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Posts Tagged ‘Phuket Cuisine’

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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The Heart of Phuket Muslim Cuisine

When I was growing up I was always fond of the pungent flavor of Phuket Muslim cooking—it must have been the aroma and the ritual that came with this food that I experienced in the diverse culture of Southern Thailand. The flavors and aromas were different and exciting compared to my family’s traditional Thai-Chinese cooking.

While visiting Phuket just two weeks ago, my dream came true when Varunee, my long time friend and a chef for my culinary tour, shared many of her family’s recipes with me. The one that I am sharing with you today is a Sa Curry with Buffalo Meat and Sa Spice Mix. This recipe is part of her family’s traditional cooking and has been passed on for many generations.

Varunee

 

Our meeting Point, Bangtao Mosque

I waited for Varunee at the Bangtao Mosque, a famous Phuket landmark, then followed her through the roads that snaked behind the mosque near the foot of the hill. My lesson on Aharn Muslim (Muslim food) began in her home with beautiful birds singing in the background.

 

Sa powder from Bangtao Village, Phuket

We started by making an aromatic Sa spice mix (Krueng Sa), the heart of the cuisine. The Thai name for cumin is Yee Rah, but Phuketians call it Sa. Varunee called cumin “Sa Lek” (meaning small Sa), and fennel is “Sa Yai” (big Sa). Cumin has a pungent hot Sa feeling (numbing) and the fennel is cooling and sweet after the numbing sensation. Thais use cumin to reduce the meaty smell. The rest of the spices are typical Southeast Asian ones such as turmeric, black pepper, coriander and dried chili. You may toast the spices before grinding to intensify their flavor.

Water Buffalo Meat

Water Buffalo meat is a more common meat in the Southern part of Thailand, especially in Phuket. Sa Curry with Buffalo Meat with Sa Spices is a stand out among Phuket Thai Muslim dishes.

Sa Spice Mix

Krueng Sa

Yield: 4 tablespoons

2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
10 dried Thai chilies (Varunee recommended 20 to 30)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder

Place cumin, fennel, coriander, and Thai chilies in a small pan; toast the spices on medium heat until fragrant.

Let cool, then place them in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder, or place them in a mortar and pound with a pestle to yield a fine powder.

Store cooled spices in an airtight jar and store for up to 3 months.

 

Buffalo Curry with Sa Spices Mix


Sa Curry with Buffalo meat

Gaeng Kwai Kab Krueng Sa

Serves: 2 to 4

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 shallots, peeled and sliced, about ¼ cup

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced, about 3 tablespoons

4 tablespoons Sa spices mix from recipe above

¾ pound buffalo meat or beef top sirloin, thinly sliced

½ cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon palm sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fish sauce

Heat canola oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir in shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Then add Sa spice mix and stir for 1 minute. Stir in buffalo meat and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in coconut milk. Let cook until the meat is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in palm sugar, salt and fish sauce. Serve with warm jasmine rice and a vegetable side dish.

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© 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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Sticky Rice in a Bamboo Tube, Kao Lam

I have fond memories of sticky rice in a bamboo tube—it looks so cool! At every festival in my village when I was growing up, there was a man who made and sold this Kao Lam. We would eat some at the festival then bring home a few for family members who couldn’t go. It is a perfect take-home food, since it is already packaged in a bamboo tube.

Sticky Rice in a Bamboo Tube, Cambodia

The sticky rice is cooked in a segment of bamboo, the kind that has a thin wall so the heat can penetrate to cook the rice inside the tube. After it is filled with the sticky rice ingredients, the bamboo is plugged with a piece of coconut husk wrapped with banana leaf to keep in the steam for cooking the rice. Then the bamboo tubes are placed over charcoal. When it is done, the outer skin of bamboo is removed and a thin wall left behind to protect the rice inside. All Southeast Asian countries have some version of this, and they are all cooked in a similar way. The photo below is from Cambodia. In Thailand this dish is called Kao Lam; in Malaysia it’s Lemang.

Thai Sticky Rice in Bamboo Sticks in Cambodia

If you like sticky rice with mango, you will like Kao Lam, too. I love the fact that when you peel the bamboo away (see photo below), the powdery fiber in the bamboo tube leaves a sheen. The rice comes out shaped like a stick and looks like it was wrapped in edible paper. The vendor in my village usually made three varieties: white sticky rice, black sticky rice, and white sticky rice with black beans.

How to open the bamboo tube

In America you can find cooked sticky rice that comes straight from Thailand in the frozen food section in Asian markets. But I would rather you try my sticky rice recipe below. I wrap it up in parchment paper, roll it into a cylinder, and bake it. It is delicious, has a very nice texture, and is as satisfying as the original.

During the summer of 2010, I taught Grilled Sticky Rice with Black Bean and Banana Stuffing in a Banana Leaf (Kao Neow Mad) in my Thai Grill class. Organizing my photos from my recent trip to Cambodia led me to this project, a Kao Lam version baked in the oven. It is not easy to cook sticky rice in a bamboo tube—only a few experts from each Thai village know how. Last August I created this adaptation, wrapping and rolling the sticky rice in pieces of parchment paper and then baking them. The results were good. It was easy, and the flavor and texture were satisfying. Then I made a lot of them in small packages and even put some in the freezer. I microwave them or reheat them in the oven and eat them for a protein snack before teaching my classes. In Thailand, most farmers eat sticky rice before working in the rice field.

Baked Sticky Rice and Black Bean Wrapped in Banana Leaf

Kao Neow Yang

Serveings: 8

2 cups Thai sticky rice, soaked in water for 3 hours or overnight, then drained (see note)
¾ cup coconut milk
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, optional
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned black beans, drained
8 (8×8) inch pieces of banana leaves or parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir sticky rice, coconut milk, water, sugar and salt in a large pan over medium heat. Stir until all coconut milk is absorbed. Stir in black beans and fold gently to mix.

Put equal amounts of the sticky rice mixture onto 8 banana leaves. Form the rice into a cylinder about 6″ long and lay it in the center of the leaf so that you have about 1 inch left on either end. Fold the banana leaf in half around the rice, then roll it around the cylinder; fold in both ends and secure them with a toothpick, poking down and then up, or you can twist the ends and tie them. When you are done, each bundle will make a round tube about 6 inches long and 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Grill for 5 minutes on each side until the sticky rice is translucent and cooked, or bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Pranee’s note:

In Thailand, recipes generally use one of two types of rice: jasmine rice or Thai sticky rice. The starch in rice is made up of two components, amylose and amylopectin. Jasmine rice has more amylose than amylopectin, giving it a puffy appearance, whereas Thai sticky rice has more amylopectin than amylose, creating its sticky texture. Both white and purple Thai sticky rice are long-grain rices with a firm grain and become sticky when cooked. They are tropical rices, and different from Japanese, Chinese or Mediterranean (Arborio and Valencia) rices, which have a medium or short grain and grow in temperate climates.

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

 

 

Outer layer of bamboo tube is removed

 

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Rice Soup for breakfast

My grandmother loved rice soup for breakfast. And I can recall a memory– I often joined her savoring this soul food before our day began. To this day when I visit Thailand, in my village, I still love having this rice soup but instead of our kitchen, I join local at the breakfast stall.

Rice Soup for Breakfast

I like rice soup in another occasion too, in the winter for lunch or dinner, as it is a real comfort food for every occasion and nothing is as good and satisfying as rice soup on a cold day and when one’s body needs gentle food. Just like American enjoys the chicken noodle soup.

Kao Tom, Thai Rice Soup for Breakfast

It is easy to make with either from scratch or use leftover rice. But when one has an extra time, I would recommend to make the rice soup from scratch, please follow the recipe below to make rice porridge. It has a nice softer texture. I never think rice soup as a pot luck dish, however my student once told me that she brought to her office potluck party and it was a hit.

Thai Rice Soup with Chicken & Egg

Kao Tom Gai Sai Kai

Serves: 1 about 2 cups

Cooking Time: 5 to 8 minutes

1 ½ tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic, about from 3 cloves
¼ cup ground chicken or pork (from chicken thigh or breast)
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup steamed jasmine rice or rice porridge (see note)
1 egg
1 tablespoon thinly shredded fresh ginger
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro
A dash white pepper powder

Heat canola oil in a medium size pot on medium-high heat and stir in garlic. Stir constantly and when garlic is yellow, remove a half portion of fried garlic for garnish. Stir in chicken and cook with remaining oil and garlic, then season with salt and soy sauce. Pour in chicken broth and jasmine rice and let it cook on medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

When it reaches the desire texture of soup or porridge like, it is cooked and almost ready to serve. On high heat, crack the egg open and drop in the center of rice soup. You may stir or poach the egg in the hot rice soup; it can take from 30 seconds or 1 minute depending on your preference to cook the egg.

Pour the hot rice soup in a bowl and top with fried garlic, ginger, green onion, cilantro and white pepper powder.

© Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen

Rice Soup, Kao Tom ideally taste best when made from rice porridge specially prepare for rice soup. For this recipe you may use cold leftover rice or cooked warm rice but the texture will be different. Below is how to make rice porridge for a rice soup. The amount is enough to make 4 rice soups from the recipe above.

Kao Tom Buey

Plain Rice Porridge

Yield: 4 cups

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 cup jasmine rice

Bring jasmine rice and 2 cups water to a boil on high heat, and stir often while cooking for 5 minutes. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil and let it cook on medium heat for 15 more minute. Then cook until it yields 4 cups.

Thai Rice


© 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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Dark Soy Sauce, an Essential in Thai Cooking  

Two years ago my friend Pom arranged for me to visit the Junsaeng soy sauce factory in Thalang, Phuket. I was fortunate to learn firsthand about their establishment and how soy sauce is made. Out of four soy sauce factories in Phuket, it is the only one still in business. I hope the video below will help you understand how soy sauce is made.

There are two types of soy sauce: light and dark. The dark soy sauce is a little-known but very important ingredient in many dishes, such as Phad See Ew, Kee Meo and Lahd Nah Noodles. After Phad Thai, these are the best known Thai noodle dishes for Americans. The secret ingredient in these dishes is a good dark soy sauce. For me personally, I love the flavor of dark soy sauce in Singaporean Noodles and Hainan Chicken. The challenge is that most of my students know how to use light soy sauce, but few have had a chance to experience cooking with dark soy sauce. Moreover, a good dark soy sauce is hard to find in America. My favorite brand is from Indonesia.

Before teaching my Thai Comfort Foods class for PCC Cooks, I decided to create a homemade, gluten-free, dark soy sauce. I didn’t want students to have to turn the world upside down to find dark soy sauce, but even more importantly, is almost impossible to find one that is gluten-free.  After a few experiments at home, I was happy with the results. My dark soy sauce recipe below was a success when I used it in stir-frying the noodles for my class. I hope that this recipe made it easier for you to cook Thai noodles at home. A few drops of dark soy sauce go a long way.

Dark Sauce 

See Ew Dam

In America, good dark soy sauce is hard to find. I created this recipe to make it available for students as a substitute for store-bought dark soy sauce. It is an important ingredient for stir-fried noodles and rice dishes that require a sweet molasses-like soy sauce. 

Yield: ¾ cup 

 ¼ cup water
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup wheat-free soy sauce

Place water and brown sugar in a heavy-bottom sauce pan and bring to a boil over a high heat. Stir until the sugar and water mix well together, then stop stirring completely. Let the sugar mixture cook on medium-low heat. Stand and watch the bubble. When it gets dark like coffee or molasses, pour in the soy sauce—be careful as there will be an eruption of bubbling liquid. Keep stirring until it becomes the consistency of molasses. Store in the refrigerator.

© 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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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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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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Three Kinds of Pepper Leaves in Southeast Asia

There are three kinds of pepper leaves in the black pepper (Piperaceae) family. They can be easily confused by the inexperienced. This is how I explain the three types to my students when the lesson comes to the use of wild pepper leaf.

Wild Pepper Leaf - Chapoo - La Lot

A wild pepper leaf, or Piper Sarmentosum Roxb, is a common name for cha plu in Thai, Kaduk in Malaysian and la lot in Vietnamese. It is a ground cover in my garden in Phuket. Thais use it in Hua Mok, Miang Kam and tidbits. My favorite of all is when it is put in a stink ray curry.

Black Pepper Plant

A black pepper plant, Piper Nigrum, is in the same family as chapoo and la lot but it is a climbing plant. Only the fruit is edible. Thais love to cook green peppercorns with hot pungent curry dishes. When the pepper corn matures and is sun dried, it can be used to make black peppercorn.

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Last in the family are betel leaves, or Piper Betle. When I was young, I always picked a fresh betel leaf for my grandmother, who enjoyed chewing the leaf when it was painted with pink limestone and wrapped around a sliced betel nut. Afterwards she would enjoy her afternoon siesta. Betel leaves and betel nut are also used for worship and are special symbols in ritual events.

Curried Scallop with Wild Pepper Leaf — Gaeng Hoy Shell Bai Chapoo

I cook professionally during the week but at home on the weekend I cook like any home cook. Sunday is an iron chef day – I use whatever is in my refrigerator. I had some wild pepper leaf, a leftover from a Miang Kam dish during the week, and some Alaskan scallops in the freezer. I like to cook chapoo leaf in a curry with a strong flavored fish or meat; a hint of black pepper from the leaf gives a very interesting flavor to the dish, and coconut milk sweetens the bitter edge. This recipe is very quick. All you have to do is write down the word “la lot” and go to a Vietnamese market.

Curried Scallop with Wild Pepper Leaf

Gaeng Hoy Shell Bai Chapoo

Serves: 2

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup water
6 large scallops
30 wild pepper leaves, AKA chapoo in Thai and La Lot in Vietnamese
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons fried shallots

Heat canola oil in a medium-size pot on medium-high heat. Stir in red curry paste and fried until fragrant. Stir in 1/3 cup coconut milk and let it cook until oil is separated and fragrant; add the rest of the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Stir in scallops and wild pepper leaves and cook until scallops are opaque in color, about 5 minutes. Season with sugar and fish sauce and serve hot. Garnish with fried shallots. Serve warm with steamed jasmine rice.

© 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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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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The Rustic Style Cooking of Thailand  

Unlike the morning  glory found elsewhere, in Thailand, this morning glory is a vegetable and it is called Pak Bung in Thai. It is also known to all Asian cuisines as Kangkung in Malaysia and Ong Choy in Chinese. It’s scientific name is Ipomoea aquatica. You may know it as Chinese Spinach or Swamp Cabbage. I want to call it morning glory because it is a beautiful name and it belongs in the same family with its leaf and flower. I remember having morning glory in my garden here in Seattle. 

 Thais love to eat Pak Boong fresh, stir-fried in the famous dish “Pak Boong Fai Daeng” and often in a curry as a classic Gaeng Tapo dish. In Seattle, I often teach students the stir-fry dish. Then the other day, I walked down the aisles and saw three dried salted croaker and right away, I was just craving for this dish that my grandma used to cook during the monsoon time when fresh fish and other proteins such as meat were hard to find and morning glory were abundant. That was because it is an aquatic plant that grows on the edges of swamps canals or any damp soil. I wrote this recipe to honor both of my grandmas.

Red Curry Morning Glory and salted Croaker — Gaeng Tapo Pla Kem

This recipe is easy to adapt. You may use pork, beef, or salted cod. I love the fact that this recipe require less coconut milk than most curry to reflect my grandma style of cooking. And it is truly delicious. I ate every drop of the curry broth.

Red Curry with Morning Glory and Salted Croaker   

Gaeng Pla Tapo Pla Kem   

Serves: 4

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1/2 cup coconut milk, divided
1 dried salted croaker, cut into a steak of 1/2 inch long, or 5 pieces salt anchovies
2 cups water
3 cups morning glory, tough stems removed and cut into 3 inches long, see note
1/2 tablespoon sugar

Heat canola oil and curry paste in a large pot on medium-high heat and stir constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 3 tablespoons coconut milk, and let it cook for 30 seconds. Pour in water in the pot and place in croaker and let it cook for 8 minutes on medium heat. Then you may strain to remove the bone and pour back into the same pot, add the rest of coconut milk; and then bring back to a boil. Stir in morning glory and sugar and cook for only 1 minute, just to cook morning glory.  Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice.  

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© 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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Tamarind Drinks – All Natural Thai Drinks  

During the day, I often open a fridge and look for a drink. My eye was on tamarind concentrate – a leftover from Thai cooking class another day. I spent three minutes making a syrup. Now I have syrup ready for making a tea and soda.

Tamarind syrup is a good recipe to have. I always make one recipe to keep in refrigerator or more if I plan to freeze them. Mostly for the cocktail and soda but in the emergency situation –  it can be a cold remedy – it can be use in Phad Thai or curry. It has a hint of sweet, fruity but not as tart when add sugar. In Thai village we use tamarind and honey as a tea for a cold remedy. It is high in Vitamin C and also good for digestion.      

 

 Tamarind Syrup  

 Nam Chuem Makham

น้ำเชื่อมมะขาม 

 Yield: 3/4 cup

1/2 cup tamarind concentrate, freshly made or from the can 
1/4 cup brown sugar or honey

Combine tamarind concentrate, brown sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir and let it cook for 2 minutes. Strain into a clean jar, when it is cool then store in the fridge for a week or keep in the freezer for 3 months.

 Tamarind-Honey Tea 

Cha Nampung Makam 

ชาน้ำผึ้งมะขาม

3 tablespoons tamarind syrup, from recipe above 

To make a tamarind tea,  combine 3 tablespoons tamarind syrup (make syrup with honey instead of brown sugar) with 5 tablespoons boiling water in a tea-cup and serve warm.

Tamarind Soda 

 Nam Kham Soda 

น้ำโซดามะขาม

 Serves: 1

 1 cup ice cube
3/4 cup sparking mineral water
3 tablespoons tamarind syrup, from recipe above
1 mint sprig

Place ice cube in a glass, follow by sparking mineral water and tamarind syrup. Stir lightly and serve. Garnish with mint sprig.  

© 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 
 
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A Romance in a Thai Granny’s Garden

Thai Country Style Soup with Lemon Basil    

Gaeng Leang Bai Meng Luck    

Every time I visit a Seattle Farmers’ Markets  and see Hmong-farmer stalls that have fresh lemon basil; I get excited and want to cook Gaeng Leang–a Thai country-style soup. It is our Thai ancestor’s creation and a classic soup that is known in every village in Thailand. Any vegetables that grow together in a Thai granny’s garden seem to go together in a pot with a finish touch of lemon basil — a romance of flavor is in the pot. Thais seem to keep it simple with three to five vegetables. If there are five kinds of vegetable with five-different hues of color then the classic name is “Gaeng Leang Benjarong” and one of the vegetables must be Kabocha pumpkin with its yellow-orange color.

Anchovy, red onion, watermelon rind, lemon basil

Thai food historians believe that the soup base or broth derives from the base of Nam Prik (Thai traditional Chili dip). Making Gaeng Leang Soup base typically it starts with pounding shallot, shrimp paste and chilli in a mortar with pestle to form a paste, and placing it in boiling water, similar to my recipe below. The alternative to a shrimp paste is dried salted shrimp, dried salted anchovy or dried grilled fish–think of it as Dashi, Japanese fish stock.

After making the soup base, the rest is simple. You may use any authentic Asian vegetable of your choice such as luffa, Kabocha pumpkin, young corn, melon, corn kernels or watermelon rind. The final touch is always lemon basil (Bai Maeng Luck).  Lemon basil is inseparable from this soup. In Seattle in the summer I always use lemon basil either from my garden or the farmers’ market.

Watermelon Rind Soup with Lemon Basil

I challenge myself to reconstruct a rustic Thai dish in a sophisticated way while keeping the original concept and authenticity. I cut anchovy fillets into small pieces and dice watermelon. The soup is gentle and not as hot and earthy as in Thailand with shrimp paste. Thais generally serve this soup warm. But my recipe is generous with the amount of watermelon rind so it is sweet and sophisticated enough that you can serve either warm or cold.  I love the simplicity of Gaeng Leang — a flavor of fresh seasonal vegetables  in a bowl.

Tomorrow my friend  will drop by for lunch. I want to prepare a summer soup for her, a country-style but elegant for girl lunch. I know she will like it. Our desert will be Yangon Almond Pancake with Berry and honeyed yogurt. All I hope for is a nice sunny day, so we can enjoy in my Thai garden here in Seattle.

Watermelon Rind Soup with Lemon Basil    

Gaeng Leang Pueak Tangmo Kub Bai Meng Luck

Serves: 2

1 tablespoon chopped dried anchovy fillets or dried salted shrimp, pounded
1/4 cup diced purple onion or shallot
1 cup diced watermelon rind or any mixed vegetable (please see list above)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Thai chili powder to taste
2 tablespoons lemon basil leaves,  plus 2 sprigs for garnish

Bring 1 1/2 cups water, anchovy and purple onion to a boil and keep it simmer on medium heat for 15 minute to develop the flavors for the soup.

If you don’t want to eat anchovy, you may strain to remove the anchovy and purple onion at this point.

Combine watermelon rind, salt, black pepper powder and chili powder with the soup and let it cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Stir in lemon basil and serve right away. Garnish with lemon basil sprigs.

Note: When lemon basil is not available, I compromise with Thai purple basil and it will not be lemony flavor that finish the soup but licorice instead.     You may use any vegetables from farmer market or your garden such as zucchini, squash, pea leaf, corn and more.

 © 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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The high point of my Forth of July celebration was having my friend and her family over for Thai Grilling. Our last Fourth of July celebration together was in 2008 on Phuket Island during the monsoon season.

Before noon, I marinated some Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin and Lemon-Lemongrass Chicken. Then I prepped for Cucumber-Pineapple-Tomato Salad. I made some “Coconut Water Vinegar Dressing” ahead of time and kept it pickled  in the fridge. Everything was done in about an hour.

For lunch before the party, my family and I went to Sunfish on Alki Avenue in Seattle and got Fish and Chips. I had my seafood combo as usual and enjoyed it with some chili flavored vinegar. I complimented their homemade vinegar and they shared a secret with me: they make the chili-infused vinegar with 6% Malt Vinegar.

I enjoyed organizing the house before the party but had to make sure I had one hour free before the party time. Half an hour later, I knew the rain would not stop, so I wore a rain jacket and did all the grilling on my patio.

 

 

Coconut Water Vinegar

Coconut Water Vinegar

Before sharing my recipe calling for coconut water vinegar in a salad dressing, I want to give you a quick lesson on coconut cream, coconut milk and coconut water.

When you remove the coconut husk (mesocarp) from a whole coconut, you can see the coconut shell (endocarp). After cracking the coconut shell, you get to the natural water inside the nut and this is called coconut water. The white meaty part inside the shell is the coconut meat (endosperm). Grating a chunk of white of coconut meat with a coconut grater gives you fresh wet grated coconut. To extract coconut milk, add a cup of water to 2 cups fresh grated coconut, then squeeze out the white milky liquid; this is concentrated coconut milk. (Thai call this the “head” of coconut milk). Add 1/2 cup water to the used grated coconut to extract  a thin coconut milk (Thai call this the “tail” of coconut milk). Let the coconut milk sit, and a fat creamy layer will form on the top; this is the coconut cream.

Back to the coconut water. Coconut water occurs naturally and has nothing to do with the process of making coconut milk. Nature provides the coconut meat and water as nutrients for shoots to grow near the three germination pores, or “eyes,” on the coconut. This coconut water inside the coconut shell is very good for the coconut plant, but it is also very good for you. It is full of vitamins and minerals. It is especially high in potassium and electrolytes, and has a neutral ph level. I strongly recommend that tourists traveling to paradise island drink this natural drink to help with rehydration, and it has the added benefit of being a sterile juice inside the shell.

In the Philippines, this natural water is used to make coconut water vinegar, but I don’t see it being made in Thailand where we use 5% distilled vinegar. I love the flavor of coconut water vinegar and felt inspired to use it in the cucumber-pineapple-tomato salad that I served with my grilled cinnamon pork tenderloin. Distilled vinegar will work for a substitution, but for this recipe, I strongly recommend that you try it at least once with coconut water vinegar.

I love the blend of cucumber, pineapple and tomato with a hint of coconut flavor. Brown sugar adds a nice touch to it. One of my students told me that the leftover dressing had such a great flavor that she ended up using it in a martini. In this case, I would recommend using mint instead of cilantro for the herb option.

Learn more about: Vinegar

Thai Cucumber-Pineapple-Tomato Salad

CucumberPineappleTomato Salad

Yum Sam Khler

4 tablespoons coconut water vinegar or distilled vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced cucumber, about 1/2 English cucumber
1 cup sliced pineapple, about 1/3 whole pineapple, or from a can
1 cup sliced tomatoes, about 2 medium size
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup snipped cilantro leaves

Heat vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot over  low heat and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside.

Place cucumber, pineapple, tomato, shallot, and cilantro in a medium-size salad bowl; when the dressing is cool, pour it over and stir. This recipe works best when the salad and dressing are mixed together from 1 to 8 hours before serving.

Thai Vegetarian Cooking

Thai Cooking for Kids

Gluten-Free Recipe

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

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Ten years ago, I developed the best (my students say so) recipe for Phad Thai to teach and share with my students in the cooking class. Because it is a trade secret, I can not share that version with you. However, for my Thai food blog I am in search of Phad Thai recipes from the vendors and restaurant chefs in Thailand. The fascinating thing about Phad Thai is the ingredients. They are different from town to town and region to region. For example, in Korat one of the ingredients is salted soy beans, and in Phuket we use fresh rice noodles, “chow fun”.  I hope you enjoy the discovery of Phad Thai with me.

My first step, I called my sister last week for her contribution to my blog; Phuket Phad Thai. From her e-mail, I copied her Thai barebone recipe down–this is how one Thai gives recipes to another Thai. To make a recipe work, you need to decode, experience, and record the version that you have come up with. Simply follow the principle of balancing sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. When I am done with decoding my sister’s recipe in my kitchen into an American-standard recipe, then I will share it with you in another blog entree. Please don’t wait for me, but try it on your own. I have included a slide show from a street vendor in Phuket taken a few years ago near Chalong Temple in Chalong District, Phuket, Thailand.

ผัดไทย
พริกใหญ่   แห้ง   1         ขีด                  แช่น้ำ
พริกเล็ก           1          กำ          แช่น้ำ
กรเทียม            1          หัว
มะขามเปียก         1           กำ(  แช่น้ำ  ไม่เอาเม็ด)
เกลือ               1              ช้อนชา
น้ำตาล               3            ช้อนโต๊
นำทุกอย่างมาปันรวมกัน       แล้วตั้งไฟเปาไฟ
แล้วตั้งให้เย็น       เก็บในต้เย็น
วิธีทำ
เต๋ากั๋ว หั่นเป็นสีเหลียมลูกเต๋า      แล้ว
ตั้งไฟ   ใส่กุ้ง    เต๋ากั่ว   แล้ว    ตีไข่ผัดกับเส้น   จนเส้นนุ่ม ใส่น้ำผัดไทยวีอิ๋วดำ  นิด   น้ำปลา   น้ำตาล  ออกหลายแล้วตามด้วยถ้วงอก
กุ๋ยฉ่าย

Translation 

Phad Thai 

Sauce
Large dried chili, 1/10 kg, soaked in water
Small dried chili, 1 handful
Garlic, 1 bulb
Tamarind paste, 1 handful, soaked in water
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Sugar, 3 tablespoons
 
Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Bring to boil in a pot. When it has cooled down, keep in the fridge.
 

Stir-fry

Heat a wok, add cooking oil, shrimp, tofu, beat the egg to stir-fried noodles until the noodle is soft. Stir in Phad Thai sauce, a little bit of dark soy sauce, a little bit of fish sauce, sugar. Finish the stir-fry with bean sprout and garlic chives.

Phad Thai - Phuket, mobile vendor

Phad Thai Phuket at Chalong Temple

Final touch with bean spout and garlic chive

Note: Rudee Piboon is my sister who owns a wok-fast food restaurant in Thalang Phuket. She is a regular contributor, you will find her recipes and cooking demo at this food blog and the I Love Thai Cooking youtube channel. .

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