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Coconut Sticky Rice with Jackfruit

Sticky Rice Jackfruit
With jackfruits popping up everywhere these days, I thought I’d tell you about this dessert/snack: coconut sticky rice with jackfruit.

Khao niao khanun isn’t nearly as popular or ubiquitous as the iconic khao niao mamuang (sticky rice with mango), but it’s by no means uncommon. And if you already know how to make the latter, you already know enough.

Start off with a fresh batch of sweet coconut sticky rice. Page 161 of Simple Thai Food explains in detail the process of making it. Then you pinch off a small bit of the rice and fill a fresh jackfruit half (you already know how to get the flesh out of a whole jackfruit) with it. The salted coconut cream goes on top. If you’re in Thailand, fried hulled mung beans would be the standard topping; elsewhere, sesame seeds would work just fine.

Once assembled, these stuffed jackfruit halves should be consumed as soon as you can. Certain things don’t taste great after having sat at room temperature for a long time (or reheated after having been refrigerated). This is one of those things.

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Strawberry-Lychee Jam

Strawberry-Lychee Jam
When I was a kid growing up in Bangkok, fresh strawberries were few and far between. Imported strawberries could be found in some high-end supermarkets, but more often than not, they looked like they were about to join the choir invisible. The freshest strawberries we could find would come from farmers who grew them in the colder northern region. If our family timed our trip to Chiang Mai right, we would see these farmers on both sides of the road with shoe boxes full of just-picked strawberries—a joyous sight indeed. And though we knew from experience that as fresh as those strawberries looked, they would always be more tart than sweet, we loaded up the trunk with as many of them as we possibly could anyway. Buy first, figure out what to do with them later was our family’s motto when it comes to rare food items. Even now when the lack of fresh, sweet strawberries is no longer an issue in my life, I still have the tendency to overbuy them. Continue Reading →

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Baked Chicken and Leek in Turmeric-Coconut Sauce

Baked Chicken and Leek in Turmeric-Coconut Sauce
The house I grew up in was only a short distance away from Kasetsart University, one of Thailand’s premier colleges known for forestry, agriculture, and food science. And we never missed the school’s annual fair, a large outdoor exhibition/farmers’ market/food fair where you’d get to see a wide range of produce and plants and sample delicious things.

My dad, who grew orchids as a hobby, would look forward to finding new types of orchid to add to his greenhouse; my mom, who was deeply fascinated by cold-climate crops (especially beetroots), would look forward to buying and figuring out a way to cook unfamiliar “Western” produce; I, who loved food on sticks, would look forward to walking around the fairground with grilled meatballs or grilled pork on bamboo skewers in my little hands.

Kaset Fair, as the event is called, was a big deal. At least to us. Continue Reading →

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