Northern Thai Steamed Rice with Pork Blood (ข้าวกั๊นจิ๊น) – Happy Songkran!

Northern Thai Steamed Pork-Blood Rice - Kaho Kan Jin
I’ve been away from the blog for a few weeks due to some travels and other things. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t come back in time to at least wish you all a happy Thai New Year—Happy Songkran, everyone!

Songkran won’t officially arrive until April 14th this year. But as I’m typing this on Sunday afternoon, the traditionalists in Thailand had already been visiting and paying respect to older relatives. The religious had already gone to their local temple for all sorts of Buddhist ceremonies. Many had already been enjoying khao chae, a full-on New Year feast of rice in scented iced water and all the elaborate accoutrements. And the fun-loving non-traditionalists had already started the water battle.

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but Songkran isn’t one of my favorite holidays at all. I can get behind the true spirit of it which is to get together with your friends and family and celebrate another year together. The water fight? Not my thing. If I was in Bangkok during Songkran this year, I would most likely get away somewhere with the people I love, and that somewhere must be a place where the water splashing thing cannot reach.

[Warning: if you’re squeamish or absolutely can’t stand to look at blood, don’t read further. You may not like the photos you’ll see after the jump. Or perhaps you can focus on the text and gloss over the photos.] Continue Reading →

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Lemongrass Baked Chicken Wings (ปีกไก่อบตะไคร้)

Thai Baked Chicken Wings with Dried Chili Dipping Sauce by SheSimmers.com
This post is brought to you by excitement at the level that is so unreasonable it’s awkward. I just made these wings less than a couple of hours ago. The kitchen and my clothes still smell like them as I’m sitting here, writing.

(Whispering, because the wings are within earshot) These wings would have been much better grilled, in my opinion. But where I am, the weather is not yet warm enough to grill outside. So I went for the next best option: baking. Continue Reading →

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Simple Thai Food: Beef Shank Matsaman Curry (แกงมัสมั่นเนื้อน่องลาย)


Beef Shank Matsaman Curry from Simple Thai Food Book by Leela Punyaratabandhu
To continue the series of photo-based posts from Simple Thai Food, here’s matsaman (massaman) curry made with beef shank.

I made this with fresh coconut milk from a mature coconut which I grated with the coconut bunny and extracted myself. Because of this, the coconut fat splits more readily and the curry broth, though certainly rich and full-bodied, doesn’t have the creamy, homogenous appearance that it usually does when canned or boxed coconut milk is used.

I didn’t have any yellow or white onions around when I made this batch of matsaman, so I went with the tiny pearl onions I had in the freezer. To compensate for the undersize onions, I –and, trust me, this made perfect sense at the time– cut the Yukon Gold potatoes into larger-than-usual chunks. But now I’m looking at the size disparity between the two, and I’m just as confused as some of you may be. None of this affects the taste, though.

Lastly, if you look closely, you will spot tiny little ivory/light golden-colored (or are they black and blue?), Siamese cardamoms which are used routinely in Thailand (I’ve mentioned them in the glossary), at least in the central Thai version of the curry. If you can find them, by all means, use them. If not, green cardamoms which you can find at most Middle Eastern and South Asian grocery stores will work just fine.

You can find the recipe for beef shank matsaman curry on page 108 of Simple Thai Food.

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