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Posts Tagged ‘How to prepare lemongrass for Thai cooking’

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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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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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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Ramadan 2010

Follow the Tradition of Thai Muslim Cooking on Phuket Island during the Ramadan

Now

Phuket Chicken Biryani Rice, also known as Kao Mok Gai, is a well known Thai-Muslim rice dish. Southern Thai cuisine gets its distinguished flavor from the neighboring countries of Malaysia and Indonesia. Growing up in Phuket I loved the diversity of our local cuisines. Our family cooked Thai and Chinese cuisines and at the market I enjoyed Thai Muslim cooking. After Persian Muslims settled in Phuket, their descendants took their traditional Biryani Rice and created a Thai variation, Koa Mok Gai. It is cooked for special occasions like weddings or during Ramadan. It is not a common dish to cook at home but most of the time we can purchase it from Kao Mok Gai vendors. If you want to try it when you visit Phuket, stop by an open air market in Bangtao or Kamala.

Phuket Chicken Biryani Rice—Kao Mok Gai Phuket

Over the past 10 years I have stayed in contact with a few chefs from Bangtao and Kamala Village. I learned to cook Kao Mok Gai from Varunee, my Thai chef for the culinary tour in Phuket. Her mom is a renowned caterer among the Muslim population in the Bangtao area. Over the years, I have written down many versions of her Kao Mok Gai.

Kao Mok Gai with Fresh Vegetable, Chile Sauce and Chicken Soup

The other day I wanted an easy lunch, which led to the creation of a quick and easy version of Kao Mok Gai. It took me 10 minutes to make, since I already had the ingredients in the house. It may take you 15 to 20 minutes to prepare the ingredients.

If you have an old-style rice cooker that is easy to clean, I recommend using that. Otherwise place everything in a Pyrex 9″x13″ pan and cover neatly with foil, bake in an oven at 350F for 25 minutes and let rest for 10 minutes before removing the foil and serving.

Phuket Chicken Baryani Rice

Kao Mok Gai

Serves: 4 to 6

Active Time: 10 minutes

2 cups jasmine rice, basmati rice, or any long grain rice
2 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
1 tablespoon fried garlic or shallot, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
1 tablespoon canola oil, garlic oil or shallot oil
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
1 tablespoon lemongrass powder
1/2 teaspoon galangal or ginger powder, optional
1 bay leaf
6 pieces fried or baked chicken
 
Rinse the rice and drain, put in a rice cooker with water, fried garlic, canola oil, curry powder, lemongrass powder, galangal powder and bay leaf. Mix well and place cooked chicken in the center of the rice cooker, cover, turn on rice cooker. It takes about 30 minutes to cook and then let it sit for 15 more minutes before serving.
 
Serving suggestions:

Buffet Style: Place rice and chicken on a nice platter and garnish the top with fried garlic or shallot. Served with condiments suggested below (please also see photo).

Individual serving: One cup rice, 1 piece chicken, garnish with fried garlic served with condiment and sauce.

Condiments: Sweet chili sauce, sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, cilantro and green onion.

Thai Vegetarian Option: Saute shiitake mushroom, fried firm tofu, raisin and cashew nut. Thai Cooking for Kids Gluten-Free Recipe

  

Then

Here is a famous Kao Mok Gai prepared by Varunee’s mom for 250 children. I hosted this event for school children at the Kamala Beach School 6 month after the Tsunami. We served the food at the temporary kitchen in July 2005.

 

Pranee with Mama Boo, July 2005

 

Kao Mok Gai, Lunch for Kamala School Students July 2005

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen I Love Thai cooking

Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle, Edmonds, Redmond, Issaquah, Lynwood and Olympia areas. Her website is:  I Love Thai cooking.com 
 
To learn more on the history of Biryani Rice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biryani

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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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A Spicy Thai Cocktail

I hope you will enjoy this recipe. Without vodka this drink is simply a spicy limeade. At private Thai cooking parties or large fundraising events, I always serve this with Miang Kam. It is a good way to welcome everyone to classes or events followed by the introduction of Thai foods and cooking. It has all the primary flavors—sweet, sour, salty and spicy—and they combine to make a wonderful taste that dances on the palate. Students and donors are happy throughout the class or event.

Tom Yum Martini, A Spicy Thai Cocktail

This picture was taken on February 2006, which was when I created this recipe. While traveling throughout Thailand for 14 days with my tour members, our group loved to check out Thai herb-infused cocktails. We had a routine of checking out the cocktail menu from every hotel where we stayed. I thought, “if we were in Phuket, I could do my Tom Yum version.” I wanted to create a more assertive flavor that was fun and bold. We went to Phuket and everyone was pleased when I made it. It was a good way to say farewell to my tour members, with an experience and a flavor to remember.

Pranee’s Tom Yum Martini Recipe

2/3 cup ice cubes
1 ½ ounces lime vodka
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce lime juice
½ ounce frozen limeade concentrate
1 Thai chili, smashed lightly, plus 1 whole chili for garnish
1 (2-inch) piece lemongrass, smashed
3 whole kaffir lime leaves   
 
Fill cocktail shaker with ice, lime vodka, simple syrup, lime juice, limeade concentrate, one Thai chili, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Shake for one minute. Strain into a martini glass, and garnish with one whole Thai chili.

Vodka and lime peel

To make your own lime vodka, simply soak peels from one lime in 4 ounces of vodka for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Thai chilies for garnish

 

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

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The Making of Amok, Angkor Thom in 1300

Amok
Khmer Fish Stew

Servings: 4
3 tablespoons canola oil
8 tablespoons Khmer curry paste (please see Khroeung, Khmer Curry Paste Recipe)
3 cups spinach, amaranth, la lot (wild pepper leaf) or pea vine
1 pound catfish filets or any white fish cut into a bite size
6 tablespoons coconut milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons fish sauce
½ cup Thai basil

Heat canola oil and curry paste in a frying pan until fragrant. Stir in spinach until wilted and then stir in fish. Add coconut milk and egg and fold in until the fish is cooked. Then stir in fish sauce and Thai basil until Thai basil is just wilted.  Serve with jasmine rice.

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen

I Love Thai cooking

Amok, Khmer fish curry in banana leaf-cup

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