If you have had pad thai as it’s made in Thailand, you are already aware of the unfailing presence of the main aromatic ingredient and a side garnish/crudité: the leaves and tender stalks of garlic chives. And if you regularly wander the streets of Bangkok a little further beyond pad thai stalls, chances are you have seen or tasted Chinese steamed chive dumplings or fried chive cakes wherein the leaves of Chinese chives are used. Continue Reading →
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Bonjour de Lyon! I’m traveling through Europe at the moment, so I hope you don’t mind that I’ve put our grilled chicken series on hold for a short while. What I’m having fun with at the moment is to pretend I am a Thai food enthusiast living in different places in Western Europe trying to make good Thai food with everyday fresh market offerings.
You know what I’ve realized so far? There are A LOT of good Thai dishes one can make with what’s available at most supermarkets and outdoor fresh markets here. Some ingredients, of course, are not traditional. But that’s only because currently they have not yet become regular, everyday produce among the Thais in Thailand. But with the country’s ability to grow more and more cold-weather crops, it’s just a matter of time before you see ‘foreign’ fruits and vegetables popping up in Thai dishes — you know, the fruits and vegetables you don’t necessarily associate with Thai cooking.
By the way, I don’t believe for a second that Thai food is defined and confined by only the natural ingredients native to the area presently known as Thailand (see my post on “authentic” Thai cuisine from few months ago).
But hold that thought. For now, let me take you to the famous Croix-Rousse market in Lyon, France. Continue Reading →
This is going to sound weird, but as long as I have garlic, coriander roots/stems, and whole white peppercorns (aka the Thai marinade ‘trinity’) around, I feel safe. This combination of aromatics along with other pantry staples, such as fish sauce, saw me through my student days when my food budget was — I verified this — smaller than that of my landlord’s dog. I feel that if I had to go back to living cheaply like I did at that time, I would be able to manage. It would, of course, be tough, but I know that I could make any inexpensive cuts of meat from the supermarket delicious as long as I have these ingredients.
A less extreme and stressful case would be when I have to create an impromptu meal for company in minutes. This happened today, actually. And I did okay — I think.
Instead of the usual peppercorns, I used coarsely cracked whole coriander seeds to mimic the scent of a Thai meat dish nuea sawan (“heavenly beef”). I marinated the lamb chops for 15 minutes and got my coconut rice started. (The flavors of coconut and coriander seeds go so well together.) I crusted the lamb chops with coriander seeds and seared them in a skillet. By the time the lamb chops were cooked to medium, the rice was done. It took me 35 minutes from the time I took the lamb chops out the fridge to the time lunch was served. If I had been more prepared, I would have made some green papaya salad to serve on the side. But since I wasn’t, the side vegetable was simple steamed carrots. No complaints so far … Continue Reading →
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- Rice-Pumpkin Porridge with Garlic Shrimp and Pumpkin Seeds (ข้าวตุ๋นฟักทองใส่กุ้งกับเมล็ดฟักทอง)
- Shrimp Paste Relish with Lime Rind (น้ำพริกผิวมะนาว) and a Little Ghost Tale
- Thai Tea Cheesecake with Chocolate Crumb Crust from The Heart of the Plate: A Tribute to Mollie Katzen
- Stewed Pork Hocks on Rice (Khao Kha Mu ข้าวขาหมู) by Nong of Nong’s Khao Man Gai
- Tom Kha Gai from Thai Airways International’s New Thai Menu