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Posts Tagged ‘Thai Cooking in Seattle’

Som Tum, a Green Papaya POK POK 

Som Tum - Thai Green Papaya Salad

Pok Pok is the sound made when a wooden pestle hits a clay mortar. This is a classic sound in the green papaya making process and it is a familiar sound for Thais and tourists alike because Som Tum vendors are everywhere in Thailand. When I teach papaya salad recipes, I make sure to carry my clay mortar and wooden pestle with me to my cooking classes in Seattle, Lynwood, Edmonds and even Portland. I feel that it is important for students to understand the cultural and traditional aspects of  Thai cuisineFor me, making and eating green papaya salad is a cure for homesickness. But is not easy to find green papayas outside of Thailand, so sometimes we have to improvise.

Shredded Green Papaya and Carrot for Som Tum

Carrots are always a great substitute when fresh green papaya is not available. My first experience eating Som Tum made from other vegetables besides green papaya was when I was traveling in Switzerland and France visiting friends and relatives.

In Seattle you can find green papaya everyday at the Asian markets, but at farmers market events in Washington I always enjoy making Som Tum with various farm fresh vegetables. And I am always delighted that it still makes a great impression on everyone. First the Pok, Pok sound, then the flavors of chili-lime and peanuts dressing that make all fresh salad tastes so good. My favorite vegetables and fruits for this recipe are carrots, kale, green apples, green mangos, green beans and cucumbers.

Som Tum – Thai Green Papaya Pok Pok

Yesterday I was making special version of Som Tum for a Pike Place Market Sunday Event. I combined Som Tum made from local carrots and kale with cooked rice noodles and smoked local King salmon. Combining Thai and northwest flavors together using a mortar and pestle produced a delicious dish.  Let’s cook with the Thai rhythms!

Please also see Pranee’s Somtum Recipe featured in Seattle Times, Pacific Northwest Sunday Magazine

SOM TUM PLA SALMON

Green Papaya Salad with Smoked Salmon and Rice Vermicelli

Servings: 4
 
3-6 garlic cloves, peeled
5 Thai chilies, whole
2-3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
6 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ lime, cut into 4 small wedges
8 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 2 large tomatoes cut into wedges
½ cup green beans, cut into 1 inch lengths
2 ounce smoked salmon, sliced, about ¼ cup, divided
2 cups shredded green papaya, carrot, cabbage, kale or any fresh vegetable
1 cup rice noodles or rice vermicelli, cooked using the instruction on the package

To make a dressing, use a wooden pestle to crush garlic, chilies, palm sugar and 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts in a clay mortar until it forms a paste. Stir in fish sauce and lime juice with pestle in circular motion until blended.  With pestle, gently mix in lime wedges, tomatoes, string beans, half of the smoked salmon and shredded papaya by pushing down the ingredients against one side of the mortar and using a large spoon to lift up on the opposite side. Repeat a few times until well incorporated.  Serve right away with rice noodles and topped with the rest of the smoked salmon.

Cook’s note: If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, here is an easy way to make a salad dressing. Blend garlic, Thai chilies, palm sugar, 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, fish sauce and lime juice in a blender until smooth. Mix the rest of peanuts, string beans, dried shrimps, tomatoes and green papaya in a salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently mix them together by hand until salad is well coated with the dressing.

© 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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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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Sunflower Sprouts Salad with Chili-Lime vinaigrette

Yum Med Tan Tawan Ngawk

Sunflower Sprouts by the Alm Hill Gardens Stall – The Columbia City Farmer Market

July 15, 2010 – Yesterday I was at the Columbia Farmers Market. While waiting for my friend, I visited the Alm Hill Gardens stall, and was introduced to sunflower sprouts. I have tasted it before, but these fresh sprouts from the farm I will never forget. It was fresh, buttery and nutty. I brought some home and made a salad for a side dish to accompany my Thai chicken Baryani rice, Kao Mok Gai.

Chili-Lime Vinaigrette, tomato and dill

August 4, 2010- My friend Annette came over for lunch today and it is a perfect day for me to perfect my Sunflower Sprout Salad Recipe and do some photos for the blog. As I envisioned to add some texture, and sunflower seed is a perfect theme for salad. I have no reservations about adding the abundant and flavorful mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes. The rest is simple. I hope you like my chili-lime vinaigrette. Interesting and freshest  ingredients in an easy recipe is a way to go.

Sunflower Sprouts S

Sunflower Sprout Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

alad with Chili-Lime vinaigrette

Yum Dork Tan Tawan Ngawk 

Serves: 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or garlic oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or 2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon evaporated cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper flake
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon lime juice or lemon juice
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, whole or halved
2 cups sunflower sprouts, washed and drained
1/4 dill or cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

Whisk olive oil, sea salt, sugar, black pepper, chili powder, lime juice until it is well mixed. Fold in shallot, tomatoes, sunflower sprouts and dill, and mix gently. Sprinkle sunflower seeds  before serving. Serve immediately.

 © 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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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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Watermelon Delight 

This recipe was inspired by an I Love Thai Cooking Facebook request for a watermelon cocktail. After creating Watermelon Ice with watermelon liquere, I am excited to try to create a new cocktail. I have half of a watermelon left from the party on the Fourth of July, and I am happy mix this cocktail up. I pulled out some Melon liqueur, Lychee Liqueur and coconut vodka. I took one piece of watemelon and chewed it slowly while inhaling the melon and lychee liqueur and coconut vodka. I knew it would go together nicely. I used less melon liqueur because it is overpowering but I needed some, the lychee liqueur was a delight with sweetness and floral scents, and coconut vodka summed up the cocktail by adding a hint of coconut flavor. I ran to my garden to add some minty flavor. After the first mix, I was happy.  

Watermelon Cocktail

I like to create a cocktail recipe that I don’t need to mix one by one for friends, so in the kitchen today I blended together four cocktails based on my recipe shaking for the one created yesterday. 

I took one workshop a year at IACP conference on cocktails. It was inspring to listen to the experts talking and discussing about ideas and trends. It is a watermelon-delight- flavored cocktail for friends in the summer. 

Watermelon Cocktail

Serves: 4 

Spicy Rim 

1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 lime wedge

Place salt, sugar, paprika on 6 inch-wide plate. Rub 4 martini glass with lime juice by holding lime wedge move along the rim. Hold the martini glass stem and place the rim against the salt-sugar-paprika mix and cover on the rim well with the mix. 

Cocktail 

2 cups cool diced watermelon
4 oz coconut vodka
2 oz lychee liqueur
1 oz melon liqueur
2/3 cup crushed ice
16 mint leave
4 pieces watermelon for garnish–see photos

Place watermelon, coconut vodka, lychee and melon liqueur and ice. Blend it until smooth. Add mint leave and blend for5 seconds. Pour into prepared martini glasses. 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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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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It’s a mango day!      

A perfect crisp green mango is hard to come by in Seattle, just like getting a crisp and sunny day in the month of June. I grabbed this unique food opportunity and heightened the day by having two friends over for lunch so that we could celebrate both the sunsine and the mango. It was a beautiful day.         

Fifteen minutes before the door bell rung, I turned on the rice cooker and prepped for green mango salad. Then, I had some mangos, bananas and pineapples ready in the blender for a smoothie.  My menu was very simple, it consisted of a Thai Green Mango Salad served with Prawn and Mango Smoothie with an optional cocktail.         

When my girlfriends arrived, the conversation started flowing and I was enjoying it. After all this is the first summer that I am spending in Seattle in fifteen years without having an intensive travel plan. I asked if anyone was interested in adding Triple Sec and Tequila  for their smoothie/cocktail, and yes was the majority answer. Three minutes later, we clinked to salute our kids moving up celebration. Then I took another three minutes to prepare Thai Green Mango Salad, next we sat and ate in the warm-cold-warm sunshine.        

Summer is the ideal time for having friends over for casual lunches and catching up. I am happy to stay in town this summer regardless of the weather in Seattle.      

Thai Green Mango Salad

 

 I teach this recipe with granny smith apples, something that you can count on, so use green tart apples to substitute for green mangos when it not available. It is a great alternative. For dry shrimp, use any dry shrimp from the AsianMarket and pulse in food processor until it becomes a fine powder.     

Thai Green Mango Salad with Prawn         

Yum Mamuang Goong         

Serves: 4        

16 medium size prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice, about 1 large lime
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder, or one fresh Thai chili, minced
2 tablespoons chopped shalot
2 cups shredded green mango, from about 1 green mango
3 tablespoons shrimp powder
1/4 cup chopped dill, mint and cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped Vietnamese mint, aka Rau Ram , optional plus one sprig for garnish
1 tomato, sliced for garnish

To cook prawn, add 3 tablespoons water with prawn in a frying pan and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir on high heat until the prawns are pink and opaque. Strain and let it cool.       

To make salad dressing, whisk fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chili powder until sugar is dissolved. Mix in shalot, green mango, shrimp powder,cooked prawns, mixed herbs and Vietnamese mint. Mix well and serve. Garnish with sliced tomato and Vietnamese mint sprig.       

Thai Vegetarian Option: Use sea salt instead of fish sauce and ground roasted peanut instead of dry shrimp powder    

Thai Cooking for Kids: Omit chili powder in the recipe instruction. After removing kid serving portions then may add chili powder as desire for adult.    

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

 

 Mango  Smoothie     

Nam Mamuang Pan       

Serves: 2       

2 cups ripe mango, peeled diced – can be fresh or frozen
1 banana, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced pineapple–can or fresh
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup crushed ice
 
To make a smoothie, place mango, banana, pineapple, salt, lemon juice and crushed ice. Blend until  smooth. Serve Cold.
 
 Mango Margarita
 
 Serves: 4    

 

1/2 cup Gold Tequila
1/4 cup Tripple Sec
4 mint sprigs, for garnish

Add gold tequila and Triple sec to blender on top of the smoothie from recipe above and blend for 5 seconds, served in 4 chilled- margarita glasses and garnish with mint sprigs.       

Cheers,       

© 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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Garlic Scape & Tomato, fresh from Snohomish Farmer Market

Fried Rice with Chorizo, Egg and Garlic Scape and Tomato

Kao Phad Piset

I didn’t really plan to write this recipe. Last night I put together a quick meal for myself after returning from the Snohomish Farmer Market Cooking Demo. In my refrigerator I had left-over rice, lovage, chorizo and egg. From the market I had fresh garlic, garlic scapes and tomatoes. So I put together some fried rice. Then I sat down and started eating. It was so good and special that I had to write down the recipe and post it. It was a beautiful summer day. Then at the cooking demo, everyone loved the simple stir-fried vegetables. At home I ate this fried rice with a special feeling, and it was very clear that using the freshest ingredients was key. I would like to take a good minute to thank the farmers who deserve all the credit.

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon minced ginger, optional
4 garlic scapes, cut into 1/2 inch length
1/4 cup lovage, chopped, optional
1/2 tomato, diced
1/4 cup chorizo
1 egg
1 cup jasmine rice
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 lime wedge

Heat a wok or fry pan on high heat and stir in canola oil, garlic and ginger and cook until garlic is yellow. Stir in garlic scape, lovage  and tomato and cook for 30 seconds and then stir in chorizo for 30 seconds more. Push aside all ingredient, add 1 tablespoon canola oil and egg, scramble the egg 5 times until just half-cooked, stir in jasmine rice. Add fish sauce and stir for 30 seconds. When the rice heat up really well, it is done. Serve with lime wedge.

My day at the Snohomish Farmer Market.

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Thai Cooking 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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Thai Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry Recipe   

Phad Pak Ruam Mit   

ผัดผักรวมมิตร

Inspired recipe from June 24th cooking demo at Snohomish Farmer Market

There were many good reasons for me to cook Thai Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry at a cooking demo at the Snohomish Farmer Market. It is a simple dish to learn and an inspiring way to use fresh ingredients that are available right away. Most of the pantry items are available at any grocery store. It is the best and easiest way to learn cooking Thai dishes in 5 minutes. Both the shoppers and the farmers were happy and I was too, as a teacher. The shoppers walked pass my demo stand and showed me a bag of vegetable that they planned to stir-fry that evening. Mission accomplished.

I could not help but to share this recipe with you. It is very easy to apply Thai mixed vegetable stir-fry to your repertoire this summer. My secret ingredients in this dish are  flavored cooking oil with crushed garlic, and a little bit of ginger and green onion. The main  ingredients are mushroom and tomato and season with soy, and oyster mushroom with a dash of white pepper powder to finish.

Thai Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry Recipe   

Phad Pak Ruam Mit  

ผัดผักรวมมิตร

 Serves: 2-4

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
4 shiitake mushrooms stem removed and sliced
1 large tomato, cut into wedge
2 cups mixed vegetables (garlic scape, Anaheim pepper and sweet peas)
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
A pinch of brown sugar
A pinch of white pepper powder
2 tablespoons water or more as needed

Heat canola oil in a wok on high heat and stir in garlic, ginger and green onion. When garlic is light yellow, stir in shiitake mushroom and cook for 15 seconds. Then stir in all vegetables and stir for 30 seconds, then add oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and water. The vegetable should have a slight crunchy texture. Season with white pepper powder.  Serve hot as a side dish or a main dish with steamed jasmine rice.

Vegetarian option: use vegetarian oyster sauce
Gluten-Free option: use wheat free soy sauce, wheat free oyster sauce
  
© 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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A Spicy Thai Cocktail

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

Tom Yum Martini, A Spicy Thai Cocktail

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

Pranee’s Tom Yum Martini Recipe

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

Vodka and lime peel

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

Thai chilies for garnish

 

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

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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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Vietnamese Coffee, Ca Phe Sua

Vietnamese Hot Coffee with Sweet Condensed Milk, Ca Phe Sua

I love Thai hot coffee with sweetened condensed milk and I also love Vietnamese coffee. Honestly I drink Vietnamese hot coffee every morning and sometimes once more before noon. I love the contrast between the bitter and the sweet of the coffee and the sweetened condensed milk. Thai coffee’s flavor is closer to Cafe Dumonde, which is made of coffee and chicory. As for Thai coffee, I don’t have it t in the morning, but I save it for special occasions such as with Thai dessert.

To make Vietnamese coffee one must have a special coffee filter like those shown in the photos whereas for Thai style you will need  fine cotton over your strainer- or you can buy one ready-made specifically for Thai coffee or Thai Tea filter.

I have  tried a few kinds of coffee from Vietnam and personally I like Trung Nguyen. It is easy to find, reasonably priced, and I like the buttery-rich flavor. Sometimes I use espresso blend that is a dark roast, rich intense, and caramelly sweet as an alternative or substitute.

Life is short, so have coffee and dessert (sweet condensed milk) first thing in the morning.

Serves: 1

1/2 to 1 tablespoon sweet condensed milk
2 tablespoons Vietnamese coffee or espresso blend dark roast coffee
2/3 cup boiling water

Pour sweet condensed milk to a coffee cup. Place Vietnamese coffee filter on top and add coffee. Place coffee insert part on top and secure before pouring boiling water on top. Cover with the lid and wait until all the water drips through.

Before you  drink the coffee, stir it lightly if you don’t like it too sweet, or strongly if you want all the sweetness.

© 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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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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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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