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Posts Tagged ‘From Farm to Table’

Sunflower Sprouts Salad with Chili-Lime vinaigrette

Yum Med Tan Tawan Ngawk

Sunflower Sprouts by the Alm Hill Gardens Stall – The Columbia City Farmer Market

July 15, 2010 – Yesterday I was at the Columbia Farmers Market. While waiting for my friend, I visited the Alm Hill Gardens stall, and was introduced to sunflower sprouts. I have tasted it before, but these fresh sprouts from the farm I will never forget. It was fresh, buttery and nutty. I brought some home and made a salad for a side dish to accompany my Thai chicken Baryani rice, Kao Mok Gai.

Chili-Lime Vinaigrette, tomato and dill

August 4, 2010- My friend Annette came over for lunch today and it is a perfect day for me to perfect my Sunflower Sprout Salad Recipe and do some photos for the blog. As I envisioned to add some texture, and sunflower seed is a perfect theme for salad. I have no reservations about adding the abundant and flavorful mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes. The rest is simple. I hope you like my chili-lime vinaigrette. Interesting and freshest  ingredients in an easy recipe is a way to go.

Sunflower Sprouts S

Sunflower Sprout Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

alad with Chili-Lime vinaigrette

Yum Dork Tan Tawan Ngawk 

Serves: 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or garlic oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or 2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon evaporated cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper flake
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon lime juice or lemon juice
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, whole or halved
2 cups sunflower sprouts, washed and drained
1/4 dill or cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

Whisk olive oil, sea salt, sugar, black pepper, chili powder, lime juice until it is well mixed. Fold in shallot, tomatoes, sunflower sprouts and dill, and mix gently. Sprinkle sunflower seeds  before serving. Serve immediately.

 © 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen  

 I Love Thai cooking 

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

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Lovage and Snap Pea Soup

Kaeng Jued Pak

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

Lovage-Snap Pea Soup

Lovage and Snap Pea Soup

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

Serves: 4

Yield: 2 cups

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

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

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

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

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Thai Rice Salad with Nasturtiums & Sardines Recipe

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

Thai rice Salad with Nasturtiums

Photograph by Pranee

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

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

Serves: 2

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

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

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

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

Gluten-Free Recipe

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

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Pike Place Market

Travel and Eat Like a Tourist

Pranee at Pike Place Market, be a tourist

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

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

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

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

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

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Thai Grandmother Cooking is a sustainable cooking

Pranee’s Grandmother Recipe

Watermelon rinds

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

how to remove the green skin from the water melon

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

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

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

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

Thai Stir-fried Watermelon Rind with Salted Pork

Phad  Puak Tang Mo Moo Kem

Serves: 1

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

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

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

Thai Cooking Recipe for Kids, Gluten-Free Recipe  

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

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Chef Olaiya Land

Culinary Instructor &  Chef Owner of OlaiyalandCatering.com

Chef Olaiya and I have been teaching at many schools together but only in the summer 2009 at the Dog Mountain Farm did I have a chance to knew her and her food. Her cooking presentation was a feast of the edible arts but yet were simple and real with what was taken fresh from the farm.  She had presented all of her food-related philosophy with her specialty is local, seasonal and organic ingredient. I have seen all in action happen at the Dog Mountain Farm Chef dinner program, where the locals of Washington state and guests from as far as Europe have attended this event to surrounded by orchards, and the vegetable garden with a view of Cascade Mountain. They have chosen the perfect activity with which to enjoy the Pacific Northwest had to offer: with local food, outdoor style of experience.

http://www.dogmtnfarm.com/

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This Summer Chef Olaiya Land returns to teach her cooking class at the Dog Mountain Farm with a three-course lunch. Students will have a chance to harvest some ingredients, cook and enjoy the foods; and the farm lifestyle. Please see her schedule below. Please learn more about Chef Olaiya Land on her website to get up closed and personal with her cooking.

About Chef Olaiya Land: http://www.olaiyalandcatering.com/about_olaiya.html

 

 

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

 

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

Recipe by Chef Olaiya Land

Serves: 4-6

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 pounds (about 6 medium) heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup very thinly sliced red or sweet onion, cut into rings
2 shallots, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup basil and/or mint, cut into chiffonade (thin strips)

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic and sugar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the oil in a slow stream while whisking.  Continue to whisk until the vinaigrette has emulsified.  Arrange the tomato slices on a serving dish, scatter the onion and the shallots over them, and pour 2/3 of the vinaigrette over the salad. Rest the salad for 20 minutes to allow flavors to come together, then taste and add more vinaigrette if you like.  Sprinkle the tomatoes with the basil and/or mint and serve immediately.

http://www.olaiyalandcatering.com/

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Asparagus Everyday!

Summer is just beginning in Seattle and you will find many uses for my lemongrass vinaigrette recipe all this summer. I adore asparagus, and every chance I can I cook local asparagus. When I use a grill to cook meat or seafood for a main dish, I like to use grilled asparagus with lemongrass vinaigrette as a side dish.

One tip is to prepare the lemongrass infused vinegar a day before making the Lemongrass Vinaigrette. The vinaigrette itself is then simple to make. Brush the asparagus with the vinaigrette before grilling and add some more of the dressing after the grilling. Garnish with any fresh herbs and edible flowers from your garden.

I learned how to make lemongrass vinaigrette from The View Point Cooking School, Inle Lake Myanmar. Thank you to Mae Mae, my sweet and talented teacher.

Lemongrass Vinegar Recipe

Nam Som Takrai

Yield: 1/2 cup

 1 lemongrass, trimmed and minced
¼ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

 Place minced lemongrass, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl and stir. Let it sit for at least 4 hours or refrigerate for a few days.

Pour vinegar over minced lemongrass

Add some sugar

Grilled Asparagus with Lemongrass Viniagrette 

Nor Mai Farang Pao

Serves: 4

 3 tablespoons minced shallot or red onion
1/4 cup fried garlic oil or shallot oil
1/4 cup lemongrass vinegar, see recipe above
3 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound asparagus, trim the end then keep whole
2 tablespoons chopped chives and dill or cilantro 

Pre-heat the grill.

To make vinaigrette, place shallot, garlic oil, lemongrass vinegar, sesame oil, salt and sugar in a small jar. Close the lid tight and shake well. Keep in refrigerator until needed. It will keep in the refrigerator for a week.

Place asparagus in a good sized bowl that will fit the whole asparagus and soak in ¼ cup of the vinaigrette. Pre-heat a vegetable grill pan on top of a hot grill then add the asparagus. Grill over medium high heat, turning the asparagus to grill all sides. Grill until cooked to a nice green and still crisp. Remove from the grill and place on a plate. Sizzle more vinaigrette as needed and garnish with chives and dill.

Asparagus dressed with lemongrass vinaigrette ready to grill

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

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Garlic Scape & Tomato, fresh from Snohomish Farmer Market

Fried Rice with Chorizo, Egg and Garlic Scape and Tomato

Kao Phad Piset

I didn’t really plan to write this recipe. Last night I put together a quick meal for myself after returning from the Snohomish Farmer Market Cooking Demo. In my refrigerator I had left-over rice, lovage, chorizo and egg. From the market I had fresh garlic, garlic scapes and tomatoes. So I put together some fried rice. Then I sat down and started eating. It was so good and special that I had to write down the recipe and post it. It was a beautiful summer day. Then at the cooking demo, everyone loved the simple stir-fried vegetables. At home I ate this fried rice with a special feeling, and it was very clear that using the freshest ingredients was key. I would like to take a good minute to thank the farmers who deserve all the credit.

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon minced ginger, optional
4 garlic scapes, cut into 1/2 inch length
1/4 cup lovage, chopped, optional
1/2 tomato, diced
1/4 cup chorizo
1 egg
1 cup jasmine rice
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 lime wedge

Heat a wok or fry pan on high heat and stir in canola oil, garlic and ginger and cook until garlic is yellow. Stir in garlic scape, lovage  and tomato and cook for 30 seconds and then stir in chorizo for 30 seconds more. Push aside all ingredient, add 1 tablespoon canola oil and egg, scramble the egg 5 times until just half-cooked, stir in jasmine rice. Add fish sauce and stir for 30 seconds. When the rice heat up really well, it is done. Serve with lime wedge.

My day at the Snohomish Farmer Market.

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Thai Cooking for Kids  

Gluten-Free Recipe  

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

 

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Thai Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry Recipe   

Phad Pak Ruam Mit   

ผัดผักรวมมิตร

Inspired recipe from June 24th cooking demo at Snohomish Farmer Market

There were many good reasons for me to cook Thai Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry at a cooking demo at the Snohomish Farmer Market. It is a simple dish to learn and an inspiring way to use fresh ingredients that are available right away. Most of the pantry items are available at any grocery store. It is the best and easiest way to learn cooking Thai dishes in 5 minutes. Both the shoppers and the farmers were happy and I was too, as a teacher. The shoppers walked pass my demo stand and showed me a bag of vegetable that they planned to stir-fry that evening. Mission accomplished.

I could not help but to share this recipe with you. It is very easy to apply Thai mixed vegetable stir-fry to your repertoire this summer. My secret ingredients in this dish are  flavored cooking oil with crushed garlic, and a little bit of ginger and green onion. The main  ingredients are mushroom and tomato and season with soy, and oyster mushroom with a dash of white pepper powder to finish.

Thai Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry Recipe   

Phad Pak Ruam Mit  

ผัดผักรวมมิตร

 Serves: 2-4

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
4 shiitake mushrooms stem removed and sliced
1 large tomato, cut into wedge
2 cups mixed vegetables (garlic scape, Anaheim pepper and sweet peas)
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
A pinch of brown sugar
A pinch of white pepper powder
2 tablespoons water or more as needed

Heat canola oil in a wok on high heat and stir in garlic, ginger and green onion. When garlic is light yellow, stir in shiitake mushroom and cook for 15 seconds. Then stir in all vegetables and stir for 30 seconds, then add oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and water. The vegetable should have a slight crunchy texture. Season with white pepper powder.  Serve hot as a side dish or a main dish with steamed jasmine rice.

Vegetarian option: use vegetarian oyster sauce
Gluten-Free option: use wheat free soy sauce, wheat free oyster sauce
  
© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen  
 I Love Thai cooking
 
Pranee teachs Thai Cooking class in Seattle areas
Her website is:  I Love Thai cooking.com
 

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Last Wednesday I had a great dining experience at Sostanza Trattoria in Madison Park. What does Italian food has to do with Thai? Well, for me all foods are related somehow. When it comes to the way I cook, yes it does. I love risotto and chicken liver, and I was in luck. A special menu featured that night had a few choices but the risotto with White chicken liver appealed to me the most. It had an amazing flavor which was enhanced by a generous helping of chicken liver. I don’t have any photos to share, unfortunately.

Pranee's Chicken Live Fried Rice

At home I enjoy cooking fried rice, rice pilaf and risotto for my family. I love borrowing ingredient themes and cooking with any method that is suitable for the situation (including menus of all kinds, what ingredients are available, etc). When I have time in the kitchen, I cook risotto. And when I have a lot of left-over rice, I prefer to make fried rice.

This recipe for fried rice serves as main dish with fresh sliced cucumber and lime wedge as accompaniment.

 Kao Phad Tub Gai

Chicken Liver fried rice with garlic, ginger and red onion

Serves: 2

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup finely shredded ginger
½ cup finely sliced red onion
6 ounce organic chicken liver cut each in half
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1½ cup cooked rice, room temperature
2 pinches salt
2 green onions, trimmed and chopped

Heat a wok on high heat, place hand 6 inches above the wok when hot adds canola oil. Add garlic and ginger, stir constantly to fry evenly until golden-yellow, about 30 seconds. Then stir in onion and cook until onion is translucent. Stir in chicken liver and ½ tablespoon soy sauce. When the liver is nice and brown on the outside, add water to cover, about 3 tablespoons water. Cover with lid and let it cook for 5 minutes or more until the liver is cooked. Stir in rice and the rest of soy sauce and salt. Stir until well mix and rice is heat up. Stir in green onion and mix well. Serve right away.

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

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Fish Sauce Chicken Wing

My son loves Teriyaki Chicken and also chicken wing. After eating and inhaling fish sauce chicken wing with sticky rice at the Pok Pok Thai Restaurant in Portland , I decided to create a recipe that is close to my tasting memories. I substituted fish sauce for soy sauce in my own teriyaki sauce recipe created way back. And it works, now everyone loves the fish sauce chicken wings as well. To get a nice even brown, you have to be patient and keep turning the chicken every 5 minutes. Please remember that the high heat can burn the skin quickly due to the brown sugar used in the marinade.   After a few tries, I am happy with the result. Time to get your fingers dirty by eating this dish and  might as well with Thai sticky rice, because that is the best way to eat it.  

Grilled Fish Sauce Chicken Wing  

Gai Nampla Yang  

Yield: 10 wings
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 pounds chicken wings, about 10 wings

To make a marinade, stir sugar, fish sauce, dry sherry and rice vinegar in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Place chicken wings in a zip-lock bag and pour in marinade. Remove the air from the bag and seal. Let’s it marinated in refrigerator for at least three hours and flip the bag every half hour. Drain well before grilling.Pre-heat the gas grill, then set at medium heat. Grill both side until nicely brown but not burnt and it will take about 20 to 30 minutes.  

Serve with jasmine rice or sticky rice and  Somtum: Thai Green Papaya Salad. Sriracha hot sauce and sweet chili sauce also are ideal dipping sauces for chicken wings.  

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen  

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

Phad Namtao Moo
Stir-fried Kabocha Pumpkin with Pork

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

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

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

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

Gluten-Free option: use wheat free soy sauce

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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Kabocha Pumpkin

Kabocha

Kabocha Pumpkin

Kabocha is a hard skinned variety of  Japanese pumpkin and winter squash. It has an amazingly sweetness, dense and silky texture and almost fibreless with dark green thick skin and bright yellow-orange flesh. This variety is preferred for Thai cooking and Thai people incorporate it in soup, curry, stir-fry and dessert dishes. Buttercup squash or Hubbard belongs to the same species and can be substituted for Kabocha. Pumpkin is a squash, but pumpkin is also a term that applies to almost all hard-skinned winter squash, not summer squash like zuchini. There are two known types of pumpkin that are used in Thai cooking – niho kabocha with a bumpy surface and kuri(seiyo) kabocha that has pale vertical stripes.

How to pick a good Kabocha squash

Kabocha should be fully ripe 45 days after it is harvested – when the starch has had a chance to convert to carbohydrate content. The flesh color then will change from yellow to a deeper color or orange. I choose a dark green skin pumpkin that has a hollow sound when I thump it.  The best way to judge whether the Kabocha is ready is to buy a cut one so you can see its color and the texture inside.

Pranee’s Tips

To cut Kabocha in half, I first use a big knife and hammer to open it.  The rest is easy. I then cut it into 1 – 1½ in wedges, and use the back of the knife or spoon to remove the seeds.  I only peel it based on the recipe. Personally, I love the skin and it has more nutrients than the yellow part.

To prepare Kabocha for dumpling or pie, simply remove skin and seeds and cut into 1- inch chunks, steam about 15 minutes until tender and use a ricer to make a fine mash.

For soup, you may choose to leave the skin on which is tender when cooked. Remove the seeds and cut into the size according to the recipe.

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Local asparagus

Local asparagus

The best taste of stir-fried vegetables is their freshness. I chose asparagus, to celebrate spring, and then welcomed it into the wok with shiitake mushrooms. These are a perfect pair and you can heighten the depth of flavor with oyster sauce. Phad Pak, or stir-fried vegetables, is a typical side dish that is usually served daily. To go with a tasty Thai banquet, stir-fried vegetables could be plain but seasoned with oyster sauce, salted soy bean or black bean sauce. To change the taste to go with the season, you may substitute any fresh vegetable for asparagus and replace shiitake mushrooms with any other mushrooms. 

Phad Nor Mai Farang

Stir-fried Asparagus and Shiitake with Oyster Sauce

Servings: 4
Preparation: 10 minutes     Stir-frying Time: 3 minutes
 
3 tablespoons cooking oil
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1½-inch length
1 cup shiitake mushrooms; sliced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of white pepper, more as needed
½ cup water or chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch

 

Heat oil in wok or stir-frying pan on high heat. Just before oil reaches smoking point (really hot), stir in garlic, asparagus, and mushrooms. Stir for one minute and then stir in oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and white pepper. In small bowl, mix well the water or chicken stock with cornstarch, then pour into stir-fry to make sauce. When the liquid comes to a boil and is translucent, serve vegetables as a side dish or with steamed jasmine rice.

Vegetarian option: use vegetarian oyster sauce

Gluten Free option: use wheat free soy sauce, wheat free oyster sauce

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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