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Posts Tagged ‘Thai curry paste’

Rubber tree plantation in Phuket, Thailand

Image via Wikipedia

My Love for Mushrooms

My love for mushrooms was born when I was in my teen years in my Thai village. The village is surrounded by mountains on one side and rice fields on the other. It was a perfect place for wild foods. I learned to gather wild vegetables such as bamboo shoots and green and ginger family rhizomes, and of course I picked some wild orchids for myself on the way home. There were also many rubber plantations. The dried falling branches from the rubber trees were a source of firewood and rubber tree mushrooms called Hed Kreng. They are a typical mushroom that grows only on the old rubber trees which cover most of the southern peninsula of Thailand.

In Seattle, I enjoy various mushrooms and we are in luck, there are plenty of fresh mushrooms from local mushroom growers.

If you are hesitant to cook this recipe for any reason, I want to reassure you that this dish is packed full with flavors and received a five star rating from an admirer on yelp.com.

Grilled Spicy Phuket Mushroom - Rubber Tree Mushroom

 

 

Grilled Brown Button Mushrooms with Thai Basil Leaf in Banana Leaf

HED MOK PHUKET

Servings: 4 (one parcel per person)

We used to gather Hed Kreng mushrooms from old rubber tree trunks and bring them home for my mom to make my childhood favorite, Hed Mok (Grilled Mushrooms). I recreated this recipe by using brown button mushrooms that have a flavor similar to Hed Kreng. While creating this recipe, I recalled my vivid memories of how my mom prepared them, and the taste and aroma that I used to savor. The intense flavors of basil, chili, and earthy mushrooms come alive. An important part of this recipe is to grill or bake the mushrooms over high heat to intensify the flavor. Also, use coconut cream rather than coconut milk so the mixture won’t get too wet.

1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon red curry paste
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup coconut cream
¼ cup shallots, sliced
1 pound brown button mushrooms, brushed and sliced
1 cup Thai purple basil leaf
4 Thai chilies, halved
4 parchment papers (12”X16”) or banana leaves

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl, mix fish sauce, red curry paste, salt and coconut cream together until blended. Stir in shallots, mushrooms, and basil until mixed.

Divide mixture into four batches, and place each batch in the center of a piece of parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper over to make a bag; try to make it as flat as you can so the heat will distribute equally. Lay the bags of mushrooms on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with warm steamed rice.

Pranee’s note: Oyster, button, or Portobello mushrooms would all be great for this recipe, or you can use a combination of them. Wrapping the mushroom mixture in banana leaves and then grilling them creates another depth of taste and aroma.

© 2011 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.
Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com .

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Northern Thai Cuisine with the Kantok Diner

When planning a trip to Chiang Mai, the largest city in northern Thailand, one must see all of the cultural aspects that Northern Thai culture or Lanna culture has to offer. That is why I took my tour members to the Old Chiangmai Cultural Center. It is my favorite place for eating Northern Thai cuisine, listening to Thai music, and watching the dances. This may seem like a tourist trap, but for a short visit to Chang Mail, I recommend this experience before returning home. My visits with tour members in February 2007 and 2008 were memorable. We sat under the moonlight in a courtyard surrounded by old Thai teak buildings, ate, and watched the dance show. And of course the visitors had a chance to dance at the end.

Kantok Dinner at the Old Chiangmai Cultural Center

A typical Kontok dinner menu consists of Pork-Tomato Chili Dip (Nam Prik Ong), Green Chili Pepper Dip (Nam Prik Num), Fried Chicken (Gai Tod ), Chaingmai Curry Pork (Geang Hungley), Fried Banana (Kleuy Tod) and all of the vegetable condiments that go with chili dip, plus steamed sticky rice and steamed jasmine rice. All of these dishes were placed in bowls (kan) and set on a small round teak or rattan table (tok) that was only about 10 inches tall. We sat around the table and ate the food with our fingers, or with forks and spoons.

Tomato-Pork Chili Dip, Nam Prk Ong

Inspired Recipe from Our Chiang Mai Kantok Dinner

Nam Prik Ong

Tomato-Pork Chili Dip

Nam Prk Ong

น้ำพริกอ่อง

This dish is easy to make, and among Thai chili dips, pork-tomato chili dip is easy to love. It has a tomato base and is spicy hot with chili pepper, but does not have too strong a taste of shrimp paste. The secret is to use the ripest, reddest and sweetest tomatoes you can find. I recommend multiplying the recipe so you will have enough to keep some in the freezer. In Seattle I keep some Nam Prik Ong in the fridge to use as a condiment when I serve a meal with one main protein dish. I also love to use it as a condiment with steamed jasmine rice or to accompany other savory dishes or an array of fresh vegetables.

Yield: 1 cup

2 cilantro roots, or 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro stems
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and sliced, about 3 tablespoons
3 Chile Guajillo, or New Mexico chili pods, sliced and soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
5 whole dried Thai chilies, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
10 cloves garlic, peeled
5 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons shrimp paste placed on a piece of parchment paper and roasted in a 350BF oven for 10 minutes, (or substitute 1 tablespoon Napoleon anchovy paste)
1 teaspoon salt, or more as needed
3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
¼ cup ground pork
1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes or any sweet tomato variety, chopped
1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
¼ cup chopped cilantro to garnish

Make a curry paste by placing the cilantro roots, lemongrass, chili Guajillo, Thai chilies, garlic, shallots, shrimp paste and salt in the food processor. Turn on the machine and while it runs, pour cooking oil into the spout in a stream (like making pesto). Let the processor run for 3 minutes, stopping it occasionally to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the machine.

Place the curry paste in a frying pan with the pork and cook over medium heat until the pork is no longer pink. Stir in tomato, palm sugar, and fish sauce and let it simmer until the tomato is softened. Nam Prik Ong should have the consistency of tomato sauce (not watery). When it is done, stir in chopped cilantro and serve with jasmine rice and vegetable condiments, or serve it Kantok Dinner Style with sticky rice and other traditional dishes.

Vegetable Condiments: Sliced cucumbers, long beans, wing beans, Thai eggplants, banana blossoms, steamed Kabocha pumpkin.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com .

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Seattle Feast with Friends, 2010

I created this recipe for Seattle Feast with Friends event (http://futurewise.org/action/SeattleParticipants) held on Thursday, September 30th, 2010. This celebration brings together local food producers, winemakers, and guest chefs.

I hope to see you there. If you cannot attend, then enjoy cooking this recipe. Cheers, Pranee

 

Thai Mussel Curry with Tomato and Lemongrass

Thai Mussel Curry with Tomato and Lemongrass

Gaeng Hoi Nang Rom

This recipe uses red curry paste, coconut milk and just enough lemongrass to create a flavorful soup. The sweet and sour from the tomato and the tamarind juice heighten the flavor of the mussels. It is a very well balanced dish that you can enjoy by itself as a soup, or served it with steamed jasmine rice as a mild curry dish. Dill and cilantro are the perfect herbs for a finishing touch.

Serves: 2 as a main dish

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon red curry paste
2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
3 tablespoons coconut milk, or more as needed
2 medium size ripe tomatoes, cut into large chunks
15 mussels, de-bearded and halved (about a pound)
2 tablespoons tamarind juice, or 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped dill
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Stir canola oil, red curry paste, and lemongrass together in a pan on high heat until fragrant. Then stir in coconut milk and let it cook until the oil separates out from the rest of the mixture. Stir in the tomatoes and mussels and stir well. Cover with lid and cook until the mussels open up, about 5 minutes. Stir in tamarind juice; stir well and cook until the mussels are done (see below). Stir in dill and cilantro and serve right away.

Recipe by Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen http://ilovethaicooking.com/

Mediterranean Mussels by Taylor Shellfish Farm http://www.taylorshellfishfarms.com/

Wine Pairing: http://www.skyriverbrewing.com/

Sky River Semi-Sweet Mead

$14.99 per bottle

“Sky River Semi-Sweet Mead, although drier, enjoys a similar depth and character to the Sweet Mead. With hints of pear and a crisper finish Sky River Semi-Sweet Mead, served well-chilled, delicately offsets the exotic notes of sesame and ginger in Pan-Asian cuisine, and the rich herbal textures of the Mediterranean.”

 

Cooking Tips from the Expert, Jon Rowley

The Mediterranean mussels, which are just now coming into season and will be very plump, aren’t done when they open. They need to continue cooking after they open until you see the meat contract. This makes a BIG difference in the flavor. If the mussels are not cooked enough, they have an unpleasant fleshy taste. If cooked properly they are gloriously sweet. These mussels are so fat,  you don’t have to worry about overcooking.

Also if some mussels don’t open and the others are done, the ones that are closed will also be done. They just need to be pried open. Bum mussels will be open before cooking and should be discarded. Mediterranean mussels that are closed after cooking, if you have any, are fine.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area.Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com

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Phuket Red Curry Paste, My Aunt’s Recipe

I have five women in my life that I am thankful everyday for their talents, strength and kindness. I grew up with my grandmother, mom and my three aunts. It was quite an experience.  When it came to culinary skills, my three aunts each had their own specialty. My aunt Pan specializes in curry paste making and her curry paste is well known among family and friends. It was the year I left Phuket to go to Seattle that I visited my Aunt Pan to pick up a kilo of her homemade curry paste to bring with me. I kept it in the freezer for a year. But when I visited her a year later, I felt a little guilty asking her to make some more for me because it takes a week of pounding by hand. Instead, I asked her for her secret. She taught me to feel the ingredients in my left palm before putting them in the mortar. I was not sure if I got it at the time, but I was glad that I had also taken note of the amount in standard American measuring spoons. Now I even teach my aunt’s recipes in my cooking class on Southern Thai curry dishes.

Then the other day, I gave myself a final exam. I was in the kitchen preparing a curry paste, conducting every step from memory. I recalled the lesson with my aunt from over 15 years ago. She said that for four servings, start with about 1 teaspoon of salt and about 1 tablespoon of black pepper. For turmeric, she said that if I wanted to use fresh turmeric I should use about 1 inch, and she bent her index finger. If I used dry turmeric, use about 1 teaspoon. The amount for the dry red chili pepper I remember really well. She used 40 dried Thai chilies.  I used 20 for my cooking class and everyone thought that it was too hot, so generally I use 15 chilies for American 3 stars and 20 for 5 stars.

Phuket Red Curry Paste--Recipe from Phuket Village

My grandmother, mom, and three aunts prepared this curry paste with a  mortar and pestle countless times in their lives. About 30 years ago, when our village had access to electricity for the first time, I remember that the most important modern kitchen appliances that we purchased right away were a rice cooker and a blender.

My mom’s favorite way to make curry paste was with a mortar and pestle, but often she blended them in the blender. For this recipe I decided to prepare it in a blender, which only takes 5 minutes. I hope you enjoy my family recipe.

The Color of Phuket Red Curry Paste

Phuket red curry paste is so versatile. You may use it in any red curry recipe that calls for red curry paste. However, the color is yellow because our family omits dried large red spur chili pods. You may add 3 dried New Mexico Chili Pods to this recipe to add a deep red-orange color.

Phuket Red Curry Paste

Kruange Gaeng Phed Phuket

Yield: 1/2 cup

1 shallot, halved and peeled
6 cloves garlic
1 lemongrass, trimmed and thinly sliced, about 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
Place all ingredients in the blender with 1/2 cup water; blend until smooth, about 5 minutes.

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen

I Love Thai cooking
Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com

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Cilantro roots, authentic Thai Cooking

 

 After taking cooking class “Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge taught by Grace Young at the Sizzle Works, I was inspired to do more reading. There were three books on the subject by Grace Yong: The Breath of a Wok and Stir-frying to the Sky’s Edge and Martin Yan: Everybody’s Wokking. I came across the comment made by Martin Yan on the cilantro root and I am very happy to share this with you.

I can’t understand why the Thais are the only ones who cook with cilantro roots. The roots have a deep, rich flavor, less spicy than the feathery leaves. My produce man is so fastidious he trims off the roots, so I save a spot in my garden to grow my own supply. You can omit the roots from this recipe; …..will still taste great, just not quite as authentic Thai.”

Martin Yan: Everybody’s Wokking

In Seattle you can find cilantro that come with root at farmer’s market and occasionally at PCC Natural Markets. To learn more about about Thai cooking with cilantro roots and cook up an easy recipe Garlic Prawn (Kratiem Prik Thai Prawn)  please click here.

Cilantro roots is an essential part of Thai curry paste along with galangal, lemongrass, garlic and shallot

 

 

 

A Mountain of cilantro roots at Flower Market, Bangkok

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