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 →