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Jun 1, 2011 06:31 AM

Seductions of Rice: Jasmine, Sticky Rice, Thai Red: The Thai Way

Page number of recipe and reviews.

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  1. Thai Grilled Chicken p.152

    T'was a lovely evening to have a grilled Thai feast, and this chicken was the showcase. A fantastically simple paste is made out of garlic, peppercorns, salt and coriander root. I pulled up one of my dear coriander plants to get at the roots, but apparently I was too keen on it. I got a scant teaspoon of roots out of the deal......subsequently used mainly the stems as a substitute. Chicken is marinated in this paste, along with fish sauce and coconut milk. Grilled to crispy-skinned goodness. This was really easy, and fast. A very nice simple dinner. I enjoyed serving it with.......

    Hot-and-Sweet Dipping Sauce p.129

    This is a deliciously tangy, slightly thinner version of the ubiquitous Thai sweet chili sauce that I always have on hand. Now that I know how easy it is to make, I may never buy bottled again. It is simply vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt, and dried chilies. I will add more chilies next time, as I can't get enough of that capsaisin bite. A bit more vinegar-y than the bottled versions, but this seems to make it taste more refreshing. Delightful paired with grilled chicken and.....

    Thai Sticky Rice p.116

    What fun this rice is to eat! It clings to itself, but not to your hands, meaning that it easily shapes into balls or scoops for sauces and dips. I didn't plan too far in advance, so I chose the 2 hour soaking time instead of the overnight version. I used my bamboo steamer lined with cheesecloth for cooking. Worked like a charm. The glutinous rice hardly swells compared to other rices, so 3 cups raw was just enough for 4 hungry people....I was counting on leftovers for tomorrow's meal! This rice is lovely by itself, but we loved dunking it into.......

    Red Curry Sauce p.130

    I used red curry paste instead of homemade, but it was wonderful anyway. This thick, spicy sauce was positively addictive when accented with peanuts and palm sugar (which I could eat with a spoon anyway) and topped with fish sauce. I whipped it up really quickly, and everyone gobbled it up with balls of the sticky rice.

    Grilled Eggplant Salad p.134

    This is, as the title suggests, grilled eggplant in salad form. Slices of Asian eggplant are grilled until golden brown, then roughly chopped and mixed with sliced shallots, Vietnamese coriander, and a dressing of lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and chili. It is left to rest a bit before consuming. At first bite, I wasn't sure I liked this salad, but like all yams, the more I ate, the more I enjoyed it. The rau ram seems very aggressive at first in the dish, but it started growing on me. The eggplant soaked up all of the dressing in the dish, so the salad was much drier than I thought it would be. I picked up the salad with baby romaine leaves, and it was very nice.

    24 Replies
    1. re: Allegra_K

      As if I needed any more incentive to buy a book all about rice! This looks fabulous Allegra :)

      1. re: Allegra_K

        Allegra, what a great review of your feast! I had the Thai Grilled Chicken recipe bookmarked, and now I'm going to make it for sure! And I like all your accompaniments. Just bought myself a big bag of sticky rice! Since we don't have an Asian market on the Cape that I can locate ;-( I bit the bullet and ordered several ingredients on line, including the sticky rice, palm sugar, dried red chiies, and more. Fresh coriander is the same as fresh cilantro, no? I can easily buy that here, though not with the roots still on. I'm going to try using the stems, as you did.
        I like the fact that the authors also give broiling-instructions with their recipes, since i am the only person I know who doesn't have a grill.

        1. re: Goblin


          Your menu sounds so yummy. I made the Thai sticky rice too (I bought one of those cone steamers from my local Thai market) and mine came out great. My kids absolutely loved the sticky rice and asked to take the leftovers in their school lunches (a first, for my family)! My accompaniments were candied pork and green papaya salad (both out of a different Thai cookbook).

          I love the idea of making the rice and serving it just with a simple dipping sauce. What a concept.

          1. re: dkennedy

            dkennedy, I just bought one of those conical steamers too (from my on-line source) and I'm looking forward to trying it out with sticky rice.

            1. re: Goblin

              Here is a link that has a great video on how to achieve perfect sticky rice using a conical steamer.


              1. re: dkennedy

                Thank you, dkennedy, that was a great video, and the website had much good information for this newbie to Thai cookery, including how to "season" my new bamboo steamer by soaking it. I note that my new steamer and pot came with some very fine-grained cheesecloth to use when steaming sticky rice. Do you use this as well?

              2. re: dkennedy

                THAI STICKY RICE, pp. 116. I purchased a big bag of sticky rice (called Golden Thai Glutinous Rice on the bag) and also fell for that really cute conical bamboo steamer and metal pot from an on-lne source. I do recommend viewing the video that dkennedy cites below because it is very helpful for a first-time user of the basket-set. Of course, I also just purchased a Sanyo rice cooker, but I didn't see any recommendations for cooking sticky rice in an electric steamer, so it was obvious that I had to buy a new piece of equipment! ;-) Anyway, the conical bamboo "basket" steams perfect sticky rice--I also used the fine-grained cheesecloth that came with the set to contain the rice and this made cleanup very easy. (However, then you don't get to flip the rice mid-way, which looks like a lot of fun in the video.) The adults and children both loved the fact that the rice is so fun to eat --the 5 and 8-year-olds in particular loved being able to use their fingers to eat it, which is usually a no-no at the dinner table. I had set out little cups of butter lettuce for the pork satay, but everyone also used them for wrapping the sticky rice after dipping some into a sauce.

                My advice: rinse out the cheese cloth right away after it's been used to steam the rice because sticky rice is aptly-named, and do keep the rice covered in its serving dish if you don't serve it right away, because it dries out quickly. I also rinsed the rice 3 times before soaking it overnight, as was also suggested in the video.

                I served the sticky rice with:
                HOT-AND-SWEET DIPPING SAUCE, p. 129
                Everyone liked this, kids and adults alike. Quick to make, too. The flavors are an exciting mixture of heat and sweetness. I used cider vinegar, the two cloves of garlic and chili pepper flakes.

              3. re: Goblin

                Thanks! I hope you like the chicken and the rice. It was unlike any rice I've ever had before. Very different. I may have to splurge (hah! $2 is a splurge?) on the rice steamer basket one of these days.
                I have the same problem as you with the cilantro/coriander roots. I have never, ever found it available in my area. I'm attempting to grow a whole bunch of plants for the sole purpose of harvesting the roots, but judging by the meager amount that I got out of one, it will be a long time before they're ready. Stems it is!

                1. re: Allegra_K

                  Is there any substitute for the roots? I wonder where to get these until I can grow them. Or, more importantly, in winter when I can't grow them.


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I have always used the stem portion in place of roots. Really, the point is to use the whole thing instead of just the leaves, as the flavor is really pronounced in the stems are roots.

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      IIRC, I found cilantro with the roots attached at the Whole Foods in St. Paul.

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I've just been using the stems as a replacement, but I read somewhere that using stems with a bit of ground coriander works as well. I haven't tried that yet, tho. As for winter growing, I have the same issue, with about 3-4 months in a growing season, if I'm lucky! I'm hoping to grow enough cilantro to get a huge stockpile of roots that I can freeze for later use. We'll see how that goes, though. My thumb is not particularly green.

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Cilantro or coriander with the roots attached can be found in some Indian stores. If you can not get them, definately use the stems instead of only the leaves. The stems usually have alot of flavor to almost compensate for the roots. Unfortunately, I have not come across a substitute for the roots yet... I hope this helps... I'm very excited to discuss this book as it is one of my favorites and nice to meet u all

                          1. re: Desigirl

                            Looking forward to your reviews and discussion of this book, which has fast become one of my favorites as well.

                    2. re: Allegra_K

                      Another spectacular meal Allegra, it all sounds fabulous. Thanks for the inspiration!

                      1. re: Allegra_K

                        Now, is sticky rice labeled specifically "sticky rice"? I just cooked my first entire Thai meal on Saturday night, and it was a dismal failure. I used the sticky rice recipe from Cracking the Coconut, and it called for "Thai long-grain Jasmine sticky rice". My husband bought "Thai long-grain Jasmine rice", but it never got sticky, so I'm wondering if it needs to specifically say "sticky"? I used recipes from Thai Food and Cracking the Coconut... my only success was the "Sticky" Rice Dessert with coconut sauce (this was a delicious rice pudding, albeit a little warm for our weather right now), and a lime basil sorbet that I made up. :-(

                        1. re: Katie Nell

                          Sticky rice looks different than regular jasmine rice. When raw, instead of being translucent, it is opaque, and when cooked, it becomes almost translucent. It definitely clings to itself. I've seen it labeled as glutinous rice and sweet rice as well as sticky rice. I think that there is also a short grain japanese sticky rice, called mochi, that you should look out for as to not confuse the two, but the thai version, at least in my area, seems to be more common.

                          1. re: Katie Nell

                            As Allegra points out there are lots of types of "sticky" rice, some long grain, some short grain, some white some red/black & etc. Most Thai food is served with rice that is NOT sticky rice, the standard Thai Jasmine rice, for example, which is probably what your husband bought. Standard Thai jasmine rice is cooked very differently from any of the "sticky" "sweet" or "glutinous" rices, so it wouldn't work well in recipes calling for "sticky" rice.

                            If you have acess to "Seductions of Rice" in the Introductory chapter there's a really good description of the differences in types of rice and how and why they are categorized.

                            1. re: qianning

                              I've been resisting purchasing it, as I'm really not even that big of a rice fan, but for some reason, it intrigues me. They don't have it at any of my 13 libraries either! I'm enjoying reading along though!

                              1. re: Katie Nell


                                Here's a bit of a preview, Katie. I love this book, and can often be found curled up in a chair, reading through the pages. It's so interesting!

                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                  That is how I felt when I first got the book, Allegra. I read it cover to cover and I didn't try cooking from it until I got through the index section for fear I would loose my place and never find it again. Now, I have all the recipes I want to try tabbed and I am slowly making my way through the book. Thai first, next Indian, and so on.

                                  My Supper Club meets this Sunday and we are making recipes out of Zuni so that has diverted my attention and a bunch of my otherwise available time away from Seductions. We are making the roasted chicken/bread salad, a crostada, one of the many salads, the buttermilk mashed potatoes (my personal favorite), and one other dish which I can't remember. I will report back on these next week under the Zuni COTM and also the Supper Club threads.

                                  Hopefully, I'll be able to cram more Seduction time in after this weekend. Meantime, I am also enjoying reading along Katie!

                          2. re: Allegra_K

                            Thai Grilled Chicken gai yang p. 152

                            This was our dinner tonight made with chicken thighs. I did use a combination of cilantro roots and stems. This was a hit. Juicy chicken, crispy skin and a subtle sweetness from the coconut milk. The addition of coconut milk was the biggest difference between this recipe and the one from The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon. Her version does not include coconut milk, but does have a little lemon juice instead. Both recipes are repeatable.

                            1. re: Allegra_K

                              I made an almost identical meal, though with the pork satay instead of chicken. I was surprised at how easy the sticky rice was to prepare, and it came out just like I remembered from Thailand and Laos. I'll get through my 2kg bag in no time!

                              I loved the red curry dipping sauce, but found the hot and sweet one slightly too vinegary - though infinitely preferable to bottled sweet chilli.

                              The pork was very juicy and quite delicately flavoured, and very good dipped in the hot and sweet sauce (despite my earlier complaint!)

                              The aubergine salad was just wonderful, so fresh-tasting with all the herbs, and I served it on littl gem leaves which provide a nice crunchy contrast.

                              It took about 1.5 hours to prepare at a leisurely pace, which I think was an evening well spent!

                            2. CLASSIC THAI FRIED RICE, p. 158
                              (Note: I first mis-entered this in the Japanese section by mistake! Here it is again in the correct place.)

                              This is a very simple dish, but since I haven't cooked many Thai recipes, I thought I'd start with it. Also, my supermarket easily supplied the ingredients.

                              I made this last night, accompanied with Red Chicken Curry (another review) and chicken satay. The recipe says "serves 1." Since the amount of rice specified in the recipe was two cups of cooked jasmine rice, plus several accompanying vegetables, i decided that this would make at least enough for two persons. I then doubled it to serve 4, and there was plenty.

                              Like all stir-fries, once everything is chopped, sliced, and assembled, the recipe goes together very quickly. I included the several optional vegetables in the stir fry: sliced mushrooms (shitaki in my case) as well as scallions and finely chopped tomatoes. I also garnished the finished fried rice with the suggested cilantro leaves, cucumber slices, scallions, sliced tomatoes, lime wedges, and leaf lettuce. All the fresh vegetables make for a very healthy, bright dish. I did feel that the flavors were too subtle--I could not find the suggested Fish Sauce with Hot Chiles in my supermarket, so did not serve it as an accompaniment, but I think the addition of more heat would have been an improvement.

                              I also felt that the finished dish was just slightly "soupy" and I think this was due to the inclusion of the 2 medium chopped tomatoes. For my taste, I would have liked a slightly drier preparation, and next time I will just include sliced tomatoes as a garnish rather than incorporating them. I will also keep tasting and adding more flavoring--fish sauce with hot chilies and soy sauce--as I see fit. The authors stipulate the importance of tasting for flavor and adding seasonings to create big flavors: "there is seldom anything shy or restrained about Thai dishes."

                              23 Replies
                              1. re: Goblin

                                I love this fried rice! It's one of my go-to lunches when I don't know what else to make. I always make extra jasmine rice just to have this one-pot meal the next day. It is so lovely with a fried runny-yolked egg on top. The fish sauce with chillies is just a mixture of fish sauce and thai red chillies that is kept in a jar in the fridge. So easy, and so good. The simple condiment pulls the dish together.

                                1. re: Allegra_K


                                  Re the Fish Sauce with hot Chilies is a recipe, I don't think you can find this ready made in a bottle. The recipe is rather easy to make, as Allegra mentions above. One caveat however, my Fish Sauce bottle doesn't unscrew making putting the chilies into the bottle close to impossible. You will probably need to pour it into a Jelly jar if you want to keep some on hand. I cut my chilies into slivers and shoved them down the hole of the Fish Sauce bottle but that was both time consuming and wasteful. The spicy fish sauce does make the dish "pop".

                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                    Yes, I keep it in a baby food jar, and like the authors suggest, just keep topping up the jar with more fish sauce and chillies as it runs low. I've had the same jar in my fridge for 6 months or so, and it still seems fine. It's also a great way to use up those leftover chillies from the always-too-large styrofoam wrapped trays that they come in.

                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                      Great tips Allegra and dkennedy, on making and keeping "fish sauce with chilies." Thanks so much! I'm figuring that it would work with the whole dried red chilies that I just received from a Thai-import on-line source?

                                2. re: Goblin

                                  I've had the book for many years and the only thing I've made is the fried rice, which instantly transported me back to Thailand.

                                  1. re: julesrules

                                    Following Allegra's lead, I am finally gearing up to make my first menu from this section of the book. If all goes well, we will have it for dinner tomorrow night. The menu will consist of:

                                    Grilled Pork Satay p. 156 served with two sauces,
                                    Tangy Lime Sauce p. 128 and
                                    Red Curry Sauce, p. 130
                                    To round out the meal, grilled veggies and
                                    Thai Sticky Rice p. 116

                                    Other than gathering the ingredients, many of which I have on hand, it seems like it will be a nearly effortless meal to get on the table. I just have to figure out when to fit in grocery shopping, marinating, soaking, and so on around swimming, playdates, tutoring, and Dr. appointments (yes, two of my Drs. are open on Sundays). Wish me luck!

                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                      Good luck, dkennedy, in your preparations for this Thai dinner and do report back. I made chicken satay with peanut sauce with my dinner last week--couldn't find an exact recipe for these in SoR so I used one from Cook's Illustrated. But the sauces you are serving sound really yummy and I look forward to hearing how it all went.

                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                        Well your menu certainly sounds ambitious, DK, but I have no doubt you'll be able to do everything in good time. And, you're giving your children some wonderful meals... Good luck with all of it. I haven't been very adventursome with this book yet. I have to get me to the Asian market for the really specialty ingredients needed.

                                        Tonight I'm making the Senegalese lemon chicken and the Turkish pilaf considering that Senegal's cuisine is derivative, but I'd like to find a recipe for yams which will augment an African meal.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Well, getting dinner on the table on a day when I had a play date, tutoring, and a Dr.'s appt proved impossible. It's too bad because my daughter's playmate really wanted to try it. I put it off one day and I now have everything prepped for dinner tonight. As I anticipated, it came together effortlessly.

                                          The marinade for the pork satay is just a few ingredients chopped up (garlic, cilantro) and measured out (coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce, palm sugar, pepper) all mixed together and dumped in a plastic bag, along with the meat, to marry the flavors. It took all of 3 minutes to prepare.

                                          Another 3 minutes for the tangy lime sauce, just a few ingredients sitting in a measuring cup waiting for tonight to get here. I did cut the cayenne down to 1/8 t. and I will add the cilantro at the last minute The red curry sauce took a bit longer only because I had to use the can opener and clean the wok. The peanuts will be added tonight.

                                          So now it is 1:00 p.m., my sauces are ready, my rice is soaking, my pork is marinating, and all I have to do last minute is grill or stir fry up the pork, grill a veggie, and steam the rice. Not too bad for a delectable gourmet Thai dinner!

                                          I'll let you know how everything tasted tomorrow.

                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                            All in all, a very successful meal. I ended up stir frying the pork satay. The red curry sauce was the perfect compliment, along with the sliced cucumbers, steamed asparagus, and sticky rice. I wasn't that impressed with the tangy lime sauce for this meal, though it was good on its own.

                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                              GRILLED PORK SATAY, p. 156.
                                              Everyone, children and adults alike, loved this. The marinade is really good on the pork, and goes together quickly, as dkennedy suggests above. Just thread the strips onto bamboo skewers and broil (or grill, if you wish). I found that the pork strips did take longer to cook through than the 5 minutes that recipe suggests--about 10 minutes in my case. This may have been because my strips were a bit thicker than the 1/4 inch or less in the instructions. I actually found little coriander "plantlets" at my supermarket but, as has been remarked already, the stems and leaves may be tall and lush but the roots are really tiny, so I just chopped up everything to make the 2 TBS required. I also used palm sugar and not brown sugar--don't know if this makes that much difference but I liked its flavor. Have other people noticed much difference in the two flavorings?

                                              Served this with Tangy Lime sauce (review below) and Hot-and-Sweet sauce (p. 129.) I did not make the recommended accompaniment of Red Curry Sauce on p. 130 because I was also serving Red Chicken Curry and people just poured themselves little dishes of that sauce to dip the pork in!

                                              Something I learned from Cooks Illustrated regarding using wooden skewers in the broiler--in lieu of soaking the skewers so the bottoms of them don't burn, just lay the prepared skewers on the pan and cover the ends with a strip of tin foil to protect them from the hot element.

                                              Oh yes, I also served a quick stir-fry of asparagus flavored with minced garlic, and it went well with the rest of the meal.

                                              TANGY LIME SAUCE, p. 128.
                                              This was not such a hit with my family--as dkennedy remarks, it seemed TOO tangy for the pork, and the Hot-and Sour Dipping sauce was much preferred. Maybe serve it to go with something else?

                                              1. re: Goblin

                                                Grilled Pork Satay p. 156

                                                We made this for dinner tonight with boneless pork loins. We cut the meat into thin strips and I did pound the meat a bit to get it to the right thickness (not sure what effect this might have had on the outcome). I also made the red curry paste so I could serve the pork with the red curry sauce. We also made the tangy lime sauce. Had I made the red curry paste in advance this would have been a very quick meal. Please with the results and enjoyed the pork satay with the red curry sauce (nice combination of delicately sweet with some heat).

                                                1. re: Goblin

                                                  Grilled Pork Satay - p. 156

                                                  Our turn w this tonight and like those who have gone before me, we really enjoyed this dish. Goblin did a sensational job of describing the process so no need for me to reiterate. I made my satays w pork tenderloin vs the loin. We elected to cook our pork on the grill and really enjoyed the smokey flavour. The meat was juicy and quite flavourful after marinating for 9 hours. We garnished w the suggested lettuce and cucumber and I made all 3 sauces.

                                                  The Tangy Lime Sauce - p. 128

                                                  Well covered elsewhere in this thread and thanks to those who went before me I was mindful of the "tang" and added 1 Tbsp of water to my sauce. In the end, we enjoyed this, really liked the salty sour combo but I felt that the cayenne was "raw" tasting and that the sauce could have been improved by adding a liquid hot sauce instead of cayenne powder. I'll definitely make the sauce again but giving a hot sauce a try.

                                                  Red Curry Sauce - p. 131

                                                  Again, I believe this has been covered both up and down thread so not much to add. This is a very standard Thai sauce and it worked well w the satay. I personally prefer to add peanut butter instead of chopped peanuts as we prefer a smooth texture.

                                                  Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce - p. 129

                                                  Of the three sauces, this was our favourite. Cider vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt and chile flakes are combined stovetop and simmered to blend flavours. My cider vinegar has a very smooth flavour and was perfect for this sauce as I think white vinegar would have been too harsh. We've always enjoyed the store-bought version of this sauce but it doesn't hold a candle to this sauce. Just delicious, there wasn't a drop left!! I think an arm wrestle almost broke out for the opportunity to "clean the bowl"!! Wonderful!

                                                  We served this w the Classic Thai Fried Rice which was very good.

                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Those are sensational photos, breadcrumbs! So appetizing! Makes me immediately want to cook the dish again!

                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                      I'm trying to get a bit caught up on these threads while I decide what to cook for dinner. Enjoyed reading this review and looking at the great photos. Love the play of light and shadow against the white bowls and their contents. Lovely.

                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                        Goblin & LN, thanks so much you're both very kind! Since mr bc has been handling the grilling and watering the gardens, I've been taking my own photos and trying to learn how to use his camera.

                                                    2. re: Goblin

                                                      Grilled Pork Satay (page 156)
                                                      Red Curry Sauce (page 130)

                                                      So. I’ll be the first who didn’t love the Pork Satay. Twist my arm and I’ll tell you I didn’t care for it much at all. I used all the called-for ingredients including coriander root and palm sugar. I thought the pork was dry and lacking in flavor. Could it have been the pork? I butchered a large Costco loin and trimmed the fat. Can’t believe that made a huge difference. Used a broiler since I don’t have a grill. Broiled only a minute longer than directed so it would brown a bit. Did I overcook it? Did I cut it too thin? No idea. Not going to try to find out.

                                                      Allegra_K described the Red Curry Sauce as “thick and spicy.” Mine was neither. Well, okay. A little spicy. I, too, used prepared curry paste: Maesri brand in a small tin. Liked it well enough on the plain brown rice. Didn’t help the pork any. A tip: Don’t grab your regular rubber spatula instead of the silicone one to stir the hot curry paste. Those bits of rubber in the sauce do nothing to enhance the flavor.

                                                      Even the picture looks crappy. I think I’m posting it just to prove I actually made it.

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        I'd hate to laugh at your misfortune, but I think your post is quite funny. Especially the spatula bit. I had a bad outcome using prepared curry paste with the chicken dish, so I can relate. I think you are too hard on yourself about the photo, it looks much more appetizing than your description!

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Grilled Pork Satay

                                                          Decided to make this Pork Satay and the version from Thai Street Food last night and do a side by side taste comparison. The ingredients are very similar, but the proportions and techniques are a bit different the Alford Duguid is well covered above, the Thompson varies in that the garlic & coriander root are ground to a paste, to which a higher proportion of fish sauce & palm sugar is added, and just a dash of soy, and the coconut milk is not in the marinade, but used as a baste for the satay.

                                                          OK, so both versions of marinade came together well, and the skewers cooked up over charcoal looking great. My favorite guinea pig, ie Mr QN, tried the Alford Duguid version first. Then the Thompson, and the winnner was.....Neither! Both he and I found them far too salty, and the Tangy Lime Sauce only made this worse. Guess we just don't like Thai grilled pork satay, which is funny since Gaiyang (which let's face it use just about the same marinade without the sugar) is a real favorite food around here. Oh well, live and learn.

                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                            Very interesting, gianning. I kept thinking maybe my ingredients, perhaps the coconut milk, just weren't very good. But perhaps, like you, I just don't like grilled pork satay. And of course you're absolutely right about the Gaiyang. Hadn't even thought of that.

                                              2. re: Goblin

                                                Classic Thai Fried Rice (page158)

                                                Made this for supper last night and loved it.

                                                I used all 8 cloves of garlic, even though I was using some optional ingredients, and was afraid it might be too much. Most definitely not. I used leftover brown jasmine rice, oyster mushrooms, and scallions, but no tomato. Tomato just seems wrong in fried rice. At least to me. I used none of the garnishes, except the Fish Sauce with Hot Chiles (page 124) and since this was supper, I topped it with a fried egg.

                                                Unlike Goblin, mine wasn’t the least soupy. I suspect the tomatoes were indeed the culprit there. And even before adding the Fish Sauce with Hot Chiles, I thought this had a lot of flavor. Maybe it was all that garlic?

                                                I do think that the Fish Sauce with Hot Chiles is a critical part of this dish. You need to be judicious in its use since a little goes a long way, but I’m in full agreement with Allegra_K that it pulls it all together. I will also be following her lead in making extra rice to have on hand for this. It’s a very satisfying one-dish meal in practically no time at all.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  Classic Thai Fried Rice - p. 159

                                                  Thanks so much to Joan for doing a wonderful job describing how this comes together! Not much for me to add except to say that we liked but didn't love this dish. It was a bit too garlicky for our tastes and I'll definitely make it again but will use less garlic next time.

                                                  As Joan says, this is a very flavourful dish. I did opt to add the tomato, scallions, and the mushrooms though mine were a mix of cremini and shitake. We garnished w scallion, cucumber and lime. While I did add the fish sauce to the rice itself, we didn't garnish w the fish sauce with Hot Chiles. Maybe next time.

                                                2. re: Goblin

                                                  Thai Fried Rice khao pad p. 158

                                                  We made this including scallions and oyster mushrooms, but without the tomato. This was a hearty side for the two of us. A great dish, very flavorful. I did enjoy the addition of fish sauce and hot chiles. It adds additional depth of flavor and heat. As my wok gets more seasoned , my fried rice is turning out better too. I'd like to try this again with the red curry paste (on my to do list) and an egg.

                                                3. Brava, Allegra! This is hands down the BEST cookbook in my kitchen. I've had it for something like 10 years and learned the basics of Thai, Indian, Japanese and Persian cooking from this book. I've had the pleasure of meeting the authors and they really couldn't be nicer, especially Naomi.
                                                  Since your handle is "bayoucook," I'm wondering if you'll be trying any of their "low country" recipes? I seem to remember Louisiana popcorn rice, etc.

                                                  1. Does anyone have experience with &/or have suggestions on where to find a semi-milled Jasmine or other long-grained indica rice? I'd be really interested to learn on both sourcing & coooking with it.

                                                    1. RED CHICKEN CURRY, p. 147.

                                                      This was a great hit with the heat-loving members of my family when I made it the second time around! Not so much, the first time at the beginning of this COTM. I have now learned two things: first, do not rely on a several-months' old store-bought and previously-opened (refrigerated) jar of red curry paste--probably a good lesson for MANY recipes!

                                                      I'm pretty sure the curry paste had lost something in its somewhat elderly state: it didn't have the right balance of flavor, and the finished dish managed to be both hot and boring at the same time. Also, I remembered that the authors had urged cooks to taste frequently and add more of anything if it seems to lack ooomph. So this time around I made my own red curry paste from the recipe on p. 148, tasted as I cooked and the result was much more satisfactory.

                                                      The ingredients, once the chili paste is made; are not numerous: one pound boneless and skinless chicken breast cut into 1/4 in. slices, 3 cups canned coconut milk, plus 1/2 cup Asian basil leaves and two long red chilies cut into strips, for garnish. Optional are 5 to 6 fresh lime leaves which you toss in when you add the chicken . I decided this time to be as authentic as I could, and so stuck closely to the ingredient suggestions (had to substitute Italian basil leaves.) The adults thought the result tasted like Thai food should: tasty and fresh with a satisfyingly robust flavor balanced by the suavity of the coconut milk. (Well, one adult ate it sparingly, mostly to humor me--my husband. His German-American mother never cooked anything remotely "hot" and he never developed the taste for it. He partook of the other dish, pork satay, along with the 5 and 8-year-old.)

                                                      RED CURRY PASTE, p. 148

                                                      Now THIS red curry paste was good. Again, not a complicated preparation, with one exception which I will get to later. Coriander and cumin seeds and black peppercorns are "bloomed" and then ground in a mortar. 1 1/2 cups of dried red chilies (preferably from Thailand) are seeded and soaked and drained. Two three-inch stalks of lemon grass are peeled and minced, 1/4 cup chopped fresh galangal (or ginger), coriander root (I used stalks and leaves), 1/4 cup coarsely chopped shallots and garlic, a teaspoon of minced lime zest, a teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of shrimp paste round out the other ingredients. The authors helpfully give three preparation-methods: pounding all to a paste with a mortar and pestle, pounding some in a mortar and finishing off in a food-processor, or what I did: making it all in the FP, which made it go very quickly.

                                                      The complicated part for me was seeding the dried red Thai chilies. They were tiny, and it took me at least 20 minutes to pry them apart and pull out the seeds. This was my first time handling dried chiIes, and I knew enough not to touch my face or eyes while handling chilies, but not enough to wear gloves for the protracted time I was seeding them. And I found that just breathing the air above them made my face itch and burn. Not to mention my hands. Oh well, another lesson learned. I made one substitution: couldn't find fresh-enough lemon grass stalks at my supermarket, so I bought a refrigerated tube of "organic lemon grass paste," and to my uneducated Thai palate, it tasted pretty good in this sort of preparation.

                                                      My son-in-law, who does like heat, asked at dinner for the bowl of finished chili paste and proceeded to eat it with the sticky rice and pork-satay!

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                        If your dried chiles are really dry, you can often just break them in half and shake out the seeds. If they're not THAT dry, try slicing them in half and using your knife to scrape out the seeds. I still wear gloves when doing that, but I think it would take a lot less time than 20 minutes.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Thanks for the suggestion, JoanN. The instructions in the recipe said "break the chiles into pieces and shake out the seeds" but mine must have been a bit moister, because the seeds didn't fall out no matter how I shook them! I'm going to try the slicing and scraping method you mention next time. And I will be wearing gloves. But the 20 minute experience did clear out my allergy-ridden sinuses! (Always a Bright Side.)

                                                        2. re: Goblin

                                                          RED CURRY PASTE, p. 148 I made a small amount last night with a mortar and pestle. I was unable to find dried thai red peppers, so I bought some fresh peppers and dried them in my dehydrator. This paste was great in the red curry sauce and looking forward to adding the paste to classic Thai fried rice next.

                                                          1. re: Goblin

                                                            Red Chicken Curry, page 147.

                                                            The problem I had with this dish was probably not the recipe, but that I took the easy way out. I was unable to find lemongrass yesterday, and all the peppers I found were of the profoundly Mexican variety. Pressed for time, I used a (brand new, unopened) jarred red curry paste. I used a combination of red basil and shisu, plucking my little plants of most of their leaves. I had lovely organic chicken breasts which cooked perfectly in the broth.

                                                            Goblin aptly describes an attempt at this dish with store-bought curry paste as both hot and boring. Mine had a minimal kick (although I used a bit more than the recipe called for), and was definitely boring. I imagine one could find Thai food tasting like this in a mall food court: bland and simplistic. I'm sure there's a world of difference when the red curry paste is made from scratch. I don't recommend taking the shortcut with this recipe.

                                                            I served this with plain jasmine rice. For a side dish, I crossed borders and made a Chinese cucumber salad, a much greater success. Reviewed here if you are interested: