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Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

My Candy

This is not a Halloween Pumpkin Candy, but it is the Thai kabocha candy I enjoyed when I was growing up in my village in Thailand. Kabocha pumpkin is a squash that Thais cook to make a variety of dishes, sweet or savory. It is my tradition for the blog to share a new kabocha recipe with you every year. (Past years’ recipes include Kabocha Pumpkin Soup, Thai Kabocha Pumpkin Custard, Spiced Rum Kabocha Pumpkin Mousse, Pumpkin Curry and my mom’s Stir-Fried Kabocha with Pork.) This year, many aspects led me to choose a recipe for Thai Kabocha Pumpkin Candy-น้ำเต้าเชื่อม–Namtao Chuam. It is easier than a pumpkin pie, with more pumpkin satisfaction as there are not many ingredients involved—just kabocha pumpkin and brown sugar. Thais are fond of cooking fruit or root vegetables such as bananas, kabocha, and sweet potatoes in brown sugar. The results comes out well-covered with caramelized sugar and taste like candy. This technique is called -Chuam – เชื่อม in Thai.

Thai Kabocha Pumpkin Candy

Another reason that I chose this recipe is that in Seattle, fall is the beginning of kabocha pumpkin season. My friend Pee Som Sawan brought Thai kabocha pumpkin candy to the potluck for the first time this year, as she has done every Sunday for the past 10 years. Then another day at a dinner party, I reconstructed my kabocha pumpkin custard with kabocha candy and the custard instead of following the regular recipe. This was because it can be hard to find the small kabocha pumpkin needed for that recipe and the timing was complicated. But most of all, I chose the Kabocha Pumplin Candy recipe for this year because it can be hard to compete with the many food bloggers out there to come with an exotic recipe and I thought what could be better than my Thai grandma’s recipe? So I hope you enjoy this old time, easy and simple recipe that you can prepare at home.

Kabocha Pumpkin Candy

I want to thank to my friend Pee Som Sawan who shared her easy tips for simplifying the cooking technique. She suggested that I cut and lay the kabocha pumpkin slices in a pan that has a glass lid, sprinkle them with brown sugar or any type of sugar, then add enough water to the bottom of the pan to create steam when they cook. My only tip to add is how to find the right kabocha pumpkin for the best results. (Please see Pranee’s tips on selecting a kabocha pumpkin.)

Kabocha Pumpkin Candy

Cover the pan with the glass lid and cook on medium heat until the kabocha is soft and tender when tested with a fork, but still holds its shape. Remove the lid. If there is too much water left, let it cook without the lid until the syrup has thickened. Serve for dessert or as a snack.

Thai Kabocha Pumpkin Candy

Namtao Chuam

น้ำเต้าเชื่อม

Serves: 4

The total time for this dish, including cutting and cleaning and cooking should be about 3o minutes. The cooking itself is about 20 minutes. It is delicious warm or cold, with whatever syrup is left behind in the pan or with salted coconut milk. It tastes so heavenly! Skin and flesh are all good together. It is like a cheesecake with a natural crust. This recipe has sugar to just the right amount. For a more decadent dessert, please add more sugar. Enjoy this any time of day!

3 to 4 wedges of Kabocha pumpkin (see instructions)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 pinches salt
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons coconut milk plus 2 pinches of salt, optional
 

Remove any bad skin from the kabocha squash but keep all of the green skin; wash and dry. Cut into wedges about 2 inches wide, then cut each wedge in half across the middle to get two pieces from each wedge. Lay the pumpkin in the bottom of the pan and add the water. Cover with a glass lid and cook on medium heat until the kabocha is soft and tender when tested with a fork, but still holds it shape—about 15 minutes. Remove the lid. If there is too much water left, let it cook some more until the syrup has thickened. Remove the kabocha pumpkin candy to a serving plate and pour the syrup on top. If desired, stir the salt into the coconut milk until combined, then pour it on the top of each kabocha candy as a garnish before serving.

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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Not Just for Fine Dining, Golden Trout

Last Saturday I went to the Pike Place Market to get the fresh fish of the day for my family dinner. Golden trout caught my eye. When I visited the market last summer, only City Fish carried it. This time around it seemed that every fish stall had a pile of golden trout, so I thought this would be a perfect time to share my recipe with you for Steamed Golden Trout in Lime-Chili-Garlic-Dill Sauce. The pictures were taken a while ago, but the recipe is timeless. It is based on Phuket Pla Nueng Manao—steamed fish in lime juice—but the way I prepared it reflects my new home in the Pacific Northwest.

Golden trout is a sub-species of rainbow trout, both of which are related to salmon. The pale pink color of the flesh and its texture are a really amazing mixture of both trout and salmon. There are many ways to prepare golden trout, but today my favorite is to steam them. I love cooking fish whole, so using the oven is a quick way to go.

The golden trout I bought was from a farm in Idaho. Golden trout’s natural habitat is the “clear, cold headwaters of creeks and lakes at elevations above 6,890 feet,” but most golden trout come from fish farms. This is because you may fish for them for your personal consumption but not to sell them commercially. Most golden trout in the markets are from the Idaho Trout Company. From my research I learned that fly fishing for rainbow trout and golden trout is a very popular activity.

Fresh Rainbow Trout from Pike Place Market

When it comes to steaming fish, I am my grandma’s grandaughter. I ate many meals of steamed fish with my grandmother, like Clay Pot Lemongrass-Steamed Fish (Pla Nueng Morh Din). I hope you will have a chance to cook a few of her recipes. Several of them are featured in the Asian Grandmothers Cookbook by Pat Tanumihardja. At home here in Seattle, I have adapted my grandmother’s recipe into an easy and fun way to prepare fish for my friends and family. My recipe below reflects my quick and easy method for doing this at home. I will let you decide which way you prefer.

Garlic, Lime, Dill and Purple Chili

PLA NUENG MANAO

ปลานึ่งมะนาว

Steamed Golden Trout with Lime-Chili-Garlic-Dill Sauce

Servings: 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

If you love fish, this recipe works for all occasions! It is light, fresh and delightful — yet easy to prepare. While steaming the fish, prepare the sauce. When the fish is cooked, just pour the sauce over it and serve with hot, fragrant jasmine rice.

1 whole golden trout, or any fileted fish (cooking time may vary)
4 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and smashed
large sheet of parchment paper and foil
10 cloves garlic, peeled
5 Thai red chilis, purple chilis, jalapeno or Serrano peppers
1 cilantro root
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup chopped dill or cilantro
4 lime slices for garnish

Using a mortar and pestle, pound garlic, peppers, cilantro root and salt until smooth. With pestle, blend in sugar, fish sauce and lime juice until sugar dissolves. Stir in dill. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place 1/4 cup water in a 9” x 13” baking pan, then spread the lemongrass out. Place the trout on the bed of lemongrass and sprinkle salt on top of the fish. Cover the dish with parchment paper and then the foil, wrapping it around the edges to form a seal. Bake until the fish is cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes. (The good thing about steaming is you never overcook the fish). To check if the fish is done, insert a knife into the thickest part of the fish and lift the flesh away from the backbone. If it is easy to separate the flesh from the backbone, then it is done. If not, steam a little bit longer.

Place trout on a serving dish along with all of the steaming water. Pour the lime sauce over the top, then garnish with sliced limes and serve with jasmine rice.


Cook’s Note:

~Thai chilies are recommended for this recipe because they have a lingering flavor; you may remove seeds if needed. To control the spiciness of your finished dish, use 2 chilies for mild, 3 or 4 for medium, and 5 or 6 for a full spicy flavor.

~Always add the fish sauce before the lime juice to keep the sauce vibrant and fresh tasting.

~Best of all is to prepare the sauce while the fish is cooking. If you have a steamer, you can steam the fish in a serving size bowl and pour the sauce on top just before serving.

~The sauce can be used as a dipping sauce for any seafood, including mussels, clams and crab meat.

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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Kamala Beach, Phuket Thailand

A Walk for Remembering

When I visit home, I often take a leisurely walk—Dern Kin Lom—เดินกินลม—in Thai this means “walk to eat the wind.” Today I walked on the beach and in the village just a bit before the sunrise, around 6am. During the first walk of each visit my mind can’t help but wander off a bit to the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. But as each year goes by, it is like a memory lost, and it does not stay in my mind as long. The rebuilding is beautiful with a park and the new-old town now filled with hotels, guest houses, shops and restaurants. And the people are moving on. Their daily lives are back to normal with cheerfulness as before.

I started my walk from the south end of the beach, then went along a canal through the tsunami memorial park. My first stop was to join locals at the breakfast stand.  (Please click here to see my  Breakfast on Phuket Island on YouTube.) After catching up with old friends and villagers at the coffee stand, I returned through the park and walked to the north end of the beach then back again. It takes about an hour and I become totally lost in the serenity.

I walked back passing the Kamala Beach School and stopped by the school kitchen to say hi to an old friend. As usual, I ended up joining the chef team and had a second breakfast. Today, however, was different. Khun Taeng, the head chef, was in the middle of preparing Phad Phed Talay Tua Fak Yao for 500 students for lunch. I hung around and took a bunch of photos and caught up on the good old days and how we used to cook together with my family and friends. I have more recipes from Kamala Village and the school kitchen to share with you later on during the year. For today it was a perfect way to share my morning walk with you as well as recipes from the Kamala School. Our greetings to you all — from Kamala Village with love!

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Thai Spicy Stir-fried Seafood with Yardlong Bean

Phad Phed Talay Tua Fak Yao 

ผัดเผ็ดทะเลถั่วฟักยาว

My students enjoy all sorts of Chinese style stir-fries with a little spice and herbs. It is a very common practice in Thai kitchens to use a wok for a quick and easy approach, but to add a pungent, spicy curry paste and herbs. This creates a meal that bonds flavor and satisfaction and is served with steamed jasmine rice. This quick and easy one-dish dinner is called Aharn Jan Deow (อาหารจานเดียว)—”A Dish Deal.” Most Thai cooks cleverly combine their choice of protein and vegetable to create this Phad Phed (meaning “Spicy Stir-fried”). If this dish is too pungent for your taste buds, you can add a few tablespoons of coconut milk to lower the heat. And if you wish to create the same flavor as Phuket Phad Phed, please prepare it using my Phuket Curry Pasteinstead of store-bought curry paste.So I hope you like the Thai flavorful approach to Chinese-style wok cooking. Let’s add Thai spicy stir-fried to your repertoire

Thai Spicy Stir-fried Seafood with Yardlong Bean

Preparation: 10
Cooking time: 5
Servings: 2-4
 
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 tablespoons red curry paste, Phuket Curry Paste or Prik Khing curry paste (Mae Sri)
5 Kaffir lime leaves 
1/2 cup calamari rings
1/2 cup shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup yardlong beans beans or green beans, cut into 1 inch-lengths
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ cup Thai basil
  
Heat the wok on high heat. When it is hot, add the cooking oil, then the red curry paste and Kaffir. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then stir in calamari, shrimp, beans, yardlong beans, cauliflower and sugar. Stir until the seafood cooks through and the vegetables are cooked, but still crispy. Add a few tablespoon water as need to create steam and sauce for the cooking. Then stir in basil for 10 seconds. Serve over jasmine rice.
 
© 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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泼水节

Image via Wikipedia

Sanuk Mai? This is a question Thais ask each other when they share experiences of any activities you do in life.

สนุก-Sanuk means to have a good time, to enjoy or to get pleasure and joy from anything we do. Tiew hai sanuk means travel and have a good time. Tum Ngan hai snuk, is to work and to enjoy working. When making choices in our life,“Sanuk” is a factor in our decision making: some pleasure has to be combined with whatever we do.  And when life is lacking Sanuk, then let’s plan it. This week in Seattle, I am going to do something I actually planned a month ahead to “Sanuk” with friends and that is to celebrate Thai New Year’s Day, or Songkran, with friends at the Washington Buddhavanaram.

Songkran is Thai New Year’s Day. It is is a national holiday in Thailand celebrated on April 13th. It is also a New Year’s Day for Lao, Burma and Cambodia. The Thai New Year is a solar new year, and not to be confused with the Chinese New Year, which is a lunar new year. In Seattle, the Thai community celebrates the holiday on Sundays so that locals can take time off on the weekend to celebrate. Please click here to see how these countries celebrate: Cambodia, Laos, Mon-Burmese and Thai. Many westerners know this celebration in Southeast Asia as the Water Festival.

Songkran is such a special day that we can’t complete our Sanuk without sharing food. Everyone brings food to share, which is set out on the table, then a bell is rung to signal lunch time. Sticky rice is well-loved, and the most popular dish to share.

Thai Community Potluck in Washington

I decided to do Kao Mok Gai (Phuket Baryani Rice) as a main dish, and sticky rice in bamboo tubes (my version with parchment paper in the oven) for a dessert. I chose these recipes because I wanted to do something that was easy to cook in large quantities and also something that is a traditional dish and a crown pleasure. Kao Mok Gai is a special dish from Phuket for a special event. In Cambodia,sticky rice in a bamboo tube, known as Kralan, is a traditional dish to be eaten on New Year’s Day.  Here are links to recipes for these dishes that are already available on this blog: Kao Mok Gai and Kao Lam.

Phuket Chicken Baryani Rice--Kao Mok Gai Phuket

Thai Kao Lam, Sticky Rice in Bambo Tube

I hope to get some more recipe ideas at this event as well as some photos to share with you.

May I wish you a Happy Thai New Year and have a lot of Sanuk in the coming year.

สวัสดีปีใหม่ค่ะ

Pranee

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Best Phad Thai on Mahachai Road, Bangkok 

The Golden Mount

Image via Wikipedia

I just returned home from three weeks of savoring Thailand. I still have a little jet lag and a lingering sense of all the flavors from Thailand. My first day in Bangkok was spent with my nieces and nephew who knew the best places to eat in Bangkok. First we intended to go to Thip Samai, but the restaurant was closed. Thip Samai is open evening hours from 5:30pm till 1:30 am, but we were not in luck. Next to Thip Samai is the Lueng Pha Phad Thai restaurant, which is very good. We savored every menu item and were very happy with our lunch—we all know that good Phad Thai can make one happy! We then continued exploring the neighborhood, and decided to walk up to the top of the Golden Mountain Temple, Phu Khao Thong. It was a very pleasant day, cool and sunny, and I spent a good time bonding with my two nieces and nephew.

For Thai foodies, I strongly recommend that when you visit Bangkok, plan to go for more than a week and include Lueng Pha or Thip Samai Phad Thai on your to-do list. They are in a great location with interesting tourist sites nearby such as: San Chao Pho Suea, Sao Chingcha, Kao San Road, and the Golden Mountain Temple.

After having a good time at the Golden Mountain Temple, we were able to enjoy our afternoon visiting San Chao Pho Suea and Khao San Road. Of course, in Bangkok there were plenty of street foods to enjoy. As we walked, we tasted all of the good looking snacks along the way. It was a perfect day and a wonderful first day to welcome myself back home. We joked that it was an  “Eat Pray Love” kind of day.

Please enjoy the video below showing how Phad Thai is prepared and wrapped in an omelette.

Phad Thai Lueng Pa Mahachai Road

Omelette wrapped Phad Thai with Prawns

 

Phad Thai with Shrimp Fat, Fresh Shrimps and Egg

Phad Thai Lueng Pa (Jao Gao)

Phad Thai Regular without egg, 35 Baht ($1)

Phad Thai Regular with egg, 35 Baht

Phad Thai with Shrimp Fat and Egg, 50 Baht

Phad Thai with Shrimp Fat, Fresh Shrimp and Egg, 70 Baht

Phad Thai , Shrimp Fat, Fresh Shrimp, Wrapped with Omelet, 70 Baht

Additional Egg, 10 Baht each

Thank you for your support

 

The decor inside the restaurant

Lueng Pha Phad Thai (next to Phad Thai Thip Samai on Mahachai Road, Bangkok)

315/1 Mahachai Road
Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon
Bangkok 10200
Thailand

 

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Visiting Home: Four Fish Dish

I left Seattle on January 25 and was excited about visiting home during Chinese New Year. I wanted to record my family traditions and later all will explore food and culture in many provinces around Phuket. This trip is unlike other trips: my focus is on the Southern Cuisine. For 3 weeks my itinerary is planned to make the most with recipes from the villages. After spending 5 days in Bangkok and Amphawa experiencing  the incredible regional foods, I am now with my family in Phuket. I arrived at my family home just around noon and my favorite foods are already waiting for me at the table.

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My mom waited for me in her kitchen with my favorite foods: fish four-way, fried salted croaker and fried fresh turmeric croaker and then steamed Thai mackerel (Pla Tuu) in tamarind sauce and sour curry with croaker, fuzzy melon and taro stem. When I am at home in my mom’s kitchen I eat simple foods.

I am so happy to be home again.

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Pranee’s Curried Crab Filo for Holiday Entertaining

It is not a fusion and there is no confusion, they’re just for fun. Enjoy crab rangoon for a festive time.

Crab Wonton from a Chinese Restaurant

I first tasted crab wonton, or crab rangoon, in a Thai restaurant many years ago. It tasted great, but I was confused because it was not related to any Thai food in Thailand, which left me wondering about its origin. When my assistant suggested that my Thai green chili jam would be great with crab wonton, I started exploring this dish and came up with the following fun version.

I rarely do deep-frying at home, so using filo dough was the way to go for me. It provides the texture of a fried wonton, but it is a crunch with less guilt. I always heighten the flavor of a crab dish with curry powder and green onion, but this time I used pineapple chunks as well to add an interesting sweet experience to a savory dish.

Last week I attended a Girls’ Holiday Appetizer Party. As we all surrounded a dining table filled with many kinds of appetizers, I was happy to see everyone’s expressions when they tried the Curried Crab Filo. It is amazing what flavors can be experienced in just one bite!

I like to make the stuffing the day before and chill it in the refrigerator. It is a good idea to thaw your filo dough then as well. Both will be ready for you the next day. The rest is easy. Just preheat the oven, wrap and bake.

Curried Crab Filo at Home Party

Curried Crab Filo with Thai Lime-Green Chili Jam

Yield: 36 pieces

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Baking time: 10 minutes

1 cup cream cheese
1 cup chopped fresh or canned pineapple, squeeze out excess liquid to get about ⅔ cup of pineapple
⅓ cup sliced green onions (about 5 green onions)
4 teaspoons Madras curry powder
A dash of Thai chili powder
8-ounces crab meat (about 1 cup), squeezed lightly to drain out excess water
9 (17 by 12-inch) sheets filo dough, thawed if frozen
½ cup cooking oil
3 tablespoons Thai Lime-Green Chili Jam (see blog recipe)
36 cilantro leaves
36 sliced red peppers or red loganberries

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To make the filling, combine cream cheese, pineapple, green onion, Madras curry powder, and chili powder in a medium size bowl; mix well. Gently fold in crabmeat until combined. Yield: about 2 cups filling.

Take one filo sheet from the stack and lay it out on a work surface. Brush well with oil to cover the entire surface. Lay another layer on top and brush with oil again. Add a third layer and brush with oil again.

With the length facing you, place one-third of the cream cheese filling along the edge lengthwise from left to right to make a line of filling 1 inch by 17 inches. Fold the edge forward to make a roll. As you continue to roll, brush the dry surface of filo dough with oil. The finished roll should be about 1 inch in diameter. Using a knife, cut the roll into 12 pieces and place them on a greased baking sheet.

Repeat these steps to make two more rolls, for a total of 36 pieces. Place on the same baking sheet and bake until golden, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and place a ¼ teaspoon Thai lime-green chili jam on each curried crab filo and garnish with cilantro leaves and sliced red pepper or loganberries.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

© 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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