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Tried and True Recipes from David Thompson's "Thai Food"

I'm intimiated to invest in the complicated recipes from this book just to come up empty. Anyone cooked from it extensively.

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  1. I have, and it is my bible when it comes to Thai food. There is simply no better book out there. Kasma Loha-Unchit is also a fantastic resource, but Thompson's breadth of dishes is far superior.

    If you're not experienced in Thai cooking, I certainly would not recommend it as a beginner text: there are far more accessible books with adequate results that may lack a bit in authenticity but will not scare away the new Thai cook. I'd say if you don't feel comfortable locating the ingredients for a curry paste and pounding it out yourself, stay away from Thompson for now. My first book was Wandee Young and Brian Ayanoglu's Simply Thai, which I feel was an excellent starting place: very good recipes with fairly easy to locate ingredients, provided you have access to any sort of Asian market.

    1 Reply
    1. re: vorpal

      I have both "Simply Thai" and "Thai Food". ST is far more accessible and the resulting dishes are pretty fantastic. I've had TF for about a year now and haven't gotten around to making anything from it. I feel like I need to spend an afternoon pouring over that book.

      WON
      http://whatsonmyplate.net

    2. I haven't cooked it from it extensively, but here are some of my favorites:

      Crying Tiger (p. 114)
      Miang Khum (p. 146)
      Som tum - papaya salad (p. 160)
      Stir-fried squid (p. 174)
      Pad kee mau - drunken beef (p. 175)
      Roast duck laab (made this multiple times - a favorite). p. 250
      Heavenly shrimp salad (p. 267)
      Woon Sen - bean thread noodle salad (p. 304)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Rubee

        Just correcting this:

        I cut and paste from a previous CH discussion on my favorite Thai cookbooks, and this list is actually from Su-mei Yu's "Cracking the Coconut". I'll have to post later the Thompson recipes I like.

      2. Just like Vorpal's reply in this thread, yeah, Thompson's book has tremendous breadth, but it's not for newbies. Plus which, hunting down some of the ingredients can be tricky.
        I took a Thai cooking course from Kasma Loha-Uncht, which was great, and I have two of her cookbooks. "It Rains Fishes" is one of my "go to" cookbooks for Thai. She is much more accessible while not sacrificing any of the authenticity.
        Thompson has a new book coming out in the U.S. this September called "Thai Street Food." Seems interesting, but I'm wary as to whether I'll have to hunt down fresh mangosteens.

        2 Replies
        1. re: wokdude

          Just FYI: I picked up Thompson's new "Thai Street Food" book yesterday, and it looks exquisite: loaded with pictures and recipes for Thai dishes I've never even heard of before. The ingredients seem no more difficult to obtain (and in many cases, slightly easier) than his original Thai Food. I am absolutely agog with excitement to start cooking from it.

          1. re: vorpal

            Making something from Tahi Street Food for dinner tonight.....wondering if you've cooked from it, and if you have any favorites to reccommend?

        2. I have not cooked extensively, but from my limited attempts the following ---

          Show Stoppers
          Massaman Curry of Chicken
          Green curry of Fish Dumplings and Eggplant
          Steamed Fish with Ginger, Celery, and Sour Plum
          Stir fried Pork with Bean and Green Peppercorns
          Red Curry of Scallops - Chu Chi
          Mussels with Chili Jam
          Aromatic Curry of Duck

          Solid Great
          Fish Curry With Cucumber
          Beef Panaeng
          Yellow Curry of Clams and Pineapple
          Chaing Mai Curry Pork
          Mackerel Braised with Green Papaya
          Pork and Green Peppercorn Curry
          Green Papaya Salad
          Mussels and Ginger Soup
          Chicken and Galangal Soup

          7 Replies
          1. re: wew

            The Solid Great are dishes on par with the best from my favorite Thai joints - Sripraphai, Chao Thai, Ayada Thai, Nusara Thai all in NYC. These dishes will give you the illusion that you can really cook, something worth a touch (and it is only a touch) of extra effort. The Show Stoppers dishes are so good that you won't even notice the roar of praise from your guests.

            1. re: wew

              From Thai Street Food the Southern Fish Curry is another Show Stopper - bump the tumric to 1 TBS

            2. re: wew

              I bought the book about a year ago and never cooked anything from it, put off by how complicated it was. However, recently, thanks to this thread, I've cooked quite a few dishes from it.

              Massaman Curry of Chicken
              Yellow Curry of Clams and Pineapple
              Green Curry of Chicken and Pea Aubergine
              Pork and Green Curry
              Chicken Curry with Peanuts and Holy Basil
              Mussels with Chilli Jam
              Mussels with Holy Basil
              Grilled Chicken with chilli sauce

              1. re: PLFgifts

                Wow! Can we count you as a convert? How did you like the dishes you tried? Any "must" tries? Any fails?

                I have to admit I recently tried the Mussels with Chili Jam pg 502 (and the Nam Prik Pao, from TSF pg 354), and whil we liked it a lot, I still really prefer Nanci mcDermott's recipes for these, although I think Mr. QN liked Thompson's versions better.

                1. re: qianning

                  A true convert. I've cooked a little Thai before but the last few weeks it has been extensive.

                  Grilled Chicken was a fail (I bbq'd and burnt the skin) but it was edible and the sauce was good. Other than that everything worked.

                  I thought the Mussels with Chilli Jam was superb. I made the Chilli Jam and so have cooked that one a few times. I haven't heard of Nancy McDermott. (Would it be worth me buying her book? The Thompson is the only Thai book I own.)

                  Pork and Green Peppercorns was excellent. Maybe marginally better than the Green Curry and the Chicken curry.

                  Yellow curry was only good. I forgot the Shrimp paste in the curry paste.

                  The Massaman was one of the best dishes I've ever eaten.

                  All my previous favourite foods are starting to taste a little bit bland in comparison with Thai.

                  The only problem is it takes me so long to make a curry paste. Any tips? I am using pestle and mortar. I don't own a blender or food processor.

                  1. re: PLFgifts

                    Sounds like you've been cooking up a Thai monsoon.

                    For tips on speeding up paste pounding, you might want to see the entries from around April 5 this that are posted down thread. The summary, a spice grinder and a micro-planer can really help, most of us use a mortar and pestle for the final paste though (blenders/food processors just don't get the texture right).

                    1. re: PLFgifts

                      a sideways tip would be to quit work after making the paste and finish and eat the curry the next night.

              2. I haven't cooked from it extensively, but I've cooked about 8 dishes from this book. Every single one came out good.

                I do have a significant complaint about the book, however. I appreciate the fact that it is authentic, serious, and uncompromising, but I think the author could do much more to help the beginner out. Many of the descriptions of the ingredients are so spare that it's hard to know what to look for in Asian markets. Many of the recipes could use more details as well.

                Moreover, while authenticity is a virtue, so is accessibility. I live in Los Angeles, where we have a large Thai Town, and that's where I shop for ingredients. Still, I have yet to see a number of the ingredients Thompson mentions. It would be nice if Thompson suggested substitutes for difficult-to-find ingredients, even if inferior in some way, but he rarely does that.

                So the bottom line is that if you're a beginning Thai cook and you buy this book, you should be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy figuring things out. I'd have to guess that a number of people who buy this book just give up.

                1. I cook from Thompson 1-4 times amonth, but have never written up the experiences. But during last month's COTM discussions there was some thought that doing a little "preview" of the book might be worthwhile to see if it would work as a COTM. Hope it is OK to add write ups here as the opportunity comes up.

                  So last night for dinner we had:

                  Grilled Chicken (Gai Yang) from pg. 503 of "Thai Food" or pg 102 of "Classic Thai Cuisine" and
                  Cucumber and Prawn Salad (yam dtaeng gwa) from pg. 350 of Thai Food.

                  These two dishes with rice make a wonderful dinner.

                  The Chicken is marinated in a sauce composed of cilantro root, garlic, white pepper, and fish sauce for a few hours. While the chicken is marinating, make a dipping sauce of vinegar, sugar, water, garlic, chilis, and cilantro root, all simmered on the stove top until reduced by half, about twenty minutes. Thompson't sauce recipes make way more than I need for this dish, so I always reduce the amount of each ingredient by at least half, maintaining the proportions, with excellent results.

                  The original recipes call for a very small chicken,under 2 lb, since i can't always get that, I often make this dish with chicken thighs as I always have them on hand, and that's what I used last night. After marinating, the thighs are grilled slowly. I use the indirect heat method on a charcoal grill for the first 20-30 minutes, and direct heat for the final 10-12 minutes. Serve! the chicken is flavorful, with moist meat and crispy skin, and just succulent.

                  The cucumber salad is a thinly sliced cucumber tossed with a fish sauce and lime based dressing, a few cilantro and mint leaves, then topped with flossed dried shrimp. It pairs very well with the chicken and with rice.

                   
                  46 Replies
                  1. re: qianning

                    Qianning, what is your take on coconut milk? Over the last couple of weeks I have been attempting to make my own coconut cream/milk. While this proves to be a very interesting experiment, I don't know if I can actually find a discernible difference between that of fresh vs. canned, with the exception of maybe cracking the cream. I have deduced that it really isn't worth the extra time and mess needed to invest in making one's own fresh milk, yet in Thai Food, David Thompson is a vehement advocate for fresh. In fact, I believe he calls the canned stuff 'bastardized'. Am I missing something here?

                    1. re: Allegra_K

                      If I lived somplace where fresh quality coconut was available I might follow his advice if I had the time, but living in New England, where half the coconuts I buy are moldy, once they are opened, I have long since switched completely to canned coconut milk/cream, and only use "fresh" coconut when I need the grated flesh in a recipe for texture (more common in Indian and Burmese food than Thai), and even then I often buy frozen.

                      So in short, I'm all for the canned.

                      1. re: Allegra_K

                        I have to agree with qianning. I use loads of coconut cream in my cooking and have made my own six or seven times, and I have to say that I find the flavour slightly better but not nearly worth the effort. If you can find boxed coconut milk / cream in your area, I highly suggest you purchase that. It is significantly better than the canned variety as it has absolutely no hint of a metallic taste.

                        Your time is much, much better spent making homemade curry pastes.

                        1. re: vorpal

                          spot on.

                          1. re: vorpal

                            Thanks for the advice! I definitely will be making my own curry pastes from now on, since I finally acquired a mortar and pestle large enough to do the job properly.
                            I made red curry of pork and bamboo shoots from Thai Food the other day, making both the paste and the coconut milk. Kind of cheated on the bamboo shoots, since I could not locate any fresh ones this time around. I loved making the curry paste; the aromas emitting from the granite bowl were so enticing! It really started coming together after I added the coriander root (well, in my case, stems--I have never once seen roots for sale where I live). The coconut milk, as I mentioned earlier, is not worth my time, so I will not be doing that again. Lovely curry, though slightly astringent (perhaps my shallots were too strong?). A bit time consuming, but again the time would be significantly reduced had I just opted to open a can.
                            Today for lunch I made the stir-fried minced beef with chillies and holy basil (p 507 Thai Food). I happily had found some holy basil at the market this week for the first time, and immediately thought of this dish. I've been wanting to try it for some time. I've never made anything out of this cookbook that has come together so quickly. I actually had to wait for my rice to finish cooking. Basically it's a fried paste of long chillies and birds eye chillies with garlic, cooked with some minced meat (I used turkey) and stock, light & dark soy sauce, sugar, and holy basil. Blisteringly, addictively hot. Wonderful simple flavours are heightened by the addition of lime juice and fish sauce with chillies. The recipe says that it's for a single serving, but it feeds two for a nice light lunch with plenty of rice underneath.

                             
                            1. re: Allegra_K

                              Re: Canned coconut milk and making your own: SF Gate just had an article re BPA in canned foods; coconut milk was one. Is coconut milk available in tetrapaks? Those don't have BPA.

                              1. re: walker

                                Aroy-D Coconut Milk is packaged is box form that is called tetrapaks on several websites. One significant advantage is that this product is made without stabilizers (or preservatives), making for a unthickened final curry.

                                1. re: wew

                                  Thanks for the heads up on the Aroy-D tetrapaks of coconut milk, I was able to find some in my local asian grocery. But no cocnut cream in this packaging, at least not at that store, has anyone seen tetrapak coconut cream?

                                  1. re: qianning

                                    I have seen tetra-pak coconut cream alongside the boxes of coconut milk in a number of asian markets in the Seattle area.

                                  2. re: wew

                                    On the Aroy-D coconut milk can that I have, it only lists Coconut extract and water as the ingredients. Is it just a known fact that the cans have stabilizers in them? I thought that it would be a requirement to list every item in the ingredient list.
                                    I've also seen tetrapaks of coconut milk by Aroy-D around here, but so far only in 1litre boxes.

                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                      that's interesting....my Aroy-D in the cans lists coconut milk, water, & potassium metabsulphite....the tetrapak lists only coconut milk. some other canned brands that i've looked at list several other ingredients, including emulsifiers.

                                      1. re: qianning

                                        curious from tech view, why does the canned need additives and not tetrapak?

                                        1. re: qianning

                                          Maybe there are different import requirements for different countries? Like maybe mine does have the stabilizer as well, but it's not a legal requirement to list the ingredient...? Just grasping at straws here. I certainly can't ever seem to crack the coconut from a can, so there's got to be something in there.
                                          The reason that stabilizers are added sometimes is to prevent separation of the cream and the milk, is that correct? Does the coconut milk in the US come as one homogeneous mass? I've only ever encountered separated coconut milk, so the idea that it would be different never occurred to me.

                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                            a can of coconut milk in the u.s. has to be shaken to reintegrate the "cream" on top into the rest of the coconut milk.

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              There are also differences between canned "coconut milk" and "coconut cream", looking at the cans I have on hand, which are Aroy-D brand coconut milk, and Chaokoh coconut milk, and Chaokoh coconut cream, it looks like it is coconut cream that has the emulsifier in it.

                                              All of the cans, whether coconut milk or coconut cream, have a listed preservative. The tetrapak, on the other hand, has no listed additives at all.

                                              BTW, I was able to find 8.5fl oz (as opposed to 1 liter) tetrapaks of coconut milk. But so far I've not found any tetrapak coconut cream.

                                              1. re: qianning

                                                i know that coconut cream is used for drinks, but i only buy the coconut milk for cooking. i wonder why the tetra pak coconut milk has no preservative?

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  aseptic so it doesn't need them?

                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                    well, cans should be aseptic, too, shouldn't they? (is aseptic the right term, as in made a sterile environment?) anyhow, i wonder how heat application differs in the canning vs. tetrapak containerization process.

                                                    well, googling is my friend. i found this description of the *canning* process: ""[E]mulsifiers and stabilizers, are ... added to the milk to obtain a stable consistency and texture. [...]. The coconut cream is then pasteurized at 95oC for 10 minutes in a plate heat exchanger. The pasteurized coconut cream is hot filled in cans using a mechanical volumetric filling machine followed by steam exhausting. The cans are seamed using an automatic can seamer. The seamed cans are sterilized in a rotary retort at 15 psi for 20 minutes. The cans are then cooled in running water." http://coconutboard.nic.in/cream.htm

                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      good point, certainly hope cans are aseptic....really i have no idea why the difference in additives....but you must be on the right path in that it probably has to do with the differnces in the processing between the type of packaging...

                                                      .again, this is hunch, not fact, but the main issue for cooking thai food is probably emulsifiers, which would maintain homogenization, which is usually NOT desirable in cooking thai dishes....which looking at the indredients on the cans/packs gets to why i've had success "cracking" canned coconut milk, but not so much with canned coconut cream....

                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                        I think our post crossed somehow....anyway, i went googling too see this on tetrapak/asepctic processing....
                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aseptic_...
                                                        it looks like "aseptic processing" is somehow different from hot fill

                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                          the canned milk is pasteurized... 95 degrees for 10 minutes. this kills MOST of the microorganisms, the wiki article states.

                                                          compare tetrapak:

                                                          here is the "heat treatment" for the aseptic tetrapaks: "Sterility is achieved with a flash-heating process (temperature between 195° and 295°F (91° to 146°C)),[1] which retains more nutrients and uses less energy than conventional sterilization techniques such as retort or hot-fill canning. Aseptic food preservation methods allow processed food to keep for long periods of time without preservatives, as long as they are not opened.""" \
                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aseptic_... <i don't see how long the heat is maintained in this process, though>

                                                          i'm wondering if the description above is the same as "flash pasteurization" or is only akin to it? it SEEMS LIKE the flash pasteurization uses a lower heat temp range than that for the tetrapak.
                                                          ""[Flash pasteurization] is done prior to filling into containers in order to kill spoilage microorganisms, to make the products safer and extend their shelf life. Flash pasteurization must be used in conjunction with sterile fill technology (similar to aseptic processing) and therefore has the risk of post-pasteurization contamination if hygiene standards are not rigorously enforced.....
                                                          The liquid moves in a controlled, continuous flow while subjected to temperatures of 71.5 °C (160 °F) to 74 °C (165 °F), for about 15 to 30 seconds.""" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_pa...

                                                          well, at least now we know the tetrapak is called "sterile fill technology."

                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            :) What did we all do before wikipedia?

                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                              goodness knows!

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                Learned and knew things, maybe? ;-)

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  heh heh...went to the library! saw travelogue films. traveled and asked questions.

                                                                  visited tetrapak plants? not so much! LOL.

                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                    You didn't travel with my dad, he was a big time factory tour lover. No tetrapak plants available then, though.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      i'd have loved to travel on factory tours. i usually think "oh, why would i watch this show?" on food network (the one with mark summers), and end up being fascinated with the elaborate systems that they've developed for cooking, conveying, packaging, etc.

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        I'll never ever forget the lovely smell of the Donald Duck orange juice factory in your natal state that we visited when I was about 5. Very interesting to see all those places. Thanks, Dad!

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          in the research, i read that tropicana was the developer of the sterile fill technology for fruit juice.

                                                                          ~~~~~~
                                                                          i can still see a donald duck frozen juice concentrate can in my mind's eye. remember his cute little sailor cap and charming smile (for a beak)? http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Sar8IPNlxOY...

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            Man oh man yes!!!

                                                                    2. re: alkapal

                                                                      I used to call a research librarian with my difficult questions. I'd also call my mother for things in her areas of expertise.

                                                    2. re: qianning

                                                      If a "tetrapak" is the waxed cardboard containers, I saw a largish one containing coconut cream in a local Asian market a couple of weeks ago. Don't remember the quantity - perhaps a liter - but I ultimately did not get it as I didn't feel I was likely to use even half of it before it went bad.

                                                      1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                                        after opening, any left-over can be frozen. Sometimes, I "crack" the left-over and then freeze, which also works well and takes up less freezer space.

                                        2. re: Allegra_K

                                          That minced meat with holy basil looks fantastic.

                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                            allegra, that meal you made looks really tasty! nice job!

                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                              Stir-fried minced beef with chillies and holy basil, p. 507

                                              That's one of my favorites too. The latest version for lunch today was with Thai basil. I also made spring rolls last night and made fried wontons with the leftover wrappers and this as filling. So good.

                                               
                                            2. re: vorpal

                                              Many thanks to vorpal & wew for the heads up on the tetrapak coconut milk, just used the Aroy-D in tetrapak for the first time tonight, man is it better than the Chaokoh canned, a HUGE difference.

                                          2. re: qianning

                                            I'll add one two massaman curry
                                            I'll put the my modifications in brackets.
                                            3 chicken legs[one chicken], 4 potatoes[6], 8 small onions, 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
                                            Cooking liquids: 3 cups[2] coconut cream, coconut milk as needed, 3-5 Tbs fish sauce, 2-5 Tbs tamarind water, 1 cup pineapple juice[sub 3/4 cup water]
                                            For the curry paste
                                            Chop kind of fine: 4 Tbs shallots, 5Tbs garlic, 3 Tbs lemongrass, 1Tbs coriander root, 2 Tbs galangal, 5 dry chilies moistened[ I use 10 chilies and add after dry roasting that follows]
                                            Dry roast the paste stuff above, stirring regularly, over medium heat and as the ingredients stick to the pan put a small splash of water to loosen them, and continue till brown, maybe 15 minutes or more. Take out of the pan and
                                            Let cool while
                                            You roast separately then
                                            Grind 1 Tbs coriander seed[2 Tbs}, 1teaspoon cumin, 5 cloves 1/2 crushed nutmeg[1], 2 sheathes mace, 2" cassia, 4 cardomon pods, 2 Tbs peanuts
                                            Make a paste from the shallot-garlic-galangal-lemongrass-corrander root mixture[add the chilies if not added added yet], then
                                            Mix in the brown spices and ground peanuts
                                            Crack the coconut cream and
                                            Fry the above mixture in the oil over a med flame for about ten + minutes stir carefully to make sure nothing sticks or burns.
                                            Add 2Tbs- 0ne cup Palm sugar[1 1/2 Tbs] to the curry paste and continue to cook for a bit more till a darkish golden brown.
                                            Add the 3-5 Tbs fish sauce, 2-5 tamarind water, simmer for a bit and 1 cup pineapple juice[3/4 cup water]
                                            [Here I stop and refrigerate and continue the next day]
                                            Deep fry the chicken after cutting it as you choose,then fry the potatoes then onions
                                            Put the fryied chicken onions, potatoes, and the 1/2 cup of peanuts onto a pot and add enough coconut milk to just cover, throw in a bay leaf[2 lime leaves]3 cardamon pods, andand simmer at low heat till all is cooked and combine with the curry mixture. Heat for a while to unite the works.

                                            1. re: wew

                                              Great post wew. What did you think of the results? Was the curry tasty? I assume this is the mussaman curry on page 329 in "Thai Food"? I've looked at it several times, but haven't made it yet....should I?

                                              1. re: qianning

                                                Yes, yes, yes, and make some for the next day.
                                                Correct on the "Thai Food" source.
                                                Truly great dish, well worth the extra effort. Like many subtle dishes this one starts slow then enthralls you. As I'm sure you have noticed Thompson's recipes call for the Thai amount of protein per dish, and I always up the meat/fish/poultry. Here due to the labor I spread make a double batch

                                                1. re: wew

                                                  This dish is definitely on my "to try list" and now you've given me extra incentive to move it towards the top.

                                                  You are so right about the protein portions, a few days ago I made his "Chicken Curry with Holy Basil, Ginger and Peanuts" (will write it up once I get the pic's downloaded), and I tripled, from 5 oz to a pound, the amount of chicken, with no increase in the sauce, and it was just right for us.

                                                  1. re: wew

                                                    Your post has me adding this recipe to my list. It sounds enthralling...

                                                    I've always been conservative in the amount of meat I use, so the measurements in the book seem perfect to me. I would, however, love to up the vegetable content in his dishes, but I worry of compromising the overall flavour of the finished product. Maybe after I get a feel for how it's supposed to be the first time around I can play around with the ingredients later.

                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                      Do try the chicken, it was yummy.

                                                      Thompson's recipes definitely produce a lot of sauce relative to the protein & veg, which is fine, but as we are trying to keep the quantity of rice we eat in check adding either more meat or more veg helps, and so far I haven't had any trouble with the balance/flavors, it works fine.

                                                2. re: wew

                                                  So, I finally made the Mussaman Chicken Curry last night. Wonderful! My take was somewhere between Thompsons original recipe and WEW's modifications per above...I only used 5 chilis, and next time i would either add a few more, or do less de-seeding.

                                                  And one question, after my coconut cream cracked, my coconut oil never re-incorporated into the dish at all.....did I do something wrong?

                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                    I'm at a loss to know what I've done when this happens to me. My guess is that the coconut cream can be completely changed to oil, "over cracked", and doesn't emulsify as well as a less cooked out coconut cream might - prolonged frying of the paste after as a contributor. This is particularly hard to manage in the thinner green curry dishes when thinning would spoil the dish.

                                                    1. re: wew

                                                      So glad to hear I am not the only one! You really made me feel better, thank you.

                                                      I think you are right about the "over-cracked" possibility....for this dish I used some of the tetra pak Arroy-D coconut cream (as opposed to the tetra pak coconut milk) for the first time, boy was it rich. And then I cooked it to death, first to "crack" it, and then to fry the paste....probably went way over board, being so used to over-compensating when using the canned stuff.

                                                      For this mussaman curry I could easily have skimmed the oil off at the end (and would have had we had guests), but for just us, we just ate around it. The left overs are in the fridge, and it'll be easy enough to skim that.

                                                      But you're right, for a thinner curry skimming would would spoil things. Wonder how to know when the coconut cream is cracked enough?

                                              2. Chicken Curry with Holy Basil, Ginger and Peanuts.

                                                Make the paste, cut to slivers chicken thigh meat and ginger, reduce coconut cream over moderate heat, fry the paste in the coconut cream, add the fine ground peanuts, add the chicken, add holy basil, take off heat add the ginger and the coarse peanuts, serve.

                                                Delicious! The peanuts add a wonderful hearty texture to this curry, to which the fresh ginger zing is a lovely counterpoint. At first the raw ginger juliennes seemed a bit counter-intuitive to me, but they really worked very nicely.

                                                Egg Mousse

                                                An egg is whipped, fish sauce, & cilantro are added, then mix is steamed in a bowl. This was less exciting, and far too salty for us. Although the saltiness contrasts well with the rich cocnut curry and rice, it was still too much fish sauce for me. I'd try it again, but would reduce the fish sauce from one TBS to one tsp.

                                                In the picture the curry is in the upper right corner, the egg mousse in the upper left corner.

                                                 
                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  That looks delicious! I was planning on making the chicken with holy basil tonight, so I'm glad to hear that it works well; I also had concerns about the ginger.
                                                  Thanks for the review!

                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                    Looking forward to hearing what you think of that curry. Hope you enjoy it too.

                                                  2. re: qianning

                                                    qianning, that is beautiful! i am impressed with all the talented thai food chefs we have here on chowhound. it is inspiring!

                                                  3. Chicken and Galangal Soup-p.268, Thai Food

                                                    Delicious and easy! I whipped (or rather, stirred, haha) this up in less than 20 minutes and will definitely make it again.

                                                    Boil 2 c. chicken stock with coconut cream and milk-1c. of each. Add palm sugar, salt, with bruised lemongrass, shallots, coriander root, chillies. (where's the prep?) Add lime leaves, galangal....simmer......add chicken pieces, mushrooms. Top with fish sauce, lime juice and cilantro. Done.
                                                    I really couldn't have asked for an easier soup. I've made this twice in the last few days; the first time with cremini mushrooms, the second with oyster mushrooms. I really prefer the oyster; the texture of the creminis was too rubbery and out of place for such a silky soup. I can only imagine how wonderful it would be with some fruity chanterelles. I also added some small mango slices, which really lent a nice sweetness and complemented the coconut milk nicely.

                                                    Chicken Curry with Ginger and Holy Basil-p.442 Thai Food

                                                    Qianning summed it up perfectly. A great dish that came together quickly once the paste was made. The peanuts and the coconut cream made for a very rich dinner, but the ginger was a lovely contrast. Again with my curry paste, there was a faint medicinal flavour in there. I suspect that maybe the galangal I have been using is too potent. I'll have to fiddle a bit with the proportions.....but I'm really enjoying the making of pastes.It's opened up a whole new world of thai food for me. I really love this book.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                      Chicken and galangal soup on left, Chicken with holy basil & ginger on right

                                                       
                                                       
                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                        guess i should have scrolled down before posting above. the soup looks divine!

                                                      2. re: Allegra_K

                                                        Do you pound your paste in the traditional way, or use a blender/food processor. I was taught to do it in a pestle and mortar in Thailand, but it really is quite hard work.

                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          I've been doing it in a mortar and pestle. My food processor is too large to puree it properly. I guess it does take more time this way, but I'm really starting to love the rhythmic pounding required to crush the ingredients. It's also wonderful being able to inhale the intoxicating fragrance wafting up from the paste as each new item is added to the bowl.
                                                          I do use my smaller marble mortar and pestle to pound out the dry spices first. It's probably easier that way.

                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                            Interested to see Allegra's answer, and others too.

                                                            I pound my pastes in a mortar and pestle, but I do take a few shortcuts before adding ingredients to the mortar...a) pre-grind hard spices in a whirr grinder b) micro plane ginger, galangal, tumeric, garlic, shallots and other rhyzomes, then add each to the mortar in order, c) VERY finely dice/cut/chop lemon grass, coriander root, chilis, d) if salt is in the recipe, add coarse salt when adding the toughest (usually chilis or lemongrass) ingredients.

                                                            Probably not 100% authentic, but it speeds things up a lot, and no water or oil addition, so no real dilution, and the additional pounding/mixing in the mortar and pestle, and adding the ingredients except for salt in the prescribed order, gets me pretty close to the texture I want

                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                              Vatcherin Bhumichitr recommends whizzing your hard spices in a coffee grinder or similar first, I noticed.

                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                It defiinitely saves some pounding.

                                                        2. you all will get a kick out of this. maybe a year ago, i bought some coconut oil in a mid-east food & grocery shop, and was going to use it as a hair conditioner (which is what the proprietor told me that ladies bought it for), but then i saw that some people cooked with it (here on chowhound). anyway, i had forgotten about it, and cleaning out a little place in my bathroom closet, i found it -- and it had never been opened. i went to squeeze it, and discovered that it had solidified!

                                                          i'm going to cut open the plastic bottle to see what it looks like. and because i'm cheap, and it was expensive, i guess i'll have to rub it on my heels and elbows. ;-)).

                                                          13 Replies
                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            :)

                                                            wonder what it smells like if you try frying it?

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              It's solid at cool room temp, nuthin wrong with it. Should be good still, I think?

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                it wasn't solid when i bought it. you think it is just the temp? but if that is the case, they need to package it not in a squirt bottle (;-) but a squat, wide-mouth jar.....

                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  a squirt bottle? Yikes.

                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                    like a shampoo bottle.

                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      you did say something about it being sold as a hair tonic, didn't you......

                                                                  2. re: alkapal

                                                                    Yes, the temp. Was it packaged somewhere that the ambient temp would be higher? That would explain the squirt bottle.
                                                                    Does it say anything about being safe for human consumption? Ingredient list? If it's sold to be applied to the body it is subject to FDA approval but edibility is another matter.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      gotta do some more research. will report back (if i remember). ;-).

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        Yet another food-related science quest! The best kind!

                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                          My coconut oil is solid at the moment too. When we go back to the 80+ degree days we had recently, the CO should be liquid again. Is this food grade CO?

                                                                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                            how is the coconut oil packaged? any "not for consumption" label on it? any additives?

                                                                            coconut cream is solid at NH room temperature, except maybe for a few days in July, so it doesn't seem odd that coconut oil would be solid at room temps. i doubt if the solid/liquid state indicates much about "food grade" vs non-food grade.

                                                                2. re: alkapal

                                                                  Don't cut open the container. Microwave it lightly, or put it in a warm water bath and it'll melt again.

                                                                  1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                    thanks, j, i like the warm bath idea!

                                                                3. Kanom Jin from the Shans (pg 575)

                                                                  Made this noodle dish last night and we quite enjoyed it. This dish is sometimes called "Shan Noodles" on Burmese restaurant menus in the states or "Kow Sen", not sure if that's Burmese of Shan. It is basically an enriched meat sauce served over rice vermicelli, my Shan cookbook says that there are many variations and no matter how many times the author has had it it is never the same. License to experiment! Usually we have it once a year at the Burmese Baptist Assoc. of Boston's annual food fair, but I thought it might be fun to try my hand at it.

                                                                  Thompson's recipe uses two pastes, first a simple garlic and chili paste, and then a slightly more complex shallot, tumeric, garlic and shrimp paste blend. The first is fried in a wok, then the second paste is added and fried at a lowish heat (he doesn't state this in the recipe, but the frying after the second paste is added takes a while, I cooked mine for a good half hour) once the pastes are cooked, chopped tomato & soy sauce are added and simmered briefly, then minced meat is added, I used beef as I had it on hand, but I think pork would be better, the entire concoction is then added to mini-spare ribs that have been simmmered in stock. That's the topping for the noodles.

                                                                  He recommends fresh Kanom Jin rice noodles, but I hadn't prepared far enough in advance to find those, so I just used a very fine grade of dried Thai rice vermicelli. Worked fine, although they don't have the same slightly fermented flavor of the Kanom Jin. Anyway, we used his suggested toppings of cilantro, spring onion, bean sprouts and pickled cabbage, as well as a few of our own, fish sauce, lime and fried shallots, and a few crispy noodles, as I didn't have/make crispy pork rind.

                                                                  There are a few things I would change in the recipe. For one I'd add some ginger to the first paste base. For another I used a Japanese soy for the light soy called for in the recipe, Chinese soy would have been better, and I might reduce the shrimp paste from 1 tsp to 1/2 tsp, or maybe use the suggested tua noc. We were in a hurry last night, so no picture!

                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                    That sounds pretty swell! I've been coconut milk-ed out (I think it was the richness of the chicken with holy basil. So much cream!), so have been looking for something without it. I've been eyeing the kanom jin recipes lately, but so far have had no luck finding the noodles. Are they even available dried? That would be my best bet.....not really sure what I'd be looking for, though.

                                                                    Is this something you would make again?

                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                      I would make it again. We eat Burmese food pretty often, and this dish has a fairly similar flavor pattern.

                                                                      I know exactly what you mean about coconut milk. More than once I've found my self looking through Thai cookbooks flagging just about anything that doesn't include coconut. Do you like grilled food? Some of the Thai grilled fish and chicken and sausage dishes (not all from Thompson) are real favorites for me. "Jungle" curries are another type of dish to look at, also some of the Ishan curries and Laap's.

                                                                      As for the noodles, I can sometimes find very fine fresh rice noodles, but not specifically kanom jin. Sometimes, for other Burmese noodle dishes, if we plan ahead, we cook/boil dried or fresh noodles several hours ahead, and let them "ferment" for a few hours in an oven with the light on. Not sure how hygenic this is, but to date we are still kicking. Really, though, there's not that much difference in taste.

                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                        I will certainly have to try the noodles with your method, thanks! Sounds hygenic enough to me...
                                                                        I'm looking forward to trying the grilled recipes; my barbeque has finally been released from the icy grips of winter, literally. The jungle curries I have been wanting to make for ages, and I just found a source for fresh peppercorns, so I'm pretty excited to attempt those, too.
                                                                        The more I look at this book, the more I want to make out of it.....

                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                          curious....what sort of store/vendor has the fresh green peppercorns? so far i can only find brined in my area....wondering if i'm looking in the right places....

                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                            A new, very large Asian grocer opened up recently in my city, and they have a marvelous produce section! So far I've found fresh galangal, krachai, lime leaves, peppercorns, among other things that I had never been able to locate before. It's a dream come true!!(Apparently all of my dreams revolve around food....)
                                                                            I've never tried the brined peppercorns, would they be a good stand-in for fresh?

                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                              Lucky you! That sounds like a super store....wish we had one with that particular selection of fresh SEA ingredients. The brined peppercorns will definitely be my fall back optioon if I can't find the fresh.

                                                                    2. re: qianning

                                                                      As a modification to this recipe I added ground sesame seeds (as per Alford and Duguid) and some ground roasted peanuts to the paste and roasted peanuts to the garnishes. Like you I've added ginger, not in the paste but finely slivered a minute before serving. The rich ribs seem to call for the ginger and a big splash of lime or maybe I just love lime and ginger.

                                                                      1. re: wew

                                                                        we certainly agree about lime & ginger. whenever we go to the Burmese restaurant in Boston i ask for extra lime for my noodles, the owner keeps telling me it ruins the flavor, but he indulges me and gives me extra lime wedges anyway.

                                                                        great idea to add slivered ginger at the end, or maybe even separately at the table with the other extras.

                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                          If you get back into a coconut laced dishes try (if you haven't - so presumptuous of me) the southern curry of mud crab. Close to a soup, the box coconut milk that we have talked about really makes a difference in this on. As written but one rounded teaspoon of roasted shrimp paste instead of 1 tablespoon not roasted. I had very best results with med light fish - sea bass or halibut - and mackerel threw the dish out of focus.

                                                                          1. re: wew

                                                                            I've looked at that recipe...thanks for the tips, I'll look at it again. I think some Thai food is definitely on the list for next week, if not this weekend.

                                                                        2. re: wew

                                                                          I had forgotten that Alford & Duguid's HSSS had so many Shan recipes....pulled it out a few days ago for a revisit, and am finding it more useful than I had recalled.

                                                                      2. Mussaman Curry of Chicken p. 329

                                                                        Despite my recent overkill of coconut milk, I made this dish tonight. Boy, am I ever glad I did. It was fantastic!
                                                                        Wew has already listed the process and ingredients, so I'll mostly skip it. Instead of the chicken legs called for, I used 5 thighs, de-boned and cut into quarters, skin on. Next time I will remove the skin, because although it crisps up when deep fried, the process is reversed when simmered in coconut milk for a long-ish period of time, rendering it rubbery and flaccid. Peeled that off later. I pretty much followed the recipe after that, upping the potatoes and onions, decreasing coconut cream. I used my food processor on this paste, (adding coconut cream to aid in pureeing) as the paste ingredients are chopped and fried together until until brown, making the job quite daunting with the mortar and pestle.
                                                                        The amount of sugar called for varies greatly- anywhere from 2T to 1c. I probably used about 5T, and that was sweet enough.
                                                                        My mouth is watering just writing this up. It was *so* good. It will frequently be appearing on my menus. Highly recommended!

                                                                        Stir-Fried Asparagus p. 419

                                                                        Fast, simple, tasty. Garlic pounded to paste with salt, added to 1" pieces of asparagus, fried in wok until tender crisp, tossed with soy sauce, stock, sugar, sprinkled with pepper. After the amount of time spent on making the curry, this was a welcome addition of speed and greenery to the cooking repertoire.

                                                                         
                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                          Looks great. i love the way you set up your pictures.

                                                                        2. Just had a wonderful dinner with:

                                                                          Deep Fried Whole Fish with Garlic and Peppercorns, pg 278 Thai Street Food, and Pomelo Salad pg 514 Thai Food.

                                                                          The fish came very nicely, crispy as advertised (we used a small black sea bass) and with a subtle cilantro root flavor. The cilantro garnish is a must, it really ties together the flavors.

                                                                          I've made a Pomelo Salad recipe from a different source for years, but decided it was time to try Thompson's recipe. Glad I did, it was wonderful, the apple eggplant really contrast perfectly with the pomelo flesh, and the seasoning and pastes are just right. We both really enjoyed it very much.

                                                                          Served the above with rice, and a cha om omlette, altogether a very nice meal, and no coconut milk in sight!

                                                                          1. Made a couple of Thompson recipes for dinner last night.

                                                                            Mussels w/ Thai Basil Thai Food pg 516
                                                                            Unbelievably simple and tasty and subtle. Bring chicken stock with a lemon grass stalk to a boil, add mussels, cover to steam, when done, stir in Thai basil leaf, serve. Really lovely. The broth is delish, so don't forget to serve some alongside for dipping.

                                                                            Stir Fried Water Mimosa w/ minced Pork and Peanuts, Thai Food pg. 508
                                                                            Simple enough, stir fry some water spinach with garlic and oil, add a bit of broth, add the pork and some soy, when the pork has cooked through, add peanuts and serve. Easy and tasty, but overall i prefer my water spinach cooked separately from meat.

                                                                            1. i don't recall if it was in this thread that i discussed my solid coconut oil matter, but this link is interesting abut coconut oil. http://www.monicabhide.com/2011/04/co...

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                well, now that coconut oil has been redeemed from the bad oil list, and since being steered to the excellent tetra-pak coconut milk/ceam, i'm back at coconut curries again....tonight it was

                                                                                green curry of chicken with baby corn (bamboo shoot) pg 318 thai food....
                                                                                a pretty good green curry, it came together well (the tetrapak coconut milk/cream is SO much easier to "crack" than the canned stuff, order of magnitude better), and we enjoyed it, although as it is much thinner than red urries it does make for a soupy rice plate. the other dish,

                                                                                grilled eggplant salad, pg. 354.
                                                                                oh my goodness was this tasty, and so easy. roasted asian eggplant, peeled, then dressed and tossed with shallots, mint, lime, fish sauce, scallions, topped with a steamed egg and some ground dried shrimp. divine!

                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                  you are inspiring me, qianning.

                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                    dogged, aren't I.

                                                                                    but really we love these dishes, I can't help myself!

                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                      le Q -- i thought of your love of coconut when i saw this coconut reamer. i have one but it attaches to the edge of a table. http://www.ishopindian.com/coconut-sc...

                                                                                      ps, le Q was the nickname some adoring french fans had for quincy jones in a saturday night live skit .. back in the heyday.

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        Thanks for the link. What a gadget! Is that a good web site, I've never seen it before. Around here, NH, the real problem is finding cocnuts that aren't either moldy or dried out....ususally have to buy 3 to get 1 good one.

                                                                                        "le Q", what hoot....i may have to change my username.

                                                                                  2. re: qianning

                                                                                    made this again tonight, even better with "farm fresh" eggplant, skipped the steamed egg as we were having it with a salty/spicy pork curry (from McDermotts's book, not Thompson's).

                                                                                2. Promised myself that I'd stop posting to this thread, but then found Chiang Mai Curry, pg 324
                                                                                  ......true love!

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                    No, no...keep posting!! Every time you add something to this ever-growing list, I tell myself that I need to cook something else out of the book. Your reviews keep me inspired!

                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                      thanks for saying that, allegra. i was thinking the same thing.

                                                                                      carry on le Q!

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        OK, not much arm twisting needed, as I adore these recipes, and anyway, there's some curry in the fridge that needs another dish with it to make a meal....stay tuned!

                                                                                    2. re: qianning

                                                                                      How much pickled garlic syrup did you use? I started with 1/4 cup and worked to 1/2 cup and stopped there.
                                                                                      If you google Thompson's Chiang Mai Curry Sakkrin's search engine which has a chart comparison of recipes for this dish

                                                                                      1. re: wew

                                                                                        my bottle (i used comercial pickle garlic) had a half cup left in it and the extra jar i thought i had was no where to be found, so by default i used 1/2 cup, it was fine to my taste.

                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                          People often use the phrase Thai hot when ordering in a resto, but after using Thompson for a while I think Thai sweet is probably a more significant national taste descriptor.

                                                                                          1. re: wew

                                                                                            good point. i definitely tend to reduce/use the lesser recc'd amount of sugar/sweetener. some sweet to balance the heat is important, but for my taste less is better, and i kind of do the reduction in sweetness without even thinking about it.

                                                                                    3. I don't have the book in front of me, but from what I remember, I loved one of the miang kham sauces in TF -- sweet, fishy and spicy.

                                                                                      I also think some of the salads are fantastic. One that comes to mind involves trout, apple eggplants, and green mango -- I substituted shrimp -- and there is another one with sweet shrimp (that is, ordinary shrimp cooked in a sugar sauce) and grachai (he may call it wild ginger or rhizome or lesser rhizome--I ONLY find it frozen in the US) that is outstanding.

                                                                                      1. Grilled Beef pg 504, made this to round out a meal with the remains of the Chiang Mae curry. This is a pretty standard neua yang, I served it sliced & dressed with shredded lettuce underneath and some cuke slices and tomato on the side.

                                                                                        1. Roasted Duck & Lychee Salad, pg. 352

                                                                                          What to do with left over Chinese roast soy duck, a Thai curry? I had the best intentions to make the red curry from Seductions of Rice and just add the duck, but then I saw this recipe, and since it is lychee season, and I had a few fresh lychees to hand, well. what to say I just had to try this.

                                                                                          What a fantastic dish. Mr. QN liked so well he took a snap. I served it on a bed of bibb lettuce and we were pretty much fighting over the scraps down to the last piece of sauce soaked lettuce.

                                                                                          Prepared per the recipe, using the optional plum sauce (in this case I used iced flower yellow plum sauce which has a salty slightly sweet flavor and a pleasant yellow color) and therefore eliminating the sugar. The balance was perfect. Lychee season doesn't last long, but I think I'll have to make this once more while there are fresh ones in the market.

                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                            qianning, could you possibly post the recipe? Have both duck and fresh lychees at the mo and this sounds fantabulous.

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              It is terrific. I'll get the proportions in a minute & post. Still trying to figure out how to get the photo small enough to post. That may or may not happen!

                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                There's a really nice Chinese (Kenneth Lo recipe) duck salad with lychees too, just shredded duck, shredded green onion, dark soy, rice vinegar, touch of sugar, and sesame oil. Lychees to top. I also make this with sour cherries or blood oranges...

                                                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                salad: 1/4 duck, 15 lychees peeled & seeded, 3 scallion whites juliennned, 1 tbs ginger julienned, 1 tsp deep fried garlic, cilantro leaves, 2 tbs roasted peanuts lightly crushed.
                                                                                                sauce: 1 tbs plum sauce, 1 tbs palm sugar (less or none if using plum sauce), 1 tbs jinjiang vinegar, 3 tbs l. soy, 2 tbs stock or duck jus.
                                                                                                garnish: sesame seed, scallion greens chopped.

                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                  Thank you for this, I just saw it! CH sometimes doesn't give me all my unread posts, no idea why.

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    sorry to hear you got this so late...we had it a couple of times during lychee season....mr qn likes it enough that he'd probably agree to it with canned lychees, but i think i'll hold out for fresh. it really is a delightful dish, all the more so if you can find a good plum sauce (my preference is the ice plum jam stuff from guangzhou) and use the jus from the duck.

                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                      We still have them in Manhattan Chinatown (or did 2 weeks ago anyway) so it's still a possibility. Thanks again, and thanks for the rec on the plum jam.

                                                                                                      ps...invitation to a thread? have always wondered...
                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/799800

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        invite received & accepted, thank you. see the appropriate thread!

                                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                                          That I did!

                                                                                              3. re: qianning

                                                                                                alas, the picture won't post. but it really is a dish that looks as good as it tastes and vice versa.

                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                  I will again recommend Southern Fish Curry from Thai Street Food as written with a bump to 1 TBS turmeric. The seasoning of this dish is simpler than most of the coconut curries allowing for a nice change of pace.

                                                                                                  1. re: wew

                                                                                                    Have you folks noticed the near 2x price rise of coconut milk?

                                                                                                    1. re: wew

                                                                                                      i hadn't needed to buy any lately (bought quite a bit a while back when i "discovered" the tetrapaks)...have to go to the little thai grocer near me today, will look at the cocnut milk prices,,,,,when did the price hikes start? any known reason?

                                                                                                      1. re: wew

                                                                                                        i have noticed the price increase in some but not other brands. i think trader joe's is still a bargain, but they don't have the tetrapaks.

                                                                                                        i'd blame dollar devaluation and transportation cost increases.

                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                          A non coconut curry recommendation - I've combined the two pork prik king recipes using the two pastes and the meat cooking methods from the second (the one with duck egg and fish cakes) and the non paste ingredients of the first. This combination seems to give the best results as I find the paste from the first prik king a bit flat.

                                                                                                          1. re: wew

                                                                                                            interesting. i made the pat prik king from pag 297 about ten days ago and we did like it quite well, but i can see where some garlic and fresh chili in the recipe might have been nice. the curry had a slightly "green" almost primitive flavor to it without the huskiness of garlic/chili.

                                                                                                            fwiw, we had quite (approx2tbsp) a bit of of the curry paste left over, and i recently used it to make an ersatz thai fied rice with pork and shrimp, this curry paste with its dired shrimp component was exceptionally tasty in that application.

                                                                                                2. "Bay", doe anyone know when Thompson calls for bay leaves, does he mean bay laurel or indonesian bay (daun salam)? I'm finally going to give Mussaman Curry a go this week, and can't decide which of these two to use.

                                                                                                  19 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                    This is a bit of a late reply, but I remembered the query, as I was also curious to see what the response would be. Anyway, I was reading through Thai Food a bit today and came across this info, on page 144:
                                                                                                    "Cassia Leaf (bai grawan).......is often sold under its Indonesian name, daun salam. Although unrelated and with a different fragrance, a Western bay leaf is often used as an alternative."
                                                                                                    Interesting!

                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                      So I guess he means use daun salam? Is that how you take it? The more one looks into this one the more confused it gets.....In east Asian recipes I never know when "Bay" means "bay laurel", "Indian bay" or "Indonesian Bay".....they are all different plants...the best source for trying to understand the differences that I've found is this one:
                                                                                                      http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/s...

                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                        I know! After I posted this, I did some more internet sleuthing and became more befuddled by the second. According to Wikipedia, there are nearly 700 species of cassia, which may actually be more, or less, due to confusion surrounding the classification of the genus Senna vs Cinnamomun, so basically even the experts have trouble agreeing on this one.
                                                                                                        I bought some 'cinnamon leaves' in a Mexican grocer recently, then bought some 'Indian bay leaves' in an Indian shop shortly after.....and they both look/smell identical! Cinnamon, cassia, bay, daun salam......my head hurts.
                                                                                                        Though I think at least the Thompson dilemma is solved. When calling for cassia leaf, I will use daun salam, and with bay, I'll use....uh.......indian bay? Or maybe....oh, I give up.

                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                          Big grin here, and thanks you are making me feel much better about this.

                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                            Oh yes, no problem! Though really, I just muddled it up further, haha!

                                                                                                            Since I don't have any of his other books, I can't look through what Thompson has to say there, but are there any more specifics on his take on bay leaves in Thai Street Food?

                                                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                              on the road again, but I'm pretty sure I looked through all three of his books, and still had no idea; plus the reference to cassia leaves really confused me, since if I understand correcltly daun salam isn't in the cassia family....

                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                Okay, after even lengthier bout of detective work (I'm embarrassed to say how long), I am concluding that Thompson is just incorrect in the glossary in his book. From what I can see(please correct me on this), daun salam is nearly exclusive to Indonesian cooking. Since the only recipes that I can find that use bay leaves are in the mussaman curries--which Thompson indicates originates from Indian/Arab merchants-- I take it that he means Indian bay (aka cassia leaf, aka Cinnamomum Tamala) instead of Daun Salam (Syzygium polyanthum).
                                                                                                                Because the packaging of Daun Salam is often subtitled "Indian Bay Leaf" (a misnomer, as we've learned), perhaps it was just an oversight on the editor's part.

                                                                                                                Now I officially quit. Any additonal requests will have to be handled by my PR rep. :)

                                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                  I just cracked the book open 331 mussaman curry. I see cassia bark in the paste and I see reference to bay leaf in the curry itself. I think everyone is just over-thinking this. David is a westerner writing for a western audience, if he wrote bay leaf.... I can only assume that he is using the same bay leaf that you would put into spagetti sauce. I just looked up in my recipes that I have from SITCA (Thai cooking school in Koh Samui - around 150 recipes in total) and there is no bay leaves used at all. The only spice included in the curry (not in the paste) is some star anise. In the paste they use cinnamon stick (which would be the equivalent of cassia bark), so David uses cassia bark but this Thai school uses cinnamon.

                                                                                                                  Now mussaman curry is also referred to as muslim curry and is a southern dish, so it's origins would have come up through Malaysia to southern Thailand.... and there are likely many different variations - so maybe looking at a malaysian version of this curry would give some insight into David's recipe.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                    LOL! Personally, I too declare "Uncle".

                                                                                                        2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                          Gets even more confusing now that I dug into the name translations:

                                                                                                          Common Name:

                                                                                                          Bai gra-waan ใบกระวาน = bay leaf

                                                                                                          Translates into three botanical types (the two asian are not interchangeable with lauris nobilis):

                                                                                                          i. Lauris nobilis
                                                                                                          ii. Cinnamomum tejpata Indian
                                                                                                          iii. Syzygium polyanthum (Salam) Indonesian

                                                                                                          1. re: cacruden

                                                                                                            Hah! This is getting ridiculous....I guess I'll just use standard issue bay laurel, unless stated otherwise.

                                                                                                        3. re: qianning

                                                                                                          Okay, so I know that I said that there would be no further discussion from me about this topic, but I am relentless....I currently have Thai Street Food out from the library, and happened upon (I swear, I wasn't looking!) yet another confusing piece of information. In the recipe headnotes on pg. 160 (chx & banana chile curry), now Thompson is stating that Thai cardamom leaves are also known as salam leaves. Are cardamom and cassia of the same tree? Can this get any messier?
                                                                                                          And absolutely, yes, I am way overthinking this whole thing, but it's such a mystery!

                                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                            "cardamom leaves?", hmmmm, green & white & black cardamom are in the ginger family, definitely not a cassia or a laurel or myrtle.

                                                                                                            daun salam (indonesian bay) is in the myrtle family.
                                                                                                            cassia, indian bay, bay laurel are all in the laurel family.

                                                                                                            So I think Mr. Thompson (or his editor) is just confused.

                                                                                                            BTW, do you have this link? http://gernot-katzers-spice-pages.com...
                                                                                                            For multi-lingual guides to herbs and spices, with great pictures, and decent culinary and botanical information Gernot Katzer's site is a real treasure trove. I am capable of whiling away hours on those pages.

                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                              Not a surprise now that I found that duan salam, indian bay and bay laurel all have the same Thai name :o

                                                                                                              1. re: cacruden

                                                                                                                Do you speak Thai? Cook Thai food? Does anyone know when a Thai cook says
                                                                                                                "Bai gra-waan" what they have in mind?

                                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                  I speak Thai a little, read Thai very very slowly.... Cook Thai food - but none of my 150 recipes from a semi-professional cooking school (SITCA) actually use that ingredient. The instructor was native to Phuket, so most of her recipes would be based on family and friends in that area. I was getting different english for ใบกระวาน (bai gra-waan), then ran across the following ingredient list with botanical names and it sort of made sense (I know I have had that problem with one other herb - cannot remember which one)... the person said can be either. Most Thais do not work from recipes - in fact if you ask them they would not be able to tell you.... but they will show you how to cook it.

                                                                                                                  So I would not be able to find out which one David actually meant until I could find who showed David how to cook it in the first place :o He lived here for many years, so he speaks Thai and reads Thai.... but most likely the source is someone showed him as they cooked it and then he replicated it based on what they told him were the names of the ingredients.

                                                                                                                  I know of at least one ingredient that I eat that has no english name, just a thai name and a botanical name.....

                                                                                                                  http://ediblyasian.info/glossary-thai...

                                                                                                              2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                Wow, I had no idea there were so many different varieties of culinary bay leaves.....I can see why one could spend many hours on this site (on top of all the others!).

                                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                  Beware that site is a time sink! But still it is a great resource.

                                                                                                            2. re: qianning

                                                                                                              For Massaman Curry (my recipe does not use it) "bai gra-waan" (ใบกระวาน) = bay laurel I believe.

                                                                                                            3. Stir Fried Siamese Watercress w/ Yellow Beans (tua nua, in my case), Chili & Garlic

                                                                                                              Wonderful wonderful, the best water convulvus/kong-xin-cai/kangkung recipe yet, and I've tried many over the years! I did, however, draw on that experience and chage a few things.

                                                                                                              I used roasted powedered fermented soy bean cakes (tua nua, sp?) instead of the yellow bean sauce, as I prefer that taste, and i seperated the leaf from the stem of the kangkong, adding the stem to the pot, then the garlic, chilis, bean powder, then the leaf, then the stock and the soy sauce. It was really really good.

                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                Where has this thread been my whole life? Thank you so much for reporting back on these Thompson recipes. I have TSF and have never cooked from it. Maybe your reports here will inspire me.

                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                  Hiding in plain sight is a specialty of mine! Meanwhile, welcome on board, and if you do have a go at Mr. Thompson's books, please, please report back.

                                                                                                                2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                  I made the dish twice since you recommended it, the first time as written the second reducing the soy sauce to a scant 1 T. The second time I cooked a bit of shrimp paste in the oil (as per the head note suggestion) bringing it closer to what I'm used to for this dish. I used your cooking order but added some chili to the oil at the start. Great with roast pork and rice.
                                                                                                                  Question - Does the amount listed of yellow bean paste refer to the amount pre or post rinsed?

                                                                                                                  1. re: wew

                                                                                                                    My guess, and its only a guess, is measure then rinse. But I've been using tua nua (fermented dried compressed soy bean wafers) to make this, so not sure with the yellow bean paste. How much shrimp paste did you add?

                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                      rounded 1/4 + teaspoon, enough for a taste.
                                                                                                                      I'd like to put in another plug for the Mangosteen and Shellfish Curry. I use clams which are put aside right after opening and add to the curry just before eating so they are as juicy and full of clam essence as possible.

                                                                                                                      1. re: wew

                                                                                                                        Do you use fresh mangosteens? That sounds really, really sexy.

                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                          I've made it with mangosteen, lychee, and ripe pineapple. All versions came out fantastic. For me the important point is not overcooking the clams. I have made it with mussels which I found to be less zesty than clams.

                                                                                                                  2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                    Q, when you use tua nao in place of yellow bean sauce in recipes, do you substitute an equal amount? I opened my jar of (admittedly old) yellow bean sauce and was surprised to find it full of fuzz, so a replacement ingredient is in order until I can get to the market.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                      Not sure exactly. I think I kind of wing it. Sorry I know that isn't a very useful answer. But I rarely use more than one tua nao disc in any dish, and often half a disc. I'm trying to remember how much I use in the water spinach, half a disc, IIRC.

                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                        Winging it is what I did. Used in a noodle dish, review way below. Thanks!

                                                                                                                    2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                      Stir-Fried Siamese Watercress w/yellow beans

                                                                                                                      Made this for a quick lunch today and it was fantastic! Can't believe I've skipped past it so often.
                                                                                                                      Used the same method listed above, separating stalks from leaves. Used a touch of shrimp paste as suggested in the head notes, maybe 1/4 t? Also tossed in a handful of shrimp to make this a nice well-rounded meal. My only complaint-and this is totally my fault-is that it was very, very salty. Like drink-a-gallon-of-water salty. I should have omitted the salt when pounding the garlic, accounting for the gapi, and maybe been more diligent with the rinsing of the yellow beans. Perhaps reduce the soy sauce next time, too?
                                                                                                                      I've made notes in my book about that for next time (which will be rather soon, methinks). Even the spouse, who's usually afraid of green things, really loved this.

                                                                                                                    3. I’m going to detour a bit.
                                                                                                                      Thai Food and Thai Street Food have different versions of Noodles with Wild Ginger. The Street food recipe head note extols the use of salted dried mackerel pointing out that it is has a strong off putting smell. I trotted down to my local thai grocery and handed the man behind the counter the paper on which I wrote the transliteration of the thai for the fish. He came back with frozen steaks packaged in extra heavy plastic, the kind of wrapping that usually has bio hazard stickers affixed to it. The woman next to me, whose bearing was that of an experienced Thai cook, looked at the fish then at me. Her look said – Good sir, you have no idea of how little you know. She asked me the question that should have set off an alarm bell; she asked if I was expecting to cook the fish indoors because if I was, expect the neighbors to come over and request how long ago there was a death in the household and that it’s probably past appropriate burial time. Like a fool I took my fish home. A small cut into the wrapper caused the kitchen to fill with an odor that was gag inducing and omnipresent. I went ahead and cooked the dish with fans going on high, and yes the odors in the food subsided to very reasonable, and the result was decent in a dish in the rad naa vein. Today I went to Chinatown and found regular old dried mackerel, undoubtedly the correct one, infinitely milder and will report the results.

                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: wew

                                                                                                                        oh my, and you even have the backbone to try again, my hat's off to you.

                                                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                          Well, I will use the regular dried mackerel not the frozen steaks and next I'll try the Thai Food variant. The mackerel was called Plaa Insiri Kem in the book.
                                                                                                                          Any luck in finding Kanom Jin fresh or dried?

                                                                                                                          1. re: wew

                                                                                                                            Haven't tried lately, to tell the truth, for Mohingha we're used to doing our ferment-the-noodles-in-the-oven trick. Is there such a thing as dried Kanom Jin?

                                                                                                                            I have found a brand of dried rice noodle at my local Thai grocer that I like a lot. The label's downstairs, but I'll check it and report back. That's what I've been using to make the mohingha noodles (and what I used, if I recall correctly, to make the Kanom Jin).

                                                                                                                            What does "Kem" mean, do you know? I don't.

                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                              In Street Food Thompson calls for fresh or dried Kanom Jin. Where to get them east of Sidney, if there, I don't know, and i have had no help from the internet I've used somen and a thick mixed grain(?) noodle
                                                                                                                              I love. I also will report back with a name.

                                                                                                                              1. re: wew

                                                                                                                                Look forward to hearing what brands you've been using....I always thought Kanom Jin were lightly fermented rice vermecilli...

                                                                                                                                we've been using a Thai brand called 'erawan brand", yellow & red label on clear plastic package, three elephants pictured in the trade mark, with chinese characters reading 三象牌(i.e. 3 elephants) and also, i'm guessing about this part, the same in thai script. we like them as well as any we've tried in a long while.

                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                  Right on the rice. The somen was in place of kamon jin, which I'm still looking forward to trying when I can find them. In the Shan pork dish we both had I used fresh rice sheets sliced wide and were great.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: wew

                                                                                                                                    got it. when i made the Shan dish i used the dried rice vermicelli. i can get the fresh rice sheets, though, will have to try that sometime. did you hand cut them?

                                                                                                                                    sometimes i buy the "chow foon" type rice noodles and make malaysian style chow keuh teow, love that dish.

                                                                                                                              2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                "Kem" is the Thai word for salty.

                                                                                                                        2. I'm planning on cooking a Thai meal for about 15-20 people. I'm going to try and keep it simple. A salad, a curry, maybe a grilled or steamed fish or seafood dish. Was thinking about making a relish as well. Has anybody made one of the relishes? Or has even eaten a Thai meal which came with a relish? Any thoughts about this?

                                                                                                                          23 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                            I'll look back at my notes. Meanwhile, which relishes are you looking at?

                                                                                                                            15-20 people, you are a brave soul!

                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                              Ok, so, fwiw, I've made two recipes from the relishes chapter: Chilli Jam (nam prik pao) on pg 200, and Kaffir Lime Juice Dressing with Grilled Prawns on pg 218. My thoughts, starting with the latter-

                                                                                                                              As Thompson notes, this is somewhere between a salad and a relish. We enjoyed the flavors a lot. For a party it has the benefit that most of the prep work could be done in advance, and then just tossed together before serving. For the Asian citron juice I used a good grade of pure Japanese citron juice, which worked well.

                                                                                                                              As for the nam prik pao, personally I prefer Nanci McDermott's recipe. But, several caveats to that, hers is based on grilled rather than fried ingredients, and I tend to like grilled flavors a lot, also, mostly I use nam prik pao as an ingredient in other dishes, tom yang gong, mussels w/ basil & etc in that use a simpler recipe has advantages, and finally almost everyone else on this board, and several thai cooking blogs I look at, prefers Thompson's recipe or ones similar to it, so my choice is probably not the crowd pleaser.

                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                Not really sure what relishes I would choose. I have a huge jar of nam prik pao already made so I might just serve a big bowl of it with chopped raw vegetables. However, the Kaffir Lime Juice dressing does sound good.

                                                                                                                                Speaking of which, and on a separate point, are you able to source Kaffir limes or their peel at all? I think it is illegal to import fresh kaffir limes into the UK and I haven't found any frozen peel anyway. I may end up having to buy a kaffir lime tree.

                                                                                                                                1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                  Sometimes i can get kaffir lime leaf, and very occasionally fresh kaffir limes, I have a small tree (great for leaves) but so far it hasn't produced any fruit. I've never looked for frozen lime peel, I know that I've seen dried ground lime peel, but I've never bought it. Usually I just use "regular" fresh lime peel, sometime key lime.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                    Incredible. I'm very impressed by your dedication.

                                                                                                                                    Not sure how well a kaffir lime tree will do in London but I'll look into it. Would be worth it just for fresh kaffir lime leaves. I hear that Lemongrass is very easy to grow so I might try that just to reduce costs. Maybe a Thai Holy Basil plant in the house as well.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                      for the basil you'll def. need a grow light. same for the lemongrass. you'd need a tropical greenhouse environment to keep a lime tree.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                        The only way I can see this working is if I jack in my job, set up a restaurant or pub that is heavily influenced by Thai food, and then buy a greenhouse to grow Kaffir Limes. I am tempted but know that it is a crazy idea. Oh well.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                          well, i don't know, but for some years now my kaffir lime tree has been very (knock on wood) happy in a west facing window in New Hampshire, at 43North, its hardly tropical, slightly more sun than London, but definitely colder too. Lemongrass, on the other hand, I've never gotten to perform well, probably too dry here in the winter, or more likely, my lackadaisical approach to watering.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                            your lime tree lives in a west-facing window in new hampshire. that is amazing! no grow light, no extra humidity needed?

                                                                                                                                            how large is it? do you have it in a plastic pot or a pot that breathes? how often can you harvest?

                                                                                                                                            maybe there is hope for me! ;-).

                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                              yep, it does live in nh, no grow lights, its home is a bay window, so pretty darn cool in the winter, and a glazed pottery pot, so it breathes but not as much as a terra cotta pot would. the tree is entering its fourth year with us, it grows in the summer, goes semi-dormant in the winter, i use the leaves occasionally (when i can't find any to buy), which doesn't seem to bother it, but for sure i don't prune it heavy or often. it does have scale (gift from my bay tree) so i scrub it with a light soap solution once or twice a year. otherwise, i ignore it.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                Kaffir lime tree grows very well indoors (outdoors in summertime) in NYC with some light. humidity and watching for scale help. I dont think it will bear fruit this far north though, at any rate I have never seen any flowers on my kaffir lime in 6 or so years, while my other non-tropical citrus bloom away. Its a nice looking plant and worth growing for the leaves.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                                  thanks q and jen. maybe next summer -- when the little trees might be in a nearby nursery, i'll get one and try it. i do know i've had easy success with rosemary cuttings indoors in a NW facing window, even.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                    The same window that houses my kaffir lime, is winter quarters for my rosemary, if anything the lime tree does better than the rosemary.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                      I've had a small kaffir lime plant (twig is more like it) in my kitchen for the last 3 years. It barely grew at all in that amount of time.... and then this past winter I had my kitchen window open during one of our lovely -30 stints, and it froze to death. After all those memories we shared, I just couldn't accept the fact, so I carried on watering its lone lifeless limb. Then in the spring, hope arrived in the form of a bright green shoot poking up through the soil! When it was warm enough, I put it in my south facing sun porch, and it is at least double the size that it was before I nearly killed it.
                                                                                                                                                      So if I can grow one, anyone can.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                        what a great story! ;-). i guess the little tree needed to understand how good he really had it there in your house! but it does seem that he was "holding out" for the sun porch. LOL.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                                      Judging from her leaves, home grown is the best by a very wide margin.

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                      where are you able to buy good thai ingredients in NH? im from the upper valley and have no idea where to start looking.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ian9139

                                                                                                                                                        hi--i haven't lived in the upper valley since grad school....longer ago than i care to admit.....

                                                                                                                                                        i'm near nashua now and there is an excellent thai/pan-asian (Lanna Asian Market) grocery on amherst st in nashua, if for some reason you are in this area it is worth checking out. you might want to post on the n. new england board for suggestions closer to you.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                        Qianning - where do you shop for Thai ingredients in NH? For example, where did you find your Kaffir lime tree? Are you able to snag fresh tumeric, galagal, etc in NH? I'm in central western NH, near VT border but venture to the Manchester/Nashua area occasionally. Have tried Lana's but not sure she has things like tumeric root.

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pianola

                                                                                                                                                          Lanna is my go to place around here for Thai ingredients. She definitely has lime leaf, and turmeric root and galangal, in the freezers. Just ask and she'll show you where. She also has a lot of the dried and canned and tetra packed Thai ingredients (for example the best dried rice noodles for Thai & Burmese I can buy even compared to the stores in Boston). Since she is Thai I also find her advice on what brands etc to use for Thai cooking very helpful & usually spot on. Don't know how recently you were at Lanna, but a while back she was having trouble with her freezers, she has since completely replaced them, and it has done the quality of her frozen items a world of good. Her produce, though, is hit or miss. Saigon Market in Manchester is generally a better option for produce if I don't get to Lowell or Boston.

                                                                                                                                                          I do shop at some of the Cambodian stores in Lowell (HK market, Baolin & etc Battambang used to be good, but it has gone down hill, and I don't shop there any more), The stores in Lowell are somewhat more likely to have fresh turmeric & galangal, and every so often fresh lime leaf or fresh pandan leaf.

                                                                                                                                                          Saigon Market on Maple in Manchester. Saigon Market also has a branch on Pine St. in Nashua, but I think the turn and therefore the freshness of the Asian ingredients is higher at their Manchester location.

                                                                                                                                                          I bought my kaffir lime tree at a little Laotian store in Providence RI (I used to live near there and Mekong Market on Smith Street in Providence is a favorite store of mine, so whenever we are anywhere in that area we stop, one day they had teeny lime trees for sale and I got one. If for any reason you are ever in Providence, they always have fresh lime leaf, and often have fresh penny-wort, and the best homemade Lao/Issan sausages; way worth a stop). But closer to this area I've also seen lime trees for sale at the SEA festival in Lowell; which is usually held sometime in August.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                            Though I'm very lucky to live in a warm and sunny place, I'm really surprised at how easy it is to keep a kaffir lime tree. Mine has done extremely well in front of a west facing glass door. I drag it outside to the terrace quite often, but it's been indoors a lot this summer due to the extreme Texas heat. The only thing I do that would be considered a pain is that I run a small humidifer next to it often. It's a good looking tree and having the leaves whenever I want is great. I'd really encourage anyone into Thai cooking to give it a go.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                        Late to the thread, but I'd recommend the green mango and shrimp relish. It can be made a bit in advance and is an exciting dip. Use a very lightly smoked dry fish even better grill a dried fish a few minutes with the top on the weber . An eastern european style smoke will give a strange result

                                                                                                                                        1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                          The relishes are among the gems of TF, since some of them are part of an old-fashioned eating culture that is slowly disappearing. I'm a particularly ardent fan of the Salted Duck Egg Relish, and I also love the Lon of Salted Yellow Beans, which is phenomenal. The Northern Thai Pork Relish (naam phrik ong) is also amazing; if you can't find green tomatoes, tomatillos give a lovely flavor and texture.

                                                                                                                                        2. The NYT noted that DT will be a guest chef at a New York resto for 150 dollars per the head with wine. I myself am will not be going as I'm saving up for the first leg of a trip to Thailand - a metro card.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: wew

                                                                                                                                            Dear qianning, alkapal,Allegra_K et.al,
                                                                                                                                            1000 tetra pack of 100% coconut cream Aroy-d at $3.25. Fantastic fresh taste. Due to no additives (my guess) the is separation, but this cuts down reducing time and all but eliminates the light browning I sometimes get.
                                                                                                                                            And of course there is on fly on the gaapi. I was able to find it in L. A.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: wew

                                                                                                                                              that is exactly the product i used in the mussaman curry......i "cracked" the extra, and froze it.....will be using some of that soon, to see how that approach works....i think you are right, it doesn't need as much cooking as i am used to with the canned stuff (or even the tetra pak cocnut milk), ergo my oil slick problem......i found it at a little, but excellent, pan-asian store, thai ownership, in NH!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                Tonight I used some of my out-of-the-freezer pre-cracked coconut cream (Aroy-d, originally tetra-pak large container; left over from previous recipe, but cooked less than for the mussaman curry) to make a green curry, it worked perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                I won't be afraid to buy the large 1000 ml containers of coconut cream anymore now that i know the cracked cream stores so well.

                                                                                                                                          2. On Sunday I cooked 7 people and served the beef penang curry and the green papaya salad. Both dishes were fantastic. I had made the paste a few days in advance and cooked a chicken penang as a mid-week meal. I decided (I feel almost sacrilegious saying this) that the Thompson penang curry paste was brilliant but ever so slightly insubstantial so I made some alterations, adding shrimp paste, turmeric, and crushed white peppercorns and coriander seeds. I did prefer the paste with these alterations. I simmered the beef cheeks in coconut milk but after three hours on the stove they were nowhere near done so I put them and the simmering liquid in the oven at a low temp for 5 hours. I used the simmering liquid in the final dish which I think again was an improvement on the first penang curry, or at least an improvement in Western taste terms.

                                                                                                                                            I used the leftover curry paste last night in fish cakes. For which I used the Thompson recipe exactly, only substituting the penang curry paste for the red curry paste he calls for. The fish cakes were so far ahead of the ones I have eaten in the UK (probably all cooked form frozen). I haven't made the fish cakes with red curry so I cannot comment on whether the penang paste worked better than the red curry paste.

                                                                                                                                            16 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                              have to admit i haven't even looked at his penang curry...is that from "thai food" or "thai street food"?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                                "On Sunday I cooked 7 people..." Is that legal where you live?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                  LOL! as long as he (she?) found them on craig's list!

                                                                                                                                                  by the way, that penang curry sounds so delicious. i'll bet that the meat was so flavorful and tender!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                    Not exactly legal. But graverobbing so rarely happens that the police don't assign any portion of their budget to deal with such cases.

                                                                                                                                                    The penang curry was from Thai Food.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                                      I'm going to make a Massaman tomorrow and just wondered on what people have done when they've made it with beef? Do you still deep-fry the meat first before you add to the curry? And how long have you found you have had to cook it for once you have deep-fried it?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                                        Masaman curry is traditionally made with either chicken or beef. It was a Muslim influenced dish. We don't deep fry the meat but stir fried it in the curry mixture before adding coconut milk. I usually cook until the meat is tender. How long it takes will depends on the size of your meat. It tastes better the next day when the spices get inside the meat and the potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nattythecook

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks Natty,

                                                                                                                                                          In the David Thompson book 'Thai Food', in his recipe for Chicken Masaman, he deep-fries the chicken, potatoes and shallots before adding them to the curry to "intensify" the flavour. He does indicate that this isn't standard but something he recommends. I did deep-fry the beef before simmering it in coconut milk, and then fried and caramelised the paste before adding it to the dish. It worked well, though I'm not sure if I would notice the difference if I skipped the deep-frying process and may do that next time. This dish takes me long enough to prepare as it is.

                                                                                                                                                          As you say it tastes even better the day after you have cooked it. I made twice the quantity of paste do this weekend I'm going to try a duck masaman with pineapple. I'll try to cook it the day before to let the spices soak into the meat.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                                            Duck with pineapple, that combination sounds great.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                                              That is very interesting! IMO, deep frying does 5 good things: adds a crunchy crust, seals the juice inside, adds fat, adds brown color and adds flavor by caramelizing.

                                                                                                                                                              The crust and the sealing is negated by the long simmering and the oil and color isn't necessary. The caramelizing might have some benefit, but that dish is so flavor rich, it really doesn't need pumping up. I'd actually wonder if the caramelizing seal would be detrimental because it puts a barrier between the spicy curry and the center of the meat and potatoes. That is what I always try to achieve, getting the spices/flavors inside the meat and potatoes. Have you cooked it without deep frying? It would be an interesting comparison.

                                                                                                                                                              Perhaps in his restaurant he couldn't cook it a day in advance, so he needed the oomph.

                                                                                                                                                              Keep me posted on the duck, pineapple masaman. It sounds good. The pineapple has the underlining masaman flavor, a little sweet and sour.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nattythecook

                                                                                                                                                                i've never had deep-fried beef. what other cuisines do this?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nattythecook

                                                                                                                                                                  "Sealing the juices inside" is nothing more than a myth that has been disproven time and time again here on Chow and elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                  That being said, velveting the meat is a terrific way to enhance the consistency and flavour of a dish. When making pad kee mow, for example, I will almost always marinate the chicken in rice wine and tapioca starch, and then deep fry briefly to crisp up the outside. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                                                    So cooked the Duck and Pineapple Massaman. The duck was amazing but I don't think I would add pineapple again. Maybe I didn't balance the flavours properly, but the pineapple was too acidic I think. But the whole dish was still delicious. Also served the green papaya salad but with the deep-fried pork, the chilli mussels, and some Vietnamese sea bass and pineapple spring rolls which were cooked on Nigel Slater's television programme by two women who run a street-food stall.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                                            PLFgifts,

                                                                                                                                                            How long do you prefer them aged? is it the standard 21 days, or the 42 days or the premium 50 days? And do you like them the British way with woodcock, hung, but not drawn?

                                                                                                                                                            For each permutation, I would suggest a different proportion of garlic and galangal!!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GTM

                                                                                                                                                              Hi GTM,

                                                                                                                                                              Are we talking about the hanging of duck? I just buy it from the butchers and I don't know how long it is hung for, etc.

                                                                                                                                                              On a separate note, a few weeks ago I went to Nahm in London for a second time. As always food was incredible and wine also brilliant. Before the meal the head chef demonstrated Thai cookery - Green Papaya salad and he served it with grilled chicken. Both delicious but as the cookery class was aimed at all standards I didn't learn a huge amount though I did ask him if they made their own coconut milk. He said that they went through over 200 coconuts a week.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PLFgifts

                                                                                                                                                                I was joking about the grave robbing!! lol

                                                                                                                                                                200 coconuts = 400 cups of coconut cream + 400 cups of thin coconut milk + 300 cups of very thin 3rd extract, this is my rough estimate, could be less.

                                                                                                                                                                At David Thompson's rate of use of coconut cream, i.e. 2 oz meat per cup, that is good for hardly 400 plates! lol Just kidding!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GTM

                                                                                                                                                                  Oh! This is what happens when jokes are made over many months. I didn't read back far enough.

                                                                                                                                                                  Next step for me anyway is to make my own coconut milk. Even after all this time I am not convinced I crack coconut milk properly so will be interesting to see if real coconut milk makes a difference.

                                                                                                                                                                  Have you cooked any new Thai dishes recently?

                                                                                                                                                    2. Pork Satay, (Muu Satay) pg 178 Thai Street Food.

                                                                                                                                                      Made this last night for dinner (actually I made the paste and marinated the meat on Thursday, but cooked it Saturday), and we both really liked the results very well. I didn't make the satay sauce as we had some home-made satay sauce languishing in the fridge, and I served it with the Cucumber Salad recipe from Thai Food, not the accompanying cuke relish on page 179, as this looked too sweet for us.

                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, this was a pleasant surprise, as neither of us liked his Grilled Pork Skewers (Muu Bing) pg 112 Thai Street Food at all, and I've tried a few pork satay recipes from other sources and not been happy, but this one was a hit and a "keeper" for us.

                                                                                                                                                      Pretty easy too, as the paste only has a few ingredients that need to be pounded, and after an initial semi-pounding in the mortar and pestle, I did the final stages (i.e. add coconut cream and oil) in a small food processor, worked a dream.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Chicken Curry W/ Ginger and Peanut
                                                                                                                                                        This is dryish curry, cooking technique much like a prik king. After making it several times I lowered the amount of peanuts and cooked the ginger a tad by adding it to the wok a bit before the end, tempering the ginger bite.
                                                                                                                                                        Last week I made it with bone in chicken which required some water to prevent sticking, and WOWEEZOWEE that brought everything into high relief. Add that splash of water at the end.

                                                                                                                                                        The former wew

                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                          Why the name change?

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for writing this one up, I love dryish curries, especially with peanuts.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                            I don't know why the inclusion of so little water pulls in so many of the flavors but it does. I'm going to try the same on the pork prik king and dry cook fish dishes in Dancing Shrimp.
                                                                                                                                                            I could no longer log in under my four digit password and was unable to use my email with the same name and different password. On a different thread I thrilled the fans with my choice of an electric drill to open oysters and my ability to follow computer directions is on the same level as my imaginative mechanical approaches. I gave up and signed up as the unimproved wewwew

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                              Oh am I laughing....wew or wewwew the sense of humor is fabulous!

                                                                                                                                                              BTW, you inspired me to try the chicken w/ basil, ginger and peanuts, we had it tonight for dinner....fantastic! Thanks for the tip, and for the good laugh...next time I get into a wrestling match w/ an oyster I'll be wondering why I don't own an electric drill!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                wewwew, i don't know you, but am still having a giggle imagining you -- hovering over a batch of oysters -- wearing goggles and wielding a drill.

                                                                                                                                                          2. qianning -- check this out http://nickmalgieri.typepad.com/blog/...

                                                                                                                                                            nick malgieri at thompson's thai place in bangkok

                                                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                              thanks. looks soooo good.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                Certainly does, alkapal!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  buttertart, i asked nick (on FB) what those fermented fish innards tasted like! LOL. i don't think i would have been so adventuresome, but i see he notes that he found out what it was AFTER he ate it.

                                                                                                                                                                  i loved the presentation of the fruits with those green peppercorns.

                                                                                                                                                                  tried to find a recipe for the fish innards curry, but haven't yet. did find this nonya recipe for fish stomach curry. http://rasamalaysia.com/recipe-perut-...

                                                                                                                                                                  and of course, on my merry way on the twisting road of food research, i found this very interesting description of thai cuisine's techniques, styles, influences: http://www.lostinthailand.com/thailan...

                                                                                                                                                                  i didn't find anything in this thai phrases guide that translates, "hey, alert me to which of these curries has the fermented fish guts." http://www.lostinthailand.com/thailan... LOL

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                    Pam's Real Thai on 47th near 9th Ave in Manhattan has a special curry with fermented fish kidneys in it that I've never tried. Surprised? Somehow even guts are more appealing than kidneys!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                      just wondering, by fish stomach and fish kidneys do you think they mean fish maw? i actually like fish maw.....

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                        Nope, fermented fish kidneys is what it says on the menu. Fish maw isn't fermented.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          Good point(s). What the heck do fish kidneys look like anyway? Now that I think about it other than the Chinese use of fish maw, Japanese Monkfish liver, and various types of roe, I've never paid much attention to the individual parts of fish guts!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                            …at least they aren't greasy grimy gopher guts.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                      If you really want to make the curry of fermented fish innards, its on page 305 of Thai Food.

                                                                                                                                                                      Personally I'd be game to try it, but then again I'm the sort who just an hour ago bought a pound of lamb kidneys....

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                        q, my husband was just pining yesterday for some lamb kidneys. (he spent many years in the UK). have at it; be my guest! LOL

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                          :)

                                                                                                                                                                          In truth I like lamb kidneys but Mr. QN is the one who pines for them, like your husband he has an affinity for certain British-isms. Anyway, if you husband ever gets to s. NH, tell him he's welcome to join us.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                            thanks le Q! **

                                                                                                                                                                            by the way, nick malgieri has since written on his FB post that the curry was so spicy that he couldn't really tell us what the fish innards tasted like. ha!!! maybe that's the general idea -- to mask the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                            ** "Le Q": ""When composer-arranger-producer Quincy Jones was host of Saturday Night Live …., he good-naturedly took part in a skit in which Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz, as two sycophantic French jazz buffs, slavered over him, calling him Le Q and fighting over the remains of his sandwich. """"

                                                                                                                                                                            oh my goodness alive, looking for a link to that skit, i found this one on the TSA LOLOL http://www.hulu.com/watch/194728/satu...

                                                                                                                                                              2. I went and made the green curry chicken with baby corn last night. I was surprised by my results.

                                                                                                                                                                First, it took a damn long time to make the stupid paste. Pound, pound, pound- took a good half hour of pounding.

                                                                                                                                                                Second, I was pleasantly confused by the result. Now granted, Toronto's Thai population is tiny and I don't doubt that we have more "Thai" than actual Thai restaurants, but my result came out different than any green curry I'd ever had. Hot, but not tremendously hot. Sweet, but only faintly sweet. The most predominant taste was an intense savouriness that was helped by but didn't originate from the coconut milk. Almost more like a thick, curry-gravy than the thinner bash-you-over-the-head hot and sweet curries I'd had before.

                                                                                                                                                                I have no real basis of comparison with real Thai food. Does the description seem right, or did I just get an odd, but pleasant green curry result?

                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                                                                                                                  Hmmm, FWIW, "intense savoriness" sounds like a good green curry to me. Sort of surprised your results weren't hotter, 3TBS green chilies usually makes a very hot paste, but it depends on the chilies and how much of the pith was removed in cutting them.

                                                                                                                                                                  A green curry shouldn't be sweet (imho, most N. American Thai restaurants use WAY more sugar than is common in Thailand). Handmade curry pastes do take time, although with practice it gets a bit faster, still they are never quick, and worth it or not is a matter of personal taste priorities & etc. Personally having gotten used to homemade pastes, most of the time the commercial stuff just doesn't cut it for me anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                    In fairness, my tolerance for heat is legendary- I pounded out the three tb of chillis pith and all.

                                                                                                                                                                    What I liked most about the recipe (and this didn't quite come through in my post) is that it wasn't HOT and SWEET- the two predominant sensations/tastes I get from a typical Toronto green curry. The dish was balanced, which as I start cooking my way through Thompson, seems to be a central theme in Thai cuisine. Heat was there, but didn't dominate. It was a whole dish, if you dig my meaning.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds like you did a good job - Thai food is all about balancing the flavours. I took a Thai cooking class a couple of years ago (in Thailand) where we pounded the pastes by hand - it even takes the professionals quite a bit of time and effort, but the results are amazing!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                                                                                                                        Many years ago, I was in BKK for 2 days and 3 nights, and had my first taste of Thai food. Dodging all manner of dodgy characters, managed to locate a decent place and had my first taste of "green curry"; in the lighting at night, it appeared rather pale or "white, but had lots of chilies floating on it. Guess they never asked me about heat, seeing I was an Indian, and probably made it Thai style. It was definitely not sweet, was fantastic, and knocked me back into my banquette!! Spent the next 2 days tasting as many types of green curry as I could, and have been trying to perfect that one genre ever since! Chef McDang also spoke about HOT & SWEET, but although BKK is ridiculed for its sweet tooth in curries, I did not find much of the sweet element in its green curries, other than the richness of the coconut cream/milk base. Or perhaps the North American (Thai) conception of "sweet" is much more pronounced?

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                        Technically it should be sweet, but not too much (แกงเขียวหวานไก่ - Gaeng Kiaw Waan Gai; หวาน = Waan = Sweet). I would say no more than (assuming white cane sugar is being used) 1/2 teaspoon sugar per 1 cup coconut cream + 1/3 cup chicken stock. Of course the coconut cream is also by it's nature "sweet" to certain extent. Can't really compare Toronto Thai restaurants to Thailand, there are not many good ones.... but with only 2,000 Thai natives in the Toronto Metro area -- you can't expect much.

                                                                                                                                                                        And yes, the pounding of handmade curry paste will get quicker - especially if you use a small rocking motion when pounding (it works slight better than vertically up and down) just a small rocking motion when pounding will use a little more of the side near the bottom to squish the contents. I would say a batch for curry should take around 10 - 15 minutes. The store bought curry paste is made to last months, the homemade stuff will last days at most (longer if vacuum sealed and frozen - still better than store bought).

                                                                                                                                                                        I am usually a little lazy to make my own, since I can just do a 5 minute walk up the street to buy it at street level :o

                                                                                                                                                                        Also if you can get your hands on quality coconuts (heavy - filled with water - but with a nice white solid coconut flesh) then taking the time to make your own coconut cream will also make a difference. You just have to get one of those hand cranked coconut scraper from indian/sri lankan store..... as shown in attached photo.

                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                    2. This is from a different Thompson book - Curry Cuisine, DK publishers - The chapter on Thailand is by Thompson.
                                                                                                                                                                      Krua gling neua - Beef Curry from southern Thailand which is, "...possibly the hottest curry of them all, certainly in Thailand".
                                                                                                                                                                      I followed all points but I deseeded half the dry chilies
                                                                                                                                                                      For the curry paste: 1 cup dried chilies (this should be a sign), 20 fresh birds eye chilies, half cup lemon grass, 2 and half T galangal, 2 t lime zest (I used Persian with a lime leaf), half cup shallots, half cup of garlic, 1 t turmeric, rounded T black and white pepper, one T shrimp paste, pinch of salt
                                                                                                                                                                      Slow braise 10 - 12 oz. beef brisket in 2 cups of stock for 40 to 60 minutes cool and slice cross grain. Hold the braising liquid for a double stock use.
                                                                                                                                                                      Fry paste in quarter cup of oil a few minutes add pinch of sugar, 2 T fish sauce add beef and cook for a bit adding a bit of stock if burning threatens. This is a fully dry curry. Finish with five finely sliced lime leaves.
                                                                                                                                                                      With the chilies, even with deseeding half, and the pepper corns this one is hot but recommended. The fatty cut brisket or short rib seems best. Not for those with cats tongues

                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                        wow, 1 C dried chili + 20 birds eye + peppercorns, that is serious. but tempting...i do like dry curries. lately it seems i've been reading more about thai food than cooking it....time to get back at it soon.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                          "lately it seems i've been reading more about thai food than cooking it..."
                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, "There are two things I love - woman and abstinence."
                                                                                                                                                                          This past winter was a non cooking time for some reason, spring has found me in the kitchen again. On to:
                                                                                                                                                                          Crab with Curry Powder from Street Food
                                                                                                                                                                          This is a simple stir fry. I used a fresh Dungeness crab which I cooked eight minutes assuming (correctly, which was a novel sensation) that the additional stir fry cooking would finish it off.
                                                                                                                                                                          For the curry powder I used the fish curry powder recipe in the back of the book as follows
                                                                                                                                                                          1T pepper corns, 1 1/2t each coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds each roasted, half nutmeg, three cardamom pod, 2T dried ginger, 4T ground turmeric. Grind all that needs grinding and mix.
                                                                                                                                                                          Make a paste of 2 cloves of garlic and an equal amt of ginger
                                                                                                                                                                          As usual it pays to assemble all the stir fry stuff before starting to cook, unless you love hyperventilating as you prance about the kitchen in deep panic.
                                                                                                                                                                          The garlic ginger paste
                                                                                                                                                                          4 T oil
                                                                                                                                                                          2 T curry powder
                                                                                                                                                                          1-2 T fish sauce
                                                                                                                                                                          bit of salt
                                                                                                                                                                          crab meat
                                                                                                                                                                          chinese celery a bunch 1/4 inch cut
                                                                                                                                                                          1 T shredded ginger
                                                                                                                                                                          long chilli cut as you like
                                                                                                                                                                          3- 4 green onions cut
                                                                                                                                                                          lots of coriander for finish
                                                                                                                                                                          You know heat the oil and cook the paste then the curry powder then the the crab then the rest. Garnish with coriander leaves

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                            1) 1st paragraph made me smile.

                                                                                                                                                                            2) But you never say, how was the curry?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                              the dish is quite good, not raving mad great, quite good. Much as it reads, it is the most Indian prep I've made from Thompson.
                                                                                                                                                                              I'm always pulled two ways with crab. I love idea of different spice worlds for crab dishes, but I keep returning to Cantonese or just steamed with butter on side. I will make this next with little neck clams because my guess is that the full dose of spice will work better. As is there seems a little something missing using the crab

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                                Interesting that it put you in mind of Indian prep, as I was reading the spice blend & cooking method, I was thinking it sounded very Malaysian.

                                                                                                                                                                                Have you ever tried Burmese crab curry? Very very good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                  No, have you a recipe?
                                                                                                                                                                                  I did the sub clams which was more to my liking. Next time I will finish it with a bit of lime juice.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                          wewwew, i'd say "woo woo" that sounds hot. all that paste for ony 12 oz. beef brisket? am i missing something?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                            Most of the Thompson recipes use Thai amounts of protein, to be increased as you choose.
                                                                                                                                                                            Due to the huge amount of heat it is possible you might not want to invest too much on this one.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. I only have "street food" and haven't cooked much from it yet. I read quite a bit in it though.
                                                                                                                                                                          I only made the beef in green curry with roti, but without the roti :)
                                                                                                                                                                          And I used a bought green curry paste (on the market in bangkok) as I didn't have all ingredients for the paste and I used mince instead. And even with all those changes it is a very nice dish. Very tasty!!!
                                                                                                                                                                          One thing I keep wondering about when going through the book is that a lot of recipes use Krachai. Can anyone tell me if that is the same as Kencur (kentjoer) which is used occasionally in the Indonesian kitchen?
                                                                                                                                                                          And another question is the use of kaffir lime zest in curry paste, Is there a good alternative for it? My lime tree is not yet big enough to grow fruits. I subbed with some lime leaves and a bit of lemon zest, but does anyone have a better suggestion?

                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: butzy

                                                                                                                                                                            When I can't get kaffir limes I use kaffir leaves and Persian lime zest. Krachai or grachai really seems like different stuff when pictures are compared.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks.
                                                                                                                                                                              I was going by the name and both krachai and kencur are called lesser galangal. The internet hasn't been very helpful as some say it is the same and some say it is not :(

                                                                                                                                                                              Do you have any good suggestions for substitutions for it?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: butzy

                                                                                                                                                                                I've found this site really useful for identifying and getting the names of various roots and herbs used in various Asian cooking.
                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/K...
                                                                                                                                                                                Also, don't know if it is available in your area, but Eastland Foods (sold under their Asian Best label) has a line of frozen Southeast Asian Aromatics that many of the SEA and Chinese grocery stores in our area carry, the labeling can be confusing, often the Latin name rather than a common name, but the product range and quality is quite good. You might want to call/write them and see if anyone near you carries their line. http://www.eastlandfood.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, I know the site and use it quite often. Don't know why I didn't do that this time.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Apparently they do belong to the same family and get confused quite often (like me :) ).
                                                                                                                                                                                  Luckily the tastes seem similar.
                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm in Zambia (southern Africa), so sourcing produce can be a bit hectic at times,although Thai food is becoming popular even here. What I can't get, I normally make from scratch or I start growing the ingredients (I have a lime tree, coriander, basil and lemongrass growing in the garden and I planted some galangal recently)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: butzy

                                                                                                                                                                                    Gosh Zambia, east coast US sources aren't very helpful to you, sorry!

                                                                                                                                                                                    Growing your own sounds great. I try too, but in New Hampshire its a challenge, my lime tree is 5 or 6 years old and only a foot and a half tall!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Fish, Turmeric, and, Coconut Soup Thai Food page 266

                                                                                                                                                                            Red Emperor is the fish listed in the book, which isn't likely to happen in several life times here (NYC) so I use any fish I like - snapper and mackerel have worked fine
                                                                                                                                                                            This is a full bodied soup, a Tom Yum with coconut cream enrichment, which is great for a soup, salad, and rice (or the famous crusty bread) meal. It is a fast prep and cook dish.
                                                                                                                                                                            Chop 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 - 1 inch turmeric root, 3 shallots, and bruise 2 stalks lemongrass. Cook the above in 1 cup coconut milk plus1 cup stock (chicken is called for but I've used shrimp) with 5-10 chillies, 5 assam slices or a sliced green mango, some salt, and 2-3 t. sugar. Here you could strain the liquid from the aromatics. Add your choice of fish cut in serving size pieces and cook (Thompson asks for 3 ozs., I use 8-10ozs.) Finish with 1 cup coconut cream, or less to taste. Have some fun.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Man, am I glad i stumbled upon this thread. I got the Thai Street Food book for Christmas, but really hadn't given it a harder look. I am a thai food fanatic, but have always had less sucess making them (specifically the noodle dishes). Other recipes I've tried I felt tasted too fish "saucy" so not sure if I need to buy a different brand of fish sauce (any recommendations?). I'm gonna pull this book out and put it to good use this weekend :-D. SO EXCITED!

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pgwiz1

                                                                                                                                                                                I use Tiparos. If that's too strong for you, try a Vietnamese fish sauce, like 3 crabs - they're not quite so strong and salty.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I've made green curry a few times following the basic recipe starting on p. 318 of Thai Food. I've used different meats and vegetables. It always comes out well. I think it competes favorably with the green curry at the best Thai restaurants in LA.

                                                                                                                                                                                For the paste, my strategy now is to do as much processing as possible in the food processor, then transfer the pulp to a mortar and have at it. I estimate ingredient quantities roughly to avoid precision chopping. I throw whole cloves of garlic, shallots, chunks of turmeric, chunks of galangal, etc. into the food processor. It's still a complicated mess, but it's far easier and quicker than doing everything by hand. The one ingredient I've never been able to find in LA is coriander root. I just use coriander stems.

                                                                                                                                                                                Rather than worry about cracking the coconut cream initially, I just stir fry the paste in coconut oil. Then I add coconut cream, which soaks up the oil at first and cracks again much later, after reducing and browning a little. I stir constantly during this process to avoid scorching, but I think the browning adds flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                In my latest effort, I used half the stated coconut cream. The two cups of coconut cream that Thompson calls for has 1,600 calories, compared to about 300 calories for the 5 ounces of chicken thighs. That ratio seems absurd. Even with just one cup of coconut cream, the curry is very rich and much richer than that at most Thai restaurants. I will probably try just a half cup next time (along with a tablespoon or two of coconut oil).

                                                                                                                                                                                As Thompson notes, the garnish needs to be decided in flavor so that it doesn't disappear into the curry. It's hard to add too much fresh basil. Assertive vegetables are also very important as platforms for the curry. I'm surprised that Thompson calls for so few main ingredients (5 ounces of chick thighs and 6-10 baby corn for two cups of coconut milk or stock). I find this makes the curry too thin.

                                                                                                                                                                                I think it is rewarding to make something at home that once seemed so enigmatic.

                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AlkieGourmand

                                                                                                                                                                                  I have not had a chance to review his cookbook. But you mentioned that the curry calls for baby corn, I'm very surprised. A hard core Thai cook wouldn't want to be caught with baby corn in his dish!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nattythecook

                                                                                                                                                                                    I saw plenty of baby corn in green curries and other dishes during several trips to Thailand. Personally I hate the stuff though.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ARenko

                                                                                                                                                                                      Me too! Very sad but then again look at those places that have baby corn in green curry, I understand. Some do it to make their food appealing to foreigners. Some just simply do not understand which dish is flexible to add foreign ingredients. Carrots are becoming more common and following baby corn route.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nattythecook

                                                                                                                                                                                        I was working in an area with few foreign tourists. I do not believe it was done to accommodate farang. I believe baby corn was a completely normal ingredient for everyday Thai. That was my point. I don't understand why you say no good Thai chef would use baby corn.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ARenko

                                                                                                                                                                                          Baby corn is a normal ingredient that you can find in some Thai markets but baby corn in green curry? If you have eaten in Thailand, you'll see that It's not the ingredient that goes into green curry.

                                                                                                                                                                                          As you found out in the post below, it's a relatively new ingredient. To see it in a traditional curry, begs a question.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: nattythecook

                                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe more than you ever wanted to know about baby corn production in Thailand,...

                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.apaari.org/wp-content/uplo...

                                                                                                                                                                                          but if you read you will see that in the early 70's the Thai government selected baby corn as a crop to further develop in order to help fuel the economy. A massive PR campaign ensued to convince farmers it was a good alternative crop to rice and to convince consumers that it was nutritional and tasted good. It was a success. Today Thailand is one of the biggest producers of baby corn for both export and domestic consumption.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ARenko

                                                                                                                                                                                            I know about the baby corn production and have been to the farms myself. True, it's a great alternative to growing rice but baby corn should not be in every Thai dish and especially in green curry. It's a pet peeve for other Thais as well as myself to see baby corn in traditional dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: AlkieGourmand

                                                                                                                                                                                      I made the paste this weekend and will make the curry tonight. I typically use 1 lb of meat w/ 2 cups of coconut milk/ cream (1/2 cup cream for frying paste and 1-1/2 cup milk for boiling). I substitue eggplant (thai or long purple asian) for the baby corn. I also like to throw in a few green beans timed so that they're still a bit crunchy.

                                                                                                                                                                                      As a simple, quick green curry I'll fry some paste in a bit of oil, throw in some shrimp and enough broth to just get the shrimp well coated/ mixed with paste, and some thai basil. Then serve over rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AlkieGourmand

                                                                                                                                                                                        It doesn't seem unreasonable to get most of your calories from fat, if meat is relatively more expensive than coconuts. That said, I wouldn't reduce the amount of coconut cream, I'd add more meat if the ratio bothered me.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Haven't seen this book. The one use is available online for free and is excellent. Thai Recipes from Colonel Ian F. Khuntilanont-Philpott. It's online in several forms on several sites. Just google Col Ian Thai. The colonel died a few years ago. He lived and taught in Thailand after marrying into a family of Thai restaurateurs. My own take on Thai cooking is that it can be challenging if you live where certain ingredients are scarce or unavailable. I've had it both ways, living in Hawaii where everything is available fresh from local farms, and living in Israel, where most of it is very scarce even though there are about 20,000 Thais living in the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                                                                          Col Ian collection...

                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.chetbacon.com/thai-html/th...

                                                                                                                                                                                          Also many are included in this compilation of thai recipes from around the net...

                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.panix.com/~clay/cookbook/b...

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Hi all, just joined chowhound and I'd like to say thanks for the awesome site and contributors! David Thompson's first book is one of the ones that got me into cooking. I agree with others that the Massaman curry is a standout dish, maybe the best I've ever cooked. However, I've had less success with his panang curry, and I considered whether this was because I used his recommendation of boiled peanuts over roasted ones. I think my ideal gang panang definitely has a roasted peanut aroma. When I had gang panang in Thailand, it had a real kick - Thompson's seems bland in comparison. Or am I doing something wrong? Cheers.

                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coolazice

                                                                                                                                                                                            Welcome!

                                                                                                                                                                                            Which Thompson book were you using for the Panang Curry? The one in "Classic Thai Cuisine" is slightly different, fewer chilies and different proportions, than the one in "Thai Food". That said they both call for boiled peanuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wonder if you are familiar with "Cracking the Coconut" by Su-Mei Yu? Her curry paste recipes are also excellent, and her Panang Curry uses way more chilies and calls for roasted peanuts, sounds like it might be closer to what you want.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hi qianning, thanks for the reply. I should have expressed myself better - when I say 'kick' it's not so much chilli I'm thinking of as that savoury roasted spice ridden flavour. I seem to remember Thompson's recipe (from Thai Food) being more sweet than I like as well. But thanks for the suggestion, I'll try the Su-Mei Yu. I also have a recipe from a cooking class in Thailand which I have yet to recreate, but when I made it there it was just about the best Panang I've ever had. That recipe called for things such as gapi and even thai ginseng! The overall philosophy was panang = yellow curry + peanuts... perhaps the amount of time the paste is fried is also quite important here, as it seems to be for all Thai curries?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coolazice

                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, it sounds like you've already got a go to panang curry! But if you decide you need another version, Su-Mei Yu's also uses gapi, but no krachai.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Which cooking school in Thailand? Sounds like fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was a school in Chiang Mai, called Siam Rice:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.siamricethaicookery.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Learned 7 dishes in 1 day, cost a bit less than $30. Like any cooking course, stuff happened quickly, but you get a recipe book out of it to help you retrace your steps. Some dishes (pad thai, panang, sticky rice with mango) were top-notch to eat. Interestingly their whole approach was much, much simpler than instructions in the Thompson book. Most dishes were just chucking prepared ingredients in together for a short time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coolazice

                                                                                                                                                                                                    To make sure we are all good and farblondzshet here is a Thompson Panang Curry paste from his chapter in Curry Cuisine that calls for roasted peanuts and more chilies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 -12 dried long chilies, 2 1/2 T roasted peanuts, 1T galangal, 2 1/2 T lemongrass, 1 t kaffir lime zest,1 t cilantro root, 2 1/2 T shallots, 4 T garlic, 1 t shrimp paste, 2 t coriander seeds, 1 1/2 t cumin seeds, 1 t nutmeg, some white pepper

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The instructions end with a suggestion to add more chili powder if desired.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have tried this and the paste from Thai food. Both good make a good dish, the above is more to my taste.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    A problem with Thompson is his head notes often start with, say, 'A Panang Curry is redolent of peanut and nutmeg ', which could lead the reader to think he is defining all Panang Curries. I think he means that the following recipe is one of many Panang Curries and this one is, 'redolent peanut and nutmeg ...'

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thai food and a Yiddish dictionary, these are concepts I would never have expected to encountered in unison, getting to narrow minded in my dotage, perhaps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I see your point on Thompson's head notes. Although sometimes he goes in just the opposite direction, listing zumpteen possible ways to build a give type of curry, which can be helpful or confusing, depending on how great my need for structure is on the given day I'm reading his recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I have a question for you marvelously knowlegeable hounds of chow. Figured this was a good thread for my inquiry...
                                                                                                                                                                                            I was at the market today and came across some betel leaves, of which I had not seen before. I immediately thought of the miangs in Thompson's book and pictured them in my near future, so of course I am now the proud owner of a large stack of betel leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The problem with this scenario is that as one who is unfamiliar with this leaf, I have not one iota of what these items should taste like. Upon returning home, I flipped through some of my books that describe the betel leaf, and one (Into the Vietnamese Kitchen) cautions the reader about confusing the betel leaf with the 'true' betel leaf, which is for chewing, spitting and finding sweet relief from life's unpleasantries. I would assume that a grocery store would not sell a mild narcotic freely in their produce department, but if it's unknown in the western world, there wouldn't be very many regulations concerning it, would there?

                                                                                                                                                                                            So how do I know what I have? The label is listed merely as 'betel leaf'. Heart shaped-check. Shiny on top, dull on underside-check. Feel--almost fizzy upon the tongue. Rather unpleasant, actually; slightly numbing. Taste--almost beefy and cigarette butt-y. Appetizing? Nope. I have a sinking suspicion that I have the inedible variety, but would love to know your opinions.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Gratefully yours,

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wondering in Winnipeg

                                                                                                                                                                                            21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hope this helps:
                                                                                                                                                                                              http://thaifoodandtravel.com/blog/bet...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                great find.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yep, it sure does help! Thanks, emily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                  your description sounds more like the chawing kind....what kind of market did you find them in? Indian? SEA? other?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                    After reading the great article linked above, I know that I definitely have the chewing kind. I found them in a generic Asian market (but they do have a large selection of SEA items).....this is a huge one where I've been discovering all sorts of amazing produce the likes of which have never been seen before: kaffir limes, krachai, fresh peppercorns, etc. I found these leaves nestled in among the shiso and holy basil. One would only assume that this was the culinary variety. Alas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    So now that I'm stuck with this purchase, short of taking up a new pastime, is there anything else that I can use them for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                      No idea, betel surpasses even sea cucumber in things I avoid at all costs. BTW, I'm still jealous of your access to fresh peppercorns.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm still surprised that they're being carried around here, honestly. Though not all the time. And to this day I have not yet come across coriander root, other than in my own garden....

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                          that's so funny, cilantro root is almost always available here.....but i'd rather have the green peppercorns, since one can always grow the cilantro. anyway, grass is always greener & etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm giddy with happiness here. My sister-in-law has come to visit from Montreal, bearing an armload full of cilantro roots for me (she was slightly puzzled with my lone strange request....no cheese curds? No cretons?).....what would you say would be the best way to store these precious tangles?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            And how much of a food nerd am I, elated by a pile of roots.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                              seriously laughing here....good thing you are north of the border and your s-i-l didn't have to explain things to the TSA..... I'd clean them and probably peel them and freeze them un-chopped....but bear in mind cilantro roots are pretty generally available here, so it's not one of the items to which i give precious freezer space, so i've not much experience...others may have better ideas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                          wz fresh peppercorns!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hi Allegra,

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Many from the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia would envy your luck! You do have the chewing kind, and they come in various qualities as you might already have found out. These range from the delicate to the extremely pungent and thick leaved varieties, and extraordinary care, art and artifice is lavished on the cultivation of the betel vine, Piper betle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Someday, you might wish to prepare fresh paan yourself as another adventure into a new world of food. Paan is chewed in India and the regions mentioned after lunch, and by some, all the time (!!!, my sainted mother for example!). There are "sweet" and "pungent" varieties, the latter preferred by those who wish to add tobacco derivatives, and non-sweet "masalas" to their paan: you can term these the hard-core paan fiends!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Let us turn to the soft-core paan "angels" such as ourselves, you doubtless soon to be among them, and Fatimaji too!! Shrimati Qianning should be persuaded to join the club once she hears what goes into the mix! Sadly, the lovely aromatic goodies from West Bengal are not available, but I shall still describe them, hoping you will someday construct a paan!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here goes: Wash the leaf, and gently mop it dry with paper towe. Paan ROTS very easily, and you must keep in wrapped in moist but not wet cotton muslin, in a cool, dry place, checking every day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fold the leaf along the midrib, and press along the midrib, until the succulent tissue cracks, and you can pull the midrib away, tearing it carefully to give you two half-moons. A small paan leaf is halved and then quartered to provide you with the inner "platform".

                                                                                                                                                                                                          On the dull side of one half, with the rounded edge facing away from you, place the torn fragment with shiny side up. On this, with your forefinger or a special brass pestle, smear a tiny bit of wet slaked lime. [ I will give you alternatives in a second!]. Next, smear a dab of catechu paste, prepared from an Acacia bark. Third, add, sliced plain areca nuts. Fourth, and this is the Bangali home style, add lightly roasted fennel and coriander seed, Fifth, sweet green cardamom seed that have been covered in silver foil, treated with special attar and sweetener [elach dana, gotten from Kundu's Zarda, next door but one to Bhim Nag at Bahubazar St., Calcutta]. Sixth, Hair-fine slivers of sweet red areca nut, treated with special aromatics. Seventh, any other special stuff, life the soft supari or any special ingredient you want! Now, gently fold over the platform and roll the half-moon into a spiral and tuck it closed in a particular manner, making a neat package. Make many such, and chew on them. You NEED NOT SPIT the juice out, when made in this manner; it is sweet, and wonderful to swallow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Easy alternative: Purchase PAN BAHAAR, making sure it has no tobacco etc. within. Do as above, except add Pan bahaar, and any sweet masala you may choose, or not. There are sweet coconut flakes, sweet fennel seeds coated in sugar [an excellent choice], plain green cardamom seed, even a few grains of turbinado sugar [within reason, to balance the pan bahaar]. The pan bahaar contains all the slaked lime, catechu and areca nuts that one needs in dry form, and is a reasonably good and convenient facsimile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Paan is a very useful digestif after Indian meals. Try it and add a new experience to your exploration of the foods of the world. Happy eating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GTM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            GTM your description of betel is so charming that it almost makes me want to reconsider.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh don't! No offense, but when my ex came here from India in the 70's , you couldn't get paan or betel here. So he had to break the habit. Having broken it, to this day he refers to it as a nasty habit, which it is. Sorry, but it's no better than someone chewing tobacco and spitting that in public.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Betel makes you drool. It's spit or drown. That bright red stream of spit is hard to miss, and it marks wherever you spit. And it stains your teeth. It's a mild narcotic, you know, both the betel leaf and the nut. That's what makes it addictive. If you add tobacco to the mix it's even worse. I'm actually surprised it isn't a controlled substance, given how crazy our government is about the "war on drugs".

                                                                                                                                                                                                              There's a very high incidence of oral cancer in areas where betel chewing is common. Wherever they tuck the quid, that's where the cancer starts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                lol....i wasn't serious (about the betel, not GTM's lovely writing). wish i could figure out how to get nuance into a short post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cancer starts when tobacco along with certain extraordinarily harmful additives to tobacco, about which I can go on at length, is added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Most people eat one or two paans a day, and never stor a quid in their mouths, a habit peculiar to those who add tobacco to paan, and for exactly the same reason why mashed up tobacco is placed under the lips, another long-established tradition in India. A steady stream of tobacco juice will exude into the bloodstream, and it is only these people who spit paan juice and saliva, as they keep biting a piece of paan leaf stalk smeared with slaked lime to balance the acridity of the tobacco. Indeed, those who just prefer the plain tobacco sans paan, also first grind the twist of moist leaf with slaked lime in their palm to a fine powder, before popping it into their mouths, after slapping it several times. This is called KHAINI.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Our Kitchen Barbarian, in her animus against paan, has no idea of the complexity of Indian life and foodways. I find this type of ignorance extraordinarily upsetting, I am a plant cell biologist with specific competence in plant cell wall chemistry and plasma membranes, and in the biology of cancers, which are in the ream of cell biology as well. I am happy to debate these contentions of narcotic, and carcinogenesis on a professional basis, and the results will not be happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  . Paan, catechu quantities of one or two per day, and is exceptionally beneficial when taken in such and areca nut are not the problems causing oral cancer, when used sensibly. Tobacco is a savage problem. Tobacco is being marketed in India in packages called gutka, mixed in with sweet spices and much else, disguised as paan masala. We can write a lot about the insidious nature of marketing and many other things. I did write them down, but did not post them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BTW, literally hundreds of millions of Indians eat paan, every day, but neither drool nor spit. Very low class fools certainly do, the types that pick their noses in public and consume the harvest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GTM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ah, so my ex, one of the top 2 or 3 guys in his engineering field in the world, is a "low class fool".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry, but I've been around people who chew paan and it's a dirty habit. And they weren't "low class fools" either. The vast majority of them acknowledge it as a dirty habit, and I'm pretty sure about half of them did NOT use tobacco with it at all. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less. Around there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BTW, why you would classify people who are poor and ill-educated in a country where grinding poverty is still the norm as "low class fools" I cannot imagine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for my familiarity or lack thereof with Indian culture, I've lived there. Have you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not going to debate with you the fact that these two substances, betel and the nut (which I can't remember the spelling of ATM so I'm not going to try) are mild narcotics. I don't debate facts, period paragraph.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, the fact that they are mild narcotics isn't really an issue for me, other than that people should be aware of it. I put it about on a par with caffeine addiction, and I think our government is crazy on the issue of so-called "drugs" so I'm not about to draw anybody's official attention to one more thing they can get all huffy about and try to ban.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's not a boutique, gentile habit as you seem to suggest. Personally I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pool, but YMMV and clearly it does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i feel compelled to say:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        betel juice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        betel juice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        betel juice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          First laugh of the morning. thanks Alkapal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hah! A classic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Braised Mackerel from Thai Street Food
                                                                                                                                                                                                            A slow cook supper easy prep which yields a great side dish. Put the flavorings - ganagal, ginger, lemongrass, shallots, sugar cane, chilies, dark soy, fish sauce, sugar, tamarind - in water and add fish fillets. Cook for six hours basically unattended over two days. The fish comes out fantastically aromatic infused with lots of citrus notes a bit sweet which is offset against the tamarind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            I had it with a fish curry but it would be even better with a mango salad and some rice

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The above in detail.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              For the braising liquid-- 3 stalks lemongrass bruised, 7 slices ginger, 7 slices galangal, 4 pcs coriander root, 8 shallots, 2 hunks of sugar cane, 3 dried chillies, 1/2 t crushed peppercorns, 5 oz. sugar [[[ I reduced this drastically to 1 1/2 T of sugar with the idea of adding more if needed at the end. It wasn't ]]], 1/2 teaspoon salt [ I omitted ], 2 T fish sauce, 2 T dark soy, 1/4 cup tamarind paste, 4-5 cups of water. I brought the above to a simmer the added 1 1/2 lbs of spanish mackerel fillets making sure the fish was submerged and braised at low heat for two hours. Put in the frig over night. The next days activity consisted of three two hour sessions of braising - after each braising allowing the dish to come to room temperature. Adding water to keep the fish submerged is the only activity after the initial assembly of the braising liquid.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              This dish will round out a Thai food bash complementing a curry a stir fry etc. as well as the uses listed above. For a feast it has the additional pluses of ease and advanced prep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                ease? i don't think that is easy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. And this thread now has its own recipe index. The dishes in the double parentheses were tried cited but not really loved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Massaman Curry of Chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Green curry of Fish Dumplings and Eggplant
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Steamed Fish with Ginger, Celery, and Sour Plum
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stir fried Pork with Bean and Green Peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Red Curry of Scallops - Chu Chi
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mussels with Chili Jam
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Aromatic Curry of Duck
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fish Curry With Cucumber
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Beef Panaeng
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yellow Curry of Clams and Pineapple
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chaing Mai Curry Pork
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mackerel Braised with Green Papaya
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pork and Green Peppercorn Curry
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Green Papaya Salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mussels and Ginger Soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chicken and Galangal Soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Southern Fish Curry Thai Street Food
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ((Yellow Curry of Clams and Pineapple))
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Green Curry of Chicken and Pea Aubergine
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pork and Green Curry
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mussels with Holy Basil
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Grilled Chicken with chilli sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mussels with Chili Jam pg 502 and the Nam Prik Pao, from TSF pg 354
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Grilled Chicken - Gai Yan- from pg. 503 of "Thai Food" or pg 102 of "Classic Thai Cuisine" and
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cucumber and Prawn Salad - yam dtaeng gwa - from pg. 350 of Thai Food.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stir-fried minced beef with chillies and holy basil p 507 Thai Food
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chicken Curry with Holy Basil, Ginger and Peanuts
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ((Egg Mousse))
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chicken Curry with Ginger and Holy Basil-p.442 Thai Food
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kanom Jin from the Shans pg 575
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Southern curry of mud crab
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stir-Fried Asparagus p. 419
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Deep Fried Whole Fish with Garlic and Peppercorns, pg 278 Thai Street Food,
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pomelo Salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stir Fried Water Mimosa w/ minced Pork and Peanuts, Thai Food pg. 508
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ((green curry of chicken with baby corn bamboo shoot pg 318 thai food....
                                                                                                                                                                                                              a pretty good green curry))
                                                                                                                                                                                                              grilled eggplant salad, pg. 354.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ((Grilled Beef pg 504, This is a pretty standard))
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Roasted Duck & Lychee Salad, pg. 352
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Southern Fish Curry from Thai Street Food
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pat prik king from pag[e] 297
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stir Fried Siamese Watercress w/ Yellow Beans
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mangosteen and Shellfish Curry
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chilli Jam - nam prik pao-
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kaffir Lime Juice Dressing with Grilled Prawns on pg 218
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pork Satay, - Muu Satay - pg 178 Thai Street Food.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cucumber Salad recipe from Thai Food
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ((Grilled Pork Skewers - Muu Bing - pg 112 Thai Street Food))
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chicken Curry W/ Ginger and Peanut
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ((green curry chicken with baby corn))
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ((Crab with Curry Powder from Street Food))
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fish, Turmeric, and, Coconut Soup Thai Food page 266
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Green curry a few times following the basic recipe starting on p. 318 of Thai Food. I've used different meats and vegetables
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Braised Mackerel from Thai Street Food

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As is obvious to anyone who has read or contributed to this rambler special thanks and big burps to qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                What a list....thank, and yet I still feel like I've barely touched the surface of these books.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Chiang Mai Curried Noodle and Chicken Soup (Thai Food) p.571

                                                                                                                                                                                                                There is something about a fresh blanket of snow that really makes me crave a hearty robust Thai curry. I've been thinking about eating kao soi for a while now, and with my recent foray into the mysterious (to me) foods of Burma, it's only made the desire for this dish stronger. This recipe definitely hit the spot and left me sated (for now!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It was on a whim that I thought to make this for lunch. The ingredient list was relatively short and seemed rather uncomplicated. I had just put a pot of chicken parts on the stove for stock, anyways, so why not, I thought. I started out by shallow-frying some egg noodles for the topping, plus extra for snacking, of course. Soaked dried thai chiles get roasted with shallots, garlic, turmeric, and ginger. I looked through the book to see what Thompson had to say about roasting the paste (I found his instructions in the recipe a bit unclear) but was unable to find additional info. So I just pan-roasted until the garlic skins were browned. Hopefully that's what he meant.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is smashed to a deep yellow paste along with cilantro roots and coriander seeds. It was at about this point-the lengthy pounding-that I really started to curse myself and my rash decision to cook anything by David Thompson for lunch of all things. On an empty stomach. When has one of his recipes ever been simple and quick? Perhaps one day I'll learn.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                A relatively small amount of coconut cream is cracked and the paste fried, then 'one small chicken leg' is added. This is a laughable amount, even for me, so I added some extra. Season with palm sugar, dark and light soy sauce, and add a nice amount of stock to really thin the paste out. Simmer until cooked.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                This was served topped with the fried noodles, cilantro, sliced green onion, slivers of shallot, and the Roast Chile Sauce recipe on the next page (Lunch was already over an hour behind, so what was another 10 minutes?). A generous squeeze of lime is not optional, to my mind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                The curry looked runny and dull unlike the other versions I've had before, so it didn't seem like it would amount to much of anything. I thought the roasted garlic would play against the flavours in the paste. Boy, was I ever wrong. This recipe was absolutely sensational, worth the time and effort of using the fresh paste vs. the usual jarred stuff. I just *loved* it. It was spicy, salty, and slightly sweet, just as Thompson desribed. The bite of lime in the noodles really made all the flavours soar.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for the roasted chile sauce (deep fried shallots, garlic, dried chiles, pounded w/salt, palm sugar), since I had some oil out for the noodles anyway this really wasn't all that much extra work, and I loved the flavours of it and the extra dimension it added to the soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My only complaint is that it only made enough for two servings w/plenty of noodles(I made more than the 'handful' called for), so take note, and double the recipe, or you'll regret it as I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have not made Khao Soi before. My guess though is that when he talks about roasting the ingredients for the paste that it would just mean frying the ingredients in a dry frying pan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cacruden

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Great, that's what I was guessing, too. Thanks for clarifying!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You whipped up Khao Soi for lunch? Amazing! It is good though, isn't it? And fwiw, the curry sauce/soup freezes very well, so making more than the basic amount is a good investment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hah! 'Whipped up' is hardly the word for it. In fact, it took so long to complete that the spouse made himself a sandwich. Then this morning he asked me if I planned on "spending 3 hours making lunch again", the smart-ass. Though I actually am considering having it again, as it was so, so good. Hopefully I'll be able to streamline the method a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Very pleased to know about the freezing, thanks for the tip!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, and I discovered something about my frozen cilantro roots--the 'skin' slips right off after a quick rinse in water, like a frozen tomato. No peeling required!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So I did end up making another batch of this for lunch yesterday, and then some so that I had extra to freeze (thanks QN!), and was able to take a few shortcuts that saved a bit of time. I ground the paste in a small-ish food processor, adding a bit of water to aid in the grinding. This worked well and was much speedier than the traditional way, but I certainly wouldn't consider myself a convert. For lunch though, it's a fine idea. Used b/s chicken thighs this time around.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Although this wasn't quite as fantastic as the original way, it works and is still tasty. This recipe is just unreal. I was going to try the khao soi recipe out of McDermott's book, but compared to Thompson's, it seemed so coconut-rich and heavy. I don't think I'll ever find another recipe this good, so why keep looking?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I made this the same day. The instructions seemed ambiguous at best so my shot was to take three fresh long chilies and fire roast them (in the ingredient list it calls for dried chilies but as you say the entire recipe is not too clear) along with the ginger etc. The head note indicates that the dish is can be made with beef which is what I used. I had well marbled stew meat that I sauted until deep brown and rare then added to the soup. The other deviation from the recipe I took was to add two more spoons of coconut cream.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had preserved Chinese mustard greens to round out the garnish. As with you the result was just great, better than any I have had in a restaurant. Very strong reccomendation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Pat Thai p.562 Thai Food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Skimmed through all these posts (wow--- time-consuming!) and was surprised that this recipe hasn't yet been reviewed....


                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ever since that Khao Soi from last week, I can't stop thinking about-and consuming-noodles of the Asian variety. I think I've made them a part of my meal at least once every day for the last week and a half. So it's only natural that I would eventually drift over to this oft-overdone street food classic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thompson's version is fairly straightforward and speedier than his usual incredibly detailed recipes. I followed it for the most part, omitting the fried tofu, adding a handful of fresh shrimp, etc. Also had no chinese chives, so upped the shallots a bit and threw in some sliced green onions. But the filler ingredients aren't what matter here. For pat thai, it's all about the sauce. A well balanced sauce is a beautiful thing. That sweet, tangy, briny thick liquid that clings to the noodles, when done correctly, is unforgettable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This sauce, while very good, also wasn't the best I've ever had. I reduced the amount of sugar by 25%, and it was still cloyingly sweet, even for this sugar addict. I found the tartness of the tamarind was overshadowed by all of the sugar. There was a lovely amount of salt in here, plenty of fish sauce that did help take the edge off, but still, it was missing something. The lime juice didn't do too much, either. I did really enjoy it, don't get me wrong, I just wasn't blown away. Out of all the pat thai recipes I've tried out of different books, magazines, and blogs, this one ranks very highly, just not number one. (That award goes to, oddly enough, Cook's Illustrated's version.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Keep in mind that this recipe as written serves one. I doubled it all up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Does anyone else think that maybe a "Part II" version of this thread is in order one of these days?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Part II, why not?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I followed this month's COTM nomination thread to here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have a question about coriander roots. I see that many of you are substituting with coriander stems. I have coriander plants in pots, and so sometimes I have access to roots. Is the muddy roots the coriander roots they use in thai cooking? Can I just dig up the plant, wash off the mud and use it? Sorry for sounding a bit stupid, but I've never seen coriander roots in the markets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes. You are using the bottom of the plant; the part that was in the soil. At our farmer's markets, the Hmong gardeners always leave the roots attached just for this reason. Lately, even the supermarkets have cilantro with the roots [or coriander as the UK calls it.]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For us, this is a recent change in how produce is being sold, and I am a fan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll have to try it then if Thai Food becomes COTM. I have this book for ages and I don't think I've cooked anything from it. It definitely feels wrong to be chopping the roots into food!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hope you clean them first. Don't know why coriander roots would "feel wrong" when you probably eat the roots of many other plants.... Clean them first, then when using use a knife and to a light scraping on the outside of the roots to clean the discoloured part off a bit. Use a knife on it's side and crush the root, then chop the root up (to release the flavours).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "chopping roots into food".....think of them as mini-carrots or tiny ginger and it might feel less off-putting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I hope against all hopes that this trend makes its way up here.....oh, the hoops I must jump through to obtain the roots is ridiculous!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                @Lilham--I've tried growing plants specifically for the roots and found that once the plant has bolted, the roots are extremely woody and potent, practically inedible. On the other hand, if they are harvested too early, the amount you reap is so minuscule that it's almost not worth it. I haven't yet found that happy medium. Maybe next summer!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Would love to hear how others grow it at home....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some guidelines on when to harvest roots from shesimmers.com...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://shesimmers.com/2011/07/how-to-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ARenko

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    +1 on the she simmers blog as a helpful source for Thai cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Charred Rice Noodles and Chicken with Thickened 'Gravy' p.140 Thai Street Food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I spent the evening making rice noodles for this dish, so perhaps I was a little bit too invested in it, but this recipe didn't work out too well. I made a double batch with about a pound of thick-cut noodles and triple the amount of (non-chinese) broccoli, substituting a nearly-complete disc of toasted tua nao, crumbled, in place of the yellow bean sauce (the original ingredient, I discovered, had an impressively colourful palette of furry growth inside the jar).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This was extremely soupy. The gravy to noodle ratio was way off. I probably would have been fine with leaving the sauce amount as a single batch, at least with fresh rice noodles. It also never thickened up to the 'quite thick and gelatinous' that Thompson described after adding the tapioca slurry, and I found myself adding more and more, eventually overcooking the broccoli. The gravy itself was rather unexciting, 1 t fish sauce and 1 t soy sauce, or 'to taste' for a single recipe to 1 1/2 c chicken broth. My 'to taste' ended up with at least triple the amount of all seasonings with more at the table. Alas. Again, I'm sure I wouldn't have been so disappointed with the results had I just used dried noodles, but I prefer the recipe in "Hot Sour Salty Sweet" to this one. Looking over the recipe for 'Sea Bass and Rice Noodles in Thickened Gravy' on pg 304 (TSF), I notice that the sauce has much more soy sauce in it, even oyster sauce, dark soy, and double the amount tapioca starch. Maybe that one would work out better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You made rice noodles from scratch?! I'm impressed. How difficult was it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry that this recipe was a miss, although I have enjoyed everyone's contributions to this thread. I hope to tackle some Thai recipes myself soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I used the recipe and method from Hot Sour Salty Sweet for the noodles. This was only my second time making them, but it was a lot more tricky this time around. I must have had beginner's luck the first time; yesterday I just couldn't find the right temperature and things kept sticking. I've seen other methods that has one steam the batter in a pan floating in water. I may try that version next time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Looking forward to your own reviews of the recipes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So sorry this didn't work out. And wondering if the tua nao wasn't in some part the culprit as it has less salt (i think?) than dou jiao.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I always cook guay tiao Malasian style, (I like the Chinese garlic chive w/ guay tiao flavor better than the jie lan w/ guay tiao flavor). A quick look at those recipes & I see that the amount of soy/dark soy is in Tablespoons, not teaspoons..but of course those are stir fried not sauced noodles, so a major difference in technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I figured that the lower sodium content of the tua nao was partly the reason why I needed so much extra fish/soy sauce, but I doubt it would have been all that wonderful even with the dao jaio.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Guay tiao--do you use the recipe from a cookbook, or is this one of your own versions? I'm intrigued.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Recipe coming soon....Mr. QN is currently snoring in the room w/ the scanner.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hah, nothing like a lazy Sunday afternoon...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Do report back if you take the "Thai Food" & etc.plunge!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Is there as rad na that you like, either at home or in a restaurant?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have tried a few different versions before at home, but never at a restaurant. The best so far is Alford and Duguid's in Hot Sour Salty Sweet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I understand that the flavours are supposed to be simple, but I do know that they can be better than what I made from Thompson.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Do you have a favourite version?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was hoping I could get inspiration for you. I have given up ordering Rad Na at restaurants and haven't tried cooking it at home because the recipes don't seem promising.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wewwew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was never thrilled with the dish until I actually made it with fresh rice noodles....but my city of residence does not carry good quality fresh noodles, so I had to take drastic measures and try it at home. It was worlds better that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Green Curry of Fish Dumplings, Bamboo, and Basil with Kanom Jin Noodles pg.62 Thai Street Food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      After longing to try one of the kanom jin recipes for ages, I finally took the plunge. There were more than a few substitutions and liberties that I took with this recipe, yet even so this turned out to be delicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To start, I've never been able to find kanom jin noodles, fresh or otherwise, so I followed qianning's lead from a much earlier post and tried the old ferment-the-noodles-in-the-oven trick, using dried rice vermicelli. Alas, I'm not sure if this was for any good, as I forgot to put the pilot light on in the oven, so the bowl of noodles just sat in a cool appliance for several hours! Derp.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Next change--omitted the fish balls and sliced up a basa fillet instead, as per suggested in the headnotes. The basa was quite lovely in the curry, firm enough to keep its shape and absorb some of the saltiness of the sauce yet offering a great delicate feel on the tongue.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The curry paste was the first recipe I've used that calls for grachai, so I did a little leap of glee at getting to procure it from the freezer. The paste pounding was standard, tho the order in which to add ingredients seemed different than usual. Shallots and garlic before galangal, turmeric and lemongrass? I proceeded as I normally would.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Reduced the coconut cream/milk a bit as I only had a 500 mL tetrapak of coconut milk and an icy mixed block in the freezer, but this turned out plenty saucy enough. No bamboo, so I added the suggested apple eggplants and simmered a bit longer. Also opened a tin of baby corn and tossed in some sliced red pepper both to use the ingredient up and to add colour to the mix. No Thai basil around, so I tried adding some leftover frozen italian basil leaves from the garden....yikes, I know, but I was desperate. Also threw in a sprig of tarragon in an attempt to make up the thai/italian basil difference, as per wewwew's suggestion in another thread.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Even after all these changes, I really enjoyed this curry. It was salty, hot, and just pungent all around. Tasting the curry, I was surprised at just how salty it was, and it was then that I realized there was no sugar in the mix. That's a first for a Thompson recipe! No need to worry, when served with the noodles, all flavours balanced well. I think I would use a thicker noodle type for next time, as the vermicelli didn't offer a satisfying enough chew, but otherwise this was excellent! Leftovers will meet up with some steaming jasmine rice in the near future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Red Chicken Curry with Ginger and Green Beans, pg. 431 Thai Food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pork Hocks Braised with Five-Spice Powder, pg. 292 Thai Street Food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's been a while since I tried any "new" recipes from Mr. Thompson. Tonight I went overboard, and did two new dishes, as well as a couple of others from some other authors. The hit of the night was definitely the Red Chicken Curry w/ Ginger and Green Beans. Really stellar flavors and textures. The paste recipe seems like a pretty standard red curry paste until you look at it closely and see that there's no cumin, but there is plenty of white pepper. Tasting a little bit of the paste after I finished pounding it I already knew we would like this curry and we did. I made it as written (less pea eggplant, which are impossible to find her 51 weeks of the year), and using the stock variation. A really wonderful dish. Sweet from the coconut, but without too much sugar, and not as rich as some red curries, plenty of kick from the ginger and the white pepper, but smooth and mellow because of the background flavor of shrimp paste and coriander. This will appear around here again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The pork Hocks on the other hand were OK, but definitely not a wow. In truth I used my usual Chinese style braising sauce rather than his (perhaps a mistake), because it was already made, and what I really wanted to try about this dish was combing the greens with the hock, and the dipping sauce. I liked the sauce, but didn't love it, Mr. QN didn't enjoy it at all. Since he is the hock fanatic around here, we probably won't be trying this again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I have a question about the sweet crispy pork within the recipe for Green Papaya Salad on p.513 of Thai Food. The pork is supposed to be marinated overnight and then "dried on a rack for a day"...I'm assuming that since there are exorbitant amounts of sugar and salt in the marinade, it would essentially be 'cured' by this stage, anyway, so leaving it out on the counter to dry is what he means?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This recipe has been whispering seductively to me for ages, and it's high time to succumb.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies