I’m late to the scene. Chef Andy Ricker of the famed Pok Pok Restaurant, has been making drinking vinegar (น้ำส้มสายชูผลไม้พร้อมดื่ม) called Som (ส้ม meaning “sour” in regional/archaic Thai which I’ve explained in more words than perhaps necessary in my post on Kaeng Som) since 2005, but I’d only discovered it just a few weeks ago when a friend schlepped a few bottles all the way from Portland for me. “You’ve got to try these,” he said, and I gladly complied.
Has a love poem ever been written about vinegar? If not, perhaps one is in order. My favorite flavors are honey and tamarind; you may want to try them all out to see which flavors you like the most.
Whenever I can, I mash up a 2-inch piece of fresh turmeric into a paste in my granite mortar and use that in place of the ground turmeric in Grandma’s very yellow chicken stew. I’ve also used it in the seasoning paste for my turmeric-roasted fish and Thai Southern-style grilled chicken.
I sometimes mix fresh turmeric paste with some yogurt and honey and make a facial out of it. It doesn’t make me pretty; I doubt anything does. But it sure makes my facial skin feel nice. That makes up for the fact that I look slightly jaundiced for half a day after each treatment.
I don’t know if I should like this. This would probably get some fusion-averse purists’ kang keng nai in a twist. But I’ve taken to adding udon, especially homemade udon noodles (ones I knead with my own two feet), to my Tom Kha Gai this year, and I really like it.
If you’re a fan of both food items, chances are you will like them together as much as I do.
Here’s another dish that I’ve made much more frequently in 2011 than ever before. It could be my way of coping with the fact that it’s been a while since I last visited Ukraine and Russia. I miss them. I miss the people. I miss the food.
A few months ago, I prepared some watermelon rinds so I could take the photograph above to use in my post on Thai sour curry (Kaeng Som แกงส้ม). These watermelon rinds didn’t end up in a curry pot, however. I divided them into two parts: one part got turned into watermelon rind kimchi and the other was pickled overnight using the same method described in my post on how to make quick pickled radishes.
Watermelon rinds can be candied as well; I just haven’t had a chance to get that recipe from one of Mom’s old cookbooks out for a test drive. But all year long, my head has been full of ideas on what else to do with this crunchy, refreshing part of a watermelon.
I’m sure all Thai food enthusiasts are familiar with mature tamarinds that we use to make tamarind pulp, but young/green tamarinds (as well as young tamarind leaves) are also frequently used to provide tartness to different dishes.
Young tamarind pods are a rare sight in the United States and just exactly how my favorite Thai grocer has managed to get them regularly has been a source of wonder for me. Needless to say, I’m overjoyed. If you find them in your area, get them while you can and freeze them. We’ll make a very tasty fried relish with them in 2012.
Zucchini’s unassuming taste makes it a versatile ingredient that can be used in dishes originating in places where zucchini is not native. Earlier this year, I made zucchini “fish” cakes in the style of Thai fish cakes (Tod Man Pla) and used zucchini in lieu of the more traditional angled gourd in Kaeng Liang (แกงเลียง), Thai mixed vegetable soup perfumed with lemon basil leaves and spiced with a pretty heavy dose of white pepper — a favorite home dish that very rarely appears on the menus of Thai restaurants overseas.
I’ve also used zucchini as a dairy replacement. But more on that later.
Giveaway #1: The folks at Thai Food Essentials will send one 5-cc bottle of their 5% kaffir lime leaf oil to 5 people (residing anywhere in the world).
Giveaway #2: Chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok Restaurant will have one bottle (any flavor) of Som drinking vinegar shipped to one lucky person. This giveaway is limited to those living in the United States.
Giveaway #3: Temple of Thai will ship one set of six different pastes to 3 winners who reside in the United States.
The set includes:
One 500-gram package of red curry paste
One 500-gram package of massaman curry paste
One 500-gram package of green curry paste
One 500-gram package of panang curry paste
One 500-gram package of kari curry paste
One 500-gram package of roasted chili paste in oil (Nam Prik Pao)
Rules: To enter in any of these giveaways, simply share this post with your Facebook followers and post on my Facebook wall saying you have done so or share this post on Twitter (don’t forget to include @shesimmers, so I know). One Facebook update or tweet per giveaway. State in your Facebook update or tweet which giveaway you’re vying for. You can enter all three. In fact, I would love for you to be greedy.
The deadline for all giveaways is 11:59 pm CDT on Sunday, January 8th, 2012. The winners for all giveaways will be randomly chosen and announced in the comment area beneath this post within 72 hours after the deadline.
Disclosure: SheSimmers.com has received no benefits of any kind, monetary or otherwise, from the businesses mentioned in this post or participating in the giveaways.