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Homemade Chili Oil: My All-Purpose Condiment

Homemade Chili Oil
Busy cooks know this: life is better and easier when you have a pantry full of things that keep for a long time without refrigeration and can be used in multiple ways at a moment’s notice. That is why this fragrant and fiery chili oil (not to be confused with nam prik pao) is always found in my pantry as well as the pantries* of my loved ones who are often gifted with a jar of it every now and then. We love it so.

Let’s be clear on one thing first, though: you’ll hardly ever see this condiment used in traditional Thai stir-fries, curries, soups, or salads. Even noodle shops in Thailand don’t usually have this available for you on the table as part of their seasoning caddy (on the other hand, you’ll see plain dried chili powder which is the norm). Chili oil is something you’ll most likely see at a Chinese restaurant. Continue Reading →

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Lemongrass-Scented Roasted Chicken with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Lemongrass-Scented Roasted Chicken with Spicy Dipping Sauce by
If the first quarter is any indication, 2015 is slated to be the year I roast more chickens than any of the previous years of my life. I don’t have an explanation for this, and if there was one, I’m sure you’d find it earthshatteringly boring. But if I had to guess, I’d say laziness would be the most likely culprit.

Roasting a chicken is easy. The bird requires little babysitting as it cooks. The juices at the bottom of the pan become the sauce, requiring no further effort on your part to embellish it. The whole process also leaves you with only one or two containers to wash. All you have to do is put a whole chicken in front of you, stare at it for a while, look through the herbs and spices in your cupboard and refrigerator, return your gaze to the chicken, nod to yourself reassuringly, and assign a flavor theme to it. Your theme du jour can be anything that you like or can create with the spices and aromatics you have on hand.

Well, one day, I had a lot of fresh lemongrass on hand. Continue Reading →

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Lemongrass Baked Chicken Wings (ปีกไก่อบตะไคร้)

Thai Baked Chicken Wings with Dried Chili Dipping Sauce by
This post is brought to you by excitement at the level that is so unreasonable it’s awkward. I just made these wings less than a couple of hours ago. The kitchen and my clothes still smell like them as I’m sitting here, writing.

(Whispering, because the wings are within earshot) These wings would have been much better grilled, in my opinion. But where I am, the weather is not yet warm enough to grill outside. So I went for the next best option: baking. Continue Reading →

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