Hot Sour Salty Sweet: noodles and noodle dishes/ mostly vegetables
February 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the sections noodles and noodle dishes and on vegetables here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.
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Not to be unadventurous, but I think I am going to ask DH to make the Pad Thai for me for my birthday tomorrow. Pad Se Ew is actually my favorite Thai dish, but I didn't see it in the index. I'll report back if he does, in fact, make it. I'd like to compare it to Alton Brown's.
The simple vegetable curry is a side dish worth cooking over and over again. There are so many variations to the simple idea. any combination of vegtables seems to work. Last night I added (for the first time) sunchokes - they were the best addition I've made, they really worked well in the spice mixture. the only other variation is that I tend to add a little more cayenne powder and green chilli to the mix, I just like the extra heat in my curry!
Edit...opps wrong book, sorry.
In fact the only thing I have cooked so far is the spicy potato's that you par boi l and fry in chilies and oil - fantastci dish. I've made it a few times and each time it is a winner.
The morning market noodles are delicious. The recipe is great because it gives you lots of options for what to include (or omit). In addition to the base chicken and broth, I've added a few extra vegetables (thinly sliced carrots and red peppers, along with baby bok choy), sambal, a little dark soy, rice wine vinegar, peanuts, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
The Best Eggplant Dish Ever (makeua oop – Shan State, Northern Thailand), p. 159 – Don't know that it is the "best ever" but was delicious – I included the optional ground pork. I forgot to blend in the tomatoes with the other paste ingredients – so when I remembered, I just pureed them quickly and added to the dish. I would follow the instructions regarding checking and stirring pretty often to make sure that it hasn't stuck to the bottom.
So I made two dishes from the "mostly vegetables" section of the book and served w/ jasmine rice:
The Best Eggplant Dish Ever, p. 159, Northern Thailand
This was very delicious. What made it for me was the components of the sauce; once the turmeric and spice paste hit the pan, I about fainted from how good it smelled. Sometimes Asian seasonings can smell too powerful or pungent for me, but the aroma here was so fragrant and inviting. I did have to make a few substitutions since I didn't have some ingredients on hand: red pepper flakes for the dried Thai chilies; tiny bit of shrimp paste for the dried shrimp; chopped canned tomatoes for fresh. The shrimp paste was a great addition though, and the dish as a whole tasted perfectly balanced. Meaty, earthy, and deeply comforting. I included the optional ground pork and can't really imagine it without it. Splashing on a little fish sauce at the table made for a nice condiment. I could have cooked it a little longer (one hr. instead of 45 min.) to let the eggplant get really creamy and melting, and it will taste even better when I can get eggplant at the farmer's market in season. A definite keeper.
Stir-fried Eggs w/ Cellophane Noodles, p. 169, Laos, Thailand
This was a pretty easy recipe and, like the eggplant dish, had a tantalizing combination of flavors. I liked the brightness of the lime juice against the richness of the egg and heat from chile flakes. I've never had lime w/ egg before that I can recall, so the flavor was unusual and surprising in a good way. I used a little more noodle than called for, so I should have probably added another egg, but it was still tasty. The two of us easily finished this, so I would increase the recipe if serving more.
Based on these recipes, I'm really liking this book of the month. I wasn't inspired to cook from it the first time I checked it out from the library, so I'm glad the hounds made me take a second look.
Photos of each dish: