can enjoy in my Thai garden here in Seattle.

Watermelon Rind Soup with Lemon Basil    

Gaeng Leang Pueak Tangmo Kub Bai Meng Luck

Serves: 2

1 tablespoon chopped dried anchovy fillets or dried salted shrimp, pounded
1/4 cup diced purple onion or shallot
1 cup diced watermelon rind or any mixed vegetable (please see list above)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Thai chili powder to taste
2 tablespoons lemon basil leaves,  plus 2 sprigs for garnish

Bring 1 1/2 cups water, anchovy and purple onion to a boil and keep it simmer on medium heat for 15 minute to develop the flavors for the soup.

If you don’t want to eat anchovy, you may strain to remove the anchovy and purple onion at this point.

Combine watermelon rind, salt, black pepper powder and chili powder with the soup and let it cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Stir in lemon basil and serve right away. Garnish with lemon basil sprigs.

Note: When lemon basil is not available, I compromise with Thai purple basil and it will not be lemony flavor that finish the soup but licorice instead.     You may use any vegetables from farmer market or your garden such as zucchini, squash, pea leaf, corn and more.

 © 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
 I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com

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Thai Village Style Cooking    

Fried fish recipe from the Southern region of Thailand 

The other day, when I was at Pike Place Market, wandering around almost aimlessly like a tourist. I purchased a pound of sardines, I hadn’t tasted fresh sardines for the longest time perhaps since my grandma’s kitchen. I want to rediscover more Thai village style cooking with local ingredients here in Seattle. This was a good start.  

Thai Fried Sardines--Very Rustic Thai Cooking

The sardines are fresh from the Gulf of California and there is no need to worry about mercury because it is known to be very low. There are many good reasons to eat sardines, they are rich with Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, calcium and B 12. Perhaps that’s why both of my grandmother hardly saw any doctors in their life time. Every single day growing up, fried fish with turmeric and salt was on the table, besides other fish dishes. It was my grandma’s rule. The fish was the cheapest and healthiest protein that Phuket villagers could provide for their family way back then. I love fried sardines, they have a mouthful flavor and the aroma is unique.

If you are trying this for the first time, the challenge is how you will cook them, so you can eat everything including the soft bone and when crunchy enough, the back bone. It is a calcium intake time. As my rule goes, if it is chewable then it is edible! But trust your judgment and comfort zone also.

 

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First I removed the fish guts. That was not fun. The problem is the sardines were so small and the belly was so relatively big. I tried the best I can to make sardines look good in the photos. After I gutted, cleaned and dried the fish, I followed my grandma’s old advice. I cut the flesh through the skin into tiny strips (the knife is perpendicular to the fish back bone) just enough to hit the backbone (please see the slide show). I repeated on the other side. I salted them and seasoned with turmeric. I placed 8 sardines in a food container and kept in the refrigerator for a day. I had something else planned for dinner that evening. When you want to keep the fish for a day in fridge, be generous with salt and turmeric. It is a way that we use to keep the fish fresh for the next day, back when we didn’t have electricity.

You may use the recipe below and cook sardines on the grill on medium heat on both sides until crispy. The problem with frying in your kitchen is the smell of the fish lingers for a day. I just want you to know that, but it tastes divine with hot steamed jasmine rice. Especially good if you eat it with your fingers, and easy way to remove the backbone then mix the fish by hand against the warm jasmine rice before eating,  just like Thais in the Thai village do.

 Thai Fried Sardines  

 Pla Sardine Tod

ปลาซาร์ดีนทอด 

 Serves: 4

 1 pound sardine, about 8 sardines, gutted and cleaned and dried with towels
2  teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 to 5 tablespoons canola oil

 Lay the fish perpendicular to you on the cutting board, cut the flesh through the skin into tiny strips (the knife is perpendicular to the fish back bone) just enough to hit the backbone (please see the slide show), Repeated on the other side. Follow the same steps with the rest of the fish. Sprinkle salt all over the fish and follow by turmeric until the fish is evenly cover.

Heat the frying pan on medium heat, when the pan is hot add canola oil. Fry on both sides until they are crispy by the touch and a light brown color. Serve with warm jasmine rice.

 

 © 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen  
I Love Thai cooking 
 Pranee teaches Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com  

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Lovage and Snap Pea Soup

Kaeng Jued Pak

There is no real Thai name for this soup, but I started the process by stir-frying, adding broth and cooking until the vegetables are soft. It’s like a Thai soup that is called Kaeng Jued Pak. I pureed it down like western soup. It is best to enjoy lovage that way. It’s not a typical Thai dish but my grandma would have done the same — a dish from the garden or the nearest farm to the table. The freshness and simplicity were key. I don’t make it a habit to call for take-out or frozen food. I prefer to enjoy real food. When there is nothing else, steamed rice and fried eggs with some soy sauce and cucumber on top is enough. This is a kind of lunch; I enjoy it when I am at home by myself.

Lovage-Snap Pea Soup

Lovage and Snap Pea Soup

This morning while working in the garden, I trimmed overgrown lovage. Some was young and tender; so I decided not to throw it away. Then around lunch break, I made a soup with some snap peas that I got from the farmers market the day before. All I had to do is find the right spice to go with it. I had some freshly ground coriander powder–seeds that I brought from Thailand. I gave it a try, and it was right on. It was a quick and easy summer soup. With a lovage plant, you will receive an annual return every summer with flavorful soup–the best tasting soup that no other restaurants can compete with because you have got the freshest one a few steps from your kitchen. 

Serves: 4

Yield: 2 cups

3 tablespoons canola oil or extra light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped lovage
1 cup whole snap peas, end trimmed — about 20 snap peas
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground-toasted coriander powder
2 cups chicken brother or 2 cups water plus 2 teaspoons chicken powder

Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat and when it is hot add canola oil. Stir in garlic and onion until fragrant and onion become translucent. Stir in lovage for 30 seconds before adding snap pea, sea salt and coriander. Pour into a large pot and add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lets it cook on medium heat until snap peas is cooked. About 8 minutes. Serve as is or use a blend in the blender. Garnish with chopped lovage or lovage leaf.

Vegetarian option: substitute chicken broth with vegetable or mushroom broth.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
 I Love Thai cooking
 
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com

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My very  first breakfast in Yangon.

Yangon Almond Pancake

When I was in Yangon last year I spent my first morning looking for a market near the hotel. It was a street that had many stalls and breakfast type food stands. Everything in Yangon was very exciting for me, as a neighbouring country to Thailand. I found that our culture and cuisine are very different in many ways. The thing that catched my eye most was a lady making an almond pancake on the street. I stood in line and signalled for some almond pancake, the same one that she just did for the customer in front of me.  First she poured the pancake batter in the pan, sprinkled generous amount of almond on top, then she placed a charcoal heater on top. Like baking, the cake actually rise after a few minutes. She then gave it to me in a plastic bag. I ate there on the street. I really loved it, as its almond flavor and texture were very pronounced, crispy, and aromatic.

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I asked for permission to take picture and I was glad I did and it is helpful to write this recipe. I still remember the flavors, so here I am trying to duplicate the recipe from the memory– Here in Seattle in my kitchen.

I created Honey-Lime Syrup to go with the pancake. In Southeast Asia, it is typical way of using honey-lime for a syrup in a dessert. Also you can simply add more hot water to melt honey and put over ice as a tonic drink. It is very versatile recipe. I like local pure honey. I use “Twin Peaks”  Mountain Honey from Snoqualmie Valley Honey Farm, located in North Bend, Washington. The bees collect nectar from the local wild flowers the scent of the wild flower is present in the honey. You may use any honey.

I want to tell you that this pancake is beyond breakfast. I popped frozen left-over in the toaster this morning, and the almonds on the pancake were very crunchy and delicious with my Vietnamese coffee. I almost cry, I miss Burma.

Honey-Lime Syrup

 Nam Pueng Ruang Manao

Yield: 1/4 cup

 3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon hot water
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 drop almond extract, optional
 

Combine honey and hot water in a microwave save small bowl. Heat in the microwave for 15 seconds and stir until uniform. Stir in lime juice and almond extract. Stir really well and set a side. Store in refrigerator up for a week.

Yangon Almond Pancake

Yields: 1 1/2 cup pancake batter

Make: 4 to 6 pancakes
 
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup almond meal flour
1 egg
2-3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus 4 tablespoons to cook pancake
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
 

Sift flour, baking powder and salt twice and place into a large bowl along with almond meal flour. Beat eggs, sugar and butter in a medium size bowl for 30 seconds. Combine with milk and almond extract. Then pour in the flour mixture, fold it gently just to mix.

To duplicate the technique shown in the pictures, I use a heated cast iron pan as a hot lid. Cover the pancake while cooking.

Heat a pancake pan with 1 tablespoon butter on medium heat when melt pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons toasted sliced almond on the surface of the pancake, cover with heated cast iron pan and let’s it cook for 3 minutes. It should rise, when the edge is golden, use spatula to lift the pancake to see if it yellow-brown. If it does, it is ready. Flip with spatula to cook another side. It should take about 30 seconds, more or less. Check the same way if it is done. Don’t let the almond burn, it should take about 3o seconds. Repeat the process to make 3 or 4 more pancakes. Serve right away with Honey-Lime Syrup.

Note: I freeze the uneaten pancake by letting it cool, line with parchment paper and put in the zip lock bag. Freeze. Next time around all you have to do is put in the toaster. 

 © 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
 I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com

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Thai Rice Salad with Nasturtiums & Sardines Recipe

Kao Yum Pak Tai, Southern Thai rice salad with edible flower and sardine

Thai rice Salad with Nasturtiums

Photograph by Pranee

I grew up in the Southern region of Thailand, the origin of the Thai rice salad Kao Yum and my grandmother was a pro.  I have several versions for my classes. I am a gardener and I planted some nasturtium for Kao Yum. That was when I planned to write this recipe, and today is a perfect time. I have cooked rice, fried sardines, dill and cilantro in my fridge and the nasturtiums are at their peak in my garden. Quick and easy Thai dish I put together in the summer day. It is a cool dish, so there is no cooking require. This is a versatile recipe that you can adjust to your needs as there is no wrong way of making it. If the sardines are omitted, then I serve grilled salmon on top. There are so many creative ways to use this recipe.

First, the fish is very important part of this recipe, but you may use smoked salmon instead. In my grandmas kitchen we used anything from grilled fish, fried fish, dry anchovies and dried shrimp powder. Just use enough to give a mouthful of flavor to the dish. The second, an important element is fresh herbs, and you may use any herbs that pair well with the fish you choose. Last, for edible flowers, I chose nasturtium because it has a nice pungent and peppery flavor. It is easy to grow them here in Seattle.  Choose one edible flower that pair well with your fish.

Serves: 2

1 1/2 cup cooked rice, at room temperature
1/4 cup fried sardine or smoked salmon, bone removed and cut into chunk
8 nasturtiums, removed petals by hand into small pieces
6 nasturtiums leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chiffonade fresh and tender Kaffir lime leaves or chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped dill
2 tablespoons sliced shallot
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon fish sauce, or more as needed
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 lime wedges, for garnish

Place rice in the center of salad bowl. Place sardine, nasturtiums petals and leaves, cilantro, dill, shallot and chili powder along the side of salad bowl. When ready to serve, stir in fish sauce, lime juice and mix gently and serve right away with lime wedge on the side.

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Thai Vegetarian Option: Saute shiitake mushroom with sea salt to substitute sardine, and sea salt instead of fish sauce.

Thai Cooking Recipe for Kids: add chili powder toward the end after kid serving portion is served.

Gluten-Free Recipe

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
 
Pranee teachs Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com

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Pike Place Market

Travel and Eat Like a Tourist

Pranee at Pike Place Market, be a tourist

I wanted to enjoy the beautiful summer we are having and decided to visit Pike Place Market. I pretended to be a tourist for the day to taste foods and to enjoy the sites from a tourist perspective. I arrived around 10 am, when it was easy to find parking – two hours was just perfect.  First I walked around to see the farmers stalls and admired all of the fresh vegetables. Being early bird meant that there were not many people around, so I could ask a lot of questions and chat with the stall owners, which is how I got inspired and wanted to know about the source of ingredients. I always learned somthing new. The fish person said that the fresh sardines are from California and he like to grill the sardines until they are crispy, so you can eat the whole thing including the bones. I shared with him that my grandma would cut the skin into tiny stripe just enough to hit the backbone on both side before frying them. Then I asked the owner of a honey stall, to find the right kind of honey for my future recipe for almond pancakes. We talked and tasted and came up with the “Twin Peaks Wild Flovors” honey. I hanged out with the tourists and enjoyed the music played around the market. The color of flower bouquets was stunningly beautiful and the small doughnuts were so tempting but I passed for today. I stopped at the pig statue, and stood in line for photo opportunity with the famous pig. A kind tourist took a photo of me.

I started to get hungry and was debating where I should eat. I decided that today would be a French Day, so I decided to eat at Le Panier. I had a Pate French sandwich. It was perfect with a crusty baguette which had a crumbly  crust, and I didn’t mind being messy. I sat at the window bar table facing the street and watched the tourists go by. There is no rush, this was my French vacation after all. I was a tourist for two hours. Life is short, and there was no way I could have skipped dessert. In case you don’t know La Panier, it is a very French cafe and bakery. So I had palmiers with their house coffee (they used a Cafe Umbria dark roast, which is from a local roaster in Seattle).  I splited my La Pamier into perfect halves. I ate one half the french way with coffee and the other like Thais would do with Chinese doughnuts. That is, I soak it in coffee for 10 seconds before enjoying it slowly. Oh, life is good!

Before heading home I took a few more photos of places that I would recommend to tourists who are planning to visit Seattle. For the first time you will need to spend a good three to four hours there.

I got some sardines and a few herbs home. I will post a fried sardine recipe, which is my inspireational ingredient for the day.

I will cook, write and eat Thai locally this summer!

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Watermelon Delight 

This recipe was inspired by an I Love Thai Cooking Facebook request for a watermelon cocktail. After creating Watermelon Ice with watermelon liquere, I am excited to try to create a new cocktail. I have half of a watermelon left from the party on the Fourth of July, and I am happy mix this cocktail up. I pulled out some Melon liqueur, Lychee Liqueur and coconut vodka. I took one piece of watemelon and chewed it slowly while inhaling the melon and lychee liqueur and coconut vodka. I knew it would go together nicely. I used less melon liqueur because it is overpowering but I needed some, the lychee liqueur was a delight with sweetness and floral scents, and coconut vodka summed up the cocktail by adding a hint of coconut flavor. I ran to my garden to add some minty flavor. After the first mix, I was happy.  

Watermelon Cocktail

I like to create a cocktail recipe that I don’t need to mix one by one for friends, so in the kitchen today I blended together four cocktails based on my recipe shaking for the one created yesterday. 

I took one workshop a year at IACP conference on cocktails. It was inspring to listen to the experts talking and discussing about ideas and trends. It is a watermelon-delight- flavored cocktail for friends in the summer. 

Watermelon Cocktail

Serves: 4 

Spicy Rim 

1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 lime wedge

Place salt, sugar, paprika on 6 inch-wide plate. Rub 4 martini glass with lime juice by holding lime wedge move along the rim. Hold the martini glass stem and place the rim against the salt-sugar-paprika mix and cover on the rim well with the mix. 

Cocktail 

2 cups cool diced watermelon
4 oz coconut vodka
2 oz lychee liqueur
1 oz melon liqueur
2/3 cup crushed ice
16 mint leave
4 pieces watermelon for garnish–see photos

Place watermelon, coconut vodka, lychee and melon liqueur and ice. Blend it until smooth. Add mint leave and blend for5 seconds. Pour into prepared martini glasses. Serve right away. 

 © 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen  
 I Love Thai cooking
 
Pranee teachs Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is:  I Love Thai cooking.com

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Thai Grandmother Cooking is a sustainable cooking

Pranee’s Grandmother Recipe

Watermelon rinds

My mom taught me many culinary skills but it was my grandmother who deepened my sense of sustainable cooking. We cooked virtually everything sustainably, just like the French. I have a habit of saving the rinds in a zip lock bag and cooking for myself because I am not sure if anyone else care for it. I would not miss this opportunity that only come once a year. I either incorporate them into a hearty soup or stir-fry. For stir-frying, I stir-fry it with either salted pork or dried anchovies. There is nothing more or less, just two ingredients. If you haven’t try to cook with watermelon rinds, you will love the flavor. I like it more than stir-fried cucumber, as it has light flavors of watermelon and cucumber.

how to remove the green skin from the water melon

A little light green on the rind has a nice little sour to it, where as the pink has sweet melon flavor. After stir-frying the fragrance and flavor are more like cucumber.  As my grandma always said, “sour, sweet, fat and salt” are neccessary in any main dish.  I tasted a similar combination once at the IACP international event  in New Orleans by renowned chefs combining fresh frozen cubed melon garnish with fried crunchy pork rind. (I will get the name and post it later)  

It takes 10 minutes to prep and 3 minutes to stir-fried and next it became my lunch. I enjoyed it on my patio in the sun recently. The aroma took me back to my grandma’s kitchen and a warm of sunshine of Thailand.

Note: I decided to add chive from my garden to make this Thai rustic cooking more appealing and also for photography purpose. However, the favor of chive does go well with the stir-fried watermelon rind and salted pork.

Pranee’s Grandma Cooking–Stir-fried Melon Rind with Salted Pork

Thai Stir-fried Watermelon Rind with Salted Pork

Phad  Puak Tang Mo Moo Kem

Serves: 1

2 tablespoons cured salted pork or sliced becon
1 teaspoon canola oil, optional
1 clove garlic, crushed and coarsely minced
1 cup melon rind, skin removed and sliced into 1/3 inch width and 2 inch length–please see slide show
2 tablespoons chives, for garnish
 

Heat a wok on medium-high heat, and stir in salted pork or bacon. Saute them until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove excess fat to allow only 1 teaspoon on the bottom of the wok. If no fat can be rendered, then add 1 teaspoon canola oil. Saute in garlic until yellow. Stir in sliced watermelon rind and cook for 1 minute, the aroma of garlic, bacon and melon like should  develop before adding 1 tablespoon water. Cook for one more minute and make sure to have about 1 or 2 tablespoon sauce, otherwise add more water. Stir in chives and serve right away. Or use chive for garnish. Serve with warm jasmine rice.

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Thai Vegetarian Option: Saute shiitake mushroom with sea salt to substitute salted pork.   

Thai Cooking Recipe for Kids, Gluten-Free Recipe  

 © 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen  
 I Love Thai cooking
 
Pranee teachs Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is:  I Love Thai cooking.com

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The high point of my Forth of July celebration was having my friend and her family over for Thai Grilling. Our last Fourth of July celebration together was in 2008 on Phuket Island during the monsoon season.

Before noon, I marinated some Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin and Lemon-Lemongrass Chicken. Then I prepped for Cucumber-Pineapple-Tomato Salad. I made some “Coconut Water Vinegar Dressing” ahead of time and kept it pickled  in the fridge. Everything was done in about an hour.

For lunch before the party, my family and I went to Sunfish on Alki Avenue in Seattle and got Fish and Chips. I had my seafood combo as usual and enjoyed it with some chili flavored vinegar. I complimented their homemade vinegar and they shared a secret with me: they make the chili-infused vinegar with 6% Malt Vinegar.

I enjoyed organizing the house before the party but had to make sure I had one hour free before the party time. Half an hour later, I knew the rain would not stop, so I wore a rain jacket and did all the grilling on my patio.

 

 

Coconut Water Vinegar

Coconut Water Vinegar

Before sharing my recipe calling for coconut water vinegar in a salad dressing, I want to give you a quick lesson on coconut cream, coconut milk and coconut water.

When you remove the coconut husk (mesocarp) from a whole coconut, you can see the coconut shell (endocarp). After cracking the coconut shell, you get to the natural water inside the nut and this is called coconut water. The white meaty part inside the shell is the coconut meat (endosperm). Grating a chunk of white of coconut meat with a coconut grater gives you fresh wet grated coconut. To extract coconut milk, add a cup of water to 2 cups fresh grated coconut, then squeeze out the white milky liquid; this is concentrated coconut milk. (Thai call this the “head” of coconut milk). Add 1/2 cup water to the used grated coconut to extract  a thin coconut milk (Thai call this the “tail” of coconut milk). Let the coconut milk sit, and a fat creamy layer will form on the top; this is the coconut cream.

Back to the coconut water. Coconut water occurs naturally and has nothing to do with the process of making coconut milk. Nature provides the coconut meat and water as nutrients for shoots to grow near the three germination pores, or “eyes,” on the coconut. This coconut water inside the coconut shell is very good for the coconut plant, but it is also very good for you. It is full of vitamins and minerals. It is especially high in potassium and electrolytes, and has a neutral ph level. I strongly recommend that tourists traveling to paradise island drink this natural drink to help with rehydration, and it has the added benefit of being a sterile juice inside the shell.

In the Philippines, this natural water is used to make coconut water vinegar, but I don’t see it being made in Thailand where we use 5% distilled vinegar. I love the flavor of coconut water vinegar and felt inspired to use it in the cucumber-pineapple-tomato salad that I served with my grilled cinnamon pork tenderloin. Distilled vinegar will work for a substitution, but for this recipe, I strongly recommend that you try it at least once with coconut water vinegar.

I love the blend of cucumber, pineapple and tomato with a hint of coconut flavor. Brown sugar adds a nice touch to it. One of my students told me that the leftover dressing had such a great flavor that she ended up using it in a martini. In this case, I would recommend using mint instead of cilantro for the herb option.

Learn more about: Vinegar

Thai Cucumber-Pineapple-Tomato Salad

CucumberPineappleTomato Salad

Yum Sam Khler

4 tablespoons coconut water vinegar or distilled vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced cucumber, about 1/2 English cucumber
1 cup sliced pineapple, about 1/3 whole pineapple, or from a can
1 cup sliced tomatoes, about 2 medium size
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup snipped cilantro leaves

Heat vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot over  low heat and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside.

Place cucumber, pineapple, tomato, shallot, and cilantro in a medium-size salad bowl; when the dressing is cool, pour it over and stir. This recipe works best when the salad and dressing are mixed together from 1 to 8 hours before serving.

Thai Vegetarian Cooking

Thai Cooking for Kids

Gluten-Free Recipe

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
Pranee teachs Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is:  I Love Thai cooking.com

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It’s a mango day!      

A perfect crisp green mango is hard to come by in Seattle, just like getting a crisp and sunny day in the month of June. I grabbed this unique food opportunity and heightened the day by having two friends over for lunch so that we could celebrate both the sunsine and the mango. It was a beautiful day.         

Fifteen minutes before the door bell rung, I turned on the rice cooker and prepped for green mango salad. Then, I had some mangos, bananas and pineapples ready in the blender for a smoothie.  My menu was very simple, it consisted of a Thai Green Mango Salad served with Prawn and Mango Smoothie with an optional cocktail.         

When my girlfriends arrived, the conversation started flowing and I was enjoying it. After all this is the first summer that I am spending in Seattle in fifteen years without having an intensive travel plan. I asked if anyone was interested in adding Triple Sec and Tequila  for their smoothie/cocktail, and yes was the majority answer. Three minutes later, we clinked to salute our kids moving up celebration. Then I took another three minutes to prepare Thai Green Mango Salad, next we sat and ate in the warm-cold-warm sunshine.        

Summer is the ideal time for having friends over for casual lunches and catching up. I am happy to stay in town this summer regardless of the weather in Seattle.      

Thai Green Mango Salad

 

 I teach this recipe with granny smith apples, something that you can count on, so use green tart apples to substitute for green mangos when it not available. It is a great alternative. For dry shrimp, use any dry shrimp from the AsianMarket and pulse in food processor until it becomes a fine powder.     

Thai Green Mango Salad with Prawn         

Yum Mamuang Goong         

Serves: 4        

16 medium size prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice, about 1 large lime
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder, or one fresh Thai chili, minced
2 tablespoons chopped shalot
2 cups shredded green mango, from about 1 green mango
3 tablespoons shrimp powder
1/4 cup chopped dill, mint and cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped Vietnamese mint, aka Rau Ram , optional plus one sprig for garnish
1 tomato, sliced for garnish

To cook prawn, add 3 tablespoons water with prawn in a frying pan and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir on high heat until the prawns are pink and opaque. Strain and let it cool.       

To make salad dressing, whisk fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chili powder until sugar is dissolved. Mix in shalot, green mango, shrimp powder,cooked prawns, mixed herbs and Vietnamese mint. Mix well and serve. Garnish with sliced tomato and Vietnamese mint sprig.       

Thai Vegetarian Option: Use sea salt instead of fish sauce and ground roasted peanut instead of dry shrimp powder    

Thai Cooking for Kids: Omit chili powder in the recipe instruction. After removing kid serving portions then may add chili powder as desire for adult.    

Gluten-Free Recipe    

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen  
 I Love Thai cooking
 
Pranee teachs Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is:  I Love Thai cooking.com

 

 Mango  Smoothie     

Nam Mamuang Pan       

Serves: 2       

2 cups ripe mango, peeled diced – can be fresh or frozen
1 banana, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced pineapple–can or fresh
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup crushed ice
 
To make a smoothie, place mango, banana, pineapple, salt, lemon juice and crushed ice. Blend until  smooth. Serve Cold.
 
 Mango Margarita
 
 Serves: 4    

 

1/2 cup Gold Tequila
1/4 cup Tripple Sec
4 mint sprigs, for garnish

Add gold tequila and Triple sec to blender on top of the smoothie from recipe above and blend for 5 seconds, served in 4 chilled- margarita glasses and garnish with mint sprigs.       

Cheers,       

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen  
 I Love Thai cooking
 
Pranee teachs Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is:  I Love Thai cooking.com   

 

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