Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

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 
 
 Related articles

Read Full Post »

From Beak-to-Feet, Part I

จากจะงอยปากเป็ดถึงเท้าเป็ด

Time seems to pass by so quickly. I have not been forgetting about my blog, but like all of us, I have been kept busy setting priorities, fulfilling obligations, and working at finding balance in my life. With the bit of time I have this week, I would like to share some recipes with you in this post and my next one from the farm cooking I did last month. The recipes revolve around ducks and sustainable cooking. Making use of the whole animal—from beak to feet—is a practice that my grandma followed, like many cooks around the world.  I hope some of the recipes will be easy for you to try, or that you will learn from just by reading them. Please let me know if you have any experiences to share about cooking with duck.

It is not difficult to handle the whole duck. When I have a whole duck to cook some typical recipes that I might prepare include braised duck leg and wing, pan-seared duck breast with five-spice powder, and rendered duck fat. Then I would put any remaining parts of the duck in a pot to make a duck broth.

Thai Duck Curry with Local Fruit Side Dish

The picture above, taken by one of the farm dinner guests, shows seared five-spice duck on top of steamed rice, plus duck broth with braised duck red curry with nectarines and plums. I will be sharing three of my duck recipes with you. Today’s recipe is for seared five-spice duck. Recipes for steamed rice with duck broth, and for the duck broth itself will come in Part 2. Enjoy these stories and recipes from beak-to-feet.

Seared Five-Spice Duck

Ped Palo Todhaeng

เป็ดผงพะโล้ทอดแห้ง

Thais love to eat duck, but when we prepare recipes using duck we always start with duck prepared in a Chinese style of cooking such as “Roasted Five Spice Duck.” We would purchase it from a Chinese restaurant and take it home to enjoy either with hot steamed jasmine rice or incorporated into duck noodle soup, duck red curry, or duck salad. I enjoy the following duck recipe with all of these dishes. Traditionally, Chinese restaurants roast the duck whole, but to make it easy for the home cook this recipe first pan-sears the duck and then roasts it in the oven.

Serves: 2 to 4

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

2 duck breasts, scored
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup Thai light soy sauce or wheat-free tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or 1 tablespoon Chinese Rice wine such as Shao Hsing Hua Tiao
1 tablespoon canola oil

Pre-heat oven to 350° F

To score duck breasts, slice though the duck skin and fat with a sharp knife until you just reach the meat. Make rows by slicing diagonally across the breast from top to the bottom at a 45-degree angle. Continue the rows ½ inch apart all the way across the breast, then repeat the process by slicing similar rows perpendicular to the first ones.

Rub the five spice powder on the duck breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix sugar with soy sauce and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Pour over duck breasts and marinate for 15 minutes, or up to a day in the refrigerator.

Heat cooking oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Place duck in pan skin side down and sear until the skin is brown, about 3 minutes; repeat on the other side until it is brown. Place in the oven and let it cook to medium rare, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

 
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 
 
 Related articles

Read Full Post »

Loner

When I left East Wenatchee, my Thai friend, Suprattra Pornprasit gave me a bag of fully ripe apricots from her tree. When I returned home, I immediately cooked them with sugar until it looked almost like jam. I chilled the mixture overnight and prepared the apricot ice cream the next days. Frozen dessert is great to have around. I didn’t add any spices as apricot flavor really shines by itself at the frozen stage. I tried serving the apricot ice cream in many different ways to accompany other desserts, but its flavor seemed pale and uninteresting by comparison. The best way, I learned, is to enjoy apricot ice cream by itself; the flavor is so bright and lively and right after a Thai meal. I would do exactly the same ice cream with local apricots next summer.

Apricot Ice Cream – ไอศครีมแอพริคอท

Apricot Ice Cream

ไอศครีมแอพริคอท

Serves: 12

3 cups apricot puree from fully ripe apricot flesh, skin and stones removed
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk

Place apricot puree and sugar in a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the fruit is translucent and has a jam-like texture, about 20 minutes. Chill or keep in the fridge overnight.

Place heavy whipping cream and milk in another medium saucepan and cook until it begins to steam, then let it cook on low for 2 minutes. Bring to room temperature and chill. Place in an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to make ice cream. Remove and keep in a freezer-proof container. It will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.

I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 
 
 

Read Full Post »

I Found My Thrill

On blueberry hill. My friend Noi and I enjoyed picking blueberries in the early morning sunlight at Crazy Larry’s Berries U-pick farm. Larry and his wife have found love and passion farming berries on a small hill in Monitor, Washington. Theirs is a perfect lifestyle for a retired couple and their farm reflects their life and the romance they’ve found farming and cooking blueberries. I could not help humming along to the tune of Blueberry Hill as I was  cooking with Larry’s blueberries and thinking of Larry and his wife in this sweet melody. Here is a desert recipe that I enjoyed cooking with blueberries. The memories of Larry’s Berries are part of me still!

Crazy Larry’s Berries Farm, Cashmere

Crazy Larry’s Advice

Larry gave me lots of good recommendations for preparing and storing my berries. First of all, he suggested that I place all of my blueberries on a baking sheet, then select those that have the same quality of perfect ripeness; put them in a bowl and set the others aside.

Next I divided up the perfect ones. Those that I planned to eat fresh I placed in a plastic container with a good air venting design. Do not wash them until you are ready to eat them because the natural wax will keep the fruit fresh for a long period of time—but do keep them in the fridge until then.

For the portion that I want to freeze, Larry recommended washing the berries before freezing. Here is his tip on how to wash them: Gently wash the berries with a lot of water. Remove them from the water with a strainer, then gently roll them back and forth on a towel  to get rid of the water. Place them in a freezer bag and freeze them right away. For the odd under-ripe ones, Larry recommends using them for cooking, from a blueberry vinaigrette to a blueberry sauce.

Blueberries at U-pick farm

After a week of eating and cooking fresh blueberries, the most memorable dish of all has been the blueberry cake with coconut cream cheese frosting which I took to the ordination ceremony at my Thai community event. I was thrilled by how well this cake turned out, simply by my playing with ingredients I had on hand.

Blueberry-Coconut Sauce

This blueberry and coconut sauce is simple and delicious. It is an all-purpose sauce that is great for pouring over anything from pancakes to shortcake, or even on toast. Keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for 6 months.

2 cups blueberries, washed
1/3 cup palm sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter

Bring blueberries, palm sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce to medium heat; cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. When blueberries look soft and jelly-like, stir in the coconut oil or butter. Stir well and let the mixture cook for 30 seconds, then remove from heat and let it cool. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Blueberry Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 2 cups

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, or more as needed
1/4 cup coconut cream (or the top layer from a can of Thai coconut milk)
2 teaspoons coconut flavoring or vanilla extract (Frontier Natural Flavors preferred)

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until creamy. With a spatula, fold in sugar and coconut cream; then with electric mixer beat until creamy, about 3 minutes. Fold in coconut flavoring. Keeps well in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for 3 months.

Blueberry Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake Blueberry Nah Cream Cheese Maproaw

เค้กบลูเบอร์รี่หน้าครีมชีสมะพร้าว

I often get creative with cake mixes when I have a limited amount of time. I was hesitant to share this recipe using a cake mix, but  decided to share it with you because it was so scrumptious that I would prepare it the same way again. I hope you enjoy blueberries three ways: in the cake, as a sauce, and as a fresh garnish on top. Love, blueberries and now my dream blueberry dessert come true.

Serves: 12

1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Blueberry sauce from recipe above, divided
1 cup coconut cream cheese frosting from recipe above
1 cup fresh blueberries, optional
 

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Oil and dust a 9-inch round cake pan and set aside.

Blend cake mix in a large bowl along with eggs, vegetable oil, Greek yogurt and 1/2 of the blueberry sauce. Use an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Spread the entire cake surface with the coconut cream cheese frosting, then pour the remaining half of blueberry sauce on top and drop fresh blueberries on the entire surface as well. Place blueberries lightly to make them stick to the frosting. Cut into wedges and serve.

I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 
 
Follow Me on Pinterest

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Add Zing to Your Limeade

Ginger Limeade

During August I try to slow down my summer activities and I enjoy staying home and working in the garden. After a hard-working day in the yard, I reward myself with a homemade ginger limeade. This recipe is used often in summer cooking classes for kids. This week it worked out perfectly for me to test the recipe one more time before sharing it with you and savor the results at the end my gardening day. I planned ahead to have the  freshest limes and ginger on hand, then I made the limeade in the morning so all the flavors would have a chance to blend and chill to the highest delight.

Lime – มะนาว

Thai cuisine depends on lime flavor. It is in almost in every dish. One should always have at least half a dozen limes on hand.

น้ำเชื่อมขิง – Ginger Simple Syrup

Crush the ginger until juicy and softened before adding it to the pot of sugar and water.

Ginger Limeade

Nam Manoa Khing

น้ำมะนาวขิง

Before you put together the ingredients to make ginger limeade, I would like you to follow closely my culinary insight on how to make ginger infused simple syrup. I didn’t make this technique up, it has been in my family for a long time. Infused fresh ginger provides a different flavor than dry powdered ginger or the fried ginger used in savory dishes. Crushing the ginger until the juice comes out helps break down the ginger’s cell walls. Thais use smashed ginger in a simple syrup for many dessert dishes. The aroma and taste of fresh ginger syrup is the first entry to sweet dishes such as Bua Loi Nam Khing (glutinous rice ball in sweet ginger syrup). I add ginger syrup to my limeade for a refreshing drink to enjoy in the hot summer or with a Thai meal.

Serves: 6

4 cups hot water
6 (1-inch) ginger pieces, peeled and smashed, about 3 ounces or 86 gram
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 to 1 cup lime juice, from 4 to 6  limes
10  slices of  limes, from one lime, for garnish
6 cups ice cubes

To make the brown sugar-ginger syrup, bring water, ginger and sugar to a boil in a medium-size pot. Let it boil on medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove ginger and strain. After it has cooled to room temperature, stir in lime juice.

Set aside enough lime slices for six glasses of limeade, then add remaining lime slices to a nice pitcher and pour in the limeade mix. Chill overnight, or for at least 6 hours. Before serving, add 2 cups ice cubes to the pitcher and stir. Fill six tall glasses with ice cubes and garnish each with a lime slice before adding the limeade.

Pranee’s note: 

To peel or not to peel? Peeling ginger is a personal option. I prefer to just peel off any tough skin or bruised parts. Ginger is abundant in Thailand. It is reasonably priced and I always had some at home, fresh and in the freezer.

© 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 .
Follow Me on Pinterest

Read Full Post »

The Holy Herbs

It has been a busy summer for me so far. This has kept me away from writing, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t cook up a delicious dish for my Thai Kitchen blog. I have a lot of photos and notes and testings that have been done but that are waiting for me to write them up. While waiting for those posts from my food experiences in July, I have a delicious, unpretentious and impromptu dish to share with you. From my garden and Thai kitchen to yours!

Oregano Buds

Why oregano? Ten years ago, oregano was widespread via self-sown seeds in my Seattle garden near Thai spirit house. That year, my niece was visiting from Thailand and I used oregano in place of Thai holy basil when I prepared Phad Kraprow Gai (stir-fried minced chicken with Thai holy basil). I didn’t tell her that I’d used oregano and she didn’t notice the difference. Later on, when I told her it was not Thai holy basil, but Greek holy oregano we laughed! Fresh oregano has a peppery and pungent taste that I love and which is similar to Thai holy basil. Try using oregano in place of Thai holy basil when oregano leaves and blossoms are abundant in your garden.

Oregano Blossoms

Yesterday was my day off from traveling on the road and I was hanging around home and working in my garden. My girlfriend and I were immersing ourselves in the sun, surrounded by flowers, herbs and weeds. All of a sudden I realized that most of my oregano plants were blossoming. As it got close to lunch time, I began to think about what I could cook with those blossoms. I decided to make Oregano Blossoms Fried Rice for lunch. I cut the stems down to six inches long so there were some leaves attached to yield more leaves until the end of the summer.

Oregano Blossoms Fried Rice

Does frozen cooked rice work for this dish? This is the first time that I have experimented with previously frozen rice from my fridge. I thawed the rice before using it to loosen up the cooked rice grains and it worked perfectly well for fried rice. Off course my passion is to share what is happening in my Thai Kitchen with you, so here is my recipe for oregano blossoms.

Oregano Blossoms Fried Rice with Tomato and Garlic

Khao Phad Dok Oregano Makrua Thet Kratiem

ข้าวผัดดอกออริกาโนกับมะเขือเทศและกระเทียม

Oregano is not a Thai herb, but it has long been a substitute ingredient for me in the absence of my beloved Thai holy basil. Both belong to the mint, or Lamiaceae, family. The flavor undertones of both herbs are alike, and as a gardener I love herbs that can grow wide and are easy to take care of. Now that I have discovered how great oregano blossoms taste in this recipe, I will enjoy the same dish often this summer! Cheers to the holy herbs!

Serves: 2 to 4

3 tablespoons canola oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cayenne pepper, sliced (remove seeds if preferred)
1/2 cup oregano leaves and blossoms, stems removed
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
2 eggs
3 cups cooked rice, cooled or frozen
2 pinches of salt, optional
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
4 lime wedges
8 sting beans or cucumber or any fresh vegetable condiment, optional
 
Heat canola oil in a skillet or wok on high heat. Add garlic and stir until golden, then add onion, cayenne and oregano leaves and blossoms and blossoms. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Clear the center of the wok and scramble in eggs for two seconds before adding rice. Stir in soy sauce and  fish sauce. Serve with lime wedge, vegetable condiment and spicy fish sauce. (See recipe below).
 
© 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  
 
Follow Me on Pinterest
 

Read Full Post »

Monastery Banana Bread

Assorted desserts

My son and I were at the Atammayatarama Buddhist Monastery early in the morning one day last week. We had volunteered to water over 20 newly planted trees surrounding the new meditation hall. Later in the morning I also offered food to three Thai monks. They were Southern Thai dishes such as stir-fried spicy stinky been with beef, Thai chili dip, Thai yellow curry rice and fried eggs. Since I am familiar with the kitchen, I also became a temporary helper there for the day. I helped visitors to properly place foods they had brought from home and to properly present them to the monks. At the end of the day, there were more than a dozen fully ripe bananas that had not been eaten. Waste not, I offered to take them home and return them to the Monastery as banana bread.

My banana cake recipe

This is my banana cake recipe from Thailand. I modified it into a quick and easy recipe for banana bread.

My banana bread recipe has long been on my list to share with you, but it never seemed to work out to do so until now. First, I found my 28-year-old recipe notebook which is always misplaced and hard to find. Second, I had the free time to make banana bread as well as a good reason for making it. The next day I made 4 loaves with one single recipe. It is a perfect recipe to bake once and share with friends and families as hostess gifts or for a community event.

Banana Bread-Cake – ขนมปังเค้กกล้วยหอม

This recipe makes an oil-based cake or quick bread that is baked in a loaf pan like a bread. Since vanilla and butter taste so good with bananas, I kept them in my recipe. I used olive oil because it is a healthy fat, but you can use any vegetable oil. There are no nuts in this recipe because I prefer it without. This recipe is light, somewhere between banana bread and banana cake. If I wanted to make a banana cake, I would keep the recipe the same but add one more cup of sugar, bake it in a cake pan, and then frost it with my dreamy coconut frosting recipe. But since I baked it in a loaf pan, let’s call it banana bread.

Banana Bread

Khanom Cake Kluey Horm

ขนมเค้กกล้วยหอม

This recipe makes four loaves of banana bread with a cake-like texture. It is unbelievably easy. Just stir the ingredients together and bake with fun. Enjoy it plain or with the frosting. If you wish to have it plain but sweeter, you can add one more cup of sugar or garnish it with frosting.

Yield: 4 loaves

7 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 sticks butter, melted
¾ cup olive oil
10 to 12 ripe banana, peeled, sliced and chopped
3 1/4 cups white sugar
8 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare loaf pans with oil and coat with flour, then set aside.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt twice.

In a large bowl or 6-quart pot, stir butter, olive oil, banana and sugar together until blended. Then stir in eggs and vanilla until creamy. Add flour mixture 1/2 cup at the time, stirring after each addition until mixed. It will yield about 16 cups of batter. Divide equally into 4 loaf pans. Baking time is about 50 to 60 minutes. Bake without disturbing the cake for 45 minutes and then check the cake with a toothpick or wooden skewer; when it comes out clean, remove the pans from the oven. Let them rest on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove banana bread from the pans.

© 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  
 
Follow Me on Pinterest

Related articles

Read Full Post »

Romancing with Lavender

Can you smell that? This time it is something familiar to us all: lavender. It is not an indigenous Thai ingredient, but it is one that is easily adapted to Thai kitchens, just like any fragrant flower. So here is my contemporary Thai dessert, Coconut-Lavender Ice Cream. It was born last week from romancing with lavender in my kitchen. It has been three years since I met my friend Kathy Gehrt, cookbook author and the founder of the website Discover Lavender. She opened my world. Like most of us, I wondered how could one eat perfume flowers? The more I learn about how to cook with lavender, the wilder I get. It is an amazing discovery. For a change this post is not directly related to Thai cuisine, but a study of taste as a food lover. One should never stop exploring.

Culinary Lavender

Two years ago my friend purchased a few varieties of culinary lavender plants from the Lavender Wind Farm. This summer the plants took off. They have yielded many flowers, so last Tuesday Barbara and I got together and celebrated our first harvest day. We prepared lunch together and added a lavender accent to everything we had for lunch. We got creative. First I made an avocado and nectarine salad with lavender as a fragrant herb and garnish. Then we added a sweet bread spread with lavender butter, followed by baked salmon with lavender salt, and a lovage and lavender earl grey tea. After lunch we made lavender sugar, lavender infused honey and lavender salt. How lucky am I to have then also returned home with two large bunches of fresh lavender? Please feel free to check out my photos on I Love Thai Cooking flicker.

Coconut-Lavender Ice Cream with mixed melon

 Coconut-Lavender Ice Cream is ideal to serve in a summer month with a chilled mixture of water melon, honey dew melon and cantaloupe.

For a summery dessert in July there is nothing better than coconut ice cream with a scent of lavender. I have made a few versions and love to keep the coconut with a custard texture as the main flavor followed by a hint of lavender. It is a simple, easy recipe but the trick is to heat the cream mixture above 175 degrees, then after tempering it with the egg, bring it back to the stove top again but do not let it get higher than 160 degrees. When churning the ice cream, I recommend starting with a cold batter then do not churn it more than needed—about 25 minutes or until it starts to form a solid ice cream consistency. Finish the process in the freezer. Follow these tips to get a custard-style ice cream with a soft silky texture. I hope you have a chance to share this coconut-lavender ice cream with your families and friends this summer. Let’s create a romantic flavor and the fragrance of lavender in the air.

coconut cream, half and half and lavender

Heavy whipping cream, coconut milk and lavender.

Coconut-Lavender Ice cream

Coconut Lavender Ice Cream

ไอศครีมมะพร้าวลาเวนเดอร์

Anyone can make ice cream today. All you need is a simple machine and a good recipe to follow. For a lactose-free recipe, simply replace the heavy whipping cream with the same amount of coconut milk.

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups coconut milk
3 tablespoons culinary lavender
8 egg yolks
1 ¼ cup lavender sugar (please click to see recipe)
 

First you will need to freeze your ice cream churning bowl at least 24 hours beforehand.

Prepare an ice water bath in a container that is larger than the pot.

Bring heavy whipping cream, coconut milk and lavender to a gentle boil and cook on medium-low with a gentle boil for 5 minutes or until it reaches 175 degrees.

Whisk yolks and lavender sugar in a large bowl until they are creamy, light and puffy like ribbon, about 10 to 12 minutes.

While slowly pouring the cream mixture into the yolks and lavender sugar mixture, stir constantly with the other hand to prevent the egg from curdling. Strain the mixture to remove the lavender as you pour it back into the same pot; whisk constantly while cooking on medium-low heat. The setting should keep the temperature below 160 degrees and the mixture should be steaming but never boiling. Observe the texture; watch for it to begin to thicken, changing from creamy and beginning to take on the appearance of a soft custard. When it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, remove the pot from the heat and place it in the prepared ice water bath.

Cool it in the ice bath and and then pour it into the prepared ice cream machine. Turn on the machine and continue according to the machine instructions, usually about 20 to 25 minutes. It should have a texture of soft ice cream. Put it in the freezer for 4 hours before serving.

Pranee’s Note

For further study on making ice cream, please check out the science related to making ice cream by Harold McGee.

Where can you find culinary Lavender in Seattle?

I found culinary lavender at Pacific Food Importers, Inc. By chance you can sometime fine them at some Seattle Farmers Markets. But best of all is if you have sunny spot in your garden, plant your own culinary lavender. Kathy Gehrt recommends the Royal Velvet variety. Next I recommend that you immerse yourself in a lavender world by visiting the Sequim Lavender Festival in Sequim, Washington.

Lavender at a Hmong farmer’s stand at the Columbia City Farmer Market

© 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  
 
Follow Me on Pinterest

Read Full Post »

Stink Bean: Top Ten Facebook Photo

Can you smell that? Stink bean, called sator in Thai – สะตอ – is also known as Parkia or Petai. It is a flat edible bean that is large, but dense in texture. Whether fresh or cooked, it has a taste and aroma similar to asparagus, but 3 to 5 times more powerful. You may never have heard of it or seen it before. Sator looks a like a large fava bean but is found on a large tree that only grows in southern Thailand, the neighboring countries south of Thailand, and near the equator. At home in Thailand, I have 55 Sator trees in various stages of development. It happens to be a native plant that survives on hilly mountains and thrives side by side with my durian tree. A perfect pair, stinky fruits and stink bean.

The scientific term for sator is Parkia speciosa. One cluster has from 3 to 15 pods and each pod can have 6 to 16 beans. Sator, like asparagus, has an amino acid that is responsible for the noticeable smell. Southerners, like my family and friends, are delighted when the short sator season finally arrives and they prepare and share sator dishes and photos. Below is a picture my niece posted on Facebook on May 30th; many of my friends and other chefs from Thailand did the same. Perhaps the famous smell of this rare edible bean is precious for those who value its deliciousness and take culinary pride in this special bean.

Phad Phed Sator Goong – ผัดเผ็ดสะตอกุ้ง

One of many food photos of a stink bean dish. This is one my niece posted on Facebook. The dish was prepared by my sister Rudee. It is a one dish meal of Stir-fried Spicy Stink Beans with Prawns served over steamed jasmine rice.

The middle of May is the beginning of sator season in southern Thailand. As the bean starts to make its appearance, sator fans get so excited. The most famous stink bean dish of all is Phad Phed Sator Goong – Stir-fried Sator with Prawns.

Sator and durian grow side by side in Phuket

Sator, สะตอ, grows wild in Phuket, a twisted cluster bean that grows on a tall tree, often side by side with durian.

What is Sator, Parkia or Petai?

It is an honor to once again present you with a local dish cooked by a local home cook, my friend Varunee who also teaches southern cooking on my culinary tour. Varunee will present you with Phad Phed Sator Phuket – Stir-fried Spicy Stink Bean with Prawns, Phuket Style. This is the way my mom and her mom and the local people in Phuket would cook it in their kitchens for family and friends. Please feel free to modify the recipe to suit your liking. There is no substitute for sator, however you can enjoy this recipe with any seafood or with other vegetables such as asparagus, fava beans or edamame for a similar texture.

Phad Phed Sator (Parkia) Goong – ผัดเผ็ดสะตอกุ้ง

Stir-fried Spicy Stink Beans with Prawns, Phuket Style

Phad Phed Sator Goong Phuket

ผัดเผ็ดสะตอกุ้งภูเก็ต

Serves: 4

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons Phuket red curry paste, or any brand from Thailand
1 teaspoon shrimp paste, optional (omit it if you use Mae Ploy Brand red curry paste)
8 prawns, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar or brown sugar
1/2 cup Sator or Parkia beans, fresh or frozen
3 Kaffir lime leaves, center vein removed 

Heat a wok on high heat until it is hot, pour in vegetable oil and then stir in garlic, curry paste and shrimp paste. Stir well until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in prawns and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in water. Stir well until curry paste and oil are well-combined and prawns are cooked well in the sauce. Stir in soy sauce. Stir in palm sugar until well-combined.

Fold the Kaffir lime leaves lengthwise, remove the vein, then add the leaves to the wok. Stir in sator. Stir back and forth until the sator is partially cooked. Be careful not to overcook the prawns or the sator, which doesn’t need to be cooked very long. A shorter time is better for sator to keep its crunchy texture. Remove Kaffir leaves. Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice.

Please see instructions and photos below for cooking step by step.

Varunee shows you how to prepare her Phad Phet Sator Goong Phuket Style

 

My friend Varunee will show you how to prepare a famous Phuket dish Phad Phed Sator Goong, Stir-fried Spicy Stink Beans and Prawns, Phuket Style. Please enjoy her cooking.

Red curry paste and shrimp paste

In Phuket there are two kinds of red curry paste. One is for coconut-based curry and one is for stir-fries without coconut milk or with very little—just about 2 to 4 tablespoons coconut milk to make the sauce or to tone down the spicy level of the dish. Please do not be overly concerned with this level of complication, use Mae Ploy or Thai kitchen brands as you wish. For the best results, I recommend my Phuket Red Curry Paste Recipe.

Cooking oil and curry paste

Heat a wok on high heat until it is hot, pour in vegetable oil and then stir in garlic, curry paste and shrimp paste.

Phad Phed Sator (Parkia) Goong – ผัดเผ็ดสะตอกุ้ง

Stir in prawns and stir for 30 seconds.

Phad Phed Sator (Parkia) Goong – ผัดเผ็ดสะตอกุ้ง

Then pour in water and stir well until curry paste and oil are well-combined, making a good sauce, and the prawns are cooked well.

Phad Phed Sator (Parkia) Goong – ผัดเผ็ดสะตอกุ้ง

Stir in soy sauce.

Phad Phed Sator (Parkia) Goong – ผัดเผ็ดสะตอกุ้ง

Stir in palm sugar until well-combined.

Phad Phed Sator (Parkia) Goong – ผัดเผ็ดสะตอกุ้ง

Fold the Kaffir lime leaves, remove the veins, then add the leaves to the wok.

Stir in Sator – Stink bean

Stir in sator.

Phad Phed Sator Goong – ผัดเผ็ดสะตอกุ้ง

Stir back and forth until the prawns are cooked and sator is partially cooked. Be careful not to overcook the prawns or sator. A shorter time allows sator to keep its crunchy texture.

Credit: Khun Varunee

© 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 

Read Full Post »

Three Best Friends

สามสหาย – Saam Saahai

To consider oneself a Thai cook, one should understand the fundamentals of  Kratiem Prik Thai—garlic-black pepper-cilantro root seasoning paste. Like Nam Prik or chili dip, it is a truly Thai invention without any influences from neighboring countries. Like the classic pesto sauce that originated in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, Kratiem Prik Thai is a classic Thai culinary seasoning that has been around for as long as the existence of Siam.

Garlic, black pepper and cilantro roots

Pounding a mortar and pestle to make a Kratiem Prik Thai paste is a classic Thai culinary technique, and this paste is prepared practically everyday in every Thai kitchen where it serves as a seasoning for any meat or seafood. There is no need for more herbs than just this awesome three: garlic, black pepper and cilantro root. I like to call them the “three best friends” or, in Thai, สามสหาย – Saam Saahai. They often appear together in Thai recipes. Like The Three Musketeers, they are”All for one, one for all.”

Garlic – Black Pepper – Cilantro Root

Kratiem – Prik Thai- Rark Puk Chee

กระเทียม – พริกไทยดำ – รากผักชี

The Kratiem Prik Thai paste is simply made with just the three main ingredients of garlic, black pepper and cilantro. When balanced with salty and sweet from soy sauce and brown sugar, they deepen the flavor of grilled meat, appetizers, meat patties for soup, or marinades for meat before deep-frying. Then sweet chili sauce and Sriracha hot sauce may be served alongside the meat with a vegetable condiment. I hope you have a chance to learn how to make the Kratiem Prik Thai paste below and experiment with it in your cooking at home, from marinating your steak to adding it into a meat patty or simply sauteing it with seafood for a quick and easy main dish.

Garlic – Black Pepper – Cilantro Root Kratiem – Prik Thai – กระเทียม – พริกไทยดำ – รากผักชี

Place garlic, black pepper and cilantro roots in a mortar.

Garlic – Black Pepper – Cilantro Root, the three ingredients in  Kratiem – Prik Thai – กระเทียม – พริกไทยดำ – รากผักชี

With pestle, pound garlic, black pepper and cilantro root in a medium-size mortar

Garlic – black pepper – cilantro root Kratiem – Prik Thai – กระเทียม – พริกไทยดำ – รากผักชี

until it forms a fine paste, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Garlic, black pepper and cilantro roots with brown sugar and soy sauce: Kratiem – Prik Thai – กระเทียม – พริกไทยดำ – รากผักชี

Add brown sugar and soy sauce and stir in circular motion with pestle until it is well-blended and smooth.

Thai Basic Seasoning Paste

กระเทียม – พริกไทยดำ – รากผักชี

This recipe makes a large quantity. You can store it in the refrigerator and use it as needed, or freeze it in convenient quantities in an ice cube tray. Use 2 tablespoons of the finished paste per pound of meat or seafood as a marinade before grilling or frying. You can also use it as a basic seasoning paste in ground meats cooked for Thai appetizers. Please click on the photo for a link to a recipe for using the paste with seafood or shrimp.

 
Yield: 1/2 cup
 
1 tablespoon black pepper corns, or more
10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8 cilantro roots or 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro stems
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar
 
Place garlic, black pepper and cilantro roots in a medium size mortar. With pestle, pound the ingredients until they form a fine paste, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add brown sugar and soy sauce and stir in circular motion with the pestle until it well-blended and smooth. Store in a mason jar in the refrigerator for a week, or freeze for up to 6 months. Please see suggestion above on how to incorporate this seasoning paste in your cooking.
 
Alternative preparation method: Place garlic, black pepper, cilantro roots, soy sauce and sugar in a blender and blend until it reaches the desired texture. I like the consistency shown above which still maintains a little texture.
 
Note: Please wait to see my next post when I will discuss in depth how to incorporate Kratiem Prik Thai Rark Puk Chee seasoning in your daily cooking.
 
© 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  
 
Follow Me on Pinterest

Read Full Post »

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  
 
Follow Me on Pinterest
 
Related articles

Read Full Post »

Discontinued Mango Black Tea Smoothie

Late in the spring last year I went to my regular smoothie place. I stood in line and when it was my turn to order I found out that my favorite mango black tea smoothie was no longer on their menu. It had been discontinued! Disappointed, a few day later I made my own version in my kitchen, just like my mom would do. There is something about food cravings and fulfillment. For food lovers, satisfying a craving is taking care of our soul.

The mango smoothie I made last year was a good one. It was right at the peak of mango season and it tasted great. I call it a Lychee Black Tea Mango Smoothie. I was ready to share the recipe with you then, but the mango season was gone before I could capture a picture of my new drink. Since the recipe depends on just three ingredients—mango, lychee black tea and honey—you’ll want to pick the freshest, best quality mangoes for your smoothie. The other key to this recipe is balancing the deep flavor of the tea with the fruity and sweet flavors of the mango and honey.

I love lychee black tea. It is fun to drink this black tea with its alluring aroma and note of sweet floral lychee. However, this tea may be difficult to find if you do not have an Asian market nearby. There are a few online sources for lychee black tea. The alternative is to use any fruity black tea that you think would work well with mango and honey. Just give it a try!

Honey, lychee black tea, and mango

A fresh honey mango or a Manila mango is ideal for this drink, though any mango will work. Let it sit in a brown paper bag until it fully ripens. (I tested this recipe late last summer with a fully ripened peach and it was amazingly good as well.) Mangoes and peaches are available frozen all year round, so you can enjoy this lychee black tea mango smoothie as often as you wish. All you have to do now is find the perfect lychee tea to add to your tea collection.

Lychee black tea, mango, and honey smoothie

Lychee Black Tea Mango Smoothie

Nahm Lynjee Chadum Mamuang Pun

น้ำลิ้นจี่ชาดำมะม่วงปั่น

I love this smoothie recipe, which came to me effortlessly. I always have lychee tea at home and a supply of honey from my friend’s garden. When mangoes are plenty and I have one that is fully ripe, I simply place all of the ingredients in a blender, blend and pour into two glasses. Cheers to double antioxidants!

Serves: 2

Yield: 3 cups

2 to 3 tablespoons lychee black tea or 2 bags black tea
1 cup boiling water
Steep for 5 to 10 minutes
2 large mangoes, peeled and sliced, about 2 cups
1 tablespoon honey
2 pinches salt
1 cup crushed ice

Steep lychee black tea in 1 cup boiling water, letting it sit for at least 5 minutes, or steep for 8 to 10 minutes to make a deep colored tea. Set tea aside to cool while peeling and cutting the mangoes.

Place cooled tea, mango, honey, salt and crushed ice in the blender. Blend until smooth. Serve right away!

I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com  

Follow Me on Pinterest

Read Full Post »

Grilled Bok Choy for Minimalist Cooking

Bok Choy – ผักกาดใบ

I want to share with you my tips and techniques for making quick and easy grilled bok choy, something I did last weekend to celebrate the first warm sunny day when I spent a lot of time outdoors gardening. Cooking in the summer is about minimalism, and I like the idea of a few ingredients on the grill at one time.

Bok choy, also known as Chinese cabbage, is my favorite Asian vegetable. To me it is like vegetable-candy. I love its crunchy texture and light mustard flavor and the fact that I don’t need to be concerned about calories when I eat it. Even in large portions, I can just enjoy its delightful nutritional benefits. There are many ways to stir-fry bok choy with seasonings in a wok, but my favorite way to cook it is on the grill. This is in part because I don’t like to cut up a beautiful bok choy before I cook it; I would rather do that with a knife as I eat it. With baby bok choy, however, I can avoid cutting it all together and there are many other delicious Asian vegetables that I can cut up and stir-fry—such as choy sum, morning glory, and dozens of other greens. So when summer comes along, bok choy becomes a regular on my grill. It goes with any main dish.

This recipe is a great way to enjoy beautiful, low-fat, crispy, grilled bok choy. I typically cut regular bok choy in half lengthwise. This makes for easy grilling and a very appealing natural pattern. To quote Georgia O’Keeffe: “Colors and line and shape seem for me a more definite statement than words.” Sliced bok choy makes a beautiful pattern indeed. You can appreciate the look while grilling and eating them, and it only takes a little effort. You can dress the bok choy up to accompany any type of cuisine by adding a vinaigrette or sauce after grilling.

Grilled bok choy as a side dish

A perforated grill pan is ideal for grilling vegetables or seafood

Technique

First cut the bok choy in half lengthwise, then soak it under ice cold water for 15 minutes or longer for a crispy texture. Drain well, but do not spin. Drizzle a tablespoon or more of grape seed oil (or any vegetable oil) over the bok choy then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt; using tongs, mix well. (This technique is easier and uses less cooking oil than brushing it with oil.) The water bath, cooking oil and salt will keep the vegetable green, shiny and tasting good. Crushed fresh white or black pepper adds a great accent.

Grilled bok choy, grilled beef and steamed jasmine rice

This is a perfect dinner for a minimalist. Except for the rice cooked in a rice cooker, each dish is cooked with just three ingredients out on the grill. I rub fish sauce over my steak and pierce it with rosemary from my garden. The steaks are 1/2 inch thick, so both the steak and the bok choy cook in less than 15 minutes. The total time to prepare and to cook is about 30 minutes.  Minimalist cooking is a perfect approach for summer to come!

Grilled Bok Choy

ผักกาดใบย่าง

Pak Gard Bai Yang

Serves: 4

 
1 pound bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoons grape seed oil, canola oil or any vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
1/4 cup Thai Chili-lime vinaigrette, optional

Pre-heat the grill to high heat. Place perforated grill pan on top of the grill.

Soak bok choy under cold water for at least 15 minutes, or longer for a crispy texture. Drain well but do not spin. Drizzle on a teaspoon or more of the oil and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sea salt over the top. Use tongs to mix well.

Place bok choy on perforated grill pan in a single layer and let it grill for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until it is translucent but still firm. Serve as is, or use tongs to mix well with Thai Chili-lime vinaigrette. Serve warm or cold as a side dish.

Pranee’s Note: Measure the first seven ingredients from the Thai Chili-Lime Vinaigrette recipe into an 8-ounce mason jar, close the lid tight and shake well. Pour over grilled bok choy.

I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com  

Follow Me on Pinterest

Read Full Post »

Home Sweet Home Cooking

I am happy to be home again. I have been away for two weeks, first to New York City to attend the International Association of Culinary Professionals 34th annual conference. The theme this year was The Fashion of Foods. After the conference, I took a train ride down to Washington DC. It was an incredible trip. I learned so much from the many workshops I attended related to foods, cocktails and writing, and had a chance to reconnect with many colleagues in the culinary world. And, most importantly, I had a chance to check out the local food scenes, including five Thai restaurants in the New York area. I plan to share my restaurant reviews and photos with you soon.

Beautiful spring is finally here

As much as I enjoyed eating out and tasting foods while on my trip, I am so ready for home cooking and something healthier. So I have set aside my fine dining experiences in favor of my down-to-earth, easy, and healthy, with a clean and refreshing flavor, steamed rice, fried organic egg, and stir-fried local vegetable. I am happy and content to just eat these for now.

My every week purchase – Swiss chard from the farmers market

I love fresh vegetables from the farmers market. I love to stir-fry them with garlic and fine sea salt.

Please see my Stir-fried Choy Sum Recipe

My first Saturday back home I visited the University District Farmers Market and stocked up with the freshest vegetables and salad greens. I routinely purchase at least three kinds of vegetables at the market. They are so fresh that they keep well in the fridge and often farmers will  give a discount for buying two bunches of vegetables that cost the same price.

I cook my eggs the way many Thai like their eggs cooked – a crispy egg white with the egg yolk just set, as in the photo below. We say it is like “Yang Matoom” – cooked just enough so that the yolk is “sticky” like the sap from the bael fruit tree. I hope you can enjoy this quick, easy and low-fat fried egg recipe! This is a typical fried egg that I have for lunch almost everyday. With a few drop of fish sauce from prik nam pla and warm steamed jasmine rice, I feel so at home now.

Fried egg Thai style

Thai Fried Egg

Kai Dao

ไข่ดาว

My Thai family never worries about the amount of oil used to prepare fried eggs – Kai Dao. We pour just enough oil into the pan to fry the egg, about 3 tablespoons. Some of the oil will be left in the pan after the egg is cooked. But for myself and my health conscious fans, a tradeoff for this recipe is to use a well-seasoned wok or cast iron pan to get a very crispy texture to the egg. I am happy to have just one side crispy instead of both.

This Kai Dao can be served with steamed jasmine rice, or any Thai fried rice dishes, with just a few drops of fish sauce or soy sauce on the egg, and served along with a stir-fried vegetable.

Serves 1

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 egg
 
Heat a well-seasoned wok or cast iron skillet on high heat. Pour in the oil and tilt the pan to cover the whole surface with oil. Then crack one egg and place it in the center. Fry on high heat until the bottom is crispy and golden brown to your liking, about 30 to 40 seconds. Then reduce the heat to medium and cover with a glass lid; cook until the egg white is cooked and the egg yolk is done to your liking, about 30 to 40 seconds. Remove and serve.
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 
 
 

Follow Me on Pinterest

Read Full Post »

The Old Day & The New Way

When I was in Thailand exactly a year ago, I created this recipe – Spicy Thai Coconut Chips. I wanted to create delicious snacks for upcoming cooking demo. At the same time I wanted the flavor to reflect my Southern Thai cuisine, specifically my grandmother cooking. After receiving a reminder to send in recipe from Seattle office, I went to my mom kitchen and cook with my family. This was a same day I wrote and recorded a mystery dish from Southern Thailand – Stir-fried Fresh Grated Coconut with Phuket  Curry Paste.

Stir-fried fresh grated coconut with Phuket red curry paste

It was a perfect day. I was lucky that my sister in-law – Tim was there. After she prepared the old forgotten dish of stir-fried fresh greated coconut with Phuket curry paste, I created new modern dish to reflect this flavor for the new generation. It is not often that I cooked for my family in Thailand. They were impressed seeing a recipe developer at work. I used my grandmother’s favorite spice, turmeric. I added more spice and other ingredients to create the balance of flavor of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. And my whole Thai family was excited with familiar texture and flavor from the coconut chip that was bake in my sister small oven.

Pranee’s Spicy Thai Coconut Chips

I hope you enjoy the step-by-sttep photos and recipes below taken and created in my mom’s kitchen in Phuket, Thailand. Have a great spicy Thai crunches!

Spicy Thai Coconut Chip

Maprow Krop Rod Ped 

มะพร้าวกรอบรสเผ็ดเปรี้ยวสไตล์ไทย

slice fresh coconut with peeler

First sliced fresh coconut with peeler, you may use dried coconut chips in a package. The cooking time may vary. Dried coconut chip is accessible and easy to prepare and it has longer shelve life.

fresh coconut chips

Place coconut chips in a baking sheet.

mix with spicy, salty, sour and sweet

Combine chili powder, turmeric, salt and lime juice in a large bowl or right on a baking sheet.

Spicy Thai Coconut Chips

The clue is crisp and dry and the coconut is almost brown.

1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups dried large coconut chips or sliced fresh coconut chips

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine chili powder, turmeric, salt and lime juice in a large bowl. Mix in coconut chips and combine well.

Spread coconut flakes in a thin layer on the baking sheet. Place in the center of the oven rack and stir every 4 minutes for 8 to 12 minutes, or until crisp and toasted.

I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 

Recipe by Pranee Halvorsen, PCC Cooks instructor.  Demonstrated on the PCC Cooks stage at Vegfest 2011. You also can see this recipe from PCC Natural Markets website.

Read Full Post »

Without a Rice Cooker

You can cook rice for 30 people, anytime, without a rice cooker! Since last November, my son and I have been preparing one meal a month for 60 homeless youth at Seattle’s [James W. Ray] Orion Center. The organization helps homeless youth get off the street and provides them with meals, education and shelter. The meal-calendar is posted and updated to allow members of the public to sign up to prepare a meal for these hungry youth. It has been a rewarding experience to take part in helping to build community. Thank you to a friend who also signed up to help prepare a meal with me. Together—without a rice cooker—we cooked lavender-turmeric scented jasmine rice for 30–6o hungry young people.

Rice can be cooked in a rice cooker, on the stove top, or in the oven. My recipe below is for rice cooked in the oven. I wanted to share the recipe so you would know that you do not need to buy a rice cooker in order to cook large quantities of rice. Instead you can purchase a large hotel pan and cook up to 30 servings of rice in about an hour.

Before putting rice and water in the hotel pan, it is best if all ingredients are hot before they are sealed up and placed in a preheated oven. (Here’s a link for an explanation as to how this method works: “Once water is heated past the 212°F mark, it stops being water and turns into steam. Steaming has an advantage over methods such as boiling or even simmering …..”. Moist Heat Cooking Method by About.com.)

About the recipe

Culinary Lavender

Today, the recipe I want to share with you is Kao Oop Kamin and Dok Lavender, lavender-turmeric scented jasmine rice. It works well served with Thai main dishes such as Thai curry dishes. I came up with the concept of adding lavender to turmeric scented jasmine rice about two years ago after I visited the Lavender Wind Farm on Whidbey Island and purchased a bag full of culinary lavender. After that visit I began adding lavender to everything. My friend, Kathy Gehrt, a local expert on cooking with lavender, says ” you can infuse anything with lavender” just be careful not to over use the lavender. You can learn more about cooking with lavender from Kathy’s book as well as her blog “Discovering Lavender.

One day I simply played with turmeric powder and lavender in a rice cooker. I found it had an alluring and somehow surprising fragrance. After making this dish I forgot about this new flavor and scent combination until sometime later when I heated up the leftovers and experienced the same unexpected delight. The next time I cooked this recipe was at the first dinner I prepared at the Orion Center. My friend was puzzled by the rice’s flavor and fragrance—”What is it in this steamed rice?

Thai jasmine rice, culinary lavender and turmeric

The sweet perfume of lavender complements the pungent turmeric, which is also known as Indian saffron. This amazing blend gives off an alluring aroma and gives the rice a subtle flavor that allows you to serve it with any cuisine. You can find culinary lavender in jars or in the bulk herbs section in a natural food store.

Playing with lavender and turmeric in a rice cooker

Lavender-Turmeric Scented Jasmine Rice

Kao Op Khamin Dok Lavender

ข้าวอบขมิ้นลาเวนเดอร์

Lavender-Turmeric Scented Jasmine Rice

Yield: 30 cups cooked rice

When I cook this at a large event, I measure up the jasmine rice, turmeric, lavender and salt beforehand and store them in a large ziplock bag. Each bag will provide a main course or side dish for 30 servings. You can bake enough in your oven to serve 30 people. In a commercial kitchen, where the ovens are larger, you could double the recipe and bake each in a separate hotel pan—one on the top shelf and another one on the bottom shelf. For smaller portions at home, set the oven temperature at 350°F and bake for 30 minutes, then let rest for 10 minutes. The rice to water ratio is 1 to 1 ½.

1/4 cup canola oil
10 cups jasmine rice
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
3 tablespoons culinary lavender 
2 teaspoons salt
16 cups boiling water
2 sheets 2 ½-foot-long aluminum foil 

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place large pan on high heat on the top of your stove and add canola oil. When the oil is hot, add rice, turmeric, lavender and salt and stir for 1 minute. Pour the rice mixture into a hotel pan and then pour in boiling water. Stir well and cover tightly with foil. Put pan in the preheated oven and let it cook undisturbed (no peeking) for at least 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes before removing the foil. Stir and serve.

Summer 2010 at Lavender Wind Farm, Whidbey Island

 
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 
 
 Related articles

Read Full Post »

Do Nothing Day

Honey-lime Tea

Honey-Lime Tea, Cough Remedy

I got bit by a winter bug and have been resting for the past two days. What do I eat on such a do nothing day?  I prepared Honey-Lime Tea to sooth my coughing and sore throat. For dinner I prepared myself a rice porridge. While the rice porridge was on the burner, I whisked up an omelet from an old family recipe – a classic Thai omelet with pickled sweet radish – Kai Jeow Chaipor Wan. I took some pictures to share with you so you could enjoy eating this omelet along with rice porridge – Kao Tom from a recent post. This good gentle food doesn’t take long to cook, another reason why it is good for a day when you are not feeling well.

The four ingredients are eggs, shallot, Thai chilies and pickled radish. The pickled sweet radish is the same one that Thais use in phad thai, so it is easy to find. You may use dried daikon radish from PCC Natural Markets, but add a squeeze of lime juice and a teaspoon of fish sauce or soy to the recipe. You may also try it with Kimchi and pickled mustard greens; since both are pickled, you do not need to add fish sauce or soy sauce.

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe with four ingredients and three cooking steps. Twenty minutes after starting, I had both rice porridge and omelet on the dining table. I enjoyed this warm, down-to-earth comfort food and once again felt like I was at home with my mom and family in Phuket.

Pickled Sweet Radish Omelet

Kai Jeow Chaipor Wan 

ไข่เจียวไชโป้วหวาน

Serves: 2

1 small shallot, peeled and sliced
2 eggs
2 fresh Thai chilies or serrano chilies, sliced
1/4 cup pickled sweet radish
3 tablespoons canola oil

Place shallot, eggs, chilies and pickled sweet radish in a medium size bowl, then beat with fork to mix, about 1 minute.

Heat 6-inch cast iron pan or frying pan on medium-high heat. Pour in canola oil and tilt to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour omelet batter in the hot pan, stir quickly 5 times and then let it spread out to cover the bottom of the pan. Turn the burner to medium heat, cover with a lid and let it cook until the bottom of the omelet is dry. Flip the omelet and cook for 30 seconds more. Serve with rice porridge or steamed jasmine rice.

Sliced shallot, eggs, sliced chilies and pickled sweet radish

First you place shallots, eggs, chilies and pickled sweet radish in a medium size bowl.

Stir with fork until it well-mixed

Then beat it with a fork to mix, about 1 minute.

Phuket Pickled Sweet Radish Omelet

I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 
 

Read Full Post »

Not Just for Fine Dining, Golden Trout

Last Saturday I went to the Pike Place Market to get the fresh fish of the day for my family dinner. Golden trout caught my eye. When I visited the market last summer, only City Fish carried it. This time around it seemed that every fish stall had a pile of golden trout, so I thought this would be a perfect time to share my recipe with you for Steamed Golden Trout in Lime-Chili-Garlic-Dill Sauce. The pictures were taken a while ago, but the recipe is timeless. It is based on Phuket Pla Nueng Manao—steamed fish in lime juice—but the way I prepared it reflects my new home in the Pacific Northwest.

Golden trout is a sub-species of rainbow trout, both of which are related to salmon. The pale pink color of the flesh and its texture are a really amazing mixture of both trout and salmon. There are many ways to prepare golden trout, but today my favorite is to steam them. I love cooking fish whole, so using the oven is a quick way to go.

The golden trout I bought was from a farm in Idaho. Golden trout’s natural habitat is the “clear, cold headwaters of creeks and lakes at elevations above 6,890 feet,” but most golden trout come from fish farms. This is because you may fish for them for your personal consumption but not to sell them commercially. Most golden trout in the markets are from the Idaho Trout Company. From my research I learned that fly fishing for rainbow trout and golden trout is a very popular activity.

Fresh Rainbow Trout from Pike Place Market

When it comes to steaming fish, I am my grandma’s grandaughter. I ate many meals of steamed fish with my grandmother, like Clay Pot Lemongrass-Steamed Fish (Pla Nueng Morh Din). I hope you will have a chance to cook a few of her recipes. Several of them are featured in the Asian Grandmothers Cookbook by Pat Tanumihardja. At home here in Seattle, I have adapted my grandmother’s recipe into an easy and fun way to prepare fish for my friends and family. My recipe below reflects my quick and easy method for doing this at home. I will let you decide which way you prefer.

Garlic, Lime, Dill and Purple Chili

PLA NUENG MANAO

ปลานึ่งมะนาว

Steamed Golden Trout with Lime-Chili-Garlic-Dill Sauce

Servings: 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

If you love fish, this recipe works for all occasions! It is light, fresh and delightful — yet easy to prepare. While steaming the fish, prepare the sauce. When the fish is cooked, just pour the sauce over it and serve with hot, fragrant jasmine rice.

1 whole golden trout, or any fileted fish (cooking time may vary)
4 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and smashed
large sheet of parchment paper and foil
10 cloves garlic, peeled
5 Thai red chilis, purple chilis, jalapeno or Serrano peppers
1 cilantro root
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup chopped dill or cilantro
4 lime slices for garnish

Using a mortar and pestle, pound garlic, peppers, cilantro root and salt until smooth. With pestle, blend in sugar, fish sauce and lime juice until sugar dissolves. Stir in dill. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place 1/4 cup water in a 9” x 13” baking pan, then spread the lemongrass out. Place the trout on the bed of lemongrass and sprinkle salt on top of the fish. Cover the dish with parchment paper and then the foil, wrapping it around the edges to form a seal. Bake until the fish is cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes. (The good thing about steaming is you never overcook the fish). To check if the fish is done, insert a knife into the thickest part of the fish and lift the flesh away from the backbone. If it is easy to separate the flesh from the backbone, then it is done. If not, steam a little bit longer.

Place trout on a serving dish along with all of the steaming water. Pour the lime sauce over the top, then garnish with sliced limes and serve with jasmine rice.


Cook’s Note:

~Thai chilies are recommended for this recipe because they have a lingering flavor; you may remove seeds if needed. To control the spiciness of your finished dish, use 2 chilies for mild, 3 or 4 for medium, and 5 or 6 for a full spicy flavor.

~Always add the fish sauce before the lime juice to keep the sauce vibrant and fresh tasting.

~Best of all is to prepare the sauce while the fish is cooking. If you have a steamer, you can steam the fish in a serving size bowl and pour the sauce on top just before serving.

~The sauce can be used as a dipping sauce for any seafood, including mussels, clams and crab meat.

I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 

Read Full Post »

The Hungry Planet

I attended the Hungry Planet: What the World Eats grand opening at the Burke Museum. I was totally awestruck by the large photographic exhibit and printed information from Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio who show us how the rest of the world eats and feeds their families with one week of purchased food supplies. “A picture said a thousand words” and I hope that you will have a chance to view the exhibition which will be at the museum through June 10.

On Saturdays, PCC Cooks also participates in the exhibition by providing a cooking demonstration of one of eight different cuisines from around the world. I had the honor of representing PCC Cooks one Saturday by preparing Kao Tom Gai, Rice Soup with Chicken. I demonstrated how to prepare this Thai dish and provided samples. When I was growing up in Thailand this particular dish meant so much to me and the rest of the country. It was a time when families had to nourish their families with simple, healthy foods.

I was lucky to grow up in the land of plenty in Phuket, Thailand. My village has a mountain on one side and a rice field on the other. The Srisunthorn Road was on the edge of the mountain and our home was just off this main road. We spent our weekends gathering foods from the forest such as bamboo shoots, mushrooms and other edible plants. Our family also owned a plantation which provided an abundance of fruits such as rambotant, durian, jackfruit and coconut.  At the end of each month, or after each sale of a crop from the plantation, my grandmother made sure to purchase a month’s supply of rice and to stock up on all stable dry ingredients. Mobile markets would came every morning with meats, seafood and fresh vegetables and herbs. The open air market was full of venders of all sorts and once a week villagers could fill up their kitchen cabinets with food. In our family, when my grandmother was the treasurer of the household, she decided what was on the table on a daily basis, through times of abundance and scarcity.

Phuket Open Air Market

My grandma shared many bedtime stories with us about the lives of others or her experiences during economic down times. She taught us that every grain of rice should be eaten. Phuket is rich in tin,  rubber and other natural resources, but when it came to rice production, we depended on supplies from the central part of Thailand–a supply that was affected by the economy, politics, and climate. When the price of rice increased, our regular steamed rice would change to rice porridge to make our supply last as long as possible.

One cup of rice grains yields about 3 cups of steamed rice or 4 cups of thick rice porridge which can be thinned down to make 6 cups of rice soup. Instead of making 3 servings, 1 cup of rice can be stretched to provide 6 servings.

The Hungry Planet exhibit is eye opening. It shows how the rest of the world eats, what is available to them, what they can afford, what they choose, and the limitations. I love the picture from Mali, Africa, which shows the ritual of a family sharing a rice porridge that is cooked with sour milk.

For me, rice porridge is a soul food, comfort food and a health food. It has a healing and nourishing element and it is suitable for everyone and every occasion.

Now that you have heard my stories, what is yours?

Rice Porridge Three Ways

I know three ways to enjoy rice porridge. The first one is as a rice soup base which can then be made into Kao Tom Gai

Kao Tom ~ ข้าวต้ม

(Click photo above for Pranee’s Kao Tom Gai recipe)

A second way to enjoy rice porridge is to make a rice soup buffet for a big crowd or special event.  To do this, take a rice porridge and add a little bit of ground meat. Cook it without adding flavoring, but serve it with condiments as shown in the photo below. The condiments typically consist of ginger, white pepper powder, sugar, soy sauce, chili powder, fried garlic, vinegar with jalapeno peppers and green onions.

Thai rice soup condiments

A third way to eat rice porridge is to serve it the same way as steamed jasmine rice but ideally with Chinese-Thai style main dishes such as stir-fried vegetables with salted soy bean or oyster sauce, salted egg, salted peanut, pickled mustard green, or braised pork in five spices.

Either for stretching a dollar or caring for yourself and your family, rice porridge is my comfort food for every occasion.

Kao Tom (Rice Porridge)

ข้าวต้ม

PREP TIME: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 cups

1 cup jasmine rice
6 cups water

Bring jasmine rice and 2 cups of the water to a boil on high heat. Stir often while cooking for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Let cook on medium heat for 15 minutes more, until it yields 4 cups.

I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: