This is one of the recipes from Simple Thai Food that I’d like you to try especially, if you haven’t already. There’s no photo for it in the book, so I thought I’d add this recipe to the Simple Thai Food Recipe Photos category.
Instead of long beans which are traditionally used in Thailand, I’ve used French green beans here—just because they were there (I could have used green beans which would work just as well). And since haricots verts are more slender and tender than either long beans or green beans, I left them whole. They were lightly steamed and presented on one side of the platter instead of mixed into the dry curry as I’ve told you to do in the book. Some restaurants and rice-curry shops in Bangkok present the dish this way as well; some even add the yolks of salted duck eggs on the side just to provide something salty to balance out the sweetness of this dry curry.
The recipe can be found on page 98, in the chapter on Rice Accompaniments. If you choose to use dried shrimp flakes—and I highly recommend that you do—please be sure to add it along with the oil and the curry paste right at the beginning. To form a simple samrap (explained in the introduction of the same chapter), I suggest you make a pot of clear soup with silken tofu and chicken dumplings on page 83 and serve both with rice.
“It’s a kind of mint,” a vendor at the market said to me as I inquired about the herb on the table between us—the herb I’d never seen before. He seemed unsure about its identity but said he believed it was a type of mountain mint that had just been foraged. He didn’t seem confident about how to use it either. “You can use it in, you know, whatever you usually make that has mint in it, I guess.” He then shrugged and distorted his face. “Ice cream?.”
Rational, cautious people would have walked away. Not me. Curiosity—the kind that historically must have killed several cats—made me hand him the money and bring this herb home. I had no idea what would happen to me, but I knew lap* would be happening in my kitchen that afternoon. Continue reading
Ask Saksith Saiyasombut about Thai food in Germany and he’ll probably heave a sigh. I know that, because when I recently raised the subject to the Hamburg-based freelance journalist and political commentator, his immediate reaction was exactly that: a heaving of a sigh—soft and sustained. It didn’t strike me as one of displeasure; if anything, it was more of an acquiescent, faintly audible shrug. Then again, it was the only sigh Saksith heaved during our phone conversation, and perhaps I shouldn’t be making too much out of a hapax. Continue reading
Have you had garland chrysanthemum? If you haven’t, you may want to give this inexpensive—though a bit hard to find—vegetable a try. If you live near an Asian grocery store with a lush and bountiful produce section, surely you have seen garland chrysanthemum (Glebionis coronaria) before. It’s also referred to as chrysanthemum greens, crown daisy, shungiku (Japanese), tangho (Chinese), sukgat (Korean), and tang-o (Thai). Continue reading
Busy cooks know this: life is better and easier when you have a pantry full of things that keep for a long time without refrigeration and can be used in multiple ways at a moment’s notice. That is why this fragrant and fiery chili oil (not to be confused with nam prik pao) is always found in my pantry as well as the pantries* of my loved ones who are often gifted with a jar of it every now and then. We love it so.
Let’s be clear on one thing first, though: you’ll hardly ever see this condiment used in traditional Thai stir-fries, curries, soups, or salads. Even noodle shops in Thailand don’t usually have this available for you on the table as part of their seasoning caddy (on the other hand, you’ll see plain dried chili powder which is the norm). Chili oil is something you’ll most likely see at a Chinese restaurant. Continue reading