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Archive for the ‘Pranee’s Thai Cooking Videos’ Category

Two Sisters Cook

About 26 years ago, my sister, Rudee and I dreamed that one day we would own a restaurant together. As the many different pursuits in our lives evolved, it turned out that my sister pursued the dream on her own, but our passions are still related to Thai food and cooking. She opened a restaurant in front of her house the same year that I founded I Love Thai Cooking in Seattle. My sister has specialized in Aharn Jaan Deowอาหารจานเดียว – a one dish meal also known as Aharn Tam Sungอาหารตามสั่ง– made to order. Like a small restaurant on a tiny lot or street corner, my sister shops early in the morning then preps in time for the lunch crowd. In the afternoon she does some more prepping for either sit down or take home dinners. The menu is posted on the restaurant wall. It has about 20 dishes for you to choose from, from Phad Kraprow Gai (stir-fried chicken with holy basil) to Tom Yum Goong (sweet and sour soup with prawns).

With my mom and my sister at Rudee’s Restaurant

Today I am sharing with you a recipe from my sister’s restaurant: Thai Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage – Kao Phad Kunchiang – – ข้าวผัดกุนเชียง. I want to express my gratitude to my sister for her hard work running her small businesses while caring for her family and our mom. For this recipe, she was kind enough to duplicate it one more time during the restaurant’s non-busy hours so I could make the video and take the photos which I am sharing with you today. Please make an effort to watch them. Prep the ingredients below, then watch the video to boost your confidence by learning tips, techniques and timing for preparing the dish. You can learn more about my sister’s cooking by watching videos on my I Love Thai Cooking YouTube channel. 

Chinese Sausage - กุนเชียง

Chinese Sausage – กุนเชียง

As I look at this picture, I feel as I did when I was young and walking behind my mom on a market trip. I would tug on her shirt to let her know that I would like her to buy some of the Kunchiang – dry Chinese sausage – for dinner. As young kids growing up, my sister and I loved Kunchiang. My sister’s Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage Recipe is very much like my mom’s version. In Seattle I purchase my Chinese sausage and keep them in the fridge where they can be kept for a long time, and I can cook this dish anytime I have leftover rice.

Chinese Sausage in Thai Cuisine

Kun Chiang – กุนเชียง aka Lap cheong in Southern China, is made in Thailand by Thais of Chinese descent. It is simply dry sausage with salt and sugar added that has been smoked and dried. Its flavor is unique, however, and it is hard for me to recommend a substitution. It is made in China and California and available in Asian markets here in Seattle. My favorite sausage is from California. It is lower in fat and has a perfect smoky note, not too intense. Common ingredients in the sausage are pork butt, fat, sugar, salt, corn starch, five spice powder and Chinese white rice wine. My favorite way to prepare these Chinese sausages is in fried rice. I hope you have a chance to try this easy recipe from my sister.

green onion, onion, Chinese sausage, and tomato, กุนเชียง

Green onion, onion, Chinese sausage, and tomato

Even just a few ingredients can produce a delightful taste. I love these brilliant combinations. If you want to add one or two more kinds of vegetables, try Chinese kale and young corn.

Kao Phad Kunchiang - ข้าวผัดกุนเชียง - Thai Frid Rice with Chinese Sausage

Kao Phad Kunchiang – ข้าวผัดกุนเชียง – Thai Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage

A pungent bite of fresh green onion in the middle of the savory Kao Phad Kunchiang can be rewarding to the taste buds. The pungent taste will add a dimension and highlight the taste in every ingredient in the fried rice.

Step-By-Step Pranee’s Thai Cooking Video

Thai Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage

Kao Phad Kunchiang

ข้าวผัดกุนเชียง

Serves 1

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 link Chinese sausage, sliced

1 egg

1/4 cup sliced onion

1 medium tomato, diced

1 cup steamed jasmine rice, room temperature

2 – 3 teaspoons Roza tomato ketchup or tomato paste

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 green onion, sliced

1 cilantro, to garnish

3 slices cucumber, to garnish

1 whole green onion, to garnish

Heat the wok on low heat and add cooking oil and sliced Chinese sausage. Stir back and forth to fry the sausage and also to render the fat at the same time. Cook the sausage until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add one egg, stir once and spread the egg out on the surface of the wok.

Adjust the burner to high heat. Add onion and tomato and stir back and forth, then add in the jasmine rice, tomato ketchup and soy sauce. Keep stirring until the rice has softened, about 1 minute. Stir in green onion until well combined. Garnish with cilantro on top, and cucumber slices and one whole green onion on the side.

© 2015 Rudee Piboon with 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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For more in-depth in Thai ingredients and Hand-on Cooking Class please check out
Pranee’s One day Asian Market Tour & Cooking Class at Pranee’s Thai Kitchen
Roza Tomato Ketchup

Roza Tomato Ketchup

Roza Tomato Ketchup is similar to tomato paste in taste and texture. American ketchup my not work well for this recipe. You may use a smaller amount of tomato paste or Sriracha sauce instead.
 
 

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Thai Connection

My Thai friend, Suprattra Pornprasit, teaches Thai vegetable carving at supattrafruitart.com. For the past two years she has invited me to visit East Wenatchee with her. I did not have time until mid-July this year to make that happen. Here are my stories of summery days with Supratra and her friends with Thai connections in East Wenatchee and its nearby towns.

Day 1. I left Seattle around noon and traveled to East Wenatchee on the beautiful drive via Hwy 2. There was very little traffic at that time and I enjoyed the drive and the Pacific Northwest scenery. The beautiful views kept me awake and driving leisurely, I arrived at East Wenatchee around 4 pm.

Eastern Wenatchee, July 18th, 2012

The picture above is of the area of East Wenatchee. At 6pm the sun is still up high and Supatra and I were heading to see another friend in Cashmere to pick cherries. It was at the end of the cherry season, but with good connections with the cherry farmer we were able to visit a farm to look for those few cherries that were left behind. There were the sweetest and juiciest Rainier cherries that I have ever eaten.

Rainier Cherry

The Sweetest One!

Thai Connections

By 8:30pm we headed back to Noi’s home, each with half a bag full. Later Noi prepared a famous dish, Som Tum Sua, from her hometown .

It was a perfect summer evening to enjoy the moment with my new Thai friends who have found Washington State their new home.

Day 2. After breakfast, I checked out three farmers markets in East Wenatchee. First, I went to the East Wenatchee Farmer Markets. I saw a few stalls and decided to skip the rest. Then I drove on to Mission Street’s Farmhouse Table Local Foods Market. I was delighted with the local produces and dried beans and grains that are grown here in Washington State. I brought Lentz Black Nile Barley Pancake Mix to bring home. Then I headed out to North Wenatchee Avenue to Mike’s Meat and Farmers Market. It is an impressive market with meats and farmers’ produce, like the Orca beans that have skin that is a prominent white and black pattern like the Orca whale. Also I purchased Mike’s award winning spice blend for BBQ ribs.

Highway 2 to Chelan

It was a beautiful drive from Wenatchee to Chelan. I drove past fruit  orchards and Lake Chelan.

Vacation Home – Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan is a vacation destination for residents from other parts of Washington State as well as other nearby states.

Downtown Chelan

There are plenty of restaurants, hotels, gift shops and interesting places in downtown Chelan–areas for a few days’ visit or a long summer vacation.

Pranee explores downtown Chelan

I wandered around for a few minutes to decide where to eat lunch. The Bamboo Shoot restaurant caught my eye, and I decided to check it out. It is a Thai restaurant, but after learning that the chef was Indonesian, I asked for an Indonesian dish instead. The only one he could prepare for me that was close to Indonesian was fried rice –  Nasi Goreng. I anticipated a good fried rice when I heard the chef’s dramatic noise with the wok. It was remarkably good. The summery weather and the delicious taste of the East on my palate made me feel at home.

Chelan Museum

Then I went to the Chelan Museum. I wish I had spent more time there, but 20 minutes gave me a good sense of the history of Lake Chelan and the town from the past to the present. The volunteer at the museum, a former school teacher from Seattle public schools, sent me to my next destination–the Culinary Apple–to get some good fudge.

Culinary Apple

Culinary Apple  is down the road toward the lake from the museum. It has both high end and casual kitchen ware. I love the store and the caramel fudge was so decadent. I would recommend that it be part of your future visit. It will always be part of mine.

Sunshine Farm Market, Lake Chelan

The last stop on my way back to Wenatchee was the Sunshine Farm Market. It is where you will find all the local culinary delights. You can pick up the local ripe fruit or vegetables, or pancake mix and honey on your way home, or pick up some artisan bread, gourmet cheese and estate crafted-wine on your way to your vacation home.

At 5pm I picked up Supratra in East Wenatchee and then Noi in Cashmere and we  headed out to Leavenworth to visit Sandy, another Thai friend. Sandy and her husband own Veena Jewelry, an Asian boutique in downtown Leavenworth where you can get jewelry designed and hand made by Sandy. We then headed out for something good to eat.

Leavenworth

For dinner, we skipped Thai flavors and went for what Leavenworth has to offer: German sausage and more at Munchen Haus 

Farmers Market

Our last stop for the day is at nearby Lions Club Park where a farmers market opens every Thursday from 4 to 8pm. We had a great time checking out local produce, enjoying food from the food stalls and hanging around the park listening to live music.

Day 3: This is the last day of my trip but I had to experience a few more culinary highlights on my way back to Seattle. First, Noil, Supratra and I met at 8am for breakfast at the must-stop bakery, Anjou Baker. It is an impressive bakery and lunch place. We each had a cup of coffee with a pear pastry. Then Supratra headed out to work, and Noi and I headed to Crazy Larry’s Berries.

Blueberry Farm

Noi and I enjoyed picking blueberries at Crazy Larry’s Berries. We sat on the ground facing each other while filling each other with stories. We enjoyed the warm sun and delicious berries while our hands were busy picking.

Crazy Berry Farm

I brought home a box full of berries and have baked two delicious desserts so far. I would like to share the recipes with you one day, together with a story of Larry and his farm. All I can tell you for now is that he is not crazy. So please hurry to visit his farm and enjoy the U-pick as the blueberry season will end in a week or so. I know you will have a great time in Wenatchee.

Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen

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From a Thai Village to the Big City

I grew up in a world full of lemongrass and could tell you thousands of stories that evolve around this fragrant herb, from planting and cooking it, to all things related. But I will keep this short and sweet so that you can go straight to my recipes and prepare them.

Lemongrass Paste & Lemongrass Tartar Sauce

Here in Seattle, I always have many lemongrass stalks in my refrigerator—not in the backyard like in Thailand, but both methods work for the Thai cook who wants to be able to add lemongrass to a recipe at a moment’s notice. When I do a hands-on class I make sure students learn how to prepare lemongrass three ways (please watch the video). This lesson results in a lot of leftover lemongrass, which I cook, freeze, or make into a powder. A few days ago my friend was visiting me and our discussion of this and that led us to the kitchen. I wanted to make a pesto-like paste for her to add to her marinade sauce. I decided to stop short of making the lemongrass paste and we wandered off to another topic. The idea for us today is to use up the lemongrass in my fridge and turn it into a versatile form ready to be incorporated into many dishes such as a wet rub for a marinade or a lemongrass tartar sauce to go with fried rock fish for a family dinner.

I wish you fun cooking this summer with the lemongrass paste recipe from my kitchen. First you have to start your lesson at home by learning how to prepare lemongrass for Thai cooking.

Lemongrass Cutting 101 – slicing it right

Click picture to view video on slicing lemongrass by Pranee

Slicing lemongrass properly is an important part of Thai cooking. I hope you spend some time learning the right way to do this and get enough experience to develop a solid technique. Don’t try to save time by slicing lemongrass into bigger pieces because you are using a food processor. The grain of this fibrous plant runs lengthwise of the stalk, so slicing it thinly against the grain is essential. Besides, it provides aroma therapy and a mindful moment in the kitchen!


Lemongrass Paste, Lemongrass Tartar Sauce

Lemongrass Paste 

Lemongrass has a citrus aroma that can blend into any dish. I make a lemongrass paste using extra light olive oil that you can use well beyond Thai cuisine. Like lime and lemon, it blends itself into any cuisine. I spread it out on toast like pesto, or add it to rice, curries, marinades, or just about anything. All become so delightfully fresh. Also, to my amazement, the fragrance of lemongrass and olive oil are divine together.

yield: 1/2 cup

5 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and sliced (please watch Pranee’s Demonstration on YouTube)
1/4 cup extra light olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

Place lemongrass, olive oil and salt in the blender or mini food processor and blend. Use spatula to clean the side to make sure it well mixed. Repeat the process repeat the process several times until getting a smooth texture. Store in a jar, keep in the fridge for a week or up to three months in the freezer.

Lemongrass Tartar Sauce with Dill

Lemongrass Tartar Sauce with Dill

The idea of creating a lemongrass tartar sauce came to me randomly. My son loves fish with tartar sauce and I have made tartar sauce for him many times. Many western chefs, such as Christine Keff from the Flying Fish in Seattle, have created an awesome lemongrass aoli, so I thought why not a tartar sauce? I use serrano peppers and dill as they go really well with fish and keep the color palate to just green. I love the results and would use this sauce in many ways, not just for fried fish.
Yield: 1/2 cup
 
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Best Foods mayonnaise with olive oil)
2 tablespoons lemongrass paste, from recipe above
1/2 -1 whole serrano pepper, grated with a microplane
1 clove garlic, grated with a microplane
1 tablespoon small diced pickled cucumber
3 tablespoons lemon juice (I used calamansi juice)
1 tablespoon dill, chopped
 

In a one-cup bowl, stir together mayonnaise, lemongrass paste, serrano pepper, pickled cucumber and lemon juice until well-mixed. Stir in dill until it is well-combined. For the best results, prepare the night before or at least 30 minutes before serving.

© 2012 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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Conditional Love

My durian tree

Durian ทุเรียน, Durio Zibethinus Merr., is a native plant to Brunei, Sarawak, Malaysia and Indonesia. Southern Thailand is a part of the Malay Peninsula and it has a tropical climate pattern similar to Malaysia.

One of my memories of growing up in a village on a hilly isle of PhuketSouthern Thailand, is of the beginning of durian season. It would begin after two months of monsoon, around June and July, when the earth was moist and the mountains a lush green. The villagers would gather ripe durians that had fallen to the ground the night before and sell them out in front of my grandmother’s home the next morning. Many piles of 4 to 8 durians in all sizes were auctioned off each morning. Later the winners carried home the thorny fruits which had been tied up with twine or string. Then the whole extended family would luxuriously savor the heavenly durian, a feast of nature. Durian was not a fruit we enjoyed everyday, just as you would not want a rich custard everyday. Eating and sharing durian once or twice a year was an indulgence and a family ritual.

My last visit to Thailand in July 2011 was a memorable and fruitful one. I spent many days working on my plantation with my gardener and it was right at the peak of durian, bamboo shoot, and sator season. Durian (known as stinky fruit) and sator (also known as Petai or stinky beans) are infamous for their unique smells, though their health benefits transcend their strong odors. On my plantation, durian and sator grow side by side, a part of the Southern Thailand hillside landscape. One morning we had durian for breakfast with dark Thai coffee. As those of us who love durian say, “it tastes like heaven, a perfect custard on earth.” I was glad to taste durian again after a long time without it.

Life and culture around Seattle are not the same as in the village of Thailand. Here it is hard to convince friends and students to embrace durian’s infamous stinky side. My rules for eating durian are these: it must be a good durian (for me, this means a Phuket durian), in-season, not too ripe, eaten in small portions once or twice a year, and never mixed with alcohol. I would also recommend not socializing with people who don’t like durian the day you eat it, and don’t carry it around in a small closed space or a home with an air conditioning system. In Thailand, durian is considered contraband if you carry it in a rental car, or in air-conditioned public places such as buses, hotels or airplanes.

Pranee with Phuket cultivar of durian

There are many durian cultivars in Thailand but in Phuket the small, native cultivar is popular with locals as well as tourists from all over Asia. When visiting Thailand during durian season, ask someone who is knowledgeable about durian to introduce it to you. If you try the right one, chances are you, too, will taste the heaven—and the smell won’t put you off too much. And you will have something to talk about for a lifetime!

The best way to enjoy fresh durian is in moderation. Some people experience a fever after eating durian because it contains so many calories. One hundred grams of durian has about 30 grams of sugar, 25 grams of protein and approximately 144 calories (please see source below). Besides eating fresh durian, you may find durian in many desserts: Kao Neow Thurian, sticky rice with coconut milk and durian sauce; Thurian Icecream, durian ice cream; and Thurian Gwan, durian candies.

How to open the durian with a paring knife and cleaver

Opening durian requires some skill. Below are step-by-step pictures on how to open the durian the way a Phuketian does it. You will need two thick towels to protect the counter and your hand, a cleaver and a paring knife.

Look for a split in the durian

First remove the stem, then find the natural split in the hull. Use a paring knife to follow the split and make it wider, then use the cleaver to twist the hull open.

Insert the cleaver into the split line and then use the cleaver to twist the hull open.

Use both hands on each side of the split to pull and force until the hull opens completely

A perfect custard fruit snuggles inside

The custard lumps and seeds are snuggled inside each hollow hull.

Durian with delicious custard and seeds inside

© 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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Eat Like a Local

Papa Seafood Restaurant, Laem Sing, Phuket, Thailand

Stir-fried Blue Crab with Black Pepper – ผัดปูม้ากับพริกไทยดำ

It was less than a month ago that I was at Laem Sing, Phuket, soaking up the warm sunshine before leaving for Seattle. Laem Sing is my favorite beach for getting away for a half day—or all day—to just hang out on the beach with nature and good Phuket seafood. Typically one should visit early enough to choose the best location among the sun loungers that are lined up along the beach. The sun lounger will cost 50 to 100 baht ($2 to $3), which is paid to the owner of the restaurant in front of which the sun lounger sets. It also means that you should order food and drink from that restaurant as well. That’s how I came to know Papa Seafood Restaurant, as I make sure to visit Laem Sing each year. This is a private beach but it is open to the public. It is located on the northwest coast of Phuket on Millionaire Road between Kamala and Surin Beaches.

Pay for parking (40 baht) near the road, then walk down the hill to this quiet beach.

Laem Sing Beach

At Papa Seafood Restaurant, the seafood is purchased fresh each day and the menu is full of mouth-watering dishes—from local Thai seafood favorites to a few western dishes for those who prefer western comfort food such as sandwiches. The drink menu has a long list of tropical smoothies and other beverages that can keep you hydrated throughout the day.

As my eye glanced over the menu, I began to wonder about the possibility of taping the cooking at the restaurant to share with my students and Thai foods fans. Never afraid to ask, I found that the cook didn’t mind me taking photographs and video. I hope that you will enjoy the video on Stir-fried Blue Crab with Black Pepper recipe and that it will help you to duplicate this dish at home. If you get a chance to visit Phuket, please check out Laem Sing Beach and stop by Papa Seafood Restaurant. From Laem Sing Beach to your kitchen!

Stir-Fried Blue Crab with Black Pepper Recipe

Phad Phu Ma Kub Prik Thai Dum

ผัดปูม้ากับพริกไทยดำ

I grew up in the southern region of Thailand eating two kinds of crab: a rice-field crab (Phu Dum) and blue crab (Phu Ma), which is the most common crab caught in the Indian ocean. My family’s favorite ways to prepare the blue crab are either to steam it and serve it with a lime-garlic dipping sauce, or to stir-fry the crab with black pepper and green onion. Blue crab is so sweet and delicate in flavor, the cooking is best when it is simple with few ingredients. I love stir-fried blue crab with black pepper and the contrast of the sweet, juicy, fresh crab and the excitement of crushed black pepper. Kin Hai Aroy! Bon Appetite!

Serves: 2

Cooking Time: 5 to 7 minutes

3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons garlic 
1/2 onion, sliced
4 Thai chilies, cut in half
2 blue crabs, cleaned and cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 cup water or more as needed
1/2 tomato, sliced
1/2 cup Chinese celery and green onions cut into one inch length 
 
Heat the wok on high heat and stir in onion and chili; stir back and forth until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then stir in blue crab and let it cook for 2 minutes. Stir in black pepper, oyster sauce, sugar and soy sauce. Stir well, then add water and let it cook until the crab is completely pink in color and the crab meat is opaque, not translucent. It takes about  3 to 5 minutes for the crab meat to cook.  Add more water in between to make a good amount of sauce but not too watery. Last, stir in tomato, Chinese celery and green onion and continue stirring for 30 seconds. Serve right away with steamed jasmine rice.

Credit: Papa Seafood Restaurant

Laem Sing, Phuket, Thailand

© 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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Chasing the Monkey Tails

Early Morning around Surathani Province

Coconut Trees along the Roads, Southern Thailand Scenery

Kadaejae Monkey School, Surathani

I have been home again on Phuket Island for a few days now but still haven’t gotten used to the weather yet. Not that I want to complain about 94°F weather that feels like 104° F because of the humidity. I always love my visits with family and the foods here are truly exquisite.

While allowing myself to acclimate to the weather by drinking cool coconut water, I pulled out a lot of my notes, pictures and videos from my previous trip to Surathani. I was searching for information about a monkey school in Southern Thailand where monkeys learn how to pick coconuts from the coconut trees. My video took place at the monkey school.

Before leaving Seattle, I had been enjoying cooking with all forms of coconut: spicy-lime coconut chips, green or red curry with coconut milk, cucumber salad with coconut water vinegar and stir-fried fresh grated coconut with Phuket curry paste. Perhaps today is an appropriate time to learn about coconuts. What is a coconut anyway?

Before I answer this question, I want to first share some of the highlights of my trip to Surathani, a province in Southern Thailand that is famous as the land of a million coconut trees. I was lucky to have my brother as my tour guide taking me to all the famous Thai food restaurants and important sites along the way. He is a professional tour guide  and an expert on the Southern region. Most importantly we had a good time visiting the monkey school. Everyone was so warm and agreed to give me information and be part of the video taping, which you will see below. Thank you for P’ Paew, the owner of Kadaejae Monkey School and brother Sumit for the insight and patience. I had so much fun “Sanuk.”

When you start Thai cooking at home, you will encounter a lot of terms and types of coconut, so I think it is a good idea to start at the beginning with what is a coconut? In short, it is a seed, a fruit and a nut (in the botanical sense) What part of the coconut is used in cooking? In my Thai kitchen I cook with palm sugar which is made from the sap of the coconut flower. I use the heart of a coconut palm, which is nice and crunchy, in Sour Curry with Fish, and the heart of coconut palm (Gaeng Som Pla khab Yod Maprow). I also use coconut water vinegar, coconut milk, coconut cream, young coconut with coconut water and grated fresh and dry coconut—to name a few.

So here is a quick lesson on a coconut: 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.

I have  over 20 recipes on this blog that use coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut water vinegar and palm (coconut) sugar.

I hope this is a good start and I hope that my next trip to Thailand I will bring more inspired recipes to share with you.

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Best Phad Thai on Mahachai Road, Bangkok 

The Golden Mount

Image via Wikipedia

I just returned home from three weeks of savoring Thailand. I still have a little jet lag and a lingering sense of all the flavors from Thailand. My first day in Bangkok was spent with my nieces and nephew who knew the best places to eat in Bangkok. First we intended to go to Thip Samai, but the restaurant was closed. Thip Samai is open evening hours from 5:30pm till 1:30 am, but we were not in luck. Next to Thip Samai is the Lueng Pha Phad Thai restaurant, which is very good. We savored every menu item and were very happy with our lunch—we all know that good Phad Thai can make one happy! We then continued exploring the neighborhood, and decided to walk up to the top of the Golden Mountain Temple, Phu Khao Thong. It was a very pleasant day, cool and sunny, and I spent a good time bonding with my two nieces and nephew.

For Thai foodies, I strongly recommend that when you visit Bangkok, plan to go for more than a week and include Lueng Pha or Thip Samai Phad Thai on your to-do list. They are in a great location with interesting tourist sites nearby such as: San Chao Pho Suea, Sao Chingcha, Kao San Road, and the Golden Mountain Temple.

After having a good time at the Golden Mountain Temple, we were able to enjoy our afternoon visiting San Chao Pho Suea and Khao San Road. Of course, in Bangkok there were plenty of street foods to enjoy. As we walked, we tasted all of the good looking snacks along the way. It was a perfect day and a wonderful first day to welcome myself back home. We joked that it was an  “Eat Pray Love” kind of day.

Please enjoy the video below showing how Phad Thai is prepared and wrapped in an omelette.

Phad Thai Lueng Pa Mahachai Road

Omelette wrapped Phad Thai with Prawns

 

Phad Thai with Shrimp Fat, Fresh Shrimps and Egg

Phad Thai Lueng Pa (Jao Gao)

Phad Thai Regular without egg, 35 Baht ($1)

Phad Thai Regular with egg, 35 Baht

Phad Thai with Shrimp Fat and Egg, 50 Baht

Phad Thai with Shrimp Fat, Fresh Shrimp and Egg, 70 Baht

Phad Thai , Shrimp Fat, Fresh Shrimp, Wrapped with Omelet, 70 Baht

Additional Egg, 10 Baht each

Thank you for your support

 

The decor inside the restaurant

Lueng Pha Phad Thai (next to Phad Thai Thip Samai on Mahachai Road, Bangkok)

315/1 Mahachai Road
Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon
Bangkok 10200
Thailand

 

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You say Pummelo, I say Pomelo, and Thais say ”Som Oh

One of my goals for the New Year is for my blog readers to learn light and easy Thai cooking and some new exotic ingredients. Thai cuisine has been famous for many centuries and I want people to have a more in-depth knowledge of it.

Pomelo, Thai Grapefruit - The Flower Market in Bangkok

One way that I hope I can deepen your culinary skills is simply by showing you some of the techniques that Thais use to handle their ingredients, methods learned from our families, our communities and our ancestors.  I hope the instructions in my video demonstration will help you to open your pomelo.

Pomelos tastes so great by themselves, you don’t need to cook them. I created this simple fun recipe on New Year’s Eve to provide a zing to welcome the year 2011.

Best wishes to you all.

I love pomelo. It is in season around New Year’s time, but you can enjoy it every week to give a zing to your life. There are so many way to create a wow moment with pomelo. My favorite recipe is from Phuket, Thailand, and is made with shrimp, tamarind sauce and caramelized shallots. It is a great dish for teaching my students about the layer of flavors and textures that can be found in a Thai salad.

Yum Som Oh, Pomelo Salad with Crab

For my blog visitors, I think learning to open a pomelo is challenge enough, so I am keeping this recipe simple (which is also how I cooked during this past week). This recipe is prepared like a crab or shrimp cocktail rather than the traditional pomelo salad from Thailand.

Pomelo Salad with Crab

Yum Som Oh Khup Phu

ยำส้มโอกับปู

Serves: 6

1 pomelo (prepared as shown in the video above), about 2 cups
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus 6 cilantro sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup cooked crab meat or cooked shrimp
1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
2 tablespoons lime juice, about 1 lime
1 tablespoon fish sauce, or more as needed
1/8 teaspoon chili powder

Place pomelo, shallot, cilantro and crab in a medium size salad bowl. Whisk sugar, tamarind concentrate, lime juice, fish sauce and chili powder until well-blended, then pour over pomelo. Fold all of the ingredients together gently with a salad spoon and serve in a nice glass. Serve at room temperature or chill. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Vegetarian option:

Omit crab and use a few pinches of sea salt instead of fish sauce.

© 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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Dark Soy Sauce, an Essential in Thai Cooking  

Two years ago my friend Pom arranged for me to visit the Junsaeng soy sauce factory in Thalang, Phuket. I was fortunate to learn firsthand about their establishment and how soy sauce is made. Out of four soy sauce factories in Phuket, it is the only one still in business. I hope the video below will help you understand how soy sauce is made.

There are two types of soy sauce: light and dark. The dark soy sauce is a little-known but very important ingredient in many dishes, such as Phad See Ew, Kee Meo and Lahd Nah Noodles. After Phad Thai, these are the best known Thai noodle dishes for Americans. The secret ingredient in these dishes is a good dark soy sauce. For me personally, I love the flavor of dark soy sauce in Singaporean Noodles and Hainan Chicken. The challenge is that most of my students know how to use light soy sauce, but few have had a chance to experience cooking with dark soy sauce. Moreover, a good dark soy sauce is hard to find in America. My favorite brand is from Indonesia.

Before teaching my Thai Comfort Foods class for PCC Cooks, I decided to create a homemade, gluten-free, dark soy sauce. I didn’t want students to have to turn the world upside down to find dark soy sauce, but even more importantly, is almost impossible to find one that is gluten-free.  After a few experiments at home, I was happy with the results. My dark soy sauce recipe below was a success when I used it in stir-frying the noodles for my class. I hope that this recipe made it easier for you to cook Thai noodles at home. A few drops of dark soy sauce go a long way.

Dark Sauce 

See Ew Dam

In America, good dark soy sauce is hard to find. I created this recipe to make it available for students as a substitute for store-bought dark soy sauce. It is an important ingredient for stir-fried noodles and rice dishes that require a sweet molasses-like soy sauce. 

Yield: ¾ cup 

 ¼ cup water
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup wheat-free soy sauce

Place water and brown sugar in a heavy-bottom sauce pan and bring to a boil over a high heat. Stir until the sugar and water mix well together, then stop stirring completely. Let the sugar mixture cook on medium-low heat. Stand and watch the bubble. When it gets dark like coffee or molasses, pour in the soy sauce—be careful as there will be an eruption of bubbling liquid. Keep stirring until it becomes the consistency of molasses. Store in the refrigerator.

© 2010  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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Eating in Southeast Asia

Traveling through Vietnam in 2009 as a culinary tour leader was an interesting and heartwarming experience. The local people are so eager to share their country’s wonderful cuisine and culture and spend time with you. You’re treated more like a welcome guest than a tourist.

Back home in Phuket with my traveling companion, we rested and strolled on the beach and enjoyed the best food in Phuket: local seafood.

We were lucky to become friends with Chef Tony of the popular Rockfish Restaurant after savoring our first plate of his Thai crab salad. He generously agreed to share his recipe and do a cooking video for my newsletter to welcome our mango season here in America.

Chef Tony Wringley has been working at Rockfish Restaurant as executive chef for the past 6 months. His recipe was inspired by local and seasonal ingredients from Phuket Island such as local crab, fresh mango and coconut. Chef Tony has captured the flavors of the tropical island of Phuket with this Thai crab salad.

Thai Crab Salad with Mango and Shaved Coconut

Thai Crab Salad with Mango and Shaved Fresh Coconut Recipe

Yum Pu Mamuang Maprow

Recipe by Chef Tony Wrigley
Executive Chef, Rockfish Restaurant
Kamala Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Rockfish Restaurant

Serves: 1

½ cup cooked crab meat
½ cup diced mango, about half mango
¼ cup sliced red spur chili or Anaheim pepper
2 green onions, chopped into 1-inch long pieces
3 sprigs cilantro, torn into large pieces
10 Thai basil leaves or sweet basil, torn in half
¼ cup chili peanuts or dry roasted peanuts
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice, about 1 lime
¼ cup fresh shaved coconut or dry coconut chips
1 teaspoon chili oil for presentation

Gently combine crab, mango, red spur chili, green onions, cilantro, Thai basil and chili peanuts. Add fish sauce, sugar, olive oil and lime juice, and fold just to mix. Place crab salad on the plate, garnish with shaved fresh coconut on top and decorate the plate with chili oil. Makes one serving.

How to shave fresh coconut with a peeler

© 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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Stir-fried Phuket Hokkien Mee with Choy Sum

PHUKET HOKKIEN MEE RECIPE
Stir-fried egg noodles Phuket style

Serving: 1
Prep Time: 15    Cook Time: 5 minutes

On Chinese New Year Day, I always enjoy Phuket Hokkien Mee – an egg noodle dish similar to stir-fried chow mien.

In America, I use Miki noodle or yakisoba. For this recipe you may use any fresh egg noodles but I prefer ones the size of spaghetti. For vegetable choices, select a combination of mixed vegetables that you like, personally I love Choy sum or Chinese broccoli. For meat choices, substitute pork and/or seafood combination for tofu and mushrooms.  To serve, I always enjoy eating it with chopsticks and a little kick of Sriracha hot sauce.

3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 garlic, minced
¼ cup sliced pork
¼ cup sliced pork liver, optional
3 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup egg noodles, yakisoba or Miki noodles
1 cup cut Chinese kale or Choy Sum
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon sugar
A dash of white pepper powder

Heat a wok or cast iron pan over high heat; add canola oil. Stir in garlic, sliced pork, pork liver and shrimp. Continue to stir until the meat is almost completely cooked, then stir in egg noodles, Chinese broccoli, and dark soy and light soy sauces. Stir for 10 seconds, then add chicken broth. Stir and continue to cook until the broth is almost absorbed.  When the sauce has reduced to ¼ cup, add the white pepper powder. Place in a noodle bowl and serve with chopstick and spoon.

Vegetarian option: omit meat and substitute it with 1/4 cup cut extra firm tofu and 1/4 sliced brown button mushroom

Gluten-Free option: use wheat free soy sauce and rice stick or rice vermicelli instead of egg noodles.

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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When I visited my mom in Phuket in March 2009, I  dropped by to see her everyday for her home cooked meal. I didn’t plan to tape this video with Kabocha and pork, but at that moment, I wanted to record her cooking and share it with my students. My mom loves to surprise me with my favorite childhood dish. And she knew best. I love her recipe with shrimp paste but you can omit it and use fish sauce and soy sauce instead to give it a flavorful salty flavor.  Shrimp paste, soy sauce and fish sauce are Thai umami.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami.

Phad Namtao Moo
Stir-fried Kabocha Pumpkin with Pork

This recipe combines pumpkin with pork – and it may not seem like one that appeals to you at first.  Think of it as mashed potato with chicken broth next to pork chop gravy. The Kabocha melts in your mouth with a sweet taste and creamy texture. The shrimp paste leaves a hint of  saltiness to contrast the sweetness of Kabocha, and the fried garlic enhances the flavor. Be adventuresome  and try this as a side dish with steamed jasmine rice and curry dishes.

3 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons shrimp paste or 2 tablespoons fish sauce
¼ cup minced pork
3 cups Kabocha pumpkin chunks, seeds and skin removed
½ cup water or more as needed

Heat a wok on high heat, pour in canola oil and stir in garlic. When garlic is yellow, stir in shrimp paste and pork and cook until fragrant. Stir in Kabocha and add water to reach the top. Stir well, cover and let it cook until Kabocha is cooked in the center. Test by pressing a fork against Kabocha; it should break easily. You should taste a balance of salty and sweet from Kabocha.

Vegetarian option: omit pork, egg also popular instead of pork

Gluten-Free option: use wheat free soy sauce

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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PHAD PHED PLA DOOK

Thai stir-fried catfish with red curry paste

Recipe & Video
Servings: 1
Prep Time: 15   Cook Time: 5 minutes
 

Thai stir-fried catfish with red curry paste is a typical fast food wok-frying dish served over steamed rice. My sister’s recipe is a southern-rustic version that is very pungent. But at home and cooking school in Seattle, I prefer coconut milk instead of chicken stock. Then I recommend to omit oyster sauce when coconut milk is used. This is a great quick and easy Thai cooking for anyone who tries out Thai cooking for the first time.

1 cup steamed jasmine rice
1 fried egg
5 sliced cucumber
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 to 1 ½ tablespoons red curry paste
¼ cup chicken stock or coconut milk (see note)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 spur chili or Anaheim chili
¼ cup basil leaves
4 pieces fried catfish steaks (see note)

Place steamed jasmine rice on a serving plate and fried egg on top of the rice. Garnish with sliced cucumber on the side.

Heat a wok on high heat, when it is hot add curry paste and stir well until fragrant. Stir in chicken stock, oyster sauce, sugar and salt. Mix well. Stir in chili, basil and fried catfish and cook until the fish absorb the flavors and moisture from the sauce.

Pour the hot catfish curry next to steamed rice and serve right away.

Cooknote: My sister coated her catfish with corn starch before frying. She likes it crunchy.

Thai Vegetarian Recipe Option: omit catfish and substitute it with 1/4 cup cut extra firm tofu and 1/4 sliced brown button mushroom. Use coconut milk instead of chicken stock

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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Pranee with her mom and sister

Three Women Cook

 

I spent a good week with my mom and sister in March 2009. We would like to share with you our rustic style cooking. My mom was a chef of the village. Today my sister owns a fast-food wok restaurant in Thalang, Phuket.

I only have one sister and her name is Rudee. Her nick name is Kleuy which means “banana”. I love my sister cooking and you will also. She will contribute a lot of her recipes for my Thai cooking blog and also a basic Thai cooking video.

 Here are my sister’s cooking demonstration and recipe on how to make Thai omelette.

 

 

How to Cook Thai omelette

Thai Omelette Recipe 

Kai Jeow

Servings: 2
 
1/2 cup canola or peanut oil
3 eggs
3 drops fish sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce or Thai Kitchen spicy sauce
 
Place three eggs into medium size bowl, use fork or whisk to beat the egg for 30 seconds. Heat a wok until hot and pour in canola oil. Pour the eggs mixture to the wok steady 12 inches above the wok, the omellet will puff, let it cook until golden. Flip over and cook another side until golden. Drain with slot spatula and serve right away with hot sauce and steamed 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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 Lemongrass

Takrai, lemongrass

Thais use herbs in cooking for three great reasons: flavor, aroma and medicinal value. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) has a lemon-citrus flavor and is used widely in Malaysia, Indonesia, Lao, Burma and very intensely in Thailand. In Thai cuisine, lemongrass is the queen of Thai herbs. Thais use it in soup, curry paste, tea, stir-fry, fish and meat dishes. In a Thai kitchen, lemongrass reduces the strong smell of meat and fish and commonly is used in marinades and sauces. Lemongrass is easy to use and combines well with other herbs such as cilantro, ginger, garlic and shallots. Medicinally, lemongrass is known to heal stomach disorders and enhance mood.

   

Go Wild with Lemongrass

Thais use lemongrass intensively but I encourage American home cooks to use lemongrass whenever possible. Besides traditional Thai cooking, it also works well in a simple syrup or tea. 

Here is a link to Pranee’s recipes for cooking with lemongrass.

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