Grilled Beef Salad / สลัดเนื้อย่างมะเขือ

Grilled Beef Salad with Eggplant สลัดเนื้อย่างมะเขือ

Cooking Asian dishes with Asian eggplants

Asian Eggplants

This Thai Salad combines Grilled Beef with a Pickled Eggplant Salad which provides an attractive contrast of flavors. Continue reading

Eggplant Sandwich มะเขือแซนวิช

A Thai Fusion Dish
Bread Meets Chèvre

Cooking Asian dishes with Asian eggplants

The Chèvre Cheese and European Bread make this recipe, conceived by some European residents of Thailand, a Thai Fusion dish. The Raisins, too, Continue reading

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup – Tom Yam Gung

Delicate Citrusy Broth
Extremely Popular in Thailand

Thai Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yam Gung is a Thai classic, and extremely popular in Thailand.  Its delicate cirrusy broth goes down like velvet. Still, it should have enough Continue reading

Curry Paste

Thai Cooks’ Stand-By
Home-Made or Store-Bought

Galangal, an important Southeast Asian spice

Galangal – Essential Ingredient in Penang Curry Paste

Curry pastes are aromatic mixtures of spices Thai cooks use to flavor stews, soups and other dishes. They can be made in the kitchen fresh before use, or can be bought canned, which is commonly done by households and many Thai restaurants.

Typically, these pastes come in small jars or tin cans whose labels bear the photographs of someone’s mother. There are several main varieties:

  • Red
  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Penang
  • Musuman

Penang paste reflects the culinary style of the Penang area of the Malaysian Peninsula.

Musaman, that is Moslem style, reflects the cuisine of Southern Thailand, which has many Muslim people.

The red variety is commonly thought to be the most versatile and also the hottest.  Actually, it depends on the amount of Chili Peppers used by the individual cook. Thus, a Red Curry Paste can be made to taste quite mild, while a green one might be intensely hot.

Cooking with lemongrass

Lemongrass

The main ingredients in these pasts are Garlic, Lemongrass, Shallots, Chili Peppers and other spices.

The Penang Curry Paste emphasizes            flavors of Fennel and Mace and goes well with Beef, as in Penang Beef, and also also good with Chicken, Pork, and Fish.  Here is a formula for making a Penang Curry Paste:

Penang Curry Paste

Thai

Ingredients:

Using garlic to make Vietnamese soup with pork cabbage rolls

Garlic – a Key Ingredient

5 – 7 large dried Red Chili Peppers
½ teaspoon Fennel Seeds
1½ teaspoon Coriander Seeds
½ teaspoon Mace
2 teaspoons Black Pepper corns
1 stalk fresh Lemongrass
1 teaspoon chopped Lime Zest
1 teaspoon powdered Galangal
3 medium Shallows
4 cloves of Garlic

Method:

First, chop the Chilies coarsely and soak in cold Water to soften – for about a quarter hour.

While the Chilies are soaking, chop the Lemongrass finely, and also chop the Shallots and Garlic.

After the Chili Peppers are softened, remove the seeds and discard them.

Place the Chilies in a food process or blender.

Head a large, heavy dry iron skillet over very low flame and toast the Fennel Seeds,Coriander, Mace and Black Pepper corns for 5 minutes, shaking hte pan occasionally to keep the spices from burning.  Remove the s;ices and crush them finely ina  mortar and pestle or spice grinder and add to the Chilies.

Add in the Lime Zest, Shallots and Garlic and process for a few minutes at medium speed, adding a little cold Water, a few drops at a time, while processing until a thick, dark reddish-brown paste results.  This is the Penang Curry Paste.

This recipe makes about half a cup of Curry Paste.  It will keep for up to several months inthe refrigerator.

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Thai Peanut Sauce

Ideal with Satay
Red Curry Paste Meets Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk, Canned

Peanut Sauce is very popular in Southeast Asian, and there are many versions. Here is one from Thailand that is commonly used in Thai cooking with dishes like Satays.  It is easy to make.

Besides Satays, this versatile Thai Peanut sauce can be served with other appetizers like Rice Crackers, as a dressing for Noodles or with dishes like Soft Shell Crabs. And it’s good to dress a variety of cooked vegetables.

There is an interesting Indonesian Peanut Sauce served with Sate and Gado Gado Salads in that country. Continue reading

Andy Ricker, Thai Chef

The Master of Pok Pok
4 Monks in a Bar

“Satay isn’t satay unless it’s cooked over charcoal.” — Andy Ricker

Andy Ricker is another highly visible Andy in Thai cuisine, along with Andy Arunasameruang of Chicago. Ricker, from Portland, Oregon, has done the unusual — he has become a leading Thai chef in North America. And Ricker’s not even Thai! Continue reading

Thai Cuisine

Hot, Sweet, Salty, Sour and Bitter
Variety in Flavor, Ingredients, Color

“Food is eaten not just for nourishment. For a Thai, it is an art, a topic of conversation, a source of pleasure.” — Kreesnee Ruangkritya [1]

Deva sculpture, Thailand 15th century

Deva, Thailand, 15th cent.

The core concepts of Thai cooking are hot, sweet, salty, sour and bitter.  A well-designed meal offers a variety in flavors, preparation methods, ingredients, and color.

So if a Red Curry is the main dish, the cook woul Continue reading

Thai Papaya Salad

Salad from Shangri-La
Green Papayas Meet Crushed Shrimp

Using green papayas in Thai cuisine

Green Papayas

This is a Thai salad, originally intended for Green Papayas. It’s also good made with Carrots, if Green Papayas are not available at the moment.  The recipe comes from a chef at Bangbkok’s Shangri-La Hotel.

The Crushed Peanuts and Crushed Dried Shrimp, plus the Lime Juice and wedges, are what make this salad special, along with the accent added by the Fish Sauce.

Continue reading

Fish Sauce

Full of Flavor – and Salt
Many Local Variants

“The Vietnamese favor Nuoc Mam, a strong fish ketchup rich in amino acids, salts and phosphorus which compensates for the low nutriti9onal value of the rice.” — Miriam Ferrari [1]

Tiparos Fish Sauce

Tiparos Fish Sauce,
Nam Pla

Fish ketchup, Signora? Rich in amino acids? Maybe, but certainly rich in salt.  And how about the low nutritional value of the rice?  Some of these things may have been lost in translation and only the editors at Mondadori will ever know the whole story..

In Southeast Asia, the chief salter is a sauce made from fermented fish, commonly known as Patis in the Continue reading

Coconut Milk

A Tropical Secret
Not Just for Candy Bars

“Coconuts are probably the most valuable fruit of the tropics.” — Kathie Webber [1]

The Coconut is a staple food throughout the tropical regions of the world. If you cook Southeast Asian dishes, you no doubt already use Coconut and Coconut Milk in making a number of dishes. [2,3]

Coconut Palm

Coconut Palm

Coconut Milk is used in making curries, as well as sauces, soups, and as ingredients in a number of dishes in several Pacific Rim countries.

In recent years, some concerns have surfaced about possible health risks connected with Coconut, especially with the nature of the oil it contains.  On the other hand, there are reports that there may be a number of health benefits involved, ranging from cancer prevention to treatment of dementia. Continue reading