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Eat Like a Local

Papa Seafood Restaurant, Laem Sing, Phuket, Thailand

Stir-fried Blue Crab with Black Pepper – ผัดปูม้ากับพริกไทยดำ

It was less than a month ago that I was at Laem Sing, Phuket, soaking up the warm sunshine before leaving for Seattle. Laem Sing is my favorite beach for getting away for a half day—or all day—to just hang out on the beach with nature and good Phuket seafood. Typically one should visit early enough to choose the best location among the sun loungers that are lined up along the beach. The sun lounger will cost 50 to 100 baht ($2 to $3), which is paid to the owner of the restaurant in front of which the sun lounger sets. It also means that you should order food and drink from that restaurant as well. That’s how I came to know Papa Seafood Restaurant, as I make sure to visit Laem Sing each year. This is a private beach but it is open to the public. It is located on the northwest coast of Phuket on Millionaire Road between Kamala and Surin Beaches.

Pay for parking (40 baht) near the road, then walk down the hill to this quiet beach.

Laem Sing Beach

At Papa Seafood Restaurant, the seafood is purchased fresh each day and the menu is full of mouth-watering dishes—from local Thai seafood favorites to a few western dishes for those who prefer western comfort food such as sandwiches. The drink menu has a long list of tropical smoothies and other beverages that can keep you hydrated throughout the day.

As my eye glanced over the menu, I began to wonder about the possibility of taping the cooking at the restaurant to share with my students and Thai foods fans. Never afraid to ask, I found that the cook didn’t mind me taking photographs and video. I hope that you will enjoy the video on Stir-fried Blue Crab with Black Pepper recipe and that it will help you to duplicate this dish at home. If you get a chance to visit Phuket, please check out Laem Sing Beach and stop by Papa Seafood Restaurant. From Laem Sing Beach to your kitchen!

Stir-Fried Blue Crab with Black Pepper Recipe

Phad Phu Ma Kub Prik Thai Dum

ผัดปูม้ากับพริกไทยดำ

I grew up in the southern region of Thailand eating two kinds of crab: a rice-field crab (Phu Dum) and blue crab (Phu Ma), which is the most common crab caught in the Indian ocean. My family’s favorite ways to prepare the blue crab are either to steam it and serve it with a lime-garlic dipping sauce, or to stir-fry the crab with black pepper and green onion. Blue crab is so sweet and delicate in flavor, the cooking is best when it is simple with few ingredients. I love stir-fried blue crab with black pepper and the contrast of the sweet, juicy, fresh crab and the excitement of crushed black pepper. Kin Hai Aroy! Bon Appetite!

Serves: 2

Cooking Time: 5 to 7 minutes

3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons garlic 
1/2 onion, sliced
4 Thai chilies, cut in half
2 blue crabs, cleaned and cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 cup water or more as needed
1/2 tomato, sliced
1/2 cup Chinese celery and green onions cut into one inch length 
 
Heat the wok on high heat and stir in onion and chili; stir back and forth until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then stir in blue crab and let it cook for 2 minutes. Stir in black pepper, oyster sauce, sugar and soy sauce. Stir well, then add water and let it cook until the crab is completely pink in color and the crab meat is opaque, not translucent. It takes about  3 to 5 minutes for the crab meat to cook.  Add more water in between to make a good amount of sauce but not too watery. Last, stir in tomato, Chinese celery and green onion and continue stirring for 30 seconds. Serve right away with steamed jasmine rice.

Credit: Papa Seafood Restaurant

Laem Sing, Phuket, Thailand

© 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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The Sweet is a Faintness and the Bitter is a Medicine

I often hear the old Thai saying  หวานเป็นลม ขมเป็นยา: kwan pen lom kom pen yah. This culinary wisdom literally says “the sweet is a faintness and the bitter is a medicine.” Growing up in a village in Thailand with my grandma and her friends, I acquired a taste for the bitter and exotic vegetables from their gardens and the wilderness around us.

Bitter melon or Bitter Gourd is called มะระ—Mara—in Thai. Its scientific name is Momordica charantia and it is native to Asia and Africa. It is a climbing annual plant that one can grow anytime, anywhere in Southeast Asia and South Asia regardless of the season.

Bitter Melon – Photo from my morning walk in Hoi An, Vietnam

In most Thai or Asian villages, where there is a fence or an arbor there will be a climbing plant next to it. There just needs to be a space large enough for seeds to grow.

Chinese Bitter Melon – the China phenotype is common in Thailand

Bitter melon is best eaten when it is green and young. When the fruit grows older, the taste gets more bitter. It is not common to eat the older fruit when it turns yellow-orange and the seeds become red; at this later stage the plant is mainly used for growing the seeds for future new plants.

Indian variety of bitter melon – photo from my visit to a market in Hue, Vietnam

Bitter melon is widely cooked in many ways in Southeast Asia. In Thailand, I often enjoy it in stir-fried dishes with soy sauce and with or without egg. It is also popular with mara yad sai—stuffed with pork in a soup. Fresh green or boiled bitter melon can be served in a Thai crudites platter with Thai chili dip, or it can accompany pickled cabbage in a pork-bone soup or stewed bitter melon and pork-bone soup. It can also be cooked in a curry dish as well. In Myanmar and Bangladeshi, bitter melon is often stir-fried with garlic and turmeric powder.

How to prepare bitter melon

All parts of the fruit are edible after you remove the seeds and stem. For stir-fries, thin-slice the melon as shown above. Then I often take steps to reduce some of the bitterness. There are two ways to do this: put the sliced melon in boiling water for a few minutes and then strain out the melon and discard the water. Or sprinkle some salt on the melon, mix it in well and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing them in water. You may squeeze to dry. I personally like to use this latter method before making my stir-fries as some of the bitter flavor is left behind.

Why should you eat bitter melon? For much the same reason that you eat broccoli or spinach: for their health benefits. Bitter melon is an aid to diabetes control. It lowers blood sugar and promotes healthy insulin levels; besides that it also has Vitamin C, B1 and B2. While more studies need to be done, it is time to learn about new vegetables like bitter melon or get back to eating them routinely and celebrating the sweet truth about bitter melon. Cheers to a bitter melon!

Stir-fried Bitter Melon with Egg

Stir-fried Bitter Melon with Egg

Phad Mara Kub Khai 

ผัดมะระกับไข่

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 4 minutes

When one has acquired a taste for bitter melon, stir-fried bitter melon with egg is a delightful dish. Personally, it makes me happy like after eating bitter-sweet chocolate. A bite of sliced bitter melon contrasts with the sweet, cooked egg and the hint of salty-soy flavor,  making this three-flavor combination very memorable and it lingers on my palate. When trying this dish for the first time, don’t be afraid of the bitter that you will taste at first. Wait a little while and you will taste the sweet from the egg, then the salty from the soy sauce. Serve the stir-fried bitter melon as a side with a curry dish and warm steamed jasmine rice.

Serves: 2

3 to 5 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 eggs
1½ cups sliced bitter melon, about 1 large bitter melon
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup water or chicken broth
 
Heat a wok on high heat until it is hot. Pour in 3 tablespoons canola oil and stir in garlic. When garlic is golden, stir in one egg and stir a few times. When the egg is cooked, stir in bitter melon. Stir for 1 minute, then add another egg and stir a few times before adding soy sauce and sugar. Add water or chicken broth and let it cook 1 minute. Depending on one’s liking, the melon should be not too soft or to firm; it should still have some crunch. Serve warm with steamed 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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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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My Everyday  Asian Vegetable

Choy Sum - Flowering Cabbage

Choy Sum (also known as flowering cabbage) is a most popular vegetable in Southeast Asia. It belongs to the Brassica family along with Bok Choy and Gai Lan (Chinese kale or broccoli). The most common uses are in stir-fries and soups. My favorite way of preparing this is to stir-fry it as a side dish with salt and pepper or stir-fry with any rice noodles or egg noodles. It takes a short time to cook and is easy to pair with other ingredients. 

Stir-fried Choy Sum as a Side dish

Stir-fried Choy Sum

Phad Pak Gwang Tung

ผัดผักกวางตุ้ง

Servings: 4

Preparation: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

3 tablespoons canola oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
12 choy sum 0r about 12 ounces, cleaned and cut into 2 inch-lengths
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat canola oil in a wok on high heat and stir in garlic. When garlic is golden, stir in choy sum. Stir in a few drops of water and season with salt and pepper to taste, stirring well. Serve hot as a side dish with steamed 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 .
 

Stir-fried Phuket Hokkien Mee with Choy Sum

 
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The Mystery Dish of Southern Thailand

Stir-fried Fresh Grated Coconut with Phuket Curry Paste and Chapoo Leaf

I uncovered a mystery about my grandmother’s cooking during my last trip to Phuket. I asked around about Phad Maprow Khub Kruang Gaeng, a stir-fried, fresh grated coconut with Phuket curry paste. During my childhood and adult life, I had never seen it cooked or eaten or even mentioned by anyone except members of my family. And it was only my grandmother who always asked me to assist her with it when I was young. I always wondered if it was served for health or economic reasons, or simply a food that the women of the house put on the table for their large extended family. It was never served alone, but with other main dishes and steamed jasmine rice.

I described the dish to my family to refresh their memories. My mom said that mostly we prepared it with a special kind of coconut (out of a thousand different kinds of coconuts, we used one that has an interesting texture with more like a virgin coconut oil). Then my sister-in-law, who was born in Phang Nga (80 kilometers away from Phuket), recalled eating the dish in her hometown. She said she had prepared it before, but not often. Luckily for me, she was very happy to prepare this for me while I took notes and photographs. She did it exactly the way I remember my grandmother preparing it. Thank you to my sister-in-law Tim, who helped me preserve the history of this lost recipe.

We shared the dish afterwards and more than anything else, more than its just being an interesting dish, it was a moment of rediscovery of the old time flavors of the south. We bonded again with foods. I hope that some of you will try this recipe so it won’t be lost forever.

Curry paste and fresh grated coconut in a mortar mix with pestle

First, Tim pounds the Phuket curry paste. When it became a fine paste she mixed in the freshly grated coconut and pounded to combine all of the ingredients. Then she stir-fried the mixture in a wok.

Coconut and turmeric—the colors and flavors of Southern Thailand

Stir-fried Fresh Grated Coconut Meat with Phuket Curry Paste

Phad Maprow Khub Kruang Gaeng Phuket

ผัดเนื้อมะพร้าวสดขูดกับเครื่องแกงภูเก็ต

Serves: 8 (as a side dish)

Yield: 2 cups

1/2 to 1 recipe Phuket Curry Paste (please click here for the recipe)
2 cups freshly grated coconut meat, or frozen (thaw before cooking)
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
Salt to taste
32 chapoo or wild pepper leaves

Combine curry paste and grated coconut by hand or with a mortar and pestle. Place in a wok (without cooking oil) over medium heat, and stir constantly to allow the coconut and curry mix to become one texture. Continue stirring until the moisture in the coconut dries up and the curry paste is well-incorporated, about 5 to 8 minutes. It should be flaky with a little bit of moisture left, neither too dry nor too oily. Serve at room temperature with wild pepper leaves on the side.

Enjoy this as a tidbit by placing about 1 tablespoon on a wild pepper leaf, then wrapping it up so you can eat it in a single bite. Or simply mix it with warm jasmine rice and enjoy it as an accompaniment to curry and vegetable dishes.

Pranee’s Note:

This recipe has not been tested yet in my kitchen, so pay attention to spicy, salty and sweet when trying this recipe.

Chapoo leaf or wild pepper leaf is also known as la lot leaf (please see Pranee’s Blog Entry on Chapoo leaf)

Pranee’s Video on Youtube: How to Open a Coconut Husk: Thai Style

More Recipes by Pranee on Phuket Curry Paste

© 2013  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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Quick & Easy Spicy Thai Stir-fry for Summer Day 

I’m back from my road trip to Idaho and I miss eating Thai food. I don’t want to spend too much time cooking in the hot summer weather. Looking around I found some frozen Alaskan scallops in the freezer. I bought some fresh green beans at the market and got some fresh mixed basil leaves from the garden. A spicy stir-fry was the answer to fit all expectations–quick and easy, spicy to suit my soul and with cool Thai beer for the 95 degree Seattle weather.

Stir-fried Scallop with Red Curry Paste and Greeen Bean

Twenty minutes before dinner, place the beer in the freezer, I turned on the rice cooker and then went into my garden to get some basil. The scallops were thawed.  The rest of ingredients are Thai staple ingredients from my kitchen such as red curry paste and roasted red chili paste. The remaining work was to stir-fry it in a wok for about 10 minutes.

This recipe is an impromptu creation and it may not have all the steps and ingredients like when I teach traditional Thai recipes. At home when the focus is to put everything together in a hurry. But all the ingredients I used for this recipe was sufficient to call it an authentic Thai. It was a very satisfying meal. I hope you get a chance to try the recipe. Jarean Arharn Kha — Bon Appétit!

Stir-fried Scallop with Red Curry Paste and Green Beans and Jasmine Rice

Stir-fried Scallop with Red Curry Paste and Basil 

Phad Phed Hoy Shell 

Serves: 2
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon curry paste
1 tablespoon roasted red chili paste
3 Thai eggplants, cut into wedge
16 green beans, trimmed
6 large scallops
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup Thai basil or sweet basil leaves

Heat a wok or skillet on high heat until hot, stir in canola oil red curry and roasted red chili paste and stir until fragrant. Stir in Thai eggplants and green beans and cook for 30 seconds, and then add scallops. Stir well with one hand and add 1 tablespoon coconut milk at a time every 10 seconds. Keep an eye on scallops, when it starts to firm up and the flesh get opaque, it should be done. Then on high heat, stir in basil for 20 seconds. Serve right away with steamed jasmine rice. 

Please see similar stir-fried with instruction and vedio here: Stir-fried Catfish with Red Curry Paste
 
© 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 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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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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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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Ten years ago, I developed the best (my students say so) recipe for Phad Thai to teach and share with my students in the cooking class. Because it is a trade secret, I can not share that version with you. However, for my Thai food blog I am in search of Phad Thai recipes from the vendors and restaurant chefs in Thailand. The fascinating thing about Phad Thai is the ingredients. They are different from town to town and region to region. For example, in Korat one of the ingredients is salted soy beans, and in Phuket we use fresh rice noodles, “chow fun”.  I hope you enjoy the discovery of Phad Thai with me.

My first step, I called my sister last week for her contribution to my blog; Phuket Phad Thai. From her e-mail, I copied her Thai barebone recipe down–this is how one Thai gives recipes to another Thai. To make a recipe work, you need to decode, experience, and record the version that you have come up with. Simply follow the principle of balancing sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. When I am done with decoding my sister’s recipe in my kitchen into an American-standard recipe, then I will share it with you in another blog entree. Please don’t wait for me, but try it on your own. I have included a slide show from a street vendor in Phuket taken a few years ago near Chalong Temple in Chalong District, Phuket, Thailand.

ผัดไทย
พริกใหญ่   แห้ง   1         ขีด                  แช่น้ำ
พริกเล็ก           1          กำ          แช่น้ำ
กรเทียม            1          หัว
มะขามเปียก         1           กำ(  แช่น้ำ  ไม่เอาเม็ด)
เกลือ               1              ช้อนชา
น้ำตาล               3            ช้อนโต๊
นำทุกอย่างมาปันรวมกัน       แล้วตั้งไฟเปาไฟ
แล้วตั้งให้เย็น       เก็บในต้เย็น
วิธีทำ
เต๋ากั๋ว หั่นเป็นสีเหลียมลูกเต๋า      แล้ว
ตั้งไฟ   ใส่กุ้ง    เต๋ากั่ว   แล้ว    ตีไข่ผัดกับเส้น   จนเส้นนุ่ม ใส่น้ำผัดไทยวีอิ๋วดำ  นิด   น้ำปลา   น้ำตาล  ออกหลายแล้วตามด้วยถ้วงอก
กุ๋ยฉ่าย

Translation 

Phad Thai 

Sauce
Large dried chili, 1/10 kg, soaked in water
Small dried chili, 1 handful
Garlic, 1 bulb
Tamarind paste, 1 handful, soaked in water
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Sugar, 3 tablespoons
 
Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Bring to boil in a pot. When it has cooled down, keep in the fridge.
 

Stir-fry

Heat a wok, add cooking oil, shrimp, tofu, beat the egg to stir-fried noodles until the noodle is soft. Stir in Phad Thai sauce, a little bit of dark soy sauce, a little bit of fish sauce, sugar. Finish the stir-fry with bean sprout and garlic chives.

Phad Thai - Phuket, mobile vendor

Phad Thai Phuket at Chalong Temple

Final touch with bean spout and garlic chive

Note: Rudee Piboon is my sister who owns a wok-fast food restaurant in Thalang Phuket. She is a regular contributor, you will find her recipes and cooking demo at this food blog and the I Love Thai Cooking youtube channel. .

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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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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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Stir-fried Phuket Hokkien Mee with Choy Sum

PHUKET HOKKIEN MEE RECIPE
Stir-fried egg noodles Phuket style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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

Phad Namtao Moo
Stir-fried Kabocha Pumpkin with Pork

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

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

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

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

Gluten-Free option: use wheat free soy sauce

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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PHAD PHED PLA DOOK

Thai stir-fried catfish with red curry paste

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2010  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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Thai Cooking with Wok

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

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

Ladle & Shovel (Spatula)

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

How to Season a Wok

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

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

~ Cook pork in a bone in boiling water.

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

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

~ Use high heat with salt.

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

2 to 3 tablespoons pork fat

1 cup garlic chives

½ cup ginger, shredded

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

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

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Local asparagus

Local asparagus

The best taste of stir-fried vegetables is their freshness. I chose asparagus, to celebrate spring, and then welcomed it into the wok with shiitake mushrooms. These are a perfect pair and you can heighten the depth of flavor with oyster sauce. Phad Pak, or stir-fried vegetables, is a typical side dish that is usually served daily. To go with a tasty Thai banquet, stir-fried vegetables could be plain but seasoned with oyster sauce, salted soy bean or black bean sauce. To change the taste to go with the season, you may substitute any fresh vegetable for asparagus and replace shiitake mushrooms with any other mushrooms. 

Phad Nor Mai Farang

Stir-fried Asparagus and Shiitake with Oyster Sauce

Servings: 4
Preparation: 10 minutes     Stir-frying Time: 3 minutes
 
3 tablespoons cooking oil
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1½-inch length
1 cup shiitake mushrooms; sliced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of white pepper, more as needed
½ cup water or chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch

 

Heat oil in wok or stir-frying pan on high heat. Just before oil reaches smoking point (really hot), stir in garlic, asparagus, and mushrooms. Stir for one minute and then stir in oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and white pepper. In small bowl, mix well the water or chicken stock with cornstarch, then pour into stir-fry to make sauce. When the liquid comes to a boil and is translucent, serve vegetables as a side dish or with steamed jasmine rice.

Vegetarian option: use vegetarian oyster sauce

Gluten Free option: use wheat free soy sauce, wheat free oyster sauce

© 2009  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen
I Love Thai cooking

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