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Posts Tagged ‘From Farm to Table’

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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Farm Dinner At Dog Mountain Farm

Dog Mountain Farm, located in Snoqualmie Vally near Carnation, Washington, offers summer farm dinner events that are a culinary delight. The dinners are prepared by a guest chef and served with wines from a local winery. I attended one of these dinners in  June 2010 and was blessed to experience a half day at the farm of sun-filled summer, a beautiful view of the Cascade mountains, and dining on white tablecloths surrounded by apple orchards. The farm offers various farm and culinary activities year round for all age groups.

View of the Cascade Mountain

September 2012 has provided the rare beauty of a long stretch of sunny days. Saturday, September 15th, the date that I cooked at the Dog Mountain Farm, was one of the most beautiful days among them.

The farm dinner guests arrived at 3pm. Farm owners Cindy and David welcomed everyone with champagne and an hors d’oeuvre, then took them on a farm tour.

Galloping Horse or Mar Hor with savory pork on plum brûlée

I was happy to have the hors d’oeuvre done just in time. The abundance of plums provided a good substitute for pineapple in the Thai hors d’oeuvre called Mar Hor or Galloping Horse, a savory pork mixture atop plum brûlée. I was pleased when I ate one to hear the excitement of taste from far away – like someone galloping a horse.

The Dog Mountain Farm raises French Grimaud Pekin and Muscovy ducks, Embden geese, French guinea fowl, and heritage turkeys.

While the guests toured the farm, I continued cooking—there were four more courses coming.

My Thai Farm dinner included wine pairings from the Wilridge Winery. The wines were served by the winery’s owner and winemaker, Paul Beveridge. Paul selected the wines exclusively for the menu above. They were Viognier Rosebud Vineyard ($11.89), Estate Nebbiolo Wilridge Vineyard ($210), Estate Sangiovese Wilridge Vineyard ($21), and Estate Mélange Noir Wilridge Vineyard ($21). The amazing wines, along with the details and personal stories that Paul shared, enriched the dinner experience.

Kabocha Pumpkin Soup with corn, kale, summer squash and lemon basil

The dinner was served around 4:30pm and I was able to pause at that point for just a minute to take in the sun rays that filled the farm kitchen. Then I ladled the Gaeng Leang – Thai country-style soup – into individual bowls. (Please click here for Gaeng Leang Recipe). Gaeng Leang is often served at Thai dinners to display local abundance. This one had a generous amount of lemon basil from the farm green house and was as authentic as my grandmother’s cooking 40 years ago!

Asian pear is crunchy, juicy, sweet and fragrant.

The third course was an Asian pear salad with mixed herbs and salad greens and a sweet chili vinaigrette. I didn’t have a chance to take a picture of the salad or write down the recipe, so I will have to recreate the recipe one day to share with you. This dish was totally impromptu. I adjusted my chili lime vinaigrette recipe by adding a few more ingredients to compliment the farm’s Asian pears and to echo the flavors of the overall dinner menu.

Braised Duck Curry

The fourth course was a traditional Thai duck curry, Gaeng Phed Ped Yang, made with Dog Mountain Farm’s French Grimaud Pekin. For more information and a recipe for curry dishes please check my future posts.

Thai Duck Egg Custard

Please click the picture above to see Pranee’s custard recipe

Coconut Duck Egg Custard Ice Cream

Please click photo above to see Pranee’s Coconut Duck Egg Custard recipe

Originally I had planned to make just one dessert: coconut duck egg custard ice cream with fried farm apples. But once I began cooking with the very fresh duck eggs, I could not help but make my mom’s Thai duck egg custard over black sticky rice, a traditional Thai dessert.

Once the five-course dinner was served I had a chance to relax, join in the conversation with the dinner guests, and take in the beauty of the double sunset—a beautiful sunset to the West and the reflected light on the Cascade Mountains to the East.

Where to find the Dog Mountain Farm Stand

For those of you who live in the Seattle area, Dog Mountain Farm has a stand at the Broadway Farmers Market on Sundays. Please check their website and then send them an e-mail to have them harvest fresh produce that you can pick up at the market on Sunday between 11am – 3pm.

Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen

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Fall Wishes

Fall Color in Seattle

Seattle is a beautiful city. When we get some of its rare sunshine, the season becomes memorable. This past week I wished for at least a good week of sunshine and beautiful fall colors and a chance to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest scenery. I got my wish. But there is another wish I make each fall as well: I wish for a good price for chanterelle mushrooms. This year I got both my wishes.

I enjoy cooking with chanterelle mushrooms from the local market and I love to add northwest flavors to my Thai dishes. This year I discovered a sensational new way to achieve both of these ends by adding chanterelle mushrooms to my vegan Thai green curry.

Chanterelle Mushrooms

The flavor of chanterelle mushrooms reminds me of Hed Kone – a wild mushroom  in my village. It has an interesting spicy flavor that goes well with coconut milk or fat. When cooked, the mushroom’s nutty and sweet-fruity flavors combine with its meaty flavor to enrich this meatless green curry dish. This meaty flavor was an added bonus that I didn’t expect but discovered while experimenting last year. I prepared this dish in my series of seven Thai Quick & Easy cooking classes at PCC Cooks.  Although I shared the recipe below with more than 14o students, I can still capture the moment when I savored the dish with them during the classes. The chanterelle mushrooms make for a unique combination. This dish is a great reflection of true Thai flavors achieved by using local ingredients such as chanterelle mushroom and Italian eggplant with Thai ingredients such as bamboo shoots, young corn and water chestnuts.

I love this recipe the way it is and would not want to change anything.  I want to share this recipe with you so that you can enjoy it as much as I do when fresh chanterelle mushrooms are abundant in the fall. My wishes have been fulfilled and I am content.

Thai Green Curry with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Kaffir Lime Leaves

Gaeng Keow Wan Ja

Thai Green curry with chanterelle mushrooms and Kaffir lime leaves

แกงเขียวหวานกับเห็ดมังสวิรัติ

Green curry is delicious. It is distinguished from other curries by its flavor and color which are derived from fresh Thai green chiles. Green curry is as versatile as red curry; it can incorporate many kinds of vegetables and mushrooms. Some vegetables that work well in green curries are zucchini, eggplant, green beans, bamboo shoots, young corn and water chestnuts. Serve with jasmine rice or somen noodles.

Servings: 8

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 jar Thai Kitchen green curry paste, about 5 tablespoons
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon green or black peppercorns, whole
1½ – 2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup water
2 cups chanterelle mushrooms, brushed to remove the dirt and torn into small pieces
2 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, and diced (1/2 inch by 1/2 inch)
½ cup baby corn, washed and drained
 ½ cup sliced bamboo shoots
1 cup water chestnuts
1 Italian eggplant, diced or 2 zucchini, diced
½ teaspoon salt, or more as needed
½ to 1 tablespoon sugar, or as needed
4 Kaffir lime leaves, optional
¼ cup basil leaves

 In a saucepan on medium-high heat, combine canola oil, green curry paste, coriander, cumin powder and green or black peppercorns, stirring constantly until fragrant. Stir in ½ cup coconut milk and let the mixture cook until the oil is separated and curry is fragrant.

Stir in chanterelle and portobello mushrooms, baby corn, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and water; let cook for 2 minutes. Stir in eggplant and the remaining coconut milk, salt, sugar and lime leaves. Let the mixture cook until the eggplant just softens but still holds its shape well. Stir in  basil. When it comes to a boil, remove from heat and serve with jasmine rice.

© 2011 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai coPranee Khruasanit Halvorsenoking.com .

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Are Winter Squash Leaves Edible?

I enjoyed the Seattle sun last Wednesday at the Columbia City Farmers Market along with the delicious food from the stalls. I purchased a few fresh vegetables from various farmers and, like always, a bunch of winter squash leaves from a Hmong farmer’s stall. This time the squash leaves prompted me to cook and share with you a recipe from my Thai kitchen: how to cook winter squash leaves –Yod Namtao – ยอดน้ำเต้า.

Winter squash leaves are edible. In fact, all parts of squash family plants are edible, from leaves to stems, flowers, fruit, skin and seeds. The young leaves and stems are shown in the photos above and below. These edible greens become available when a farmer cuts back the leaves on a plant in order to encourage it to produce fewer but larger fruits. Winter squash leaves are popular in rustic-style cooking in Southeast Asia and they are great sources of fiber and other nutritional benefits.

Winter Squash Leaves and Blossoms - my visit to Hoi An Market 2009

Though they may feel a little rough to the touch, the young leaves from winter squash have amazing flavors when cooked. They have a  spinach-like texture, but are richer and denser with a bite to it in flavor. Like any leafy green vegetable, you can stir-fry, steam or stew them. In my kitchen, I either blanch them in salted coconut milk or saute them with butter, then add water and chicken stock and cook them down until the leaves are softened but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Last year I made a winter melon leaves stew with dried fish and shallots using a Hmong farmer’s verbal recipe. It was similar to my Watermelon Rind Soup and made a delicious vegetable stew.           

Winter squash leaves are only available in the summer and only at the Hmong farmers’ stalls. Because of this limitation, I never fail to purchase a bunch of winter squash leaves each visit to the market. Supporting the Hmong farmers also helps me to ensure that there will be a continuing supply due to the demand. When you get a chance, please pick up some winter squash leaves at a Seattle Farmer Markets near you and give them a try.

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Winter Squash Leaves Boiled in Salted Coconut Milk

Yod Namtao Luak Kati

ยอดน้ำเต้าลวกกะทิ

Winter Squash Leaves in Salted Coconut Milk

One bunch of winter squash leaves weighs about a pound. After removing all of the twine holding them together and the hard stems, the soft edible part weighs about six ounces; the rest goes into a compost. If I have time, I use a peeler to remove the rough skin on the stems then cook the stems down until they are soft, about 8 minutes.

There are many ways to prepare winter squash leaves, but blanching or boiling them in salted coconut milk produces my favorite quick and easy side dish. This same method can also be used with many other leafy green vegetables, which can then be served with Thai Chili Dip. You will be surprised how the flavor of winter squash leaves and leafy green vegetables are complimented by just a little coconut milk and salt.

 
Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
 
6 ounces winter squash leaves (see preparation above)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt

Bring coconut milk, water and salt to a boil on medium-high heat. Then add the squash leaves, using tongs to turn them around to make sure they are all cooked in the liquid—like blanching the leaves in a coconut broth. Cook from 3 to 5 minutes until the greens reach your desired degree of tenderness. Serve with the broth as a side dish, or with warm jasmine rice as a main dish.

© 2011 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen  
I Love Thai cooking 
 Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com . 

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My Everyday  Asian Vegetable

Choy Sum - Flowering Cabbage

Choy Sum (also known as flowering cabbage) is a most popular vegetable in Southeast Asia. It belongs to the Brassica family along with Bok Choy and Gai Lan (Chinese kale or broccoli). The most common uses are in stir-fries and soups. My favorite way of preparing this is to stir-fry it as a side dish with salt and pepper or stir-fry with any rice noodles or egg noodles. It takes a short time to cook and is easy to pair with other ingredients. 

Stir-fried Choy Sum as a Side dish

Stir-fried Choy Sum

Phad Pak Gwang Tung

ผัดผักกวางตุ้ง

Servings: 4

Preparation: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

3 tablespoons canola oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
12 choy sum 0r about 12 ounces, cleaned and cut into 2 inch-lengths
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat canola oil in a wok on high heat and stir in garlic. When garlic is golden, stir in choy sum. Stir in a few drops of water and season with salt and pepper to taste, stirring well. Serve hot as a side dish with steamed jasmine rice.

© 2011 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen 
I Love Thai cooking
 Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com .
 

Stir-fried Phuket Hokkien Mee with Choy Sum

 
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Rubber tree plantation in Phuket, Thailand

Image via Wikipedia

My Love for Mushrooms

My love for mushrooms was born when I was in my teen years in my Thai village. The village is surrounded by mountains on one side and rice fields on the other. It was a perfect place for wild foods. I learned to gather wild vegetables such as bamboo shoots and green and ginger family rhizomes, and of course I picked some wild orchids for myself on the way home. There were also many rubber plantations. The dried falling branches from the rubber trees were a source of firewood and rubber tree mushrooms called Hed Kreng. They are a typical mushroom that grows only on the old rubber trees which cover most of the southern peninsula of Thailand.

In Seattle, I enjoy various mushrooms and we are in luck, there are plenty of fresh mushrooms from local mushroom growers.

If you are hesitant to cook this recipe for any reason, I want to reassure you that this dish is packed full with flavors and received a five star rating from an admirer on yelp.com.

Grilled Spicy Phuket Mushroom - Rubber Tree Mushroom

 

 

Grilled Brown Button Mushrooms with Thai Basil Leaf in Banana Leaf

HED MOK PHUKET

Servings: 4 (one parcel per person)

We used to gather Hed Kreng mushrooms from old rubber tree trunks and bring them home for my mom to make my childhood favorite, Hed Mok (Grilled Mushrooms). I recreated this recipe by using brown button mushrooms that have a flavor similar to Hed Kreng. While creating this recipe, I recalled my vivid memories of how my mom prepared them, and the taste and aroma that I used to savor. The intense flavors of basil, chili, and earthy mushrooms come alive. An important part of this recipe is to grill or bake the mushrooms over high heat to intensify the flavor. Also, use coconut cream rather than coconut milk so the mixture won’t get too wet.

1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon red curry paste
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup coconut cream
¼ cup shallots, sliced
1 pound brown button mushrooms, brushed and sliced
1 cup Thai purple basil leaf
4 Thai chilies, halved
4 parchment papers (12”X16”) or banana leaves

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl, mix fish sauce, red curry paste, salt and coconut cream together until blended. Stir in shallots, mushrooms, and basil until mixed.

Divide mixture into four batches, and place each batch in the center of a piece of parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper over to make a bag; try to make it as flat as you can so the heat will distribute equally. Lay the bags of mushrooms on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with warm steamed rice.

Pranee’s note: Oyster, button, or Portobello mushrooms would all be great for this recipe, or you can use a combination of them. Wrapping the mushroom mixture in banana leaves and then grilling them creates another depth of taste and aroma.

© 2011 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com .

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Comfort Me with Kabocha & Rum

I amuse myself in the kitchen every year by discovering new ways to use Kabocha, my favorite squash. Seeing snow on the ground meant no going out today, so I decided to get into the kitchen to play with the Kabocha puree that I made the other day.

I was thinking of a decadent dessert that did not require any cooking on the stovetop. I had classic cream cheese in the fridge and many basic staples in my kitchen, so I started from there. After finding the right ratio between the puree and the cream cheese, I added enough sugar to make a good balance. Then I added spiced rum, one tablespoon at a time. Spiced rum is a Caribbean rum that has an amazing blend of spices, caramel and other natural flavors. I may get a little carried away in my recipe below with the Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, but when it comes to rum, the amount to add is very personal. At this point, there was still something missing from the recipe, and when I went through my spice rack, the nutmeg was yelling at me. Adding it did the trick—nothing more or less was needed.

While watching the snow melting away, my hand was busy spooning away this decadent dessert. It is pumpkin-creamy, sweet, with rummy-coconut and aromatic nutmeg. Just a perfect way to pamper oneself with comfort—a decadent dessert. Winter will be here for a while.

Pranee’s Spiced Rum Kabocha Mousse with Coconut Cream

Spiced Rum Kabocha Mousse

Serves: 6

8 ounces classic cream cheese
1½ cups Kabocha puree (see note)
⅓ cup evaporated cane sugar
¼ cup Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, divided
¼ to 1 teaspoon nutmeg
6 tablespoons coconut cream (the thick top layer from a can of coconut milk)
6 Kaffir lime leaves or mint sprigs to garnish

Use an electric mixer to blend cream cheese in a large bowl until soft, about 30 seconds. Add Kabocha squash puree, sugar, 3 tablespoons rum, and nutmeg; blend on medium speed until well-blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Chill mixture in the fridge at least 3 hours before serving.

To make spiced rum coconut cream topping, whisk coconut cream and 1 tablespoon rum in a small bowl for 10 seconds. Set aside in the fridge.

To serve, place equal amounts of the mousse mixture into 6 glasses. Garnish the top with coconut cream and lime leaves or mint sprigs.

Pranee’s Tip on Making Kabocha Puree

A medium size Kabocha squash will yield 3 to 4 cups Kabocha puree. To prepare Kabocha pumpkin puree for dumplings or pie, simply remove the skin and seeds and then cut into 1-inch chunks. Steam about 15 minutes, or until tender. Use a ricer to make a fine mash.

More recipes on this blog with Kabocha pumpkin:

Thai Pumpkin Custard, nam tao sangkaya (recipe and slide show)

Stir-fried Kabocha Pumpkin with Pork (recipe and vedio)

© 2011  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com .

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Spiced Up Cranberry Sauce with Thai Herbs

Cranberry Sauce with a Touch of Thai Herbs

Spiced Up Cranberry Sauce with Thai Herbs

Many years ago, when I cooked my very first cranberry sauce, I just followed the recipe on the back of the cranberry package. Now that I have lived in America for almost twenty years, I know the ingredients in the sauce quite well and have done some experimenting. For the past few years, I have enjoyed adding Thai flavors to the sauce, but now I have settled on this flavor profile. The sweet from the evaporated cane juice organic sugar (Wholesome Sweeteners Brand) goes well with the hint of caramel from the rum. Thai herbs and a unique sea salt balance out the flavors. This recipe has the sweet, sour, salty and spicy elements that add the Thai accent to my family’s Thanksgiving traditions. I hope you will enjoy cooking this recipe. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Pranee's Cranberry Sauce with Spiced Rum and Thai Herbs

Pranee’s Cranberry Sauce with Spiced Rum and Thai Herbs

Yield: 4½ cups

2 (12 ounce) packages fresh cranberries, washed and drained
2 cups organic evaporated cane sugar, or regular white sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Hawaiian Kine Seasoning Salt – Lemon Grass, or regular sea salt
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
2 tablespoons Triple Sec orange-flavored liqueur
3 tablespoons lime juice, about 1 lime
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed (cut off the lower bulb and remove tough, outer leaves) and smashed
1 to 2 fresh Thai chilies, smashed
3 Kaffir lime leaves
1 shallot, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro roots or stems

Place cranberries, sugar, salt, water, rum, triple sec, lime juice, chilies, shallot and cilantro root in a large pot, stir well and bring to a boil. Then stir as needed while cooking on medium heat until it reaches a jam-like texture, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove lemongrass, chilies, and Kaffir lime leaves. Pour cooked cranberry sauce into sterilized jars. Keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or freeze.

Pranee’s note:

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is a Caribbean rum with spice, caramel and other natural flavors.

Hawaiian Kine Seasoning Salt – Lemongrass is made from rock salt, pepper, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. You may use any sea salt.

Cilantro roots (rahk pak chee) are an important Thai flavoring ingredient. Unfortunately, cilantro usually comes with its roots already cut off. Look for whole cilantro plants with roots at farmer’s markets, grow your own, or substitute the bottom stems. If you do find cilantro with roots, rinse them well and use the roots along with about an inch of the bottom stems to which they are attached. You may also find frozen cilantro root in Asian markets.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.   Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com .

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Inle Lake Green Tomato Salad, a Recipe from Shan StateMyanmar

Green Tomato, Red Tomato and Somewhere in Between

Today, on my way back from the University District Farmers Market, I visited a friend and saw her tomatoes in various shades of colors on her windowsill. Then I remembered that I wanted to share this recipe with you.

When I see green tomatoes, I think of my family’s visit to Inle Lake, Myanmar in June 2008. Our two-hour boat ride was enchanting, and we saw a fisherman using his foot to row his canoe. At the shallow edge of the lake were floating gardens with rows and rows of tomato plants. We had a chance to see the hydroponic farms and miles of tomatoes growing on floating gardens.

Inle Lake Fisherman

When we stopped for lunch and a cooking class at the View Point Restaurant, the chef surprised us with a green tomato salad along with many famous Shan State dishes. The menu reflected the local abundance of tomatoes from local farming, as Inle lake is the largest source of tomatoes and vegetables in Myanmar.

If you are planning to visit Myanmar anytime soon, please do make sure that the View Point Restaurant & Cooking School is in your itinerary. I love the people who work there, and the views of rice fields, the river, and the bridge—a great place to observe locals going about their daily lives.

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I had never eaten green tomatoes before but I am familiar with the concepts of fried green tomatoes, pickled green tomatoes, and green tomato relish. So what else can you do with green tomatoes? Inle Lake Green Tomato Salad is an answer here.

Before cooking and eating green tomatoes, this is what you should know.

Thisis an excerpt about Tomatoes & Health that I copied from About.com:.“Although green tomatoes are wonderful when cooked or pickled, they should be avoided in large amounts when raw. Green tomatoes contain large amounts of tomatine, a toxin in the same alkaloid family as solanine which may be found in green potatoes, another member of the nightshade family. ”

I ate a few pieces of green tomato slices and felt fine but didn’t like the taste; it was too tart and bitter.  My friend Deb had mentioned that green tomatoes shouldn’t be eaten fresh, so I  decided to bake the green tomato slices for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooked tomatoes  tasted great, but the color was dark green.  I bake my green tomatoes or simply use firm ripe tomatoes instead.

Inle Lake Green Tomato Salad

This green tomato salad is very simple to make. You start by making  Lemongrass Vinegar.  I would recommend making a lot of it and storing it in the refrigerator.  It can be added to any recipe that calls for vinegar.

Inle LakeGreen Tomato Salad

Yum Makruatad Keow

4 large green or ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon chopped  peanuts, dry roasted and unsalted peanut
1 tablespoon fried minced garlic plus 1 teaspoon garlic oil ( this the oil that the garlic was fried in)
1 to 2 tablespoons lemongrass vinegar 
1 teaspoon toasted dark or light  sesame oil
½ teaspoon black sesame seeds
Salt to taste

Place green tomato slices on a large platter.

To make salad dressing, combine the shallot, peanuts, fried garlic, garlic oil, lemongrass vinegar, and sesame oil in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Pour over green tomatoes and garnish with black sesame seeds.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen 

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

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Pranee’s Thai Lime-Green Chili Jam   

 

Thai Lime-Green Chili Jam

I have three different kinds of chili jam in my kitchen cabinet: Plum-Ginger Thai Pepper Jelly, Mango Madness, and Sweet Pepper Jalapeño Jam. These were precious gifts from good friends and they inspired me to create my own jam recipes. When my friend Ron gave me a bag of fresh green Star Fire Chilies from his favorite farm, “Krueger Family Peppers and Produce, Inc.” in Wapato, Washington, a journey began.

I wanted to create a Thai Lime-Green Chili Jam with a fun flavor from Kaffir lime leaf. First I explored the jam-making process and daydreamed about the flavor combinations, then I got a hands-on lesson on canning from my friend Kaia. She recommended a few books, and I purchased one, the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.” A week later, I found the best price for canning jars, and in the past few weeks, I have created three combinations of chili jam. Honestly, I love all of them: Sweet Red, Lime-Green and Pineapple-Orange.

I have also learned my lessons on the do’s and don’ts of using powdered pectin. If the jam doesn’t set, follow the Sure-Jell instructions on how to remake the jam. After a few experiences, I became comfortable with the process. The most important part was that I had so much fun making close to one hundred jars of jam, and so did my friends. All I have to do now is to listen to their creative ways of using the chili jam.

I would like to share my Thai Lime-Green Chili Jam with you. It would be fun to serve side-by-side with cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. You can learn to use it creatively during the holidays, and it makes a great gift for families and friends.

Thai Lime-Green Chili Jam with Citrus Flavors

Like green curry paste, the green color in this jam comes from fresh Thai green chilies. I also use green-colored peppers, herbs, lime juice, and all the Thai herbs to give it a real Thai flavor.

Thai Lime-Green Chili Jam  

Yam Prik Keow  

Yield: 5 1/2 cups or 14 (4-ounce) jars or 6 (8-ounce) jars

4 green bell peppers, cored and diced
30-40 fresh Thai green chilies, stems removed (I used Star Fire chilies)
1/2 cup diced red onion, about 1/2 medium-size onion
1 package Sure-Jell fruit pectin
2 cups cane vinegar (a vinegar made from cane sugar, available in most Asian markets)
2 to 4 tablespoons lime juice
4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
10 Kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and smashed
1 tablespoon butter
1 drop green food coloring, optional

Place bell pepper, fresh Thai green chilies, and onion in a food processor;  pulse to make a fine chunk (about 3 cups). Combine the  mixture with Sure-Jell, vinegar, lime juice and salt in a large, deep, stainless steel saucepan. Mix well until the pectin is dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in Kaffir lime, lemongrass and butter. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil; stir constantly for 4 minutes. 

Remove from heat and ladle into jars filling to within 1/8 inch of the top. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator.

Note:  If you want a jam that can be stored (unopened) at room temperature, visit the Sure Jell website for instructions on how to process the jars.

 © 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen 
 I Love Thai cooking   
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com .
 

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Northern Thai Cuisine with the Kantok Diner

When planning a trip to Chiang Mai, the largest city in northern Thailand, one must see all of the cultural aspects that Northern Thai culture or Lanna culture has to offer. That is why I took my tour members to the Old Chiangmai Cultural Center. It is my favorite place for eating Northern Thai cuisine, listening to Thai music, and watching the dances. This may seem like a tourist trap, but for a short visit to Chang Mail, I recommend this experience before returning home. My visits with tour members in February 2007 and 2008 were memorable. We sat under the moonlight in a courtyard surrounded by old Thai teak buildings, ate, and watched the dance show. And of course the visitors had a chance to dance at the end.

Kantok Dinner at the Old Chiangmai Cultural Center

A typical Kontok dinner menu consists of Pork-Tomato Chili Dip (Nam Prik Ong), Green Chili Pepper Dip (Nam Prik Num), Fried Chicken (Gai Tod ), Chaingmai Curry Pork (Geang Hungley), Fried Banana (Kleuy Tod) and all of the vegetable condiments that go with chili dip, plus steamed sticky rice and steamed jasmine rice. All of these dishes were placed in bowls (kan) and set on a small round teak or rattan table (tok) that was only about 10 inches tall. We sat around the table and ate the food with our fingers, or with forks and spoons.

Tomato-Pork Chili Dip, Nam Prk Ong

Inspired Recipe from Our Chiang Mai Kantok Dinner

Nam Prik Ong

Tomato-Pork Chili Dip

Nam Prk Ong

น้ำพริกอ่อง

This dish is easy to make, and among Thai chili dips, pork-tomato chili dip is easy to love. It has a tomato base and is spicy hot with chili pepper, but does not have too strong a taste of shrimp paste. The secret is to use the ripest, reddest and sweetest tomatoes you can find. I recommend multiplying the recipe so you will have enough to keep some in the freezer. In Seattle I keep some Nam Prik Ong in the fridge to use as a condiment when I serve a meal with one main protein dish. I also love to use it as a condiment with steamed jasmine rice or to accompany other savory dishes or an array of fresh vegetables.

Yield: 1 cup

2 cilantro roots, or 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro stems
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and sliced, about 3 tablespoons
3 Chile Guajillo, or New Mexico chili pods, sliced and soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
5 whole dried Thai chilies, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
10 cloves garlic, peeled
5 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons shrimp paste placed on a piece of parchment paper and roasted in a 350BF oven for 10 minutes, (or substitute 1 tablespoon Napoleon anchovy paste)
1 teaspoon salt, or more as needed
3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
¼ cup ground pork
1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes or any sweet tomato variety, chopped
1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
¼ cup chopped cilantro to garnish

Make a curry paste by placing the cilantro roots, lemongrass, chili Guajillo, Thai chilies, garlic, shallots, shrimp paste and salt in the food processor. Turn on the machine and while it runs, pour cooking oil into the spout in a stream (like making pesto). Let the processor run for 3 minutes, stopping it occasionally to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the machine.

Place the curry paste in a frying pan with the pork and cook over medium heat until the pork is no longer pink. Stir in tomato, palm sugar, and fish sauce and let it simmer until the tomato is softened. Nam Prik Ong should have the consistency of tomato sauce (not watery). When it is done, stir in chopped cilantro and serve with jasmine rice and vegetable condiments, or serve it Kantok Dinner Style with sticky rice and other traditional dishes.

Vegetable Condiments: Sliced cucumbers, long beans, wing beans, Thai eggplants, banana blossoms, steamed Kabocha pumpkin.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com .

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Amazing Thai & Vietnamese Flavors with Local Organic Farm Produce from Orting

Last Saturday, October 1st, was my first visit to the town of Orting, which is only one hour from Seattle. It was a beautiful fall day and I had a beautiful drive. I love the town. I was doing a cooking demo for PCC Cooks and PCC Farmland Trust at the Orting Valley Farms. It is PCC Culinary Trust’s latest preserved farm to save local organic farmland forever! It was also Pierce Country Harvest Fest and there were many people visiting, including young kids who decided on the spot that they love Thai and Vietnamese flavors.

At Tahoma Farms, Dan, the owner of the farm, grilled corn and served warm apple cider, while I cooked and  handed out samples of my Northwest Salad with Thai Chili-Lime Vinaigrette and Vietnamese Lemongrass-Scented Eggplant Stew. Groups of visitors came by either before or after taking a hayride,  and live country music was playing in the barn.

It was fun to meet so many people, including many families with young kids. It was great to learn that they all enjoyed my cooking. Therefore, I would like to share one of the recipes with you: Northwest Salad with Thai Chili-Lime Vinaigrette. At the farm I used dinosaur kale, sweet basil, Johnny Nardello peppers, and heirloom tomatoes for the salad. A Roy Dee Kha!

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Northwest Salad with Thai Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

Yum Pak

Northwest salad with Thai chili-Lime vinaigrette Recipe, Yum Pak

I created this simple recipe this summer using fresh Northwest produce. The Thai-flavored vinaigrette uses olive oil, chili, lime and fish sauce. It makes a bright salad with interesting flavors.
 
 Serves 8 
 
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or garlic oil
1 teaspoon sea salt or 4 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon evaporated cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons lime juice or lemon juice
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
24 cherry tomatoes, whole, or  2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 cup sweet basil leaves, washed and drained
1 cup kale, washed and chopped
1 cup mixed sweet pepper varieties, julienned
1 cup dill or cilantro leaves (or any Asian herbs such as basil, lemon basil)
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds

Whisk olive oil, sea salt or fish sauce, sugar, pepper, chili powder and lime or lemon juice until well mixed. Fold in shallots, tomatoes, arugula, kale, sweet peppers, dill or cilantro and mix gently. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and serve immediately.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com
 

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Seattle Feast with Friends, 2010

I created this recipe for Seattle Feast with Friends event (http://futurewise.org/action/SeattleParticipants) held on Thursday, September 30th, 2010. This celebration brings together local food producers, winemakers, and guest chefs.

I hope to see you there. If you cannot attend, then enjoy cooking this recipe. Cheers, Pranee

 

Thai Mussel Curry with Tomato and Lemongrass

Thai Mussel Curry with Tomato and Lemongrass

Gaeng Hoi Nang Rom

This recipe uses red curry paste, coconut milk and just enough lemongrass to create a flavorful soup. The sweet and sour from the tomato and the tamarind juice heighten the flavor of the mussels. It is a very well balanced dish that you can enjoy by itself as a soup, or served it with steamed jasmine rice as a mild curry dish. Dill and cilantro are the perfect herbs for a finishing touch.

Serves: 2 as a main dish

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon red curry paste
2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
3 tablespoons coconut milk, or more as needed
2 medium size ripe tomatoes, cut into large chunks
15 mussels, de-bearded and halved (about a pound)
2 tablespoons tamarind juice, or 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped dill
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Stir canola oil, red curry paste, and lemongrass together in a pan on high heat until fragrant. Then stir in coconut milk and let it cook until the oil separates out from the rest of the mixture. Stir in the tomatoes and mussels and stir well. Cover with lid and cook until the mussels open up, about 5 minutes. Stir in tamarind juice; stir well and cook until the mussels are done (see below). Stir in dill and cilantro and serve right away.

Recipe by Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen http://ilovethaicooking.com/

Mediterranean Mussels by Taylor Shellfish Farm http://www.taylorshellfishfarms.com/

Wine Pairing: http://www.skyriverbrewing.com/

Sky River Semi-Sweet Mead

$14.99 per bottle

“Sky River Semi-Sweet Mead, although drier, enjoys a similar depth and character to the Sweet Mead. With hints of pear and a crisper finish Sky River Semi-Sweet Mead, served well-chilled, delicately offsets the exotic notes of sesame and ginger in Pan-Asian cuisine, and the rich herbal textures of the Mediterranean.”

 

Cooking Tips from the Expert, Jon Rowley

The Mediterranean mussels, which are just now coming into season and will be very plump, aren’t done when they open. They need to continue cooking after they open until you see the meat contract. This makes a BIG difference in the flavor. If the mussels are not cooked enough, they have an unpleasant fleshy taste. If cooked properly they are gloriously sweet. These mussels are so fat,  you don’t have to worry about overcooking.

Also if some mussels don’t open and the others are done, the ones that are closed will also be done. They just need to be pried open. Bum mussels will be open before cooking and should be discarded. Mediterranean mussels that are closed after cooking, if you have any, are fine.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com

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I Couldn’t Say No to Nectarines

It was too much temptation for me! Yesterday I went to a market and saw a box of a dozen local nectarines. Off course I purchased a box to take home. I had no idea at the time what I wanted to do with them. I ate a few and still had nine left. Then I remembered the cookbook that I had purchased the day before: A Passion for Ice Cream by Emily Luchetti. It won an IACP award. It was just perfect–I looked through the index and found a nectarine ice cream recipe. I want to give it a try today since I already had my ice cream machine ready in the freezer. It is not difficult nor time-consuming to make ice cream, but it is all about planning.

I spent a good forty-five minutes prepping and cooking, and now everything is ready to chill in the fridge. I will put the mixtures in the ice cream machine tomorrow while I am working at home, then let the machine do the work.

Nectarine and Coconut Cream, Ready for the Ice Cream Machine

This is my Thai adaptation with tamarind and coconut milk.

Nectarine-Coconut Ice Cream

2 1/2 pounds of nectarines (about 5 fruits), peeled, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate, or lemon juice
8 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup coconut milk

Place nectarines, tamarind concentrate, 4 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a medium size pot and bring to a boil. Let it cook on medium heat until it looks like a jam, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. It should yield about 2 1/2 cups.

Stir cream, coconut milk and the rest of the sugar in a sauce pan on medium heat until the sugar is melted. When it steams up, remove and let it cool.

Now I have both mixtures in separate containers and ready to go into the ice-cream machine. I will keep you posted on how it goes–with photos, off course. It will take a while, though. There is no natural sunshine in Seattle today for a food photograph.

I can’t wait to try the nectarine-coconut ice cream tomorrow.

September 22

Before lunch I placed the chilled nectarine and coconut cream mixtures in my ice cream machine. By the time I finished my lunch, the ice cream was done. I left it in the container and put it in the freezer.

At 2:20pm, I tasted it. OMG, delicious!

Nectarine-Coconut Ice Cream served on a nectarine and topped with coconut flakes.

© 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 
 
Related articles

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Thai Cooking with Mussels

Steamed Mediterranean Mussels with Sweet Chili Sauce

I love mussels, and Thai cuisine has so many great mussel recipes. Unfortunately, cooking classes with mussels don’t sell well in Seattle. But you can enjoy my recipe without being in my class. This delightful, easy recipe uses fresh Mediterranean mussels that are at their peak season right now. The Taylor Shellfish Farm stall at many Seattle Farmers Markets is a good place to get them.

Cooking Tips from the Expert, Jon Rowley

The Mediterranean mussels, which are just now coming into season and will be very plump, aren’t done when they open. They need to continue cooking after they open until you see the meat contract. This makes a BIG difference in the flavor. If the mussels are not cooked enough, they have an unpleasant, fleshy taste. If cooked properly they are gloriously sweet. These mussels are so fat, you don’t have to worry about overcooking.

Also if some mussels don’t open and the others are done, the ones that are closed will also be done, they just need to be pried open. Bum mussels will be open before cooking and should be discarded. Mediterranean mussels that are still closed after cooking (if you have any) are fine.

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Steamed Mediterranean Mussels with Lemon Basil and Shallot, and Homemade Chili Sauce

Hoy Nueng Bai Meang Luck

Servings: 8 as appetizer
 
 
 
30 Mediterranean mussels, about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
3 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 cup lemon basil leaves, or any type of basil
1 Serrano pepper, halved
1 cup sweet chili sauce (see recipe below)

De-beard mussels and clean under running water to remove sand and grit. Discard any mussels that open before cooking.

Heat canola oil in a pan and stir in shallots and basil for 30 seconds on high heat. Add mussels, cover the pan, and shake it back and forth without opening the lid until the mussels start to open, about 2 minutes. Keep cooking until the mussels contract and look plump and round, about 1 more minute.

Serve with sweet chili sauce as a dipping sauce or place ½ teaspoon sweet chili sauce on each mussel. Garnish with lemon basil leaves.

Wine Pairing: Washington Pinot Gris

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
 
 
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com

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Som Tum, a Green Papaya POK POK 

Som Tum - Thai Green Papaya Salad

Pok Pok is the sound made when a wooden pestle hits a clay mortar. This is a classic sound in the green papaya making process and it is a familiar sound for Thais and tourists alike because Som Tum vendors are everywhere in Thailand. When I teach papaya salad recipes, I make sure to carry my clay mortar and wooden pestle with me to my cooking classes in Seattle, Lynwood, Edmonds and even Portland. I feel that it is important for students to understand the cultural and traditional aspects of  Thai cuisineFor me, making and eating green papaya salad is a cure for homesickness. But is not easy to find green papayas outside of Thailand, so sometimes we have to improvise.

Shredded Green Papaya and Carrot for Som Tum

Carrots are always a great substitute when fresh green papaya is not available. My first experience eating Som Tum made from other vegetables besides green papaya was when I was traveling in Switzerland and France visiting friends and relatives.

In Seattle you can find green papaya everyday at the Asian markets, but at farmers market events in Washington I always enjoy making Som Tum with various farm fresh vegetables. And I am always delighted that it still makes a great impression on everyone. First the Pok, Pok sound, then the flavors of chili-lime and peanuts dressing that make all fresh salad tastes so good. My favorite vegetables and fruits for this recipe are carrots, kale, green apples, green mangos, green beans and cucumbers.

Som Tum – Thai Green Papaya Pok Pok

Yesterday I was making special version of Som Tum for a Pike Place Market Sunday Event. I combined Som Tum made from local carrots and kale with cooked rice noodles and smoked local King salmon. Combining Thai and northwest flavors together using a mortar and pestle produced a delicious dish.  Let’s cook with the Thai rhythms!

Please also see Pranee’s Somtum Recipe featured in Seattle Times, Pacific Northwest Sunday Magazine

SOM TUM PLA SALMON

Green Papaya Salad with Smoked Salmon and Rice Vermicelli

Servings: 4
 
3-6 garlic cloves, peeled
5 Thai chilies, whole
2-3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
6 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ lime, cut into 4 small wedges
8 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 2 large tomatoes cut into wedges
½ cup green beans, cut into 1 inch lengths
2 ounce smoked salmon, sliced, about ¼ cup, divided
2 cups shredded green papaya, carrot, cabbage, kale or any fresh vegetable
1 cup rice noodles or rice vermicelli, cooked using the instruction on the package

To make a dressing, use a wooden pestle to crush garlic, chilies, palm sugar and 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts in a clay mortar until it forms a paste. Stir in fish sauce and lime juice with pestle in circular motion until blended.  With pestle, gently mix in lime wedges, tomatoes, string beans, half of the smoked salmon and shredded papaya by pushing down the ingredients against one side of the mortar and using a large spoon to lift up on the opposite side. Repeat a few times until well incorporated.  Serve right away with rice noodles and topped with the rest of the smoked salmon.

Cook’s note: If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, here is an easy way to make a salad dressing. Blend garlic, Thai chilies, palm sugar, 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, fish sauce and lime juice in a blender until smooth. Mix the rest of peanuts, string beans, dried shrimps, tomatoes and green papaya in a salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently mix them together by hand until salad is well coated with the dressing.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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

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Corn and Scallion, a perfect pair

On the street corner of Hoi An, sliced scallion is soon ready for making into scallion oil.

The most memorable time for me in Hoi An was getting up to see the sunrise over the Bon River while drinking Vietnamese coffee shortly before heading for the market.  Then I walked along the street, and the scenery was very beautiful. The aromas and sounds were so enlivening and the taste of the food was phenomenal. I tasted many street foods along the streets and took a lot of it back to the hotel so that I could taste more during the day. This is part of the learning, culture and cuisine. Now, as I look at all my photos, I am getting hungry from the taste of foods that I still remember and long for.

I came to love one particularly famous grilled corn dish in Hoi An, Mo Hanh. It is made of grilled corn with scallion oil. You will see pictures of why the Vietnamese are so fond of this dish by the amount of corn on the street of Hoi An.

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Yesterday, I was grilling corn for a special event at Magnuson Park in Seattle. About 500 people were there. I have 3 flavors for them to choose from: with spicy coconut sauce, jalapeno sweet and sour sauce and scallion oil. They were all a big hit at the event. I am delighted to share grilled corn with scallion oil recipe with you and hope that you will get a chance to enjoy until the last harvest of local fresh corn.

Grilled Corn with Scallion Oil

Serves: 8

1 cup thin sliced green onion, only green part–about 4 green onions
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 ears of corn, peeled

 Pre-heat the grill to medium-high heat.

To make scallion oil or  Mo Hanh, heat canola oil until very hot and drop in green and let it cook for 40 seconds. Stir in salt. Let it sit until cool. Keep well in refrigerator for a week.

Grill corns over high heat 6 to 8 minutes, until some pope with nice brown cornel. When serve, dip each ear in scallion oil. Enjoy while it is warm.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen  
I Love Thai cooking

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February 2010, Old Quarter in Hanoi

Hanoi Confetti Corn from the street of Hanoi Old Quarter

I love writing recipes from my culinary trip in my kitchen because it is like traveling through time.  And I love to travel, so when the journey ended then I was in pain with nostalgia. I missed the places I have been and the friends I have made. Then I decided to revisit the experience by recreating the food of that land. Like what I did last week with this Hanoi confetti Corn here in my kitchen.

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This year my culinary trip to Southeast Asia started in Hanoi. After the long flight from Seattle and we arrived in the middle of the day.  After checking into the hotel, we headed off to the famous old quarter of Hanoi. No time for jet-lag, and old quarter is a best to start with exciting sight and sound. I already knew which street we wanted to walk, eat and shop. No time to waste we only have two days in Hanoi.

We came across the mobile foods just before Cha Ca Street, and the aroma of scallion oil and corn that caught our attention and find the confetti corn was cooking. Three of us tried to remember the all of the ingredients: cooking oil, corn, green onion, dried small shrimps, fish sauce and sugar. We ordered one and shared it on the street, it was delicious. Every day in Vietnam, the foods we loved consisted of a few simple ingredients put together in a stunningly simple way but the use of fresh ingredients made all the difference. This was a great welcome to the next world leading culinary destination.

Hanoi Confetti Corn with Shrimp Powder

I purchased the freshest local white corn from PCC Natural Market (in Hanoi, it was glutinous corn), shrimp powder is always in my freezer ready to use, I used chives from my garden instead of green onions and the rest of ingredients were staple foods.  I know how to revisit Hanoi again until the fresh corn runs out.

From Hanoi to your kitchen! Bon Appetite.

Hanoi Confetti Corn    

Serves: 4 

3 tablespoons butter 

2 cups corn kernels cut from 3 ears yellow or white corn 

1/4 cup chopped green onion, from 2 green onions or chives 

3 teaspoons shrimp powder, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish 

1 teaspoon sugar, optional –omit when use freshest corn 

1/2 teaspoon chili powder 

1 to 2 teaspoons fish sauce

Heat the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Allow the butter to melt, add the corn and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in green onion and shrimp powder and chili powder and let it cook for 1 or 2 more minutes. When the corn loses its starch and  stir in fish sauce and serve right away.

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

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Quick & Easy Spicy Thai Stir-fry for Summer Day 

I’m back from my road trip to Idaho and I miss eating Thai food. I don’t want to spend too much time cooking in the hot summer weather. Looking around I found some frozen Alaskan scallops in the freezer. I bought some fresh green beans at the market and got some fresh mixed basil leaves from the garden. A spicy stir-fry was the answer to fit all expectations–quick and easy, spicy to suit my soul and with cool Thai beer for the 95 degree Seattle weather.

Stir-fried Scallop with Red Curry Paste and Greeen Bean

Twenty minutes before dinner, place the beer in the freezer, I turned on the rice cooker and then went into my garden to get some basil. The scallops were thawed.  The rest of ingredients are Thai staple ingredients from my kitchen such as red curry paste and roasted red chili paste. The remaining work was to stir-fry it in a wok for about 10 minutes.

This recipe is an impromptu creation and it may not have all the steps and ingredients like when I teach traditional Thai recipes. At home when the focus is to put everything together in a hurry. But all the ingredients I used for this recipe was sufficient to call it an authentic Thai. It was a very satisfying meal. I hope you get a chance to try the recipe. Jarean Arharn Kha — Bon Appétit!

Stir-fried Scallop with Red Curry Paste and Green Beans and Jasmine Rice

Stir-fried Scallop with Red Curry Paste and Basil 

Phad Phed Hoy Shell 

Serves: 2
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon curry paste
1 tablespoon roasted red chili paste
3 Thai eggplants, cut into wedge
16 green beans, trimmed
6 large scallops
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup Thai basil or sweet basil leaves

Heat a wok or skillet on high heat until hot, stir in canola oil red curry and roasted red chili paste and stir until fragrant. Stir in Thai eggplants and green beans and cook for 30 seconds, and then add scallops. Stir well with one hand and add 1 tablespoon coconut milk at a time every 10 seconds. Keep an eye on scallops, when it starts to firm up and the flesh get opaque, it should be done. Then on high heat, stir in basil for 20 seconds. Serve right away with steamed jasmine rice. 

Please see similar stir-fried with instruction and vedio here: Stir-fried Catfish with Red Curry Paste
 
© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
 I Love Thai cooking
 
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas, her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com

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Drink for Our Complexion 

I grew up in Phuket, an Island off of Southern Thailand, where I never saw tomatoes until I was a teenager.  We learned to like tomatoes because there was a saying that it was great for our complexion. People from the Northern part of Thailand had the most beautiful complexions due to the fact that they grew and ate a lot of tomatoes. And of course at that time, tomatoes were only known in Northern cuisines such as Nam Prik Ong, Nam Prik Nom and green papaya salad. Howevery, today tomatoes are available at the markets every day in Thailand. And it is a well loved and acquired taste to all Thais.

Tomato-Celery Drink

The Europeans brought tomatoes to Thailand around the 16th century. It is true that ” tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which improves the skins ability to protect against harmful UV rays”

Now seeing fresh sweet tomatoes everywhere including from my garden and at the local farmer market. It is appropriate to blend my childhood smoothie that I used to have from Phuket Smoothie Stand.

Now that so many variety of local tomatoes available in the market, I hope that you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Cheers to our complexions!  

Tomato & Chinese Celery Smoothie
Nam Makruatade Punt
 

Serve: 1 

1 cup crushed ice
1 cup tomato, diced–sweet variety
1/4 cup chopped Chinese celery or any celery, plus one stem for garnish
1 tablespoon simple syrup
A pinch of  salt
A pinch of chili powder
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

Place ice, tomato, celery, simple syrup, salt, chili powder and Worcestershire sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. Place in a chilled-tall 12-ounce glass, garnish with a celery stem. Serve cool. 

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

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