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Posts Tagged ‘Go Wild with Lemongrass’

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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Phuket Red Curry Paste, My Aunt’s Recipe

I have five women in my life that I am thankful everyday for their talents, strength and kindness. I grew up with my grandmother, mom and my three aunts. It was quite an experience.  When it came to culinary skills, my three aunts each had their own specialty. My aunt Pan specializes in curry paste making and her curry paste is well known among family and friends. It was the year I left Phuket to go to Seattle that I visited my Aunt Pan to pick up a kilo of her homemade curry paste to bring with me. I kept it in the freezer for a year. But when I visited her a year later, I felt a little guilty asking her to make some more for me because it takes a week of pounding by hand. Instead, I asked her for her secret. She taught me to feel the ingredients in my left palm before putting them in the mortar. I was not sure if I got it at the time, but I was glad that I had also taken note of the amount in standard American measuring spoons. Now I even teach my aunt’s recipes in my cooking class on Southern Thai curry dishes.

Then the other day, I gave myself a final exam. I was in the kitchen preparing a curry paste, conducting every step from memory. I recalled the lesson with my aunt from over 15 years ago. She said that for four servings, start with about 1 teaspoon of salt and about 1 tablespoon of black pepper. For turmeric, she said that if I wanted to use fresh turmeric I should use about 1 inch, and she bent her index finger. If I used dry turmeric, use about 1 teaspoon. The amount for the dry red chili pepper I remember really well. She used 40 dried Thai chilies.  I used 20 for my cooking class and everyone thought that it was too hot, so generally I use 15 chilies for American 3 stars and 20 for 5 stars.

Phuket Red Curry Paste--Recipe from Phuket Village

My grandmother, mom, and three aunts prepared this curry paste with a  mortar and pestle countless times in their lives. About 30 years ago, when our village had access to electricity for the first time, I remember that the most important modern kitchen appliances that we purchased right away were a rice cooker and a blender.

My mom’s favorite way to make curry paste was with a mortar and pestle, but often she blended them in the blender. For this recipe I decided to prepare it in a blender, which only takes 5 minutes. I hope you enjoy my family recipe.

The Color of Phuket Red Curry Paste

Phuket red curry paste is so versatile. You may use it in any red curry recipe that calls for red curry paste. However, the color is yellow because our family omits dried large red spur chili pods. You may add 3 dried New Mexico Chili Pods to this recipe to add a deep red-orange color.

Phuket Red Curry Paste

Kruange Gaeng Phed Phuket

Yield: 1/2 cup

1 shallot, halved and peeled
6 cloves garlic
1 lemongrass, trimmed and thinly sliced, about 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
Place all ingredients in the blender with 1/2 cup water; blend until smooth, about 5 minutes.

© 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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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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Kroeung, Khmer Curry Paste

Kroeung is Khmer curry paste that is versatile for many curry dishes in Khmer cuisine such as famous national dish, Amok (fish cake), chicken curry with sorrel leaves or fish stew with seasonal vegetable. Like Thai curry paste, Khmer curry paste consists of fresh herbs which will give pungent flavor and aroma. This curry paste is easy to prepare with a food processor and keeps well in the freezer for up to 6 months. This recipe is inspired by Le Tigre De Papier cooking class, my recent trip to Siem Reap March 2010.

 

Kroeung

Khmer Curry Paste

น้ำพริกแกงแดงเขมร

Yield: 1 cup curry paste for making two to three curry dishes

 
10 fresh or dried Thai chilies
2 large fresh Thai spur chilies or dried New Mexico Chili pods or guajllo chile pods
2-inch galangal root, trimmed and sliced to about 1/4 cup
4-inch fresh turmeric, sliced to about ¼ cup or 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and finely sliced
2 shallots, peeled and sliced to about ¼ cup
10 Kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
¼ cup canola oil

Cut and soak dried New Mexico chili pods in hot water water for one hour; then drain. Place New Mexico chili pods,  fresh or dried Thai chilies, galangal, turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, Kaffir lime leaves, black peppercorns, salt and shrimp paste  in food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste, about 15 minutes. Use spatula to clean the edge a few times. It is ready to use for cooking.

Thai Vegetarian option: omit shrimp paste and replace with 2 teaspoons mushroom powder

Gluten-Free Recipe

 

© 2012  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com 
 

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By now, you have a handle on how useful lemongrass is when you prepare Thai foods. This herb is easy to grow in Thailand and luckily it is now a staple in American supermarkets as well.

 

I hope you enjoy my grandmother’s recipe for steamed trout with lemongrass. I have a fond memory of her cooking this in a clay pot.

Rainbow trout steamed on the bed of lemongrass

Pla Nueng Takrai

Grandma’s Steamed Fish with Lemongrass Recipe

My grandmother, Kimsue, used lemongrass to line the clay pot before placing the fish on top. Lemongrass helps prevent the fish from sticking to the pot while it adds scent and flavor to the fish and a wonderful aroma to the kitchen. You will have fragrant steamed fish for a healthy dinner.

Servings: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

4 lemongrass stalks
2 whole trout, cleaned (see Village Note)
1-2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup water, or more as needed

To prepare lemongrass, remove about 1½ inches of the hard root end and enough of the leaf end to keep 6 inches of the center part. Save the leaf end for cleaning the trout (see Village Note). With a meat pounder, smash lemongrass to release its essential oil. Lay all 4 smashed lemongrass stalks on the bottom of large pan and lay trout on top. Sprinkle salt and water over the fish, cover and bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat until the fish is cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add more water if the pan is low on water and insert a knife in the thickest part of the fish to see if fish separates from the bone. If it does, the fish is cooked. If not, keep steaming just until fish can be removed easily from the bone.

Village Note: To clean trout, sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt on both sides of the fish and use discarded lemongrass to rub salt onto the surface of the fish; rinse off and pat dry. This cleaning technique is also used to prep casings for sausage. The salt helps to remove impurities and the lemongrass acts like a brush and eliminates fish odors.

© 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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