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In Seattle, it is the re-sprouting of garlic chives from the ground that tells me every year that spring is here. Enjoy the first harvest of garlic chives.

Happy Spring !
Pranee

Pranee's Thai Kitchen

Garlic Chives, Herb Essentials

In Seattle, it is the re-sprouting of garlic chives from the ground that tells me every year that spring is here. By April, I am enjoying my first harvest of garlic chives. Growing up with a rich Thai-Chinese heritage, garlic chives were always present in my family kitchen. We call it Gui Chai -กุยช่าย. Also known as Chinese chives, allium tuberosum is native to China and Japan, and widespread throughout Southeast Asia. It is one of the many herbs that I enjoy growing in Seattle. It greets early spring every year around April, and in the fall, around September, the leaves die off. In warm climates like Thailand my family enjoys its long, flat green leaves all year round simply by cutting off a clump of chive stalks with a knife run close to the ground; two weeks later it will have grown up again…

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From Jade, to Mantis, to Celadon Green

Pandan Sweet Sticky Rice – ข้าวเหนียวแก้วใบเตย – Kao Neow Kaew Bai Toey

Kao Neow Kaew Bai Toey – Sweet sticky rice, coconut milk and sugar with pandan green color and flavor

Many Southeast Asian cultures have their own stories and culinary love affair with the liquid green of jade, the alluring fragrance of a wild flower, and the sweet, nutty and vanilla taste that comes from pandan leaf or Bai Toey, a member of the screwpine family of plants. I have stories of my own about helping my mom and three aunts prepare dessert each morning in order to supply the villagers’ demands for Thai desserts for breakfast at the local coffee shop. That was a long while ago, but today in Seattle I still practice my culinary heritage by adding this jade green water extract to many foods that I cook. No matter how far people are from their homeland, or how long they have been gone, the Thai culinary tradition of using Bai Toey – ใบเตย – is staying alive among those native to the cuisine. Pandan leaf, or Bai Toey, is known in Vietnam as La Due, and in Malaysia as Kaitha, to mention a few.

Pandan leaves give our kitchens a sweet, alluring fragrance, and the lingering of a sensational taste. Don’t be surprised by its deep green grass aroma when it is in its fresh state. When combined with palm sugar and coconut milk, or when cooked, it leaves behind an amazing taste that can surprise you with the excitement of a new culinary discovery. Fortunately, green pandan leaves are available at a reasonable price, either fresh or frozen, at Asian markets, so there is no need to miss out on this culinary tradition.

Adding green pandan extract to tapioca pearl – coconut pudding

Before you go any further, I hope you have a chance to first read my blog post on  Pandanus leaf – Bai Toey from years ago. It includes a Pandan-Jasmine Tea recipe and will give you an insight into Bai Toey and the ways it imparts its taste, aroma and color into Thai desserts and beyond. For my Thai Street Food series of classes, I prepared enough pandan custard with brioche for myself and the class, and indulged myself for breakfast. But it is not yet time for me to share the pandan custard recipe, nor other uses for the leaves. Today’s post will simply focus on the crucial step of making of green pandan water -น้ำใบเตย – Nam Bai Toey, an essential ingredient in many Thai desserts.

Exotic Green from Southeast Asia

The food photos above and below are from my own collection over the years, mostly from my visits to Thailand. The foods came from street foods venders, coffee shops, or my village market. The green color in all of them is from pandan water. When cooked, the jade green color can change to celadon or mantis green—how deep a green depends on the amount of leaves used.

IMG_0081

Steamed layer rice cake – ขนมชั้น – Khanom Chan

Khanom Chan – Layered steamed rice cake. Its ingredients are rice flour, coconut milk, sugar and green pandan water

pandan custard -สังขยาใบเตย- Sangkaya Bai Toey

Pandan custard -สังขยาใบเตย- Sangkaya Bai Toey

Pandan custard -สังขยาใบเตย- Sangkaya Bai Toey is a traditional custard that is used like a spread or dip.

ปาท่องโก๋ สังขยา

ปาท่องโก๋ สังขยาใบเตย – Chinese Doughnut with Pandan Custard

Pandan custard served for dipping with Chinese doughnuts – pla Tong go – ปาท่องโก๋ – or with cut soft white bread

Pandan Tapioca Pearl Cake - Khanom Saku

Pandan Tapioca Pearl Cake – Khanom Yok Manee – ขนมหยกมณี- Jade Gemstone

Another ancient Thai dessert, Pandan Tapioca Pearl Cake, it’s name is  Jade Gemstone – ขนมหยกมณี  – Khanom Yok Manee

Step by Step: How to Make Pandan Water, น้ำใบเตย – Pandan Extract Recipe

In Seattle, pandan leaf – bai toey – is available fresh or frozen at Asian Markets and comes in a package of six leaves. For green food coloring, I recommend that you use all six leaves and freeze any extra juice—the greener the better. I have been making many Thai desserts the last few months and have been using a lot of pandan leaves. For some desserts, the complete flavor profile is very dependent on the pandan flavor. One of these is sungkaya – Thai custard; I have added my favorite pandan custard – Sungkaya Bai Toey – to my Thai Street Food class.

Clean, dry and trim four pandan leaves. Cut each leaf into three pieces, then layer them in a pile.

pandan leaf

Layer all leaves together and cut into thin shreds

Then thinly slice pandan leaves.

IMG_1603

Place in mortar and pound with pestle

Place shredded pandan leaves into a mortar.

pound until it for a paste

Pound until it form a paste

Pound the pandan leaves for about two minutes, until they form a paste.

green pandan water

Stir in water

Stir in 5 tablespoons water.

pandan water

Green pandan water – น้ำใบเตย – Nam Bai Toey

Yields 1/4 cup green pandan water

The pandan water is ready for any recipe that calls for green pandan extract.

Alternative method: Place shredded pandan leaves and 1/4 cup water into a blender and blend for 30 seconds; strain, then discard the pulp.

Tips & Techniques. For a green pandan water concentrate, let the pandan water sit for 15 minutes. About two tablespoons of green concentrate will sit on the bottom. You may use just this portion.

The best way to make pandan water ahead of time or to preserve pandan leaves is to preserve the shredded pandan leaf in water and freeze the water and leaves together; the second best method is to make the green pandan extract and freeze it. When the whole leaves are frozen by themselves, it is easy for them to get a freezer burn or to dry out too quickly and lose their green color. When that happens I use the leaves for tea instead. Please see link below for my Pandan-Jasmine Tea Recipe.

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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~Happy Holidays~

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas

All the best wishes and happy holidays….Pranee

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Southern Thai Red Curry Paste: A Blend to Suit Your Soul

While I was in Thailand, I indulged myself everyday with Southern Thai curries. No curries taste as good as the ones you grew up with! In Bangkok you may find them at the food stand known as อาหารปักษ์ใต้ – “Aharn Pak Tai” – Southern Thai Cuisine.

Perhaps it would be best if I could give you a snap shot of what Thai curries are like in my village on Phuket Island. The everyday Thai curries here are mostly red curries enjoyed with steamed jasmine rice. However, behind all these great curries, it is the curry paste itself that makes these curries stand out from each other. There are many curry pastes available in the market such as massaman or yellow curry. These are well-loved, but often for special occasions like a wedding or purchased from special vendors. There are also some green curry pastes available, but they are mostly used in Thai restaurants in the tourist area, and vendors offer them for variety and to venture out to cuisine from Thailand’s central region. For this blog post, I will talk only about the various types of red curry pastes, the mainstay of all Thai curries.

southern Thai curry merchant

Southern Thai curry merchant

A curry merchant such as Ja (“sister”) above can create a special blend for you with additional dry spices. You can discuss with her what ingredients you want incorporated into your curry and ask for the level of heat you prefer. For example, if you are cooking a game meat, the curry expert would add a few teaspoons of Sa Curry Powder to her recommended type of red curry. In Phuket, curry costs approximately 100 Baht a kilogram – about $3. And a small batch of 1 keet – ๑ ขีด-  (100 grams) – ๑๐๐ กรัม sells for 10 Baht, about 35 cents. One hundred grams of curry paste is a good amount for making one curry dish for a family of four.

My favorite curry merchants in Phuket are from Phuket Town Municipal Market and Kamala Beach Open Air Market. On my recent trip, during my first day at the open air market, my sister and I purchased  เครื่องแกงส้ม – Krueng Gaeng Som – sour red curry paste; and เครื่องแกงพริก – Krueng Gaeng Prik – water-based red curry paste; เครื่องแกงเผ็ดกะทิ – Krueng Gaeng Kati – coconut milk-based red curry paste; and  เครื่องแกงผัดเผ็ด – Krueng Gaeng Phad Phed – stir-fry based curry paste. And most importantly, we also purchased a genuine shrimp paste from a known source and artisan. Shrimp paste plays an important role in curry paste. Most curry pastes in the US have a small amount of shrimp paste already blended in.

Shrimp paste, red curry paste for curry, and for stir-fry

 The photo above from the left: kapi – shrimp paste; เครื่องแกงผัดเผ็ด – krueng gaeng phad phed – red curry paste for stir-fry style; เครื่องแกงเผ็ดกะทิ – krueng gaeng phed kati – coconut milk based red curry paste

Red curry paste is a mainstay in the Thai curry world. If you walk by food stalls on the street with a display of various curries, it is likely that many of them will be different variations of red curries. One type of curry paste doesn’t limit the home cook to making just one curry. There is no limit to your imagination to create curries with all sorts of combinations, with one type of protein such as meat, seafood or poultry and your choice of available seasonal fresh vegetables. There are many keys to what makes Southern Thai cuisine different from other regions; the southern curries is definitely one of them.

I hope you find the explanation below of four types of red curry pastes and a style of cooking helpful, and that you will get a chance to prepare some of my Thai red curry recipes.

Phad Phed Sator Goong – Stir-fried Spicy Stink Beans with Prawns

1) Krueng Gaeng Phad Phed – เครื่องแกงผัดเผ็ด – is a red curry paste specifically designed for a sharp, pungent, hot, and bold flavor. It adds an extra bold flavor to all stir-fries. You may add fresh green peppercorns to stir-fried curries. Typically cooking oil is use for stir-frying, with a little water added to make a sauce. But if the taste is too pungent, a tablespoon or two of coconut milk will reduce the intensity. Please see the recipes that I posted previously on this blog: Phad Phed Talay Tua Fak Yao – Thai Spicy Stir-fried Seafood with Yard Long Bean and Phad Phed Sator Goong PhuketStir-fried Spicy Stink Beans with Prawns Phuket Style. 

Red Curry with Morning Glory and Salted Croaker

2) Krueng Gaeng Phed Kati –  เครื่องแกงเผ็ดกะทิ – is a typical red curry paste. It is a basic paste that is typically cooked with meat, seafood, or poultry and vegetables. In America, and around the world, you will see many brands of red curry paste such as Mae Ploy, Thai Kitchen and more. They are not exactly the same as my hometown version, but  I often use them to substitute for each other with a hotter flavors and less red in color. For an even hotter version, you can ask a curry merchant for Krueng Gaeng Phed Kati Piset. Please check out my recipe for Gaeng Tapo Pla KemRed Curry with Morning Glory and Salted Croaker.

Gaeng Pah – Jungle Curry with Green Papaya

3) Krueng Gang Prik –  เครื่องแกงพริก –  is a red curry paste specifically for water-based curries such as Gaeng Prik – Phuket Black Pepper Curry, which is similar to Geng Pah – Jungle Curry. Jungle Curry is a rustic curry paste we often use with wild fresh herbs and with wild boar. Gaeng Tai Pla – fish maw curry – has more black peppercorn than regular curry paste. Please check out my recipe Gaeng Pah MarakorPhuket Jungle Curry with Green Papaya.

Fish Head Sour Curry with Bilimbi

4) Krueng Gaeng Som –  เครื่องแกงส้ม – is a red curry paste specifically for sour fruit broth / water-based red curry with fish or seafood. The sour broth could be from the fruit, tamarind, or lime juice. The most famous one is Gaeng Som Pla Nor Mai Dong – sour curry fish with bamboo shoots. You can find this anywhere in Thailand. In Pranee’s Thai Kitchen I posted Gaeng Som Pla Talingping –  Fish Head Sour Curry with Bilimbi Recipe. There are so many versions of seafood, sour fruit and vegetable pairings that you can create almost a hundred versions of sour curry in Southern Thailand.

Among these four curry pastes, my personal favorites and the ones I have had most often are the Phad Phed and Gaeng Som.

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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Happy as a Clam in a Lemongrass Broth

I am as happy as a clam in Seattle, where we have been having the best summer ever and a plentiful harvest from the land and the sea. The freshest of these local harvests bring the best flavors to our table. This recipe is an example of fresh local steamer clams from Washington State cooked in a simple Thai style: steamed clams with lemongrass. Many of you already have your own favorite recipe for cooking clams, but today I hope you can try my family’s favorite recipe. Often when we find fresh clams we prepare Hoi Tom Takrai in large pot so that we can each serve ourselves a bowl full of หอยต้มตะไคร้ – Hoi Tom Takrai – Steamed Clams with Lemongrass Broth.

Tom Takrai Hoy

Hoi Kao Tom Takrai – หอยขาวต้มตะไคร้ at Baan Keang Lay Seafood Restaurant

The photo above is of the หอยขาวต้มตะไคร้ – Hoi Kao Tom Takrai that I enjoyed when I was traveling in Thailand between Samui Island and Phuket. My route was on 4177 via Kanchanadit, Surat Thani. If you make this same trip, I would recommend that you stop for a meal at the Baan Keang Lay Seafood Restaurant. It is located at 124 Moo 7 Tumbol Kadae, Kanchanadit, Surat Thani in a fishing village of Kadae. Locals, as well as visitors from near and far, come here for fresh seafood and especially for Hoi Kao Tom Takrai, a local white clam cooked in a scented lemongrass broth. White clams – Hoi Kao – หอยขาว are only available in the gulf of Thailand and along the Pacific Ocean. (For more pictures, please view my photos from our trip and lunch experience at Baan Keang Lae Seafood.)

Baan Keang Lae Seafood

Baan Keang Lae Seafood

บ้านเคียงเลซีฟู้ด 124 หมู่ 7 ต.กะแดะ จ.สุราษฎร์ธานี, อ.กาญจนดิษฐ์

Baan Keang Lay Seafood Restaurant, 124 Moo 7 Tumbol Kadae, Kanchanadit, Surat Thani

ต้มตะไคร้ – Tom Takrai  

Tom Takrai is a traditional method of cooking fresh seafood in the southern region of Thailand, and it was a daily practice in our village. You may use the same recipe to cook any seafood. It is similar to steaming but uses just a small amount of water. It is a fast method that produces moist and tender meat. The broth is good as a soup, or can be kept to use in a recipe that requires clam juice or fish stock. It is a fresh tasting broth with a lemongrass aroma.

Lemongrass Clam Soup

Clam, lemongrass, Thai chili, garlic and fresh basil or lemon thyme

I made Tom Takrai recently at home. After cleaning the clams, I simply placed the cleaned clams, water, lemongrass, garlic, a lightly smashed chili, and fresh herbs like Thai basil or lemon thyme in the wok or pot. Then I covered and cooked them until almost all the clams were open, and discarded the ones that were not. I squeezed some lime juice over the top, stirred, and they were ready for the table. I didn’t have Thai basil, but I did have plenty of thyme, which was a good substitute in a clam dish.

Steamer Clam in Lemongrass Broth

Thai-style Steamed Clams with Lemongrass

Thai Steamed Clam with Lemongrass

Hoi Tom Takrai

หอยต้มตะไคร้

No salt or fish sauce is needed for this dish, just enough water to balance out the natural saltiness of the clams—about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup for a pound of clams. I use a glass lid, so I can see when all the clams are open. Serve at once when the scents of the sweet clam juice and the lemongrass are at their highest point. You can slurp up the clam broth or save and bottle it if some is left. It is just the best marriage and the cleanest flavor: clam and lemongrass.

Serves: 1

Cooking time: 2 to 3 minutes after the water comes to a boil

1 pound clams, cleaned, then soaked in cold water for 15 minutes and rinsed
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and smashed (see Pranee’s video for step-by-step how to prepare lemongrass)
1 fresh Thai chili, smashed lightly
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed lightly
1 shallot, peeled, quartered and crushed
6 leaves Thai basil, or 3 kaffir lime leaves and 3 sprigs of lemon thyme
1 tablespoon lime juice, about 1 medium-size lime

Place clams, lemongrass, Thai chili, garlic, shallot, and Thai basil or thyme in a wok or sauté pan. Add 1/4 cup water and cover, using a see-through lid if you have one. Bring to a boil and cook until the clams are completely open, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in lime juice and serve immediately.

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 Gift from a Thai village, Durian Paste Candy – ทุเรียนกวน – Thurian Guan

When I visit home I love hanging around the open air market in my village. It is common for each village in Thailand to have an open air market in the late afternoon till the evening from 1 to 3 times a week. We call it ตลาดนัด – Talad Nad – and it is the best way to get fresh and dry ingredients for cooking when traveling to the wet market in town in the early morning is not an option. It is similar to the Seattle Farmers Market, but the stalls are a mix of merchants and farmers. I often enjoy snacks from the food stands, take pictures, and pick up a few things for myself and my family. You can find everything from fresh ingredients to cooked food and seasonal fruits. One durian season I had a chance to reconnect with an old friend, the durian farmer shown below. He had loaded his freshly picked durian fruits—that had dropped from the tree that day—into the back of his motorcycle basket. The durian flesh stays good in the fruit for a few days. He sold his durian at the Talad Nad and around the village. What was left was likely to become durian paste candy.

Phuket durian farmer

Phuket durian farmer

A good grade durian sells for a good price

The peak season for durian is in June and July. During that time, farm families will turn their large surplus of durian into durian candy. In Kamala village, durian plantation owners are famous for their durian candy, a rare specialty commodity. When durian season comes, make sure you ask to be on the list for freshly made durian paste candy, a gift of pride from the village.

Kamala Village Durian Paste Candy

Mangosteen, durian and durian candy

Durian, mangosteen and durian paste candy are in season during the monsoon season

Photo is a courtesy from Old Phuket Town Community and was taken on July 6, 2013 on Kamala Agricultural Day.

Please click photo to see the event

In the above photo, the durian paste candy is wrapped in plastic and rolled into a tube. Last year, due to a drought, no durian paste candy was available.

Durian flesh or durian custard

My first post on durian was written in 2011. It was called  “What is the durian and how to open it?” It showed, in detail, how to open durian. Now you are going to learn how to remove the flesh from the stone after you open the fruit. The pulp from 5 durian fruits roughly this size will yield about a kilogram of candy.

remove and discard seed from durian flesh by hand

Remove seeds by hand from durian flesh and discard

The best and easiest to remove the pulp from the seed is to use both hands to squeeze out the seeds, discard them, and leave the durian pulp in the container.

The making of durian paste candy in Kamala Village, Phuket Thailand

The making of durian candy

Making durian paste candy

In July 2006, I asked around during one of my visits to Kamala village, Phuket, Thailand and learned that my friend’s family was making durian paste candy. I was able to take pictures and videotape the process. Following is the recipe from my notes and video interview. The durian plantation owner—her name is Pranee as well—said there is no secret to making durian paste candy. It simply requires patience, time, and strong arms to stir the durian constantly. It usually takes her a whole day in preparation. The candy can be 100% durian, or it can call for adding 100 grams of sugar for every kilogram of durian pulp. It is cooked over a low, simmering heat and stirred until the flesh turns into a sticky brown candy. It takes about 6 hours, from morning to late afternoon, until the pulp becomes a shiny lump and it can be rolled into a ball and rolled like a marble. After it cools down, it is wrapped in plastic and rolled into a tube. It is made to order for sale in a half kilo or smaller. The price varies from year to year. This year’s price right now in Phuket is around 200 baht, which is about $7.

The making of durian paste candy, Phuket, Thailand

Pranee’s tip for small plantation owners is that she saves durian pulp in the refrigerator each day until there is enough pulp to fill the pan. This way it becomes worth her while to prepare the candy with a full pan of durian pulp while she takes care of her granddaughter at the same time. While I was learning from her, I enjoyed watching villagers going by. I had a chance to taste the durian candy shown above. There wasn’t any durian candy last year because the dry and short monsoon season limited flower productivity, but this year there is a great surplus of durian, which predicts that there will be a lot of durian paste candy going around in the village. I can’t wait to taste it again this year.

ทุเรียนกวน

Durian Paste Candy –  ทุเรียนกวน – Thurian Guan

This is a typical durian paste candy – ทุเรียนกวน – Thurian Guan found in American Asian markets for a short period of time each year.

It is also known as Thurian Guan, Durian Guan, Durian Paste, Durian Fruit Roll, Durian Cake and Durian Jam.

It is available at online market such as Amazon , Temple of Thai and Import Foods under durian paste.

Love Thai Cooking

© 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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Good Time & Bad Time

เวลาที่ยากลำบากและเวลาที่สบาย

I had Tom Yum Mama Noodle Soup for lunch today, instant ramen noodles made from the Mama brand with Tom Yum Goong favor. I took a short break from working in the garden and went into my kitchen, but there weren’t any leftovers and I had a craving for the flavors of Tom Yum Mama Noodle Soup. It is common—but not often—that I reach into my kitchen cabinet where a few emergency instant noodles are hidden. It is an honest confession that I take pleasure in eating instant Tom Yum Mama noodles once in a while. I am not alone. One of the photos below was taken a few years back when I visited my friend Varuunee one hot and humid afternoon at her food stand in Bangtao Village, Phuket, Thailand.

Tom Yum Mama Ramen Noodle Soup

Varunee prepared our lunch –Tom Yum Mama with egg and Chinese celery – for her neighbor and me. The neighbor happened to be the head chef for the Thai restaurant at a famous resort hotel nearby. There we were, two cooks, leisurely slurping the simplest dish prepared from instant noodles – just for good time’s sake!

Oriental Style Instant Noodles Shrimp Flavour (TOM YUM)

Mama and Wai Wai are two famous brands among instant noodles

Above is my favorite, Mama Shrimp Tom Yum flavor

In Fall 2011, I was in line at the cashier’s stand in an Asian market in Seattle when I saw a food stamp shopper demand to know when Thai instant noodles would be back on the shelves. The cashier simply could not give a precise answer due to the huge domestic demand in Thailand and the shortage due to the extreme flood crisis during the late monsoon season that September. The flood effected many families; some were living on instant noodles and other foods in their emergency food supply. Instant noodles can be kept for extended periods and by adding just a small amount of warm water they can become a good emergency food source. In fact, a hike in sales of instant noodles can be use as an index for indicating bad economic events in Thailand. In general the sale of the noodles is high at the end of the month, during economic crises, and when there are extreme weather conditions—times when when every Baht (Thai currency)- ทุกบาททุกสตางค์  – is stretched -เวลาที่ยากลำบาก

Raining Season in Phuket

Raining season in Kamala, Phuket, Thailand

May 26th, 2013

Photo above is a courtesy of Niruj Kamala News

Lately my family and friends have mentioned a lot on Facebook about power shortages and heavy rain in Phuket, Thailand. Monsoons start at the beginning of May and end around September, though the weather varies from year to year as does when a storm will hit. The posts on Facebook reminded me of the story that I want to share with you from the year 2011. That year, Thailand was faced with some of the most extreme floods in its history. Perhaps you still remember the news of the difficulties people experienced who lived in the flooded areas in central Thailand. For some people it was more than two months before the water receded.

Tom Yum Mama with Egg

Instant noodles can be a fun dish that is quick and easy for students, or for the many Thais who experience a random craving for a familiar taste during good times or bad!

It tastes like tom yom soup. Ingredients: wheat flour, palm oil, salt, sugar and CMC, soup base ingredients, kaffir lime leaf powder, lemongrass powder, sugar, MSG, chili paste, chili powder, palm oil and artificial shrimp flavor. Net Weight 2.10 oz. Product of Thailand.

Tom Yum Mama with Egg and Celery

I don’t recommend instant noodles as an everyday food for anyone. I am sharing them with you today because they tell a story about how what we eat is affected by economics, politics and environment factors. Instant noodles often serve as temporary foods to alleviate hunger. For many people, sometimes hunger is real. There are proteins that you can add to your noodle soup such as ground pork or beef, shrimp, and egg. For vegetables, the options are choy sum, bok choy and bean sprouts. For the herbs, Kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, cilantro and chives.

Tom Yum Mama Noodles

ต้มยำบะหมี่มาม่า

Tom Yum Bamee Mama

Serve: 1

Cooking Time: 7 minutes

1 package Mama Noodles Tom Yum Flavor
1 egg
1 rib or stalk Chinese celery or celery heart, chopped (use both leaf and stalk)
1/2 lime, cut into two wedges
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, optional
 

While bringing 1 cup water to a boil in small pot on high heat, open a package of instant noodles and the seasoning packet, and chop the celery. When the water comes to a boil, add seasonings and stir, then add the noodles. Cover, and let cook for 2 minutes. Stir the noodles to loosen them and make a well in the center. Crack the egg and drop it into the center. Cover and let the egg poach in the liquid for 1 minute. Stir in half of the celery and the juice from one lime wedge. Garnish with remaining celery, lime wedge, and chili power if desired. Enjoy immediately.

© 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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Love the One You’re With

When you want to cook Thai food outside of Thailand and rare ingredients are missing or their availability is limited, we learn how to make substitutions for critical ingredients. Thus it often transpires that some ingredients in traditional dishes change over time. Green papaya salad – Som Tum – is not acceptable without green papaya, so how do you create this traditional dish when the freshest texture and flavor are important and all you can find is an aging and bitter green papaya? My friend in Switzerland and some Hmong farmers in the Pacific Northwest use sweet, fresh local carrots from their gardens in place of the hard-to-find green papaya. The homesickness for this traditional dish can be cured by the sound of the mortar and pestle and the pungent authenticity of the rest of the ingredients. I never forgot the taste of the Som Tum I ate in Switzerland after being away from Thailand for two months for the first time. Love the one you’re with!

Khmer Chicken Curry with Sorrel

Khmer Chicken Curry with Sorrel

The best and freshest ingredients from our garden can also replace the absent or impossible to find tamarind leaves. This is perhaps what led me to this next local Pacific Northwest ingredient—sorrel—and the discovery of a pattern of substitutions: the similarity of the texture of carrots to that of green papayas, the similarity of the flavor of sorrel leaves to young tamarind leaves, and the similarity of the flavor and texture of green apples to green mangoes. I am not here to change Thai cuisine. These new dishes arenot the same as the old, but the substitution of nostalgia for a traditional culinary love affair.
young tamarind leaves

Young tamarind leaves

My photos from a fresh market in Surathani
Young Tamarind Leaves 
ยอดใบมะขามอ่อน
Yod Bai MaKham Oon
Young tamarind leaves have been used as food in Southeast Asia for a long time. My family and other Thais in my village cook them in vegetable stews like Tom Som and use them to add a sour flavor to coconut milk and non-coconut milk based curry dishes. In addition to having a delightful tangy sour taste, tamarind leaves have a medicinal benefit: they are packed full of vitamin A.
Sorrel

Sorrel – ซอรเรล – Rumex acetosa

Sorrel– ซอรเรล- Rumex acetosa is native to Europe and northern Asia. Only 15 years ago, I discovered cooking with sorrel for the first time. It was at a Thai community kitchen when some elders from Lao and Cambodia brought a fresh sorrel and vegetable condiment. Then my friend Ruth Huffman showed me the sorrel  in her garden. Ruth uses it as a leaf vegetable and culinary herb. Now I have three vegetables in my garden from the Polygonaceae (buck wheat) family: regular sorrel, sorrel ‘raspberry dressing’, and rhubarb. Sorrel is recommended for eating in small quantities because of its oxalic acid content. High levels of oxalic acid, like in the green in rhubarb leaves, can be a poison. In the recipe below,  you can use more Swiss chard if you do not have sorrel and simply add more lime juice as desired. I am staying in town this summer and you will find me posting more Thai recipes made with wholesome local sustainable foods. My summer lifestyle is big on gardening, grilling, and entertaining outdoors.
Khmer Chicken Curry with Sorrel

Khmer Chicken Curry with Sorrel

From left to right, I combine regular sorrel, sorrel ‘raspberry dressing,’ and baby Swiss chard from my garden in this curry.
You can find sorrel and Swiss chard all year long in the Pacific Northwest.

Khmer Chicken Curry with Sorrel leaves

แกงไก่เขมรใบซอรเรล

Gaeng Gai Khmer Bai Sorrel

The delightful taste of Khmer chicken curry with sorrel leaves can make it hard to make the recipe stretch to six servings. This curry is more of a comfort food, reminiscent of vegetable stew, with a hint of citrus curry—rice porridge with a wonderful aroma. It is packed with health benefits from fresh turmeric, galangal, and tamarind or sorrel leaves. The curry is flavorful, but not hot, and the coconut milk is only required to taste. The toasted rice makes the soup rich in texture but light in taste. I enjoy this as a one-dish curry meal with a bit of steamed rice on the side. This recipe tastes best made with fresh Khmer Curry Paste or Phuket Curry Paste.

Serves: 4–6

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 chicken breast or 4 chicken thighs, sliced
5 tablespoons Khmer curry paste 0r 3 tablespoons Phuket Red Curry Paste or 3 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4  cup to 1/2 cup coconut milk
3 to 5 tablespoons toasted rice powder
2 cups sorrel leaves
2 cups Swiss chard leaves
½ tablespoon lime or tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon palm sugar, optional
 

Heat a pot with a heavy bottom on medium-high heat, then stir in canola oil, chicken, and Khmer curry paste; cook until fragrant and you see the oil separate out from the remainder of the ingredients. Pour in 1 cup water and let cook on medium heat with the lid on until the chicken is tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk and toasted rice powder and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in sorrel, Swiss chard leaves, and lime juice and cook for 30 seconds. Serve right away with warm steamed jasmine rice.

 
© 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 
 
I grow my sorrel in a pot

I grow sorrel, sorrel “raspberry dressing” and Swiss chard in the same pot

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East Meets West Salad Dressing

I have been gone from regularly writing in my blog and would like to thank you for your patience. I haven’t forgotten it. In fact, there are many posts with photos and recipes waiting in line! Finding time to focus on writing has been most challenging as I am thinking in two languages but must write it in only one. Here is the Sweet Chili Vinaigrette Recipe that I promised to recreate after the Thai Dinner at Dog Mountain Farm last fall. Finally last month I had a scrap of paper in my hand with my notes on the ingredients and quantities and all of the necessary ingredients in my kitchen. With a little fine tuning, Sweet Chili Vinaigrette is now ready to share with you to help you welcome summer. This delicious dressing has been enjoyed by my friends and family. It is good for easy entertaining as well as for an every day salad dressing. It is a Western dish with an Eastern twist!

Thai Flavor - Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

Mixed Salad with Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

Just two weeks ago I was lucky to have Sylvie, a French chef, caterer and the owner of Sylvie Cooks for lunch. While I prepared Asparagus & Lovage Soup, Sylvie helped me prepare the salad and sweet chili vinaigrette. Thirty minutes later we were enjoying the soup and salad in the warm sunlight on the deck. Thank you to Sylvie for a great presentation on plating the salad. In the photo I use an organic mixed green salad with a few fresh red sorrel leaves from my garden, a hard-boiled egg and a mandarin orange.

 
Mixed Salad Green, Hard-Boil Egg and Mandarin Orange with Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

Mixed Salad Green, Hard-Boil Egg and Mandarin Orange with Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

Having friends over for lunch should be fun and casual. In my case it is often spontaneous in time and cooking style as well.

Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

My Thai take on a vinaigrette when cooking for friends and family is not constrained to just one tradition. In fact, this is not a traditional Thai recipe but a study of the tastes of Thai ingredients co-existing with Western cuisine. It illustrates for students and blog followers that often we can take one ingredient beyond where we usually find it. In this recipe I use the Thai sweet chili sauce, fish sauce and lime juice that I would use in traditional Thai salad dressing (nahm yum) and combine them with the ingredients for a classic vinaigrette such as olive oil, vinegar and mustard.

The forecast for Seattle promises a long week of sunshine and warm weather, so I will prepare hard-boiled eggs and sweet chili vinaigrette again tonight and keep them in the fridge. For dessert, I will prepare Yangon Almond Pancake to serve with strawberries and whipped cream.

Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

น้ำสลัด

Sweet Chili Vinaigrette is easy to love and easy to adapt. The flavor is great—you will hardly recognize the fish sauce or sweet chili flavor, just a nice balance of sweet and salty. The fish sauce is used here in much the same way as a French vinaigrette uses anchovy. The sweet chili sauce has complex ingredients like garlic and chili, but is also just a plain sweet contribution. I love the tangy flavors of the vinaigrette. I recommend adding toasted sesame seeds to the dressing or to the salad itself to bring out more flavors of sesame oil and an essential oriental flavor and texture.

Yield: 1/2 cup

2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon coconut vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper powder
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Whisk sweet chili sauce, lime juice, coconut vinegar, fish sauce, sea salt, white pepper powder, mustard in a medium size bowl until well blended, about 30 seconds. While whisking rapidly with one hand, use the other hand to pour in the sesame oil and olive oil. Continue whisking for 1 more minute to emulsify the dressing. An alternative method is to place all of the ingredients in a salad dressing bottle and shake well, then shake well again before serving with your choice of salad.

 
© 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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Incredible Me

Banana Tender Stems

Banana Tender Stems

Banana Stemsหยวกกล้วย – are considered a vegetable in Thai cuisine.  They are available everyday at wet markets and open-air-markets if you don’t have your own banana tree growing in your backyard or can’t get them from the nearby forest. Actually, the banana tree is not a tree at all. It is a giant herbaceous plant, with large leaves that closely roll up one over the other. Together they look like a trunk, but they are leaves from underground stems and they form only an “apparent trunk. Villagers in Thailand and many countries in South and Southeast Asia consider the tender core of the banana stems, the apparent trunk,  a valuable nutritious vegetable. In Thai we call them, หยวกกล้วย – Yuak Kluey – Banana Stems. Each leaf can be peeled off. As you get closed to the center, you will find the most tender leave.

Banana stem cut crosswise

Banana stem cut crosswise

Banana leaves closely rolled up one over the other. This is a cut from a five-month-old banana apparent trunk. Banana trees usually have about 15 to 20 leaves.

Just like corn is used in the United States for both human and animal food, all parts of the banana plant—leaves, banana, banana skin, and roots—have minerals, vitamins, and fat. Thai farmers feed all parts of the banana to their pigs and farm animals. When I was in high school I had a pair of piglets. On the weekends I chopped down banana stems, cooked them with broken rice, and let them stew into a porridge before feeding them to the pigs. Farmers also mix chopped banana stems with other grasses during dry season for cows, goats and cattle—there are plenty of bananas in Southeast Asia. Banana stems are one-third edible vegetation and two-thirds water, but have a good amount of protein and fat plus minerals and vitamins. They are a good source of fiber, potassium, phosphorus, B6 and calcium, as good as the banana fruit itself. The stems are considered food in everyday cooking in Asia and Southeast Asia.

Banana Tree Trunks

Banana Tree Trunks

On Phuket Island, there are two varieties of bananas that have stems considered excellent for cooking. They are Kluey Nam Wah – กล้วยน้ำว้า – which are similar to apple bananas, and  gluey pa – กล้วยป่า – wild bananas that are best for their delicious stems. In Phuket, it is typical for mountain- and hill-sides to be covered with wild bananas. The best time to harvest quality banana stems for cooking is when they are about 3 to 4 months old, before the tree begins to flower and the core is still tender.

Phuket Tom Som - Phuket Sour Soup with Wild Vegetable

Phuket Tom Som – Phuket Sour Soup with Wild Vegetable

After banana stems are cooked, the texture is juicy, crunchy, and squishy, and the taste is sweet, tart, and bitter, plus their air pockets absorb the flavors of the other ingredients in the dish. I can’t compare the flavor of banana stems with anything else, but I can say that the texture and taste give me the same satisfaction as when I bite into Belgian endive. I would like to encourage you to try banana stems when you have a chance. If I were a banana stem, I would say that I am incredible, and that my taste, texture and nutritional value make me stand out with great personality. The dish that presents me is always memorable because of the incredible me!

Banana Stems

Add sliced banana stems to sweet and sour vegetable soup

One morning last month I found my mom, sister, and sister in-law prepping and cooking together in the kitchen. I immediately grasped my camera and, trying not to interrupt everyone in the middle of the process, I took a snapshot of a real life in my Thai family kitchen. This is a typical vegetable soup of Phuket; it has been part of my mom’s new low fat, low sodium diet since she returned from the hospital. For this post, I will just highlight the banana stems themselves without adding a recipe in order to demystify the ingredients and cutting techniques, and help you to understand the amazing beauty of banana stems in Southern Thai cooking. I was lucky that my family prepared banana stems two ways while I was there, one for soup and another for sour curry. I hope you enjoy a real cooking show from my mom’s kitchen.

Step-by-Step How to Prepare Banana Stems for Soup

discard the tough outer layer of banana stem

Discard the tough outer layer of the banana stem

After purchasing the banana stems from the market, my mom removed the tough outer layer to get to the tender part.

Preparing banana stems for making the soup

Preparing banana stems for making soup

Preparing banana stems for making the soup

Preparing banana stems for making soup

Use your  index finger to remove the soft fiber strand or stringing.

soak sliced banana stem in cold salted water or lime water

Soak sliced banana stems in cold salted water or in lime water

Soak sliced banana stem in a cold salted water or lime water for a short or long period of time, then it is ready to incorporate into a soup or stew.

Step-by-Step How to Prepare Banana Stems for Curry

Cut into one a half inch pieces

Cut into one and a half-inch pieces

Cut into pieces about one and a half-inches in length.

Cut Banana Stem in four pieces

Cut banana stem in four pieces

Then cut each piece lengthwise into four pieces as shown in the photo above.

banana stems

Soak cut banana stems in cold salted water or lime water

Keep the stems fresh and prevent browning by putting them in cold water with salt or lime juice, about 1 teaspoon salt or the juice of 1/2 lime for 4 cups water.

Sour Curry with Fish and Banana Stem

Gaeng Som Pla Yuak Kleuy – Sour Curry with Fish and Banana Stems

My sister cooked  Gaeng Som Pla Yuak Kluey, Sour Curry with Fish and Banana Stems.

Tips and Techniques for Cooking with Banana Stems

After you learn how to prepare the banana stems step-by-step, now you need to encourage yourself to incorporate banana stems into these incredible dishes. Here are my favorites: Phuket Tom Som (Phuket Sweet and Sour Vegetable Soup Recipe), Gaeng Som Moo Sam Chan (Surathani Pork Belly Sour Curry), Gaeng Yuak (Northern Thai Curry with Chicken, Gaeng Kati Gai (Thai curry Chicken with Coconut Milk). I would also not hesitate to try them in Tom Kha Gai.

Buying and storing. Buy the freshest banana stems and cook within a day; with exposure to light and air they will keep growing and get tougher. One can store them in the refrigerator for a day or two, but I prefer to cook them as soon as I can to enjoy the best taste. The cooking time for banana stems is about 3 to 5 minutes. Keep them soaked in cold water with salt and lime juice until you are ready to cook.

 
© 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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Eat Like a Local

Everyone in my Thai family was born and lives in Phuket, as we have for many generations. This is also true for many of Phuket’s over 200,000 natives, though there are about one million people living on Phuket Island today. Despite all of the changes, one place remains almost timeless. This is Rawai Beach, where the pace of change is slow compared to other parts of Phuket. So where do Phuket natives escape to on the weekend? Rawai Beach – หาดราไวย์.

Rawai Beach – Thailand

There we dine on seafood as we did for many generations before there were so many foreign influences, enjoying a typical menu of grill seafood or blanched cockers with Phuket seafood dipping sauce. In my next post I will show you exactly what we ordered the last time I was at Rawai Beach with my family, and how we ate it. This may help you understand our cuisine and culture. I hope you will enjoy my personal story of how my family eats and travels. When you get a chance to visit Phuket, I hope that you, too, will have a chance to eat like a local.

Talay-Zep Seafood & Wine Restaurant

ร้านอาหารทะเลแซ่บ ชายหาดราไวย์

Rawai Beach Phuket Thailand

Each visit I make to Phuket provides fun reunion time with my family. Almost every weekend during my short visits we bond over food, whether it is fresh home cooking, or take-out from Talad nad – ตลาดนัด  or nearby restaurants. Sometimes my family and I will take a little adventure travel to another end of the island or to the nearby province of Phang Nga. This trip my sister-in-law and I had a desire for seafood Phuket style. As always, we visited Talay-Zep restaurant, the scene of countless of our reunion dinners.

Talay-Zep Seafood Restaurant in Rawai, Phuket Island

ร้านอาหารทะเลแซ่บ ชายหาดราไวย์

My friend Kularb -กุหลาบ – and her husband Pho – โปั – own Talay-Zep Seafood and Wine Restaurant, which is on Rawai Beach Road among 15 other Phuket seafood restaurants. We enjoyed a big seafood feast, which I will share with you in my next post. Today, however, I will share just my family’s favorite dish: Horseshoe Crab Salad with Mango. Just like Anthony Bourdain, most of my family consider this a delicacy dish—though I myself was not convinced to eat these eggs, which are the only edible part of the crab. In fact, the horseshoe crab is not a crab at all, and it does not have edible flesh like other crabs. It is more closely related to spiders and scorpions, a living fossil that has remained virtually unchanged for millions of years. But now, after doing some research, I have learned more about the risks involved in eating horseshoe crab eggs, and how to avoid them, so I may take one bite the next time around.

Talay-Zep Seafood and Wine on Rawai Beach

Talay-Zep Seafood and Wine on Rawai Beach

Kularb, Pranee and Pho

Nevertheless, I asked Kularb to share her knowledge of horseshoe crab eggs and her verbal recipe with you. Today I am not encouraging you to cook, but to read and learn about something you may never have heard of before: Horseshoe Crab Egg Salad – Yum Khai Mengda Talay – ไข่แมงดาทะเล.

Horseshoe Crab – แมงดาทะเล

Kularb’s notes on how to prepare horseshoe crab for its eggs

Horseshoe crab is not difficult to cook, but  the person who removes the eggs—or roe—from the horseshoe crab must know the correct procedures to do this to prevent the other inedible parts of the crab from contaminating the eggs. If the eggs get contaminated, you can fall sick with dizziness or the symptoms of food poisoning and complications of the digestive system. Kularb suggests that you only harvest the eggs from cooked horseshoe crabs. The eggs, which are found in the belly area, can be green or orange-colored, about the same size as salmon roe but with a firmer, crunchy texture and an interesting flavor.

There are two ways to prepare horseshoe crabs before removing the eggs. One way is to place the whole horseshoe crab in boiling water and cook it until the eggs are just cooked. Another way is to place the horseshoe crab on the grill until the eggs have cooked, about 5 minutes. Kularb notes that it is a very difficult task to remove the eggs from the shell and that it requires a skilled cook to prepare the eggs. She or her husband prepares the horseshoe crab eggs for her restaurant.

Horseshoe Crab Egg Salad

Yum Kai Meng Da

ยำไข่แมงดาทะเล

Yum Kai Meng Da is the only way that Thais usually prepare horseshoe crab eggs. Kularb’s verbal recipe is the same as my green mango salad recipe so I hope you enjoy this recipe even beyond the horseshoe crab egg salad. For everyone to enjoy this salad without the risk, I have created a Mock Horseshoe Crab Egg Salad, which can be prepared substituting Israeli couscous cooked al dente with a touch of fish sauce in place of the crab eggs. With the mock salad recipe there is nothing to worry about—just enjoy the delicious salad! You may use horseshoe crab eggs if desired, but do so at your own risk and with an awareness of the risks involved.

Horseshoe Crab Eggs Salad

Serves: 4

 1/2 cup cooked horseshoe crab eggs (see Kularb’s note), or Isreali couscous cooked al dente
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice, about 1 large lime
1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar
2  fresh Thai chillies, chopped, or 1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons sliced shallot
1 cup shredded green mango, from about 1/2 green mango (or substitute a granny smith apple for the green mango)
1/4 cup Chinese celery, cut into 1 inch lengths
1/4 cup cashew nuts, chopped
2 lettuce leaves

Cook horseshoe crab eggs according to Kularb’s instruction and set aside.

To make the salad dressing, stir fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar and chili powder together in a large bowl. Stir well until the palm sugar is dissolved. Then stir in Israel couscous or horseshoe crab eggs, shallot, green mango, Chinese celery, and cashew nuts until well combined.

Place lettuce leaves on the serving plate and top with salad mixture. Serve right away.

© 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 
 

Should You Eat Horseshoe Crab Egg? 

“Although many experts and doctors would suggest staying clear of consuming horseshoe crab it is quite possible to eat them on a regular basis. It is important to ensure that the person preparing the delicacy is familiar with the correct procedure as otherwise it is possible to fall sick if you were to consume the wrong parts or organs. Today it is a species that is becoming more common in seafood restaurants tanks not just in south Asia but around the world.” from Crableghowtocook.com

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Pranee's Thai Kitchen

Quail Eggs, Please

ไข่นกกระทาครับ

When I was in Phuket last month, on my way to Talad nad – ตลาดนัด – an open air market, my friend’s son asked me to get him some hard-boiled quail eggs please: “Khai Nok Krata Krub” -ไข่นกกระทาครับ. He said it with such expectation, his simple request tickled my fond memory of this petite egg. I loved quail eggs when I was young, just like any Thai kid. On my way back from the Talad Nad, I gave him a bag of a dozen hard-boiled quail eggs. I was glad to find them, afraid that if I had not he might be disappointed. He rolled the egg on the table until its thin shell cracked all around, then pinched the shell to break it and remove it. He popped the whole egg in his mouth with delight. It is a healthy choice for a snack. I could not help…

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Quail Eggs, Please

ไข่นกกระทาครับ

Quail Egg - ไข่นกกระทา

Quail Egg – ไข่นกกระทา – Khai Nok Krata

When I was in Phuket last month, on my way to Talad nad – ตลาดนัด – an open air market, my friend’s son asked me to get him some hard-boiled quail eggs please: “Khai Nok Krata Krub” -ไข่นกกระทาครับ. He said it with such expectation, his simple request tickled my fond memory of this petite egg. I loved quail eggs when I was young, just like any Thai kid. On my way back from the Talad Nad, I gave him a bag of a dozen hard-boiled quail eggs. I was glad to find them, afraid that if I had not he might be disappointed. He rolled the egg on the table until its thin shell cracked all around, then pinched the shell to break it and remove it. He popped the whole egg in his mouth with delight. It is a healthy choice for a snack. I could not help but taste one myself when he asked to share with me. I enjoyed the delicious egg with its rich, creamy, mouthful of flavor. Welcome home!

Cook and learn

Cook and learn

Quail eggs are usually served in one of two basic ways: as a 3- to 4-minute hard-boiled egg, or as a sunny side up fried egg. And now you are about to learn to fry quail eggs Thai style. Please enjoy the photos showing a Thai cooking style from a southern Thai fishing village. They are from my trip to Surat Thani in 2011. This technique has a special name: “Khanom Krok Khai Nok Krata” – fried quail eggs in a Khanom Krok Pan, which is similar to a pancake puff or aebleskiver pan. This group of friends was preparing their own healthy snacks on the weekend from chicken eggs and quail eggs in a Khanom Krok pan. They were teaching and learning from each other. I hope this will inspire you to try it at home.

Quail egg cook in Khanom Krok Pan

Quail eggs cook in Khanom Krok Pan

Fried Quail Egg Thai Style

Khanom Krok Khai Nok Krata

ขนมครกไข่นกกระทา

Fried Quai eggs in Khanom Krok pan or ebleskiver

Fried quail eggs in Khanom Krok or aebleskiver pan.

Quail eggs are a delicacy in Western Europe and North America, but in Southeast Asia, quail eggs are abundant and inexpensive. At Talad Nad wet market, you can find fresh quail eggs at the egg vendors, and at the snack vendor you will often find fried or hard-boiled quail eggs ready for you to enjoy. In the Seattle area, fresh quail eggs are available at Asian markets such as Viet Wah or Uwajimaya for $2 a dozen. You can also find them at the Pike Place Market Creamery where a package of 1o eggs from California are $4.75. At University Seafood and Poultry, Washington quail eggs are $6.98 for a pack of 10 eggs.

Yield 10

1 tablespoon cooking oil
10 quail eggs
Maggi sauce and Sriracha sauce

Heat a Khanom Krok pan or Ebleskiver pan on medium-high heat. Use a heat-proof pastry brush to brush the pan with a generous amount of oil. When the pan is hot, crack quail eggs and drop one egg into each hemispherical indentation. Let it cook until the bottom of the egg is crispy, the egg white is cooked, and the egg york is slightly cooked, about 3 minutes. Cook longer if you wish the yolk cooked more. Remove the egg with a metal spoon that fits the size of the indentation. Repeat the cooking until all the eggs are done. Serve with Maggi or Sriracha sauce; use one or two drops of each per egg.

Pranee’s note:  In some cultures, slightly raw quail eggs are preferred. These basic fried quail eggs can be a snack, or incorporated into a fried egg salad, or a side dish to a meal.

© 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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Gone Fishing – ไปตกปลา

Kamala beach early morning

Kamala Beach early morning

Once again I found myself along Kamala Beach taking a leisurely walk—Dern Kin Lom—เดินกินลม—in Thai this means “walk to eat the wind.” I loved watching what was happening on the beach and wasn’t sure if I was walking slower, or the beach was getting longer, or I was simply spending so much time talking to people along the way. I knew for sure that I took quite some time taking pictures and talking to the villagers who were fishing leisurely for a type of fish called sand whiting. At early morning, the whole family together, gone fishing – ไปตกปลา.

IMG_0186

Families enjoy the rays of sunrise and fishing for sand whiting.

While mom fishes and enjoys her solitude, the children are at play with the sand and the waves.

IMG_0191

A white sand beach makes a great playground.

Shrimp are used for bait for sand whiting fishing.

Sand Whiting

Andaman Ocean Sand Whiting – ปลาทราย

Sand Whiting -ปลาทราย – pla sai

Sand whiting – ปลาทราย – live in shallow areas along the coast in both the Pacific and Indian oceans. Kamala Beach has a nice sandy beach, a perfect habitat for sand whiting, which live on bugs and small shrimp. A full-grown sand whiting is about 6 to 8 inches long, with a thin, narrow body about 1-inch wide. It has a delightful sweet flavor and a firm texture. Kamala villagers have a passion for sand whiting fishing. It is a tradition as old as the village itself.

Pla Sai Kratiem Prik Thai

Pla Sai Kratiem Prik Thai

For a Thai culinary delight, look for fresh sand whiting on local restaurant menus. The most popular dishes are Kratiem Prik Thai (with garlic and pepper), tom som (sour soup), tod khamin (fried with salt and turmeric), gaeng som (sour curry) and my grandma’s  favorite, tod tao jeow (fried with salted soy bean). The photo above is of Kratiem Prik Thai Pla Sai from Tha Maprow Restaurant in Phuket.

IMG_0061

Phuket sand whiting fish soup – Tom Som Pla Sai

At Kan Eng Restaurant at Chalong Pier, our family ordered Tom Som Pla Sai – Sand Whiting Fish Soup – a simple soup to savor the freshest sand whiting.

I hope you will enjoy our family recipe. It is typical of the recipes that you will find in Phuket and other Southern Thai kitchens.

Phuket Sand Whiting Fish Soup

Tom Som Pla Sai

ต้มส้มปลาทราย

Tom Som is a basic sour soup with a hint of sweet from the freshest fish. It is a typical sour soup in the Southern region of Thailand where sour fruit is used to give the dish its sour flavor. Each province has it owns preference among the sour fruits, such as som khaek or Asam fruit,  salak, hibiscus or young leaves, and tamarind or young leaf.

The word “som” has two meanings: one is “orange,” or “sour taste.” We also use som to call or identify sour tastes such as som khaek or asam fruit for example. Most sour fruits contains citric acid; when they are added to soup or curry dishes there is no need for vinegar or lime juice. An important part of learning the art of Thai cooking is understanding the sophisticated use of sour fruits to balance the sour flavor in Thai soups and curries. In America, substitutions for the sour fruits include sorrel leaves, tamarind, and Jamaican hibiscus.

Yield: 3 cups broth

Serves: 4

2 cups water
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
3 pieces dried Asam fruit- Garcinia Atroviridis –ส้มแขก , or 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
3 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, smashed, and cut into 3 inch-pieces
2 shallots, peeled, smashed, and cut in half
8 sand whiting, or 2/3 pound halibut cut into chunks
¼ teaspoon salt

To make lemongrass and shrimp paste broth, bring water to a boil in a medium size pot on medium high heat. Add shrimp paste and Asam fruit or tamarind concentrate. Stir until shrimp paste is dissolved. Add lemongrass and shallots and let mixture boil for 5 minutes. Place fish in the boiling broth, which should be slightly covering the fish. Cook until the fish changes color and becomes opaque and the size is a bit smaller—about 3 minutes. Stir in salt. Remove from heat and serve.

© 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 
 
Sand Whiting Fishing Competition 2012

Sand Whiting Fishing Competition 2012

Kamala women love fishing.

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Loi…loi Krathong

Loi Kratong Festival in Phuket

Loi Kratong Festival in Phuket

November full moon shine, loi Krathong, loi Krathong… For Thais and visitors alike, once you have experienced the November Full Moon Festival in Thailand, the experience will stay with you forever.

Krathong

I arrived in Phuket just a week ago due to a family emergency. Thankfully, my mom’s health is no longer critical, and I have had a chance to visit places and participate in activities with my family in between each visit to her at the hospital.

I am lucky to have a chance to enjoy Loi Krathong with my family here at our village. Our last Loi Krathong together was 13 years ago. Loi Krathong day is one of joy, fun and hope. It is a ritual in our culture that enables us to celebrate yearly to have fun, make a wish, and to let go.

I hope you will enjoy sharing my day in Thailand on Loi Krathong Day, and knowing a little about how a traditional krathong, a floating decoration or boat, is made. Be sure to check your calendar for the date of the November Full Moon Festival before planning a visit to Thailand. Suksun Wan Loi Krathong – สุขสันต์วันลอยกระทง – Happy Loi Krathong!

using a saw to cut banana tree trunk into small disk-like bases

Using a saw to cut a banana tree trunk

A saw is used to cut the trunk of a banana tree into small, disk-like bases.

cut banana tree trunk into small disk-like bases

Small bases cut from the banana tree trunk

Small slices of banana trunk make a traditional, biodegradable base for a krathong. The banana trunk is full of air pockets, which is perfect for keeping a krathong afloat.

 Kratongl with flowers, candle and three incenses

Krathong with flowers, candle and three incense sticks

Banana bases are covered and decorated with banana leaves and flowers.

My Kratong

My krathong

Floating Decoration

Loi Krathong

ลอยกระทง

The full moon of the 12th Thai lunar month is Loi Krathong

When we were young, we were always excited about this special time. We made our own krathong using banana trunk parts for the floating device and decorated it with folded banana leaves or other green leaves. Then we added any flowers that were in bloom in our or our neighbor’s garden. Finally, we added three incense sticks and a candle. Before letting go of our krathong to the river or lake, we each added a few items to our own krathong, like small clippings of our fingernails or hair—things that were symbolic of letting go—and some coins. When we arrived at the lake we would spend a peaceful moment under the stars and the light of the full moon. After lighting the incense sticks and the candle, we would kneel and thank the Goddess of Water – Phra Mae Khongkha  พระแม่คงคา. Then I would make a wish for my family’s good health and happiness, and all of the things that I wanted to let go. Next I would place my krathong on the water and, with my hand, gently wave the water to push the krathong forward. As the krathong drifted away, we watched it float away and let go of all things needed. As the krathong became small, we headed home with a great sense of renewal!

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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Oops! Excuse Me – ขอโทษค่ะ

What is considered good or bad manners can change when you take cultural differences into consideration. A slurping sound, for example, is acceptable in Southeast Asia when you are enjoying a food moment with your soup. My sister and I encountered an awkward experience at the dining table when we visited Kho Samui, an island off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand. Later, though, it all made sense to us. Since November is a national peppercorn month, please let me tell you a story of my Thai family trip to Koh Samui and our discovery of Thai Green Peppercorn Dip – Nam Prik Prik Thai Sod – น้ำพริกพริกไทยสด

Samaui sunset

In 2011, on the day after Chinese New Year, my brother drove his pick-up truck with three passengers – my sister, sister-in-law and I — to Samui Island, or Koh Samui. We left Phuket before the sunrise around 5am and arrived at Koh Samui at sunset. We went to Nathon, the island’s main town, and stayed at the  Grand Sea View Resortel. A friendly staff person who was native to the island recommended that we dine at the hotel restaurant, which had a set menu of local Koh Samui cuisine. While we enjoyed the sun setting right in front of us, we feasted on six dishes that highlighted Koh Samuicuisine: Pork & Mackerel with Pickled Mustard Green Soup, Green Peppercorn Chili Dip, Stir Fried Sweet Pork with Soy Sauce, Grilled Tuna in Red Curry with Cumin Leaves, and Stir Fried Glass Noodle with Green Papaya and Minced Pork. Though we are southerners from the other side of the peninsula, we discovered that our southern cuisines are prepared in much the same ways, though with a different combination of ingredients.

Koh Samui – Green Peppercorn Chili Dip

We lingered over our dinners. The sunset was beautiful, though the air was still with a high humidity we could feel. Half way into the meal, while my sister and I talked about the unique green peppercorns chili dip, we both began to experience many light small burps that continued randomly throughout the rest of the meal. Finally we looked at each other and laughed. Suddenly I could not feel the humidity any more, just a refreshing cool air conditioning on my skin where there was sweat. It felt like a little fan was blowing air near my skin. We realized that the chili dip was total genius! This may be the answer to why people eat such spicy foods in hot and humid climates—spicy foods provide an instant remedy. They help you acclimate to the weather, they aid digestion, and they act as a diuretic. I think this will be a good recipe to share with you during the holiday seasons because black or green peppercorns are a natural food that you can use instead of Pepto Bismol to help your digestion. Oops! Excuse me. –  ขอโทษค่ะ

Green peppercorns – piper nigrum – perennial vine

Green Peppercorn พริกไทยสด

Green peppercorns are widely used in Thai, French and Western European cuisines. In Thailand, you can find fresh green peppercorn everyday in wet markets and as a staple ingredient in Thai restaurants. They are very aromatic, fresh tasting, and have a mild flavor of black pepper. Though you can use green peppercorns in the place of black peppercorns in Western cooking, that is not a practice in Thai cuisine, where green peppercorns have their own place and they define such dishes such as Phad Cha, Klue GlingPhad Ped, Green Curry, and any stir-fry that has curry paste or pungent herbs as a component. Green peppercorns create a playful flavor in all of these dishes, which generally have a rustic Thai style of cooking. In-depth Thai cuisine  is a healthy cuisine. Our ancestors cleverly disguised spices and herbs in our foods to accentuate and distinguish the flavors, but as we eat and enjoy the tastes, we are also taking in a healthy  benefit for our bodies. As for green peppercorns, the instant benefit is to promote appetite and aid digestion, and to serve as a diuretic to promote body sweat.

Fresh Green Peppercorn Dip – Recipe from Samui

The executive chef at Grand Sea View Resotel gave us a lesson on Samui local cuisine the following day. If you visit Koh Samui, please call ahead to arrange a time. The restaurant doesn’t have a regular schedule, but is available on request.

Green peppercorn, garlic and Thai chili

 I improvised with what we have here in Seattle: dry green peppercorns, garlic and Thai chili.

Thai Green Peppercorn Dip

Now the dip is ready for the dining table.

I use it as a condiment to add extra flavor to Thai and non-Thai dishes or to aid digestion.

Green Peppercorn Chili Dip

Nam Prik Prik Thai Sod

น้ำพริกพริกไทยสด

Yield: 2 tablespoons

This recipe is inspired by Samui green peppercorn chili dip – Grand Sea View Resotel, Kho Samui, Thailand

Since I remade this dish at home, I enjoy it often. Not always as a chili dip like in Thailand, but often as a condiment like salt and pepper. When I prepare a Thai meal, I use shrimp paste in place of the sea salt I would use in a western dish. Simply treat this green peppercorn chili dip as a new way you can use anytime to serve salt and pepper to your family and friends—especially during the holiday season when a seasoning can be a home remedy to aid the digestion of a large meal. No need for Pepto Bismol!

1 tablespoon fresh, dry or frozen green peppercorns
1 fresh Thai chili
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or shrimp paste

In a mortar with pestle, pound green peppercorns until they form a fine paste. Then add Thai chili, garlic and sea salt or shrimp paste and pound until the mixture blends into a paste. Place in a small bowl and set on the table with a small spoon to use it as a condiment to rice or a main dish.

Grand Sea View Resotel

175/4 Moo 3, Angthong, Koh Samui,
Surathani 84140, Thailand

Website: http://www.grandseaviewbeachresotel.com/

Tel. +66 (0) 77 421481, 426152-3, 426058-9
Fax : +66 (0) 77 426061

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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How to Cook Peeled Split Mung Beans

Any time you come across Thai or Asian recipes that require cooked peeled split mung beans, you will find that you need to stop and learn about mung beans before you can proceed any further. Therefore I decided to do this blog post with step-by-step instructions that will simplify and demystify the process. This will make rest of the recipe less daunting and you will be able to make it with ease.

This is a technique that my mom and villagers use to prepare split mung beans before cooking them into sweet and savory dishes. Please prepare more than you need so you can keep some in the freezer for your convenience the next time you need them.

split muang bean

Peeled split mung beans are available in plastic bags at Asian grocery stores or online stores. They keep for a long time on the shelf, so I always make sure to have at least one bag on hand. They are made from mung beans that have been hulled, or peeled and split. Thai cooks always purchase them in the peeled and split form. Peeled split mung beans are one of the staple ingredients of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asian, and neighboring countries, and they are available in all Asian markets.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Cooking Peeled Split Mung Beans

Split mung bean soaking in water

Remove any dirt, sticks or debris that may come in the package, then place the split mung beans in a large bowl. Add water to cover at least 3 inches above the top of the beans. Let stand for at least 2 hours, or for the best results, overnight.

Split mung bean in a steamer

Strain the water from the beans then place them in the steamer with 2 inches of water in the bottom of the pot.

Steamed split mung beans

Cover the steamer and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and steam on medium-high heat for at least 30 minutes. Check the texture of the beans. They should hold their shape, but when squeezed between the fingers they should have a soft texture. They can be creamy, but not grainy. If needed, steam longer until you get the fine result. When the beans are cool they are ready to place in a freezer bag and freeze, or prepare them according to your recipe.

Steamed Peeled Split Mung Beans

Tua Keow Lawh Puak Nuang

ถั่วเขียวเลาะเปลือกนึ่ง

Here is the first step for you to learn to prepare steamed, peeled, split neans, the basis of many sweet and savory recipes. You will be able to refer back to this recipe often. My favorite recipes with peeled split mung beans that I cooked often when I was in Thailand include Met Khanon (mock jackfruit dessert), Tao Suan (mung bean pudding), and Tua Pap (mock bean pods). There are many more ways to enjoy cooking with cooked split mung beans as well.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

1 cup peeled split mung beans

Remove any dirt, sticks or debris from your package of mung beans, then place them in a large bowl. Add water to cover to at least 3 inches above the top of the beans. Let soak for at least 2 hours, or for the best results, let the beans and water sit overnight.

Strain. After soaking, 1 cup peeled split mung bean yields 1½ cups. Place mung beans on the steamer with 2 inches of water in the bottom of the pot.

Cover the steamer and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and steam on medium-high for 30 to 60 minutes. Check the texture of the peeled split mung beans. They should hold their shape, but have a soft texture when squeezed between your fingers. They should be creamy, but not grainy. If needed,steam longer until the beans have the desired fine texture. Remove from heat.

When the beans are cool, they are ready to be placed in a freezer bag and frozen, or to use to prepare your intended recipe. After steaming, this recipe yields 2 ½ cups cooked mung beans.

© 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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My Candy

This is not a Halloween Pumpkin Candy, but it is the Thai kabocha candy I enjoyed when I was growing up in my village in Thailand. Kabocha pumpkin is a squash that Thais cook to make a variety of dishes, sweet or savory. It is my tradition for the blog to share a new kabocha recipe with you every year. (Past years’ recipes include Kabocha Pumpkin Soup, Thai Kabocha Pumpkin Custard, Spiced Rum Kabocha Pumpkin Mousse, Pumpkin Curry and my mom’s Stir-Fried Kabocha with Pork.) This year, many aspects led me to choose a recipe for Thai Kabocha Pumpkin Candy-น้ำเต้าเชื่อม–Namtao Chuam. It is easier than a pumpkin pie, with more pumpkin satisfaction as there are not many ingredients involved—just kabocha pumpkin and brown sugar. Thais are fond of cooking fruit or root vegetables such as bananas, kabocha, and sweet potatoes in brown sugar. The results comes out well-covered with caramelized sugar and taste like candy. This technique is called -Chuam – เชื่อม in Thai.

Thai Kabocha Pumpkin Candy

Another reason that I chose this recipe is that in Seattle, fall is the beginning of kabocha pumpkin season. My friend Pee Som Sawan brought Thai kabocha pumpkin candy to the potluck for the first time this year, as she has done every Sunday for the past 10 years. Then another day at a dinner party, I reconstructed my kabocha pumpkin custard with kabocha candy and the custard instead of following the regular recipe. This was because it can be hard to find the small kabocha pumpkin needed for that recipe and the timing was complicated. But most of all, I chose the Kabocha Pumplin Candy recipe for this year because it can be hard to compete with the many food bloggers out there to come with an exotic recipe and I thought what could be better than my Thai grandma’s recipe? So I hope you enjoy this old time, easy and simple recipe that you can prepare at home.

Kabocha Pumpkin Candy

I want to thank to my friend Pee Som Sawan who shared her easy tips for simplifying the cooking technique. She suggested that I cut and lay the kabocha pumpkin slices in a pan that has a glass lid, sprinkle them with brown sugar or any type of sugar, then add enough water to the bottom of the pan to create steam when they cook. My only tip to add is how to find the right kabocha pumpkin for the best results. (Please see Pranee’s tips on selecting a kabocha pumpkin.)

Kabocha Pumpkin Candy

Cover the pan with the glass lid and cook on medium heat until the kabocha is soft and tender when tested with a fork, but still holds its shape. Remove the lid. If there is too much water left, let it cook without the lid until the syrup has thickened. Serve for dessert or as a snack.

Thai Kabocha Pumpkin Candy

Namtao Chuam

น้ำเต้าเชื่อม

Serves: 4

The total time for this dish, including cutting and cleaning and cooking should be about 3o minutes. The cooking itself is about 20 minutes. It is delicious warm or cold, with whatever syrup is left behind in the pan or with salted coconut milk. It tastes so heavenly! Skin and flesh are all good together. It is like a cheesecake with a natural crust. This recipe has sugar to just the right amount. For a more decadent dessert, please add more sugar. Enjoy this any time of day!

3 to 4 wedges of Kabocha pumpkin (see instructions)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 pinches salt
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons coconut milk plus 2 pinches of salt, optional
 

Remove any bad skin from the kabocha squash but keep all of the green skin; wash and dry. Cut into wedges about 2 inches wide, then cut each wedge in half across the middle to get two pieces from each wedge. Lay the pumpkin in the bottom of the pan and add the water. Cover with a glass lid and cook on medium heat until the kabocha is soft and tender when tested with a fork, but still holds it shape—about 15 minutes. Remove the lid. If there is too much water left, let it cook some more until the syrup has thickened. Remove the kabocha pumpkin candy to a serving plate and pour the syrup on top. If desired, stir the salt into the coconut milk until combined, then pour it on the top of each kabocha candy as a garnish before serving.

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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Blue & Purple 

Dok Anchan – Butterfly Pea – Clitoria ternatea

What is that flower behind your ear? นั้นดอกอะไรอยู่หลังใบหูของคุณ. In a Thai village, the answer might be that it is a jasmine, hibiscus or butterfly pea flower. You often see women or men in Thai villages wearing flowers behind their ears on special occasions. For me personally, my answer would be that it is a blue butterfly pea flower.

In addition to wearing a blue butterfly pea flower – ดอกอัญชัน (dok anchan) or Clitoria ternatea – behind my ear while working in my garden, I would like to introduce you to its properties as a Thai culinary flower. Butterfly pea is an annual vine that is native to the land in southeast Asia near the equator. Thais love dok anchan for it beautiful unique looks and for its culinary uses as a food coloring and as an edible flower. My friend Somrak uses dok anchan in her Thai cooking at home, shredding it into a fine ribbon and adding it to rice salad, or for making a tea, or adding blue color extract to steamed jasmine rice. Many hotels in Thailand greet guests with a welcome drink made from dok anchan. But above and beyond all of these uses, our ancestors recognized it for its medicinal benefits, which include its anti-depression, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. The blue concentrate added to hair products also promotes healthy hair growth (please see related links below).

In Thailand I grew butterfly pea plants on a trellis, but often enjoyed the harvest from friends’ gardens. In the Thai village lifestyle in the old days we shared or exchanged our surpluses with one another. The vines can produce many flowers a day, so often they went unused. This meant that at any  moment there were always flowers waiting for you in someone’s garden and we helped ourselves when needed. The pigment in the flowers comes from anthocyanins, and has long been widely used in Thai and Malaysian cuisines for blue or purple food coloring for butterfly pea sticky rice. In Thailand, any foods prepared with shades of blue, purple or pink come from dok anchan. In addition, southeast Asia uses the flowers in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

Double pedals butterfly pea flower

Where can you get dried butterfly pea flowers? In the U.S. you can mail-order homegrown organic air-dried butterfly pea flowers from Etsy.com and Alibaba.com. If you wish to plant them next summer for your backyard vine, this may be the right time to purchase them. Check online for a few sources where you can purchase butterfly pea seedsThompson & Morgan has the seeds for Butterfly Pea Fabaceae

Thai desert with dok anchan blue color

Khanom Chan – ขนมชั้น – Thai one-layer cake with anchan flower food coloring gets pale purple when cooked.

Thai snack, a dumpling with purple rice flour dough

Chaw Muang – ช่อม่วง, steamed dumpling, a famous Thai appetizer ใช้สีทำขนมช่อม่วง, ขนมดอกอัญชัญ


Chaw Mueng – purple dough and filling

Chaw Muang is a traditional Thai snack that can have a sweet or savory filling. After preparing a butterfly pea purple water infusion, the water is added to the dough according to the amount required in the recipe.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Making Blue and Purple Butterfly Pea Color Extracts

ขั้นตอนการทำน้ำดอกอัญชัญผสีฟ้าและสีม่วง

Blue color from dried butterfly pea flowers

Nam dok anchan (น้ำดอกอัญชัน)

First, steep 12 dried or fresh butterfly flowers in 1 cup boiling water.

Dried butterfly peas after 15 minutes of soaking in boiling water

Fifteen minutes later, or when no color is left in the petal, strain the liquid and discard the flowers. You will get deep blue water.

Fifteen minutes later, deep blue color is ready to use as blue food coloring.

Add a little lime juice to get a purple-red color

Add a few drops of lime juice. This will change the ph level and you will get purple water.

Pranee’s Tom Yum Martini with Butterfly Pea Coloring

I made butterfly pea simple syrup a day before my dinner party in order to make my signature Tom Yum Martini. A friend requests that I make them each year when I visit home.

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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From Beak-to-Feet, Part II

Rock Sugar, Onion, Ginger, Star Anise, Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks and Black Peppercorns

Duck Broth

Nam Soup Ped

น้ำซุปเป็ด

Typically I don’t look at a recipe to make this broth, I simply randomly place my favorite spices for duck on top of the duck bones before adding the water. Last month I decided to take notes while preparing it so I could share it with you. Since the broth is for making a soup or for adding to a recipe that requires broth or stock, I decided to keep the ingredients simple. In Thai cooking, duck is almost always used in a Chinese-inspired dish, so all of the ingredients below reflect this. You should feel free, however, to adjust the spices according to how you will use the broth, which can be used in recipes in place of chicken broth. It will keep up to a week in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.

 
Yield: 4 cups
Cooking Time: 3 to 4 hours
 
Bones from 1 whole duck, including beak, feet and neck
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
3 star anise
2 to 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
15 whole black peppercorns
¼ cup fish sauce
1 cube rock sugar, about 1 tablespoon
½ to 1 onion, cut into wedges
3 slices fresh ginger, about 1/4″ thick
9 cups cold water
 
Take everything—from beak to feet—left from boning a duck and put it into a stock pot. or other large, heavy-bottomed pan.  Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise, salt, black peppercorns, fish sauce, rock sugar, onion and ginger. Pour cold water over all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 3 to 4 hours to make 4 cups of broth. Stir occasionally and remove any impurities. Pour over strainer into a sterile container and keep in the refrigerator up to a week and in the freezer up to 3 months. 
 

Steamed Rice with Duck Broth

Steamed Rice with Duck Broth

Kao Man Ped

ข้าวมันเป็ด

The method I used to prepare Steamed Rice with Duck Broth – Kao Man Ped – at the Thai Farm Dinner last month is the same one that is used for Steamed Rice with Hainan Chicken (Kao Man Gai), a famous street food in Thailand. I have never seen a recipe for steamed rice with duck broth, but because I applied the science and art of Thai cooking to this recipe I consider it a traditional dish. A week after the farm dinner, one of the guests expressed her nostalgia for this rice dish and its spices. It is a good side dish for a beak-to-feet duck meal, and can also be prepared using chicken broth and chicken fat.

Yield: 5 cups

Cooking Time: 3o minutes

2 cups jasmine rice, washed and rinsed
2 3/4  cups duck broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon duck fat or butter, optional
5 star anise
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick

Place rice, duck broth, salt, duck fat, star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick in a rice cooker. Stir and closed the lid. Turn on heat. When the rice is cooked, give it a stir. Taste the rice; if more moisture is needed, add a few teaspoons of hot water and stir again. Keep the rice cooker on warm until ready to serve.

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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