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Yul Brynner’s Chicken Yellow Curry

Yul Brynner's Thai Chicken Yellow Curry
No thinking person would ever take the words of Anna Leonowens as the singularly, unquestionably authoritative source of information on mid-18th century Siam much less regard the musical the King and I, or the film adaptation thereof, as historically accurate—or even factual. But can one learn to make Thai food from legendary actor Yul Brynner?

That was the question on my mind as I began leafing through The Yul Brynner Cookbook: Food Fit for the King and You, the book Brynner co-authored with Susan Reed, which I had recently discovered—three decades after it was published. Continue Reading →

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Simple Thai Food: Sweet Dry Curry of Pork and Green Beans (ผัดพริกขิง)

Sweet Dry Curry with Pork and Green Beans - Phat Phrik Khing - Simple Thai Food Book - Leela Punyaratabandhu
This is one of the recipes from Simple Thai Food that I’d like you to try especially, if you haven’t already. There’s no photo for it in the book, so I thought I’d add this recipe to the Simple Thai Food Recipe Photos category.

Instead of long beans which are traditionally used in Thailand, I’ve used French green beans here—just because they were there (I could have used green beans which would work just as well). And since haricots verts are more slender and tender than either long beans or green beans, I left them whole. They were lightly steamed and presented on one side of the platter instead of mixed into the dry curry as I’ve told you to do in the book. Some restaurants and rice-curry shops in Bangkok present the dish this way as well; some even add the yolks of salted duck eggs on the side just to provide something salty to balance out the sweetness of this dry curry.

The recipe can be found on page 98, in the chapter on Rice Accompaniments. If you choose to use dried shrimp flakes—and I highly recommend that you do—please be sure to add it along with the oil and the curry paste right at the beginning. To form a simple samrap (explained in the introduction of the same chapter), I suggest you make a pot of clear soup with silken tofu and chicken dumplings on page 83 and serve both with rice.

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Saksith Saiyasombut and Baby Back Rib Satay, Peanut Sauce, and Cucumber-Onion-Sweet Pepper Salad

Saksith Saiyasombut and Pork Rib Satay
Ask Saksith Saiyasombut about Thai food in Germany and he’ll probably heave a sigh. I know that, because when I recently raised the subject to the Hamburg-based freelance journalist and political commentator, his immediate reaction was exactly that: a heaving of a sigh—soft and sustained. It didn’t strike me as one of displeasure; if anything, it was more of an acquiescent, faintly audible shrug. Then again, it was the only sigh Saksith heaved during our phone conversation, and perhaps I shouldn’t be making too much out of a hapax. Continue Reading →

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