Showing posts with label thai cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thai cooking. Show all posts

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicken Massaman curry

Massaman curry is a southern Thai curry with Muslim influence.  The spices used in the curry paste include turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves which makes the curry very aromatic.  A great massaman curry has a balance of sweet and savoury, and it is normally consisted of beef or chicken, peanuts, onions and potatoes.  It can be eaten with rice or toasts, and it is one of my favourite curries!

Using fresh ingredients...
Wow making a batch of delicious, authentic Thai curry is truly hard work.  While I was in Thailand, I learned how to make this dish almost from scratch.  Fresh ingredients are key and they are reflected in the overall taste of the finished product.  Of course, some ingredients may not be readily available, or you don't always have that many hours to spare for cooking.  So here are the ingredients we originally used, and suggested shortcuts if you can't find the exact same form at the grocery store.
We actually had to squeeze the milk out of the coconut and strain it several times until the meat was completely dried out.  That alone took forever.  Nonetheless, I definitely tasted a huge difference in the freshness between canned and fresh coconut milk, so it was worth the effort.  As a time saver, you can settle for a canned coconut milk though the flavour won't be as divine (though it will save you about at least 45 minutes).
Open and go!
Next up, to get the tangy flavour of the tamarind juice, we had to boil tamarind in water and let simmer for another half an hour.
Can't find tamarind? Substitute with tamarind powder where you can just dilute with water.  

The only component that was pre-made was the massamun curry paste that we purchased from the local market which was made fresh without preservatives.  It is also more concentrated than the packaged ones.  Mae Ploy brand is quite good for Thai curry pastes and they keep for quite some time especially in the refrigerator or freezer.
Massaman curry paste 
 Kapi is basically a strong smelling shrimp paste used in many Thai dishes and is essential in Thai cooking.  A word of warning, if you fry this in your house without a fan on or window opened, you will definitely regret it as your house will wreak for days.  It can be extremely overwhelming.  Therefore, I suggested it be optional or use only small amount to add extra fragrant.
Fresh kapi
Tra Chang brand shrimp paste
Last but not least, different type of sugar is used to season different curry.  Palm sugar is used for Massaman as it gives the curry a nice, caramelized sweetness.  These guys are also yummy on their own,  I try not to eat them like fudge bars :P

Palm sugar
So without further ado, here is the direction of making chicken massaman curry!

2 cups coconut milk (cream and milk separated)
1/2 cup Massacurry paste
2 chicken legs 2 chicken thighs
1 cup onion
1.5 cup potatoes 
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2.5 tbsp. palm sugar
1 cup tamarind juice
1 tbsp. kapi (optional)
2 tbsp. fish sauce (to taste)

Peel and cut potatoes into big chunks (2" wide).  In a pot, stir fry massaman curry paste with coconut cream (the thicker layer of coconut milk that usually floats on top).  Stir fry until the mixtures blend in well together and start to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add chicken and keep stir frying, covering the chicken meat with curry paste until the meat starts to cook.  Add the rest of the coconut milk and stir well.  Bring to boil before adding potatoes, peanuts and onions.  If the curry is too thick or dry, add some water.  Season with palm sugar, fish sauce, and kapi. Cover the pot and let simmer until the oil starts to separate from the curry.  The longer the curry simmers, the better it will taste!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nam Prik Ong, Ground pork chili dip recipe

Being in Thailand, I am surrounded by local traditional Thai dishes, especially a wide range of chilli pastes.  This recipe I'm posting is called Nam Prik Ong (น้ำพริกอ่อง), a type of chili dip which is a staple food in northern Thailand made with ground pork.  It's a similar version of chili stew, but more concentrated with bolder flavours and served with fresh and steamed vegetables such as cabbage, cucumbers, long green beans.  Beware, the pork dip is very addictive with chicharrones or any type of crispy chips.  However, you can definitely adjust the amount of heat to your taste and it can also be served with tortilla chips instead.

Different types of Thai chilli pastes
1 tbsp. Kang Som Paste (can be found at asian grocery stores)
1 tsp. minced garlic
7 cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup ground pork
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce

Cut and seed tomatoes.  Pound with Kang Som paste in a motar until a smooth paste is formed.  In a saucepan, heat oil at medium heat.  Sauté garlic until golden brown.  Add paste and stir well.  Add ground pork, sugar, and fish sauce.  Keep stirring until pork is well cooked.  Serve the dip in a bowl accompanied by vegetables and pork rinds.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Son-in-law Eggs Recipe

This recipe goes out to my dear friend Tammy Chan Tse who absolutely loved this dish from the first time she tried it.  I normally would never even look at hard boiled eggs, let alone eating them, unless they are devilled eggs or this spectacular "son in law" eggs.  So most people reading the name, if they are unfamiliar, must think...wth is in this dish??? Well, let me explain.  "Son-in-law" Eggs, or "Kai Look Kaey" (ไข่ลูกเขย) is a Thai dish consisting of fried hard boiled eggs, topped with sweet tamarind sauce and friend garlic and onion.  I did some research to where the "son-in-law" part came from, and unfortunately, there are no side stories or relevance behind its name.  Traditionally, the dish was often made for special ceremonies, such as weddings, which was probably how the name got stuck.  If you haven't tried it, it is definitely worth a try.  It is filled unique flavours you never thought you would taste with eggs!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The perfect green curry recipe

Thai green curry is a famous Thai dish that is easy to make.  There are certain tricks and cooking steps one must know in order to achieve authentic flavour.  Once you master it, there is no need to order take out from a Thai restaurant ever again.  For green curry paste, I use Thai brand, Mae Ploy, which I will list the links for Amazon on the bottom of the page.  

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. green curry paste
1 chicken breast, sliced
3-4 kaffir lime leaves
1/4 pumpkin, cubed (optional: can be substituted with your favourite veggies)
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp. fish sauce
30 ml Thai basil
2-3 chilies

In a saucepan, heat oil at medium heat.  Stir-fry green curry paste for a minute.  Add chicken, fish sauce, and kaffir lime leaves.  Stir fry until chicken is cooked.  Slowly add in coconut milk, then pumpkin. Bring the curry to boil.  Stir until the paste is well mixed into the coconut milk.  Lower the heat and let simmer for 1-2 hours.  A good curry comes with patience.  When the oil starts to separate from the curry, all the flavours from herb and spices have come out and it's ready.  Add fresh thai basil.  Remove from heat and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Get the ingredients from the link below:

Thai Taste Fish Sauce (200ml) Coconut Milk Organic (400 Brand: Ontario Natural Food Co-op Tilda Fragrant Jasmine Rice (500g)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Traditional Thai Appetizers: Ma Hoh and giant sago dumplings

The following appetizers both have the same filling but are served in 2 different ways, as Ma Hoh and sago dumplings.  Growing up in Bangkok, I often bought bags of small sago dumplings from a street vendor to nibble on while being waiting to be picked up by my mommy after school.  As a starved student yearning to go home, these were lifesavers.  Now living in Canada, I miss having that novelty of having thai street vendors readily available. I didn't discover about Ma Hoh until recently, but I assume the dish has been around for just as long.  I haven't seen these guys on the menu at any restaurants in Canada or the US and would like to introduce them to all the Thai food lovers.  These tasty tidbits are very sweet and savoury in flavour than other Thai appetizers.  Like tuna salad shots, they are also great for dinner parties.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Traditional Thai Appetizer: Miang Tuna (Tuna salad)

Miang Tuna, or tuna salad, is often arranged in bite sizes.  It's another dish that is high in nutrients and low in fat and carbohydrates.  The tuna contains a lot of herbs and lime zest which give the flavour quite a kick.  This dish can be enjoyed on its own as a light lunch, or as appetizers.

1 canned tuna, drained
1 cup ground pork
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. lime zest
2 tbsp. grated ginger
1 thinly sliced shallot
5-6 lettuce leaves
1-2 red chilis for garnish

In a frying pan, cook ground pork for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.  Place in a separate bowl and add tuna; mix well.  Add garlic powder, lime juice, and salt.  Mix again.  Add ginger, shallots and lime zest.  Divide lettuce leaves into small size bite size pieces and scoop the tuna mixture on top.  Garnish with julienned red chilies and serve. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pan-fried honey garlic ribs recipe

I decided to take a break from writing restaurant reviews and put together my honey garlic ribs recipe I've been meaning to put up in a while.  I only like eating ribs when they are well caramelized and have a lot of flavours.  This recipe is slightly modified from the version I got from home in Bangkok and I love it since the ribs have a lot of sweetness and aromatic flavours.  

200g pork ribs
3 cloves of garlic
30 ml cilantro roots
30 ml lemongrass, finely chopped
2.5 tbsp. soya sauce
1 tbsp. honey
a pinch of pepper

 Crush garlic and cilantro roots.  More flavours from garlic and cilantro roots will come out this way when you marinade the ribs.  Add pork ribs, chopped lemongrass, crushed garlic and cilantro roots into a bowl.  Add soya sauce, honey and pepper.  Mix the marinade well to the pork ribs and refrigerate for 2 hours. 

Pre heat oil in a large pan at medium heat.  Fry the pork ribs for 15 mins with the lid covered (I learned the hard way, things fly everywhere).  Keep checking and turn over the ribs until they are cooked. 

These mouthwatering ribs are great on their own, but better with freshly steamed jasmine or glutenous rice.

Friday, October 29, 2010

::Spicy Thai carrot salad::

This refreshing carrot salad is adapted from a classic Thai salad, Som Tum, which is usually made of grated unripened papaya. Som Tum is known for its fiery and tangy flavour.  It is often served with roasted peanuts, fresh long green beans and cabbage.  This version is a recipe passed down from my grandmother and it's very easy to make and ingredients are readily available.  It's a light and healthy salad that goes well as a side for other meat dishes.  In case you want to go on a diet, this carrot salad dish is great on its own as it is low in carbs and high in vitamins. Here, I've used coconut palm sugar for its sweetness and richness in flavour, but brown sugar can also be substituted.  Palm sugar is high in nutrient content and low in glycemic content so it is a better option for diabetic and health conscious consumers.

3 cloves of garlic
2-3 chili peppers
2 cups grated carrots 
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. palm sugar 
1 lime
1 tbsp. ground peanuts
1 tbsp. shredded dried shrimp (can be found at asian grocery stores)

To garnish:
grape tomatoes
organic arugula 

Using pestle and motar, crush garlic cloves and chilies together.  Add grated carrots into the motar and pound the ingredients well with pestle. This process is done to get some of the carrot juice out, and let the flavours seep into the carrots easier.  Add lime juice, fish sauce and sugar.  Mix well, and keep pounding. If you don't have those, another method is to mince them up finely and toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Let the carrots sit for 20 - 30 minutes before serving.  Plate once the seasoning are well mixed in.  Top the salad with peanuts and dried shrimp and garnish with arugula, grape tomatoes, and cilantro.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thai chicken curry recipe (Kanom Jeen Kang Kai) warning: extreme authenticity


Kanom jeen is another well known local Thai dish still largely undiscovered abroad.  It is made up of vermicelli noodles topped with various kinds of curry.  Kanom jeen kang kai in this recipe is made with chicken curry made from scratch.  Here's a good blog post I found on more information on kanom jeen.

 I have no idea why I didn't publish this recipe sooner.  I guess with the cold weather settling in, I started craving more wholesome food that packs more heat to warm myself up.  I looked through the summer pictures and found a series of pictures I took while I was shown how to make Thai chicken curry kanom jeen from scratch.  Even though I am Thai, born and raised, I had no clue what curry pastes were made out of.  I usually just settled for the already made ones you find at the grocery stores :S  But now I get to share it with everyone my lesson and how dangerous it was to find the fresh ingredients.  For my first task, I was directed to go collect some of the Thai eggplants, which were abundant around the corner from our house.  Thai eggplants are different than chinese eggplants in that they are round and green, and much smaller.

Thai eggplants
Umm... I don't think these were full grown.  They are usually small but not this tiny -_-''

Don't kill me!
As I was collecting the baby eggplants, the giant red ants all came out and greeted me.  They were very territorial.  It wasn't fun getting attacked by the army.  They were....everywhere.......

A compilation of herbs and spices used for curry paste.  From the top and clockwise, fresh cumin, lemongrass, bird's eye chilli peppers, dried roasted peppers, black peppercorn, garlic, galangal, and shallots. Gotta love Thailand! So abundant in fresh herbs.

One of the main key ingredients, seafood paste.  Thai seafood paste has an insanely strong and pungent smell and flavour.  It smells like dried shrimp and is overwhelming at times, which is why we only used 2 tbsp. in total.  

Mortar and pestle were used to crush and grind the herbs and spices together.  Then, they were blended together with the seafood paste until a smooth paste was formed.    

Here is the trick.  When you open up a can of coconut milk.  The creamy fatty part is usually on top.  Separate the creamy chunky part of coconut milk and heat it in a separate sauce pan.  In a large pot, lightly stir fry curry paste with 1 tbsp. of canola oil at medium heat. Slowly add the remaining coconut milk and stir the the mixture well together.  Add about 1lb. chicken (we used drumsticks and thighs because they're juicier), 4-5 lime leaves, 1/2 cup eggplants, and 1/2 cup of water.  Bring the mixture to boil and slowly add in the creamy coconut milk.  Season with fish sauce or salt, and about 2 tsp. of brown sugar.  

Let the curry simmer for an hour or more.  The longer you leave the curry to simmer, the more flavour from the curry paste will come out.  You will see that the oil will start to separate from the coconut milk.   It means that the curry will be very flavourful.  Add 1/2 cup of Thai basil when the curry is almost ready.

2 hours later, it's finished!  It was worth the wait.  The chicken was tender. The curry was packed with flavours from the paste and added aroma from the lime leaves and basil.

Serve the curry with rice, or in this case, vermicelli noodles.  For the side, we prepared bean sprouts, shredded carrots, and cucumbers marinated in vinegar, salt and sugar for a refreshing side to go with the curry noodles.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

ลาบ Laab (Thai ground beef salad), served 3 ways

As mentioned in my other post, laab can be prepared with a variety of meat such as ground pork, chicken, beef, turkey or fish.  Since I'm currently in Alberta, I've decided to use beef to prepare this laap. Aside from the traditional way of serving laap, I've come up with 2 fusion ways of serving this staple Thai dish.

300 g lean ground beef
1/2 cup lime juice
3 tbsp. fish sauce
2 thinly sliced shallots
1 tbsp. dried chilli
2 tsp. palm or brown sugar
15 g cilantro
15 g green onion
1/2 cup fresh mint
2 tbsp. toasted and grounded rice

Cook ground beef at medium heat.  In a separate bowl, combine lime juice, fish sauce, dried chilli, sugar together.  Add the sauce mixture, mint, ground rice, shallots, green onion and cilantro to the ground beef and mix well.

The first way of serving: the traditional way with glutenous rice.

How to steam glutenous rice:
Rinse the rice well to get rid of residues.  Soak 2 cups of rice in water and let the rice absorb for about 3 hours.  Wrap the rice in linen cloth and steam for about 20 minutes until rice is cook and soft.

Serve with glutenous rice and accompany with raw vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, and long green beans.

The second way of serving: A mexican twist, laap tacos
Serve laap in soft or hard taco shells, topped with chopped cilantro, grated Emmental cheese accompanied by lime wedge, habenero hot sauce, and mint aoili.

The third way of serving: Laap pasty
Use a package of already made puff pastry dough.  Knead the dough flat and divide into sections.  Fill the dough with laap filling and fold over into pockets.  Bake at 400 c for 25 minutes until pastry is golden brown and crispy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chicken cashews recipe

2 chicken breasts
1/2 onion julienned 
2 tbsp. canola oil
3 cloves chopped garlic
3 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tsp. sugar
3 dried roasted chilli
1/2 cup cashews

Cut chicken into strips.
Heat the oil and sauté garlic, onion and dried chilli.  Add chicken and stir fry at medium heat until chicken is cooked*. 
Add oyster sauce and let simmer.
Add cashews and turn off heat.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with jasmine rice.

*you can also add veggies such as carrots, baby corn, and peppers into the stir fry.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Steamed basa in chili lime sauce recipe

1 basa fillet
3 chopped garlic cloves
3 chillies
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 lime

Mix together garlic, chilli, sugar, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice together.  In a large bowl, pour the sauce mixture over the basa fillet.  Steam for 12-15 minutes.

The basa fillet should be tender and flakey.  This dish may be too packed with too much heat for some.   You can really taste the garlic, and saltiness from the fish sauce infused into the fish itself.  And, because I'm Thai, I always pair seafood with lime, and I find that they go really well together. It is a light and healthy dish that is packed with flavours and should be served with rice.  

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Homemade Thai snack: Curry Puffs

When I was in Thailand, my favourite nanny was gracious and patient enough to teach us her infamous curry puff recipe.  Curry puff is a traditional, yet fusion, thai pastry.  The filling is made of ground pork fried with diced carrots, onions, potatoes, seasoning, and curry.  I guess it is a Thai version of samosa.
The curry puffs my nanny makes are amazing in so many ways.  First, the pastry has many layers of crispy and is very flaky.  Next, the filling is a burst of flavours.  It is an intense blend of sweet and savoury with a perfect caramelized texture.

The first two tries were challenging even with her coaching me.  I also discovered that I am handicapped at folding the dough to make the twists at the end.  Now that I am back to Canada, I decided to give it a try and do everything on my own.  It turns out that making curry puffs is a 2 day process for me.  The filling is the easiest part, while the pastry is the hardest, and let me tell you why.  There are two types of dough you have to make in the process.  Eventually you wrap one type of dough which is more dry, over the more moist one.  Then, you flatten the dough and roll it together like you are making a croissant.  Afterwards, you flatten that rolled up dough again then repeat.  

After chopping up the rolled up dough, this is what it looks like.

Then, you flatten that slice of dough again and put in the filling, close up the end by twisting around the edges.  That is something I learned I can never do correctly or perfectly.  I almost feel somewhat handicapped when everyone else around me has no problem doing it.  Also, another problem is my dough is too dry so the pastry keeps breaking apart when I try twisting the end together.  As a solution, I used a fork to press around the edges instead.  So some of them are half twisted, and some look like chinese dumplings.  You can probably also tell that they come in all shape and sizes.  

Finally, the finished products.  The pastry turned out crispy! Sure each looks different,  and could have been more seasoned with salt and sugar.  Same goes with the filling, no lustrous caramelization like my nanny's.  I guess you should never be afraid of over seasoning, especially in Thai cooking.  Anyways, they are not perfect but for the difficulty level and first trial, I'm pretty happy with the result.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Som Tum (papaya salad) how to MV

This is just a quick how to. I don't have a precise measurements for ingredients since this batch was made for about 30 servings or more. Som tum, sticky rice, and charcoal grilled chicken are the best combo. Enjoy!