Posts Tagged ‘Phuket Cuisine’

How to make a banana leaf-cup for Amok, Kratong

Banana leaf-cup should hold about 1 cup of serving

It is hard to believe that it has been almost three months now after I returned home from Southeast Asia trip. I have been eating and traveling  through all the big cities: Hanoi, Hoi An, Saigon, Siem Reap and Bangkok. This week, I am working on the photos and recipes  from our trip. As I work on this project, I would like to share with you stories, recipes, food photos. Working on these photos and writing a food blog has helped me with “flavor-memories”. It is easy for me to recall Southeast Asian flavors because I am familiar with all the ingredients and the techniques used in these cuisines. I treasured my time with tour members in Siem Reap, savoring Khmer foods as much as we could in three days. Last month I posted Kroeung, Khmer Curry Paste Recipe and Amok, Khmer Curry Fish Stew Recipe and now it is time for me to share photos and steps of making banana leaf-cups. After trying a few times, it should be easy. Banana leaves are available in Asian Markets. In Seattle, if you have fig leaf in your garden, I would recommend you to try that first. Have fun!

How to make a banana leaf-cup for Amok, Kratong

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Thai & Khmer Banana leaf-cup for Amok or Hua Mok in Thai cuisine

Remove frozen banana-leaf package from the freezer over night or leave at room temperature for 2 hours before making.

Tear banana leaf into 6 inch width and clean with damp paper towel. Need 12 pieces to make 6 leaf-cups.


To make a cup, lay 2 banana leaves on top of each other with the  beautiful green side facing outward. Trim with scissors to make a 6″ by 6″ square. Fold in the center of each side to make 1 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch over lappin., Secure with staple. Repeat the same process three more times on three sides of the square.


It is done and ready for using to serve Amok, steamed jasmine rice, or any Asian dishes.


Banana Leaf Package

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Eat Like a Local in Phuket, Thailand

Kan Eang @ Pier

Each visit to my home town, Phuket, I make sure to visit Kan Eang @ Chalong Pier and eat my favorite dishes. I would recommend this restaurant to any visitors (Thai or foreigner alike) that love local Thai foods and plan on taking a tasteful trip there. All the dishes are delicious and tested and tasted by my family over the years, and all these are dishes that I have always a longing for in each visit.

Pranee at Kan Eang 1 ~ Grilled Jack Fish with Phuket Tamarind Sauce

First make a reservation for the table next to the beach, perhaps before a sunset which is around 6pm. I always make sure to order grilled jack fish right way, because it grills over coconut husks charcoal 3 feet above the flame. It takes at least 30 minutes or longer depending how busy they are. The flavor of the grill fish is uniquely Phuket Islander flavor–aroma of coconut husk and banana leaf combined. It is served with Phuket style tangy sweet tamarind-soy sauce.

Phuket Prawn Tempura Bua Tod

Enjoy Phuket Prawn Tempura (Bua Tod) with Phuket spicy chili dipping sauce  (Nam Chau) for a starter. Enjoy it while you browse through 10 pages menu. This will allow you to leisurely read through the menu without a hurry and a chance to enjoy the scenery around you.

Sour Curry Prawn with Cha-Om Omelette

Sour Curry with Prawn with a chunk of Cha-Om (type of herb) omelet. This is a Southern Thai cuisine, a curry without coconut milk with a sour flavor from tamarind paste.

Here’s a tip for you. If you are afraid of spicy food, order a glass of milk on the side to help you, when you experience the heat but never discuss the heat level with a local. In Thailand the food never too hot, they cook and use chili appropriate to the dish. If you start to discuss the spiciness, they will cook you a tourist food which means either too sweet or too much coconut milk depending on the dish.

Kan Eang’s specialties are sea food and local dishes. A few more dishes to consider: Hua Mok (steamed fish curry wrapped in banana leaf), Yum Talah (seafood salad), Gai Tom Prade (devil sweet and sour chicken soup), Pak Bung Fai Daeng (stir-fried morning glory with salted soy bean) and more.

Kin Hai Aroy!  (Bon apetit!)

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Kan Eang @ Pier

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Phuket Stir-fried Blue Crab with Black Pepper Recipe

Phoo Phad Prik Thai Dam

The world is just a finger tip away.

I would like to share with you my family cooking and recipes from Phuket, Thailand. These photos were taken by cell phone and then downloaded onto facebook. I called my niece Darunee Khruasanit in Phuket after seeing her food photography and asked for permission to show her photos and recipes on my blog. I would like to share this delicious dish from my home town Phuket where blue crab is very fresh and equally delicious. You can find blue crab in Seattle at Asian Markets such as Viet Wah and Uwajimaya.

Ingredients for Stir-fried Blue Crab with Black Pepper

You will need all the ingredients from the above picture.

4 blue crabs, 2 cloves garlic, 1 Anaheim chili pepper, 5 green onions and 1/2 onion

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

4 blue crabs, cleaned and cut in half

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 Anaheim, cut into large dices

1/2 onion, sliced

5 green onions, cut into 1 inch length

Here is the final delicious result.

I am planning to cook up this same dish with some local Dungeness crab next week. I can’t wait to savor this dish again. It is the contrast of flavors that excited me. I remember the flavor so well, the spicy black pepper flavor that contrasts with sweet crab and green onion. I am so close to my home land, and can imagine eating this  black pepper blue crab on the beach~ I can feel the sea breeze right now; the one that would make a sweat on my forehead feel cool like air conditioning.

© 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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Eating in Southeast Asia

Traveling through Vietnam in 2009 as a culinary tour leader was an interesting and heartwarming experience. The local people are so eager to share their country’s wonderful cuisine and culture and spend time with you. You’re treated more like a welcome guest than a tourist.

Back home in Phuket with my traveling companion, we rested and strolled on the beach and enjoyed the best food in Phuket: local seafood.

We were lucky to become friends with Chef Tony of the popular Rockfish Restaurant after savoring our first plate of his Thai crab salad. He generously agreed to share his recipe and do a cooking video for my newsletter to welcome our mango season here in America.

Chef Tony Wringley has been working at Rockfish Restaurant as executive chef for the past 6 months. His recipe was inspired by local and seasonal ingredients from Phuket Island such as local crab, fresh mango and coconut. Chef Tony has captured the flavors of the tropical island of Phuket with this Thai crab salad.

Thai Crab Salad with Mango and Shaved Coconut

Thai Crab Salad with Mango and Shaved Fresh Coconut Recipe

Yum Pu Mamuang Maprow

Recipe by Chef Tony Wrigley
Executive Chef, Rockfish Restaurant
Kamala Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Rockfish Restaurant

Serves: 1

½ cup cooked crab meat
½ cup diced mango, about half mango
¼ cup sliced red spur chili or Anaheim pepper
2 green onions, chopped into 1-inch long pieces
3 sprigs cilantro, torn into large pieces
10 Thai basil leaves or sweet basil, torn in half
¼ cup chili peanuts or dry roasted peanuts
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice, about 1 lime
¼ cup fresh shaved coconut or dry coconut chips
1 teaspoon chili oil for presentation

Gently combine crab, mango, red spur chili, green onions, cilantro, Thai basil and chili peanuts. Add fish sauce, sugar, olive oil and lime juice, and fold just to mix. Place crab salad on the plate, garnish with shaved fresh coconut on top and decorate the plate with chili oil. Makes one serving.

How to shave fresh coconut with a peeler

© 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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Stir-fried Phuket Hokkien Mee with Choy Sum

Stir-fried egg noodles Phuket style

Serving: 1
Prep Time: 15    Cook Time: 5 minutes

On Chinese New Year Day, I always enjoy Phuket Hokkien Mee – an egg noodle dish similar to stir-fried chow mien.

In America, I use Miki noodle or yakisoba. For this recipe you may use any fresh egg noodles but I prefer ones the size of spaghetti. For vegetable choices, select a combination of mixed vegetables that you like, personally I love Choy sum or Chinese broccoli. For meat choices, substitute pork and/or seafood combination for tofu and mushrooms.  To serve, I always enjoy eating it with chopsticks and a little kick of Sriracha hot sauce.

3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 garlic, minced
¼ cup sliced pork
¼ cup sliced pork liver, optional
3 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup egg noodles, yakisoba or Miki noodles
1 cup cut Chinese kale or Choy Sum
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon sugar
A dash of white pepper powder

Heat a wok or cast iron pan over high heat; add canola oil. Stir in garlic, sliced pork, pork liver and shrimp. Continue to stir until the meat is almost completely cooked, then stir in egg noodles, Chinese broccoli, and dark soy and light soy sauces. Stir for 10 seconds, then add chicken broth. Stir and continue to cook until the broth is almost absorbed.  When the sauce has reduced to ¼ cup, add the white pepper powder. Place in a noodle bowl and serve with chopstick and spoon.

Vegetarian option: omit meat and substitute it with 1/4 cup cut extra firm tofu and 1/4 sliced brown button mushroom

Gluten-Free option: use wheat free soy sauce and rice stick or rice vermicelli instead of egg noodles.

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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

Phad Namtao Moo
Stir-fried Kabocha Pumpkin with Pork

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

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

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

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

Gluten-Free option: use wheat free soy sauce

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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Thai stir-fried catfish with red curry paste

Recipe & Video
Servings: 1
Prep Time: 15   Cook Time: 5 minutes

Thai stir-fried catfish with red curry paste is a typical fast food wok-frying dish served over steamed rice. My sister’s recipe is a southern-rustic version that is very pungent. But at home and cooking school in Seattle, I prefer coconut milk instead of chicken stock. Then I recommend to omit oyster sauce when coconut milk is used. This is a great quick and easy Thai cooking for anyone who tries out Thai cooking for the first time.

1 cup steamed jasmine rice
1 fried egg
5 sliced cucumber
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 to 1 ½ tablespoons red curry paste
¼ cup chicken stock or coconut milk (see note)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 spur chili or Anaheim chili
¼ cup basil leaves
4 pieces fried catfish steaks (see note)

Place steamed jasmine rice on a serving plate and fried egg on top of the rice. Garnish with sliced cucumber on the side.

Heat a wok on high heat, when it is hot add curry paste and stir well until fragrant. Stir in chicken stock, oyster sauce, sugar and salt. Mix well. Stir in chili, basil and fried catfish and cook until the fish absorb the flavors and moisture from the sauce.

Pour the hot catfish curry next to steamed rice and serve right away.

Cooknote: My sister coated her catfish with corn starch before frying. She likes it crunchy.

Thai Vegetarian Recipe Option: omit catfish and substitute it with 1/4 cup cut extra firm tofu and 1/4 sliced brown button mushroom. Use coconut milk instead of chicken stock

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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Thai Cooking with Wok

As far back as I can remember, my family kitchen contained only a few cooking utensils and cookware. The most versatile cookware was a wok. We use woks for all tasks, from stir-frying, steaming and blanching vegetables to making cooking oil from lard and coconut milk. It is possible that every household in Thailand will have an average of 3 woks in various sizes. For a community kitchen, the wok can be as wide as three to five feet wide. This wok is used for cooking curry, frying and steaming rice for a function with more than 300 people. A wok allows you to have total control to stir and mix a large quantity of foods with a large shovel. Owning a new wok is a new beginning of your culinary adventure in your kitchen.

A wok made of mild steel will rust; therefore a well-seasoned wok will protect it and make it easy to cook foods and prevent them from sticking.

Ladle & Shovel (Spatula)

Depending on the style of your wok, a ladle or spatula can be used. A ladle fits well in a deep bowl shaped wok and a shovel can be used for either a flat bottom or deep bowl wok.

How to Season a Wok

This is the summary on how to season a wok according to the “The Breath of a Wok” by Grace Young. 

First step to handling your new wok is to clean it with hot soapy water to remove the protector. Then season it by using a few tips below.

~ Cook pork in a bone in boiling water.

~ Pan fried tofu to absorb metallic taste, and then stir-fry chives.

~ Use scallions, garlic chives, pork and ginger to remove the metallic taste.

~ Use high heat with salt.

This is a recipe for seasoning a wok for the first time before cooking a meal for serving:

2 to 3 tablespoons pork fat

1 cup garlic chives

½ cup ginger, shredded

Clean the new wok according to instructions. In general, clean and rinse well with hot water. Dry with a paper towel. Open all of the windows and turn the range hood on high. Bring the wok to a high heat, when it starts to make a layer of smoke, add in a pork fat, ginger and chives, and with a shovel or spatula stir-fry the ginger/chive mixture to cover the entire surface area of the wok. Reduce the heat to medium-high and keep stirring until the wok darkens. Discard the ginger/chives. Rinse the wok with hot water and bring back to high heat to dry the wok. Your wok is now ready.

The best way to season and to develop the wok patina is to constantly use it. I like to use the wok for deep frying, and the shape of the wok also helps to use less cooking oil.

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Rice Soup with Prawn, Ginger and Garlic Recipe
Servings: 2-4
Preparation: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Rice soup is a real comfort food for every occasion. Nothing is as satisfying as rice soup on a cold day or when one’s body needs gentle food. The meat for this dish is ground chicken or ground pork. Shrimp adds a great touch, too. For extra protein, add one egg to the boiling soup just before serving.
16 ounces chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
1 cup water or more as needed
1-2 cups steamed rice (left over rice is fine)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, chopped
½ cup shitake mushroom, sliced
½ cup ground chicken or pork
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
9 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup spinach, chopped
1 egg (optional)
White pepper powder as needed
1 green onion, sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Bring chicken broth, water and rice to boil in a medium saucepan and keep on cooking. Heat cooking oil in a pan over medium-high heat, then fry garlic and ginger until light golden. Remove half of the fried garlic and ginger to use later as a garnish. In the same pan with remaining cooking oil, garlic and ginger, stir in shitake mushroom and cook until soft. Then add ground chicken (or ground pork, if you prefer). Keep stirring until the chicken is cooked. Add chicken, mushroom and remaining garlic and ginger to the saucepan with the rice soup. 
Continue to cook the soup over medium heat until the texture is neither too soupy nor too thick. Stir in salt, soy sauce, shrimp and spinach. When the shrimp turn pink, add egg and stir until egg is cooked. Before serving, season with white pepper and garnish with green onion, cilantro and reserved garlic and ginger.
Rice Soup Condiments

Rice Soup Condiments



Vegetarian option: omit chicken and prawn, use 1 cup chopped oyster mushroom to supstitute chicken

Gluten Free option: use wheat free soy sauce

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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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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Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a key ingredient in Thai and Southeast Asian cooking, especially the cilantro root.Thai cooks treasure the roots and in Thailand cilantro is always sold with its roots.The root is very aromatic and has lots of flavor when cooked. It’s a precious ingredient—a treat among herbs—and an important ingredient in curry paste, marinades and meat stir-frys. When the root is not available, substitute four stems for one root. Try the recipe featured below for an opportunity to experience the unique flavor and fragrance of cilantro root.

Kratiem Prik Thai Goong – กระเทียมพริกไทยกุ้ง

Goong Kratiem PrikThai
Sautéed Garlic Prawn Recipe
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 15 minutes   
Cooking Time: 5 minutes

These garlic prawns have a peppery accent and are an astonishingly easy-to-prepare crowd pleaser. The first six ingredients in this recipe make a classic spicy Thai marinade paste. You can use it to create many simple dishes by using it as a marinade for chicken or a spicy paste for chicken or pork patties. For best results, grind the marinade paste using a mortar and pestle. Otherwise, use a small food processor.

½-1 tablespoon black peppercorns
¼-½ teaspoon salt
10 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 cilantro roots or 5 cilantro stems
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
32 prawns, peeled and deveined
5 tablespoons cooking oil
Cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

In mortar, place black peppercorns, salt, 5 cloves of garlic and cilantro roots; pound with pestle until it becomes a paste. Stir in light soy sauce and brown sugar to make marinade sauce. Pour the marinade sauce over prawns and mix well. Set aside. In a frying pan, fry remaining garlic until golden yellow; remove and set aside. In the same frying pan, fry prawns until cooked. Place prawns on a serving plate and garnish with fried garlic and cilantro leaves. Serve lime wedges on the side.

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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