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Posts Tagged ‘Thai Chinese Cuisine’

The Hungry Planet

I attended the Hungry Planet: What the World Eats grand opening at the Burke Museum. I was totally awestruck by the large photographic exhibit and printed information from Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio who show us how the rest of the world eats and feeds their families with one week of purchased food supplies. “A picture said a thousand words” and I hope that you will have a chance to view the exhibition which will be at the museum through June 10.

On Saturdays, PCC Cooks also participates in the exhibition by providing a cooking demonstration of one of eight different cuisines from around the world. I had the honor of representing PCC Cooks one Saturday by preparing Kao Tom Gai, Rice Soup with Chicken. I demonstrated how to prepare this Thai dish and provided samples. When I was growing up in Thailand this particular dish meant so much to me and the rest of the country. It was a time when families had to nourish their families with simple, healthy foods.

I was lucky to grow up in the land of plenty in Phuket, Thailand. My village has a mountain on one side and a rice field on the other. The Srisunthorn Road was on the edge of the mountain and our home was just off this main road. We spent our weekends gathering foods from the forest such as bamboo shoots, mushrooms and other edible plants. Our family also owned a plantation which provided an abundance of fruits such as rambotant, durian, jackfruit and coconut.  At the end of each month, or after each sale of a crop from the plantation, my grandmother made sure to purchase a month’s supply of rice and to stock up on all stable dry ingredients. Mobile markets would came every morning with meats, seafood and fresh vegetables and herbs. The open air market was full of venders of all sorts and once a week villagers could fill up their kitchen cabinets with food. In our family, when my grandmother was the treasurer of the household, she decided what was on the table on a daily basis, through times of abundance and scarcity.

Phuket Open Air Market

My grandma shared many bedtime stories with us about the lives of others or her experiences during economic down times. She taught us that every grain of rice should be eaten. Phuket is rich in tin,  rubber and other natural resources, but when it came to rice production, we depended on supplies from the central part of Thailand–a supply that was affected by the economy, politics, and climate. When the price of rice increased, our regular steamed rice would change to rice porridge to make our supply last as long as possible.

One cup of rice grains yields about 3 cups of steamed rice or 4 cups of thick rice porridge which can be thinned down to make 6 cups of rice soup. Instead of making 3 servings, 1 cup of rice can be stretched to provide 6 servings.

The Hungry Planet exhibit is eye opening. It shows how the rest of the world eats, what is available to them, what they can afford, what they choose, and the limitations. I love the picture from Mali, Africa, which shows the ritual of a family sharing a rice porridge that is cooked with sour milk.

For me, rice porridge is a soul food, comfort food and a health food. It has a healing and nourishing element and it is suitable for everyone and every occasion.

Now that you have heard my stories, what is yours?

Rice Porridge Three Ways

I know three ways to enjoy rice porridge. The first one is as a rice soup base which can then be made into Kao Tom Gai

Kao Tom ~ ข้าวต้ม

(Click photo above for Pranee’s Kao Tom Gai recipe)

A second way to enjoy rice porridge is to make a rice soup buffet for a big crowd or special event.  To do this, take a rice porridge and add a little bit of ground meat. Cook it without adding flavoring, but serve it with condiments as shown in the photo below. The condiments typically consist of ginger, white pepper powder, sugar, soy sauce, chili powder, fried garlic, vinegar with jalapeno peppers and green onions.

Thai rice soup condiments

A third way to eat rice porridge is to serve it the same way as steamed jasmine rice but ideally with Chinese-Thai style main dishes such as stir-fried vegetables with salted soy bean or oyster sauce, salted egg, salted peanut, pickled mustard green, or braised pork in five spices.

Either for stretching a dollar or caring for yourself and your family, rice porridge is my comfort food for every occasion.

Kao Tom (Rice Porridge)

ข้าวต้ม

PREP TIME: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 cups

1 cup jasmine rice
6 cups water

Bring jasmine rice and 2 cups of the water to a boil on high heat. Stir often while cooking for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Let cook on medium heat for 15 minutes more, until it yields 4 cups.

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 Stir-Fry from the Palm of My Hand

When I was growing up, in the mornings my grandma would often drop a few coins in the palm of my hand and tell me to go purchase Tao Gua (Tofu), Tao Nge (Mung Bean Sprout), and Guiy Chai (garlic chives) from a mobile market—a pick up truck filled with ingredients. I would return with a bag full of three pieces of tofu cake, mung bean sprouts, and a bunch of garlic chives. Together they made the cheapest and best stir-fry and we ate it about once a week. We would usually stir-fry them later for lunch; if it were for dinner, my grandma would soak the bean sprouts in cold water to keep them fresh in the tropical climate. This was back before we had a refrigerator. When I was at the Asian Market yesterday, I purchased these three ingredients in almost the same quantities as I did then and it came up to $ 2.75, only a few dollars and some coins.

Thais call bean sprouts Thua Ngok (ถั่วงอก), but in my hometown of Phuket we call them Tau Nge, a  Phuket Hokkien word. Hokkien is a Chinese dialect spoken by many Chinese throughout Southeast Asia. Tauge, is the word for mung bean sprouts in Chinese Hokkien and in Indonesian and Malaysian languages as well. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Dutch also use taugé for bean sprouts, probably a holdover from the time when they occupied Indonesia.

Mung bean sprouts, tofu and garlic chives are long-time favorite vegetables of Chinese Hokkien cuisine and culture, even though bean sprouts are actually native to Bangladesh.

Firm Tofu, Mung Bean Sprouts and Garlic Chives

Green onions or regular chives are usually a good substitute for garlic chives, but in this case I strongly recommend that you use garlic chives in order to maintain the flavors and authenticity of this dish. Garlic chives are available all year round at the Asian Market and it is a perennial herb in the Northwest. You may find other recipes where you will want to use them as well.

The other day when I was dining with a friend, I was so impressed to find a similar dish served at the Tamarind Tree Restaurant in Seattle. Their dish was almost identical in flavor, but instead of tofu, it used shitake mushrooms. I hope when you are at the Tamarind Tree Restaurant, you will please try Nấm xào giá ~ Bean sprout mushroom.

Phuket Stir-fried Mung Bean Sprouts and Tofu with Garlic Chives

Stir-fried Mung Bean Sprouts and Tofu with Garlic Chives

Phad Tao Gua Tao Nge Phuket

ผัดถั่วงอกกับเต้าหู้ภูเก็ต

5 minutes total preparation and cooking time, 3 ingredients and less than $3. It is my all time favorite stir-fry.

Serves: 4
 
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 (16 ounce) package  firm tofu, cut into large pieces about 1/4-inch thick
1 cup garlic chives cut into 1-inch lengths (about 15 garlic chives),
6 cups mung bean sproutss, washed with cold water and strained
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or 1 tablespoon soy sauce plus one tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar

Heat the wok on high heat, then test it with a few drops of water. If the water evaporates in two seconds, pour in 1 tablespoon canola oil. Cover the surface with oil by using a spatula or other utensil, then spread out tofu in the wok and fry on medium heat until they firm up and turn a golden color. This will take 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Heat the same wok on high heat and add the remaining canola oil and the garlic; stir until golden, about 10 seconds. Stir in bean sprouts and cook on high heat for 45 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly. It will sound really interesting and steaming. It is the moisture from the bean sprouts creating the sounds against the hot wok. You will see steam, but not smoke. Then stir in garlic chives to cook lightly, about 45 seconds. Stir in tofu, soy sauce and sugar. Mix together, then serve promptly with hot steamed jasmine rice.

Pranee’s note:

The bean sprouts should not cook longer than 2 minutes, or they will lost their crunch. This dish is very simple and the flavors depend on having the freshest bean sprouts, tofu and chives—and that is enough! I love this dish because it has a clean and simple flavor and texture. The moisture released from the bean sprouts makes a sauce. If that doesn’t happen, add one or two tablespoons of water.

Another variation of this dish that you might see in Thailand substitutes calamari, prawns or pig blood cake for the tofu.

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

Pranee's Chicken Live Fried Rice

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

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

 Kao Phad Tub Gai

Chicken Liver fried rice with garlic, ginger and red onion

Serves: 2

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

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

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

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 Oodles of fun with Shianghai Noodles        

 

Shanghai Noodles - Phad Mee Shanghai

Phad Mee Shanghai

Stir-fried Shanghai Noodles with Beef 

Servings: 2 

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ pound  flank steak, thinly sliced diagonally across the grain
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup snow peas or choy sum
1 pound Shanghai noodles or Udon noodles, about 2 cups
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons water, or chicken broth or more as needed

 Stir cornstarch, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil in a medium size bowl. Stir in beef and let marinated for 30 minutes. 

Heat a wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil and fry beef until cook, about 2 minutes, set aside on a plate. Rinse the wok with hot water. 

Heat the wok over high heat; add 2 tablespoons canola oil and garlic. Stir in a snow peas, stir for 15 seconds then stir in noodles for another 15 seconds. Stir in oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and water, mix well and cook until the water is all evaporated. Stir in beef and serve right away.

Cook note: Linguini and udon are noodle choices that work great when Shanghai noodles are not available.

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 Udon noodles (enrich wheat flour).

© 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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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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local fresh asparagus, from the farm to the wok

I was glad to stay home and cook for my family tonight. But it is not just any cooking; I was wokking up Grace Young’s recipe: Velvet Chicken with Asparagus. It was the recipe from the cooking class and the cookbook “Stir-frying to the Sky’s Edge’. This recipe was appealed to me during the class last week of how the chicken was cooked by her technique (velveting) was so succulent. She mentioned that it is also the same technique that is used by Chinese chef to prepare chicken for Kung Pao Chicken and other classic dishes. At home today I followed Grace’s advice. I purchased the best and freshest ingredients. I purchased local organic chicken and local Washington asparagus. I dropped water in a wok to test and it did evaporate in two seconds. Like I always tell my students, please try to cook the recipe from the class within a week. And I did follow my advice. While cooking, I remember every step that Grace showed us during the class. With prepping before hand, the cooking went really fast. I was glad that my husband and son were already at the table with steamed jasmine rice waiting for the dish and we enjoyed while the wok hay was still in our dining atmosphere. 

It was quietness and the way we ate, I knew my family was happy with warm jasmine rice and velvet chicken and asparagus. And I was too that the cooking was easy, quick and fun altogether. The most important thing is I don’t need to search for a good Chinese restaurant any more. All I have to do now is trying new recipes from Grace Young’s cookbook. She is amazing teacher and cookbook author. Let’s Stir-fry to the Sky’s Edge.

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