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How to Prepare Rice Vermicelli (Khanom Jin) from Dried Noodles

how to prepare rice vermicelli khanom jin from dried noodles
Years ago when I first came to the US, one of the products that I missed the most was the type of rice vermicelli that the Thai people call khanom jin (ขนมจีน). The noodles weren’t available fresh anywhere, which is understandable considering how difficult it is to make them at all let alone on a large scale commercially. The dried noodles labeled as khanom jin (RTGS: khanom chin; also informally romanized kanom/khanom jeen) on the market were also of subpar quality. Some people used the Japanese dried somen noodles instead, but I found them to perform so poorly as a substitute for khanom jin that I didn’t bother with them. My only choice was to make peace with the fact that if I wanted to eat khanom jin without being disappointed, I would have to wait until my next trip to Thailand.

Then things started looking up when the local Asian markets in Chicago began carrying a product labelled “Guilin Vermicelli” which is extruded rice noodles in dried form. Once cooked, this product yields rice noodles that are as close to fresh khanom jin as I have found to date. Continue Reading →

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How to Prepare Pomelos for Thai Pomelo Salad

HOW TO PREPARE POMELOS FOR THAI POMELO SALAD

Pomelo Salad Bites, Page 46, Bangkok cookbook

About seven years ago, I published on YouTube a video that showed how to prepare a pomelo. I took it down at one point, as I was planning on replacing it with one that is of better quality. Regardless, when it first went up, a few emails came in wondering why I had to complicate something that was supposed to be so easy and if I even knew how to prepare a pomelo. I was more surprised than offended. ‘Is there another way to do it?‘ I remember thinking to myself. One of the people who emailed me said there was a better way to prepare pomelos that even her legally blind grandmother could do in much less time, so I asked her to please enlighten me. Her reply came with nothing but a URL—you could see an eye roll and hear an annoyed sigh—to a website that showed you how it was done, and I went, ‘Ah.’ Continue Reading →

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Khao Chae (ข้าวแช่)

Khao Chae Songkran Bangkok Cookbook Leela Punyaratabandhu
Songkran, Thai New Year, means different things to different people in Bangkok. To many, it’s the time to get out a plastic water gun along with a bucket of water and talcum powder, to wrap their cell phone in a plastic bag, and to take to the streets for some serious water-fighting fun. To just as many, it’s the time to go back to wherever home is and spend the days off with the loved ones they don’t get to see often the rest of the year. To some, it’s time to visit older relatives to wish them health and ask for their blessings in return. To some, it’s time to enjoy—even just for a few days—Bangkok without the usual around-the-clock traffic jam with many of the people visiting their homes upcountry.

I detest the water fight thing. I always have. I always will. So whenever I spend Songkran in Bangkok, I never leave home. I stock up on the basic grocery items in advance to last me for 3-4 days, and I don’t set foot beyond the threshold of my front door. I’m doing that right now. Continue Reading →

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