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Mon Dipping Sauce (น้ำปลามอญ) by Ong Bunjoon

Mon Dipping Sauce
I recently fell in love with a book. I’m still head over heels as I’m typing this sentence.

Long story short, I popped into a Kinokuniya during a quick layover in Bangkok early this summer in hopes of finding something tiny but texty and thrilling* to read on the 4-hour plane ride I’d catch later that evening. No more than 5 minutes later, I walked out with a copy of Khang Samrap Mon (ข้างสำรับมอญ)**, a pocketbook — still shrink-wrapped — with nothing that appealed to me on a quick glance other than the author’s vaguely familiar name.

Not only was the book devoured in one sitting as planned, it was also constantly by my side as I was hopping from place to place in East and Southeast Asia in the following 3 months. All sorts of brutal acts like double- and triple-underlining, highlighting, dog-earing, excessive exclamation pointing, and ranty, monologic marginal-notating had been committed by me against the poor book. But in the process, I had learned so much about the culture and food of the ethnic Mon in Thailand. Continue Reading →

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My Book – Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen

Simple Thai Food by Leela Punyaratabandhu
Remember when the Zealous Water Buffalo told you many months ago that I was writing a book? Well, it’s done. Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen won’t be available until around mid-May, but if you preorder it now, you will be among the first people to get it.

That’s not all, if you preorder the book now, you will be given access to a video tutorial on how to make red curry from scratch, from the homemade paste to the finished dish. I do not intend on making this video public on the blog or elsewhere, at least within the next year or so. So it will be available immediately to only the early birds among you and no one else. So, please be sure to keep the email confirmation from your bookseller of choice (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iBooks, and Google Books) when you preorder.

You have until Thai New Year (April 13) to do so which is when I will tell you how to redeem your gift.

But first, let me tell you a bit about the book so you know what you’re investing in. In keeping with the theme of simplicity, I will sum up this book into one sentence. Continue Reading →

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Khao Phra Ram Long Song “Swimming Rama” (ข้าวพระรามลงสรง) – Part Two (Recipe)

Swimming Rama
In the context of Thai cuisine in general — and this may come as a surprise to some — the sole function of peanut sauce/satay sauce is to serve as an essential part of a typical satay ensemble. It is not used in or with anything else. It’s not used to dress noodles; nor is it used in a stir-fry or as a dipping sauce for spring rolls. For darn sure, it’s not used as a pad thai sauce. I may occasionally turn it into a salad dressing by adding more vinegar to it or serve it with a non-satay item such as fried tofu, but neither application is common. To the best of my knowledge, other than satay, there is no other Thai dish in the current mainstream repertoire wherein satay sauce is used.

There is one exception: a dish oddly named “Swimming Rama“[1]. Even so, with the background of this dish being so closely connected to Chinese-style pork satay in Thailand, we still have not gone beyond the satay realm. Continue Reading →

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