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April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: Grilled Foods pg. 122-145, Curries and Soups pg. 146-171

Greetings all!

Please use this thread to post your reviews of the following:

Grilled Foods pg. 122-145
Curries and Soups pg. 146-171

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  1. Jaw Phak Kat (Mustard Green Soup with Tamarind and Pork Ribs)

    Made a trip to a large Asian grocery yesterday to buy supplies; had to add a trip to another nearby store which has a better selection of Thai (as opposed to Korean) specialties. Managed to find every thing I needed: Korean salted shrimp, Thai shrimp paste, yellow bean sauce, yu choy. Already had tamarind in the refrigerator.

    Very good. After adding the spicy paste to the simmering water for the pork was terrified I'd made it too spicy, but it really mellowed out by the end. It had a very complex, deep flavor. Great over steamed sticky rice (also already had that).

    4 Replies
    1. re: DGresh

      Sounds tasty, how were the pickled mustard greens in this. Did they stand out. I find they are hit and miss for me.

      1. re: delys77

        the mustard greens aren't pickled, they are just stewed. They didn't have any particular flavor other than what any green tastes like.

      2. re: DGresh

        Jaw Phak Kat, pg. 151

        We're suckers for the Southeast Asian soups that combine greens with pork ribs, and this one didn't disappoint. I made a half batch, and subbed toasted ground tua nao for the yellow bean paste, otherwise went by the book.

        Like DG above, we thought it had a wonderful complex flavor. Yu choy ( which around here is usually labelled as "yu choy", not mustard green, but I know it varies by region) is called for, and what I used, but really any brassica, would probably do fine in this.

      3. Kaeng Som Kung, Sour Curry with Shrimp, p.163

        This was a powerful boiled curry that packed a lot of punchy flavours into one pot, and is a far cry from the creamy coconut milk-based dishes that usually comes to mind.

        To make the paste, pound ingredients one at a time with a mortar and pestle: puya and Thai chiles, krachai, garlic, shallots, and shrimp paste. It can be made up to a week in advance.
        I haven't located puyas and used a big floppy guajillo and an extra Thai chile as my replacement. I found it a bit odd that Ricker doesn't have the cook soak the dried chiles in water to make for an easier job of pounding, and after working up a sweat over the granite bowl and barely managing to break them in half I tossed the chiles in a spice grinder to pulverize them. I also implemented qianning's seriously awesome tip of grating the remaining ingredients with a micro-plane and will be doing that every time from now on--it made easy work paste-making. I will, however, ensure next time that when working with such a sharp object that my ingredients are fully thawed so that when I grate my fingertips into the mortar I actually feel the sensation and stop. Good thing my dining companions already share some of my DNA!

        When ready to cook, finish the paste by incorporating 3 fresh prawns into the blend until completely broken down. The paste is then mixed in a pot with water and simmered along with some tamarind water, palm sugar, fish sauce. Daikon, napa cabbage, long beans, and chayote meet with the flavours and all is simmered until the veggies are mostly tender with a bit of crunch. The burner is turned off and shrimp is added to the pot to cook in the residual heat.

        This is a fiery, soupy curry that goes well with a heaping pile of rice. It has a completely different flavour profile than the usual suspects--the krachai adds an astringent, almost medicinal quality while the tamarind puckers the lips. The small amount of sugar just barely balances on the edge--in fact I found it too tangy and added an extra teaspoon to my taste. There is a prominent shrimp-paste depth in this curry and I would suggest reducing if one was averse to those flavours. I added extra veggies in order to make this more of a one-pot affair and welcomed the various textures of the nicely-complemented melange. This is definitely a more wild, rustic curry that may not be loved by all but as it was we enjoyed it quite well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Allegra_K

          I also was instructed to pound some dried chilies into mush for another recipe and gave up pretty quickly and threw it in my mini food processor.

          1. re: Allegra_K

            I am just getting caught up with your posts and I' m crying from laughing so hard (" Good thing my dining companions already share my DNA." Too funny!). Glad to read about your adventures again.

          2. Kaeng Hung Leh--Burmese Style Pork Belly Curry, pg. 170

            This is a difficult recipe to review. On the one hand if this recipe had come with a different name in Ricker's book, I'd probably give it a pretty good thumbs up. But on the other hand I've made other Kaeng Hung Leh that I liked much, much better than this one, so the results were, for me, a bit of a let down.

            It is effectively a slow braise based on a paste (lemongrass, salt, galangal, chiles, shallots, shrimp paste) lightly cooked in oil, to which shallots, "curry powder", turmeric powder, are added, then the meats for a quick stir to break the rawness, then the liquids, fish sauce, black soy, pickled garlic juice, and some palm sugar. Add in tamarind liquid and water, and simmer 45 min, then add in julienned ginger, simmer an additional 45 min, add pickled garlic, then long beans, then its done. I made an exact 1/2 batch, and the only change I made to the recipe was to skim some of the surface fat off before adding the pickled garlic.

            My biggest quibble with this recipe is the "mild Indian curry powder" ; really is that what Ricker uses at Pok Pok? What brand? I really really missed the more exact and interesting spicing for other versions.

            My second biggest quibble, there isn't enough ginger. Really Really missed that too.

            Anyway, this is a good dish, but also a rich dish; a half batch will easily go three meals, served with rice and a side green, for the two of us. We had on third the night it was made, a second third a couple of days later, and final third is in the freezer. When reheating it, I added in some fresh chunks of long bean, so that there was still some crispness to the dish.

            1. Jin Hoom Neua - Northern Stewed Beef Soup p.154
              Great head note food not for me. Hope others like it more.

              16 Replies
              1. re: wewwew

                Interesting, this is on the menu for us tomorrow. What didn't you like about it?

                1. re: delys77

                  The soup just went by me. I tried it the next day without any more connection to the dish.
                  I hope you have pleasure from your soup.

                2. re: wewwew

                  Jin Hoom Neua (Northern Thai Stewed Beef Soup) Ipad Version

                  This was dinner for us last night and we really disliked it. I must begin by saying that I made a few substitutions which likely might have impacted the flavour, but I suspect it wouldn't have been a winner for us either way.

                  Essentially you create a paste out of lemongrass, galangal, turmeric root, rehydrated chilies, salt, garlic, shallot, and shrimp paste. Herein lies the problem, the amount of galangal and turmeric root (2.5oz) overpowered everything else. Even after cooking for 2.5 hours I felt like the broth was something a chinese herbalist might prescribe. The lemongrass, garlic, and shallot were completely lost.

                  There were two more issues with the broth but those were likely my error. Firstly I couldn't find anything but dried thai chiles at my market so I used about 1/3 the amount of chiles called for, plus the recipe has you add 3 tb of the toasted chile powder to the broth. I was already worried about heat so I went with 1 tb. Now we aren't the toughest when it comes to spice but we aren't total wimps either. That said for us, the dish was far too fiery. It may have been the thai chiles so I'll take the blame if that is what it was. Secondly, the dish takes 1.5 tb of home made shrimp paste. Having not been able to find the required Korean dried shrimp I decided just to buy a thai brand of shrimp paste. Knowing how funky this stuff can be I went with about half as much as required, thinking the commercial stuff might be more potent. Not sure if it is or isn't, but I did find the shrimp paste was one of the only things that I could taste through the heat and medicine cabinet, and not in a good way.

                  Anyhow, I had the 2lbs of sliced beef shank in there so I determined to strain the liquid and separate it from the beef. I then mixed the broth with some chicken stock, a touch more light soy, and a good squeeze of lime. A moderate amount of this new stock went over the beef which was garnished with the herbs. Served over regular jasmine rice it was passable, but in its original incarnation I would have never been able to get through more than a few spoons full.

                  I realize this is a bit of a rant, but honestly, I feel like I can still taste my first sampling of the broth and it has been almost a whole day since then.

                  1. re: delys77

                    nice quick thinking to save dinner! i'm sorry this didn't work out for you, thanks for taking one for the team.

                    1. re: delys77

                      "Secondly, the dish takes 1.5 tb of home made shrimp paste.Knowing how funky this stuff can be I went with about half as much as required, thinking the commercial stuff might be more potent."
                      On the Pok Pok paste:
                      2 cups jarred Korean salted shrimp
                      2 tablespoons Thai shrimp paste
                      At 1 cup = 16 tablespoons, then the 1.5 tablespoons of PokPok paste blend contains ~3/16 of a Tablespoon of Thai shrimp paste. You used not 3/16T, not 3/8T, but 3/4 T which (even granting the flavor concentrating effect of the gapi on the comparatively mild Korean salted shrimp) gets to the official "Wowie!!!!!!!!!" level.This is amount of shrimp paste used in some gapi intense Thai dishes and the mighty Bún bò Huế, well, the Vietmanese soup calls for a bit more, but that is the rough ball park your playing in.
                      All of this aside, when I made the soup with the specified anount of Pok Pok blended paste I was not any happier than you with the result.

                      1. re: wewwew

                        Thanks Wewwew, I thought it seemed like a lot, thank goodness I didn't go 1 to 1 on the commercial stuff. I had no idea if the dried korean shrimp would be more or less potent. Either way, I agree with you that the results would have been not so good regardless of the shrimp paste situation.

                      2. re: delys77

                        Fyi, I bet your use of thai chilies made it a lot hotter than intended.

                        Looking at this table of chilies and their scoville unit ranges:

                        Thai chilies: 50,000 - 100,000 vs Puya chilies: 5,000 - 10,000

                        This soup is on the menu for us tonight - will report back.

                        1. re: fairyinthewoods

                          Well there you have it, I went with about half as much as required, but since they are 10 times as spicy I guess I had 5 times as much spice from them. I did cut the toasted chile back by 2/3 as well though. Either way, I know the heat was my fault and not the recipe's.

                      3. re: wewwew

                        Jin Hoom Neua - Northern Stewed Beef Soup p.154

                        We ate this last night. The verdict was mixed. My SO thought it was great; I was less enthused.

                        I broke the preparation into stages - curiously, Ricker does not note to this for this dish, although he has do ahead notes for other recipes in the book. I recommend you consider breaking this up - the curry paste takes some time.

                        He wants you to make the paste in a mortar and pestle - I opted for the food processor. I did process the items in the same order he directs you to do: Lemongrass and salt, then galangal, then tumeric root, then soaked chilies (in place of puya I used gualillo), then garlic, then shallots, then homemade shrimp paste. The shrimp paste is a mix of prepared shrimp paste and salted shrimp that he has you pound into a paste in the mortar and pestle - again, I opted for the food processor (making the shrimp paste first, before the curry paste, meant that I didn’t need to clean out the bowl too thoroughly - hurray).

                        You also need toasted chile powder (another recipe in the book) - I subbed some ancho chile powder we had.

                        I ended up cooking this in a slow cooker (on low, 4 hours) - it was the only way I could figure to make this a week night meal. In the instructions, the onions go in halfway through cooking, but I added them at the beginning. The beef, which Ricker wants to be on the chewy side, was much more tender than he would wanted (fine by me).

                        Due to the chile substitutions I made (guajillo and ancho) it wasn't as spicy as we wanted, so we also added a bit of cayenne.

                        We found the lemongrass to be pretty prominent. There was a funkiness to it that I'm not sure the source - galangal? tumeric? We also added some lime juice - it needed something bright, even after adding the fresh herbs. We had it with sticky rice and the mushroom salad that is also in the book (one of his recommended pairings). That was great, and had the sourness that the stew needed.

                        My SO thought that it would be really good with a more gelatinous cut of meat - we used chuck steaks, because that's what the butcher had.

                        We have a ton leftover - it's a good thing one of us is excited about it. I don't think this is one I'll be craving.

                        1. re: fairyinthewoods

                          I've been generally kind of disappointed in the recipes I've tried. Maybe my taste buds just aren't attuned to these flavors. The only thing I've made that I have any desire to make again is the grilled eggplant salad.

                          1. re: DGresh

                            What else have you made? You seem to like the Mustard Green Soup above. Are there some recipes that have flopped for you? Which ones?

                            1. re: qianning

                              The mustard green soup was fine, but I won't make it again and I didn't particularly crave the leftovers. Didn't particularly like the phat thai or the stir fried mixed vegetables (didn't report on them; sorry been busy)

                              1. re: DGresh

                                Got it, thanks. FWIW, we've been liking the salads and his one plate dishes quite a bit (have a few more to write up, haven't gotten to it. Phat Thai isn't one I've tried). As for the soup, it's a type of dish, spare rib w/ bitter green, that we like, so it may just be us. A lot of the other "curries" just aren't calling me. But I may just have to try one of the laap recipes....we'll see.

                          2. re: fairyinthewoods

                            Wow, three strikes for this one--what a shame. The into for the recipes makes it seem like a must-try. Thanks to all for taking the hits for the team!

                            1. re: fairyinthewoods

                              Thanks for the write up fairyinthewoods, I used the suggested beef shank and it was quite tender after 1.5 hours of simmering on the stovetop. For me, as for you, this was actually a positive.

                              I also wanted to add that I partially followed the instructions with regards to using a mortar and pestle for the paste. I got out my small mortar and did the individual ingredients (except the chilies which went straight in to the processor) one at a time, and then combined them in the mini chopper to finish creating the paste. This saved me some time but it still took quite a while.

                          3. Kai Yaang (modified version). Whole Roasted Young Chicken [chicken thighs] page 135.

                            So, let me say right off the bat that I knowingly mangled what looks to be a glorious, but complicated, recipe. I streamlined Rickers brined, stuffed, marinated, basted and glazed chicken to make something more doable for me, knowing that I didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen. I used bone in skin on chicken thighs instead of small whole chickens, and I skipped the stuffing step altogether. It still was a good bit of work, but totally worth it.

                            First, you make a brine with salt, sugar, lemongrass, cilantro, garlic, peppercorns, green onions and ginger. I made a half batch of the brine and brined my chicken thighs overnight. The next day you drain your chicken and according to the recipe would stuff them. I skipped that and went straight to the marinade with a marinade of fish sauce, thin soy sauce, sugar and black pepper. This is brushed on and then the chicken is dried in the fridge. I wasn't sure how well this thin marinade stuck to the chicken thighs, but I soldiered on. I cooked my chicken on the Weber charcoal grill with a banked fire as directed. Given my thighs, my cooking time was less, but I followed the directions to start on indirect heat, then baste with shallot oil. Finally they are glazed with a honey mix and finished over direct heat to brown the skin.

                            These were the best grilled chicken I have ever made. I must admit I was a little grumpy and very hungry by the time these thighs were done, but they were incredibly good! The meat was juicy and flavorful, the skin was mahogany brown and crispy with delicious flavor from the shallot oil and honey glaze. I have never made grilled chicken before with such delectable skin. The sweet chile dipping sauce was a great accompaniment, with the fiery heat punctuating the luscious meat.

                            I didn't take a picture, but it was a great looking grilled chicken thigh. I served this with sticky rice and simple stir fried broccoli-- a great meal.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                              That sounds fantastic! Great review--onto The List it goes. I'm glad to hear it works just as well with smaller pieces.

                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                Kai Yaang--Whole Roasted Young Chicken, p. 135

                                Wow! I concur completely w/greeneggsnham: these birds are delicious and, yes, the best grilled poultry I've ever prepared.

                                While there are a lot of steps--brining, then fridge-drying the stuffed hens, marinating, cooking and basting, making dipping sauce--none is particularly difficult.

                                I followed the recipe pretty faithfully. The only changes I made were putting three Cornish hens (just over a pound each) instead of two into the brine (in a zip-lock bag, overnight) and grilling on a gas grill. I did make the stuffing (lemongrass, garlic cloves, salt, white peeper, cilantro stems). I also made one of the suggested dipping sauces, the tamarind (Naam Jim Kai Yaang), but it's definitely unnecessary.

                                The cooked birds were indeed juicy and infused with all the wonderful flavors from the brine, stuffing, marinade, and basting sauces.

                                I'd wager that this is the Pok Pok recipe that I'll repeat most often. Perfect for summer. Next time, I plan to serve it with a spicy watermelon salad.

                              2. Kaeng Khiaw Waan Luuk Chin Plaa (Green Curry with Fish Balls and Eggplant

                                I made this before on my earlier thread, post here:

                                That time, I subbed regular eggplant, cut into cubes, for the Thai eggplant, and shrimp for the fish balls. It was great. I decided to remake the recipe, this time using the Thai eggplant and fish balls. I don't need to go into the prep again, you can read all about it on the other post.

                                The verdict was, we loved the Thai eggplant, cut into quarters (lengthwise, though the author did not specify). I would seek it out again. The fish balls were fine, and the dish was delicious, as it was before, but like the Vietnamese pork roll in the glass noodle salad, I won't go out of my way to get the fish balls again, when I know that shrimp work so well. This time, I used even less coconut milk than before, so the curry paste was more concentrated. I love the flavors.

                                This curry will be a regular here, because I really like it. I'm going to feel free to play with the seafood and vegetables as I see fit, but the Thai eggplant is definitely a winner.

                                1. Muu Kham Waan, Grilled Pork Neck with Spicy Dipping Sauce and Iced Greens, pg. 125

                                  Been wondering for ages why Mr. QN insisted that we keep that bottle of Maggi in the fridge, now I know. This simple marinade (garlic, cilantro roots, peppercorns, sugar, maggi) did great things to the pork. My meat was Boston Butt/shoulder, which took a longer cooking time than AR's recc's although he lists it as an option for the meat.

                                  Made a half batch of the dipping sauce (fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, fresh chilies, sugar, cilantro), which was plenty. Didn't have gailan or yuchoy, so served it with a simple wedge of cabbage and skipped the ice. But I can see why something cool is good here, we went through rather a bit of beer with dinner--that dipping sauce packs a wallop.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: qianning

                                    Muu Kham Waan, Grilled Pork Neck with Spicy Dipping Sauce and Iced Greens, pg. 125

                                    This was fantastic! More cotm-ers need to be aware of this unassuming recipe, so I am wholeheartedly agreeing with qianning and adding another positive review to the repertoire.
                                    I made this with pork chops that I cut lengthwise in half. I used almost two pounds of meat (with double the marinade) and a half recipe of dipping sauce, and it disappeared from the plate instantly. The maggi sauce (that funnily enough I've also had lurking in the cupboards for years due to a purchase based solely on spousal insistence) truly is the magical ingredient here and makes the pork positively addictive even without the dipping sauce. The sauce itself is powerfully spicy, tangy and a little sweet and really a great complement to the pork. I would highly recommend a side of cool crispy greens of some kind, as that sauce is mighty potent and we all welcomed the refreshing side between bites.
                                    I am already looking forward to making this again. A must-try!

                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                      Interesting to read both these reviews. This is my favorite dish at the restaurant, where it's boar collar with mustard greens, which are served on ice. That sounded rather inaccessible, ingredient-wise, so I'm happy to hear it worked with more available cuts of meat. Will try!

                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                        If you ever have a chance to make this it will be interesting to hear how you think it compares to the restaurant version. Boar collar sounds great, but as you mention pretty inaccessible.

                                        As for "mustard greens", do you know what kind they use at Pok Pok? Loosely speaking yu choy is a mustard, but not usually thought of that way.

                                        1. re: qianning

                                          I don't really know what they use, and they do call them mustard greens. The mustard greens I usually see have a more serrated edge, even those that don't have the curly edge. I think those at Pok Pok look more like yu choy, but I'm not very familiar with Asian greens. What do you think? This is a photo I found online, but it was taken at Pok Pok and this is what the greens there look like.

                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                            Neat photo, thanks for tracking it down. Interesting that the meat is served sauced; I've been serving the sauce in a separate bowl for dipping.

                                            As for the greens--they do look more like yu choy or even young kai lan not like what I think of as Asian mustard.

                                      2. re: Allegra_K

                                        Very glad to hear this worked for you. We've revisited this one several times this summer. Mr. QN has decide he likes this even better that the gai yang from "Classic Thai Cuisine". Personally when it comes to eating I still prefer the chicken, but as for cooking this is so fast and easy, I'm happy to "indulge" his preference!

                                      3. re: qianning

                                        Made this tonight with pork shoulder - it was excellent. The pork had great flavor. I didn't find the dipping sauce too incendiary though. Maybe my chillis were weak or maybe it's because I regularly eat prik nam pla (fish sauce with chillis). I think the former. I did think the sauce was heavy on the cilantro though (and I love cilantro). Next time I will not blindly follow the recipe and just add cilantro to look right (more like the photo in the book).

                                        1. re: qianning

                                          Muu Kham Waan - made this last night as part of my first foray into Pok Pok. I made the listed substitution of pork shoulder. Overall assessment is that it was enjoyable, but didn't live up to my expectations. Meat was a little tough (which I can't fault the recipe for) but it also didn't have as much flavor as I was expecting. Very muted. I did use a Swiss-made Maggi (I've heard the Asian Maggi tastes different) and marinated more than 1 hour. Sauce really packed a punch, though, and was delicious.

                                          1. re: emily

                                            Sorry this didn't work for you.

                                            Interesting, I didn't know Maggi varied--but as soon as i read your post, scurried to the fridge, and indeed our bottle is "product of China".

                                            1. re: qianning

                                              Yes, for future recipes I will buy some Maggi at the 99 Ranch Market. Current bottle was delivered by Google shopping and I didn't know the county of origin. I still need to make Andrea Nguyen's recipe for garlic noodles which uses Maggi...

                                        2. Khao Phot Ping--Grilled Corn w/Salty Coconut Cream, p. 144

                                          When I saw the fresh ears being loaded into the bins at the local supermarket, I immediately thought about this recipe.

                                          It's not terribly difficult: husked ears are boiled (Ricker says for 8 min., but I knew that was too long so I took them out after 3 and drained them). Coconut cream (1 c. Savoy canned in my case, the only one I could find) is heated w/1 T sugar, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and a knotted pandan leaf until it thickens slightly, around 10 minutes.

                                          The cream then goes into a dish and the ears are rolled in it, grilled over a medium fire (gas grill here), dunked and rolled again, and grilled a couple more minutes.

                                          Served w/wedges of key lime, which add brightness, this was absolutely delicious--mildly coconut-ty and sweet, tender, and not dried out as grilled corn often can be: a real treat, which would be a great alternative to the usual cook-out version.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                            Very interesting NMC, I love grilled corn so I might give this one a go when bbq season starts up here. is that the final dish, does it get served with the coconut cream or is that just the white porcelain forming the bottom of your dish. My eyes are ageing as I can't quite tell.

                                            1. re: delys77

                                              I just stuck it back in the same dish with the cream in it before serving.

                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                Sounds good, glad to read I wasn't seeing things.

                                            2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                              Khao Phot Ping--Grilled Corn w/Salty Coconut Cream, p. 144

                                              Lovely alternative to plain ol' butter with your corn. Sadly I don't have a grill, so after boiling the ears of corn I cooked them on medium heat in a large pan, basting with the coconut cream every so often. Though not needed, I would try to find pandan leaves for the cream. They had a very specific flavor--it made me think, ah, so that's why my sticky rice sauce has never tasted like the restaurant sauce before! An easy dish, and one I will make again.

                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                Khao Phot Ping (Grilled Corn with Salty Coconut Cream), page 144.

                                                It's a little early for corn season here, but I went ahead with this dish anyway. We usually don't boil corn before grilling it, so I skipped the boiling altogether. It might have been better to boil it with such early corn. But it was still good! I can't honestly say I could readily identify the pandan leaf flavor in the coconut cream. There was, perhaps, a hint of something different, but I don't think I'd miss it if it wasn't there. The fire was dying out a bit before we got to the corn, so mine doesn't have the beautiful grill bits like nomadchowwoman's corn.

                                                We had so many things going on with this multi-dish Pok Pok menu, I completely forgot to serve the lime wedges with alongside! Oh well, I'll be doing this again when real summer corn comes in, and I'll remember the limes!

                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                  Khao Phot Ping - my local market has had a "last of the season!" sign on the corn display for over a month now, but it's still coming in and is still sweet and tasty. This summer I've been exclusively making esquites and a simple stir fry of corn with salt as the only seasoning. This recipe added another delicious dish to my repertoire. I did not parboil (I like raw corn, so I didn't think it was necessary). My first batch of coconut milk burned as I (nitwitedly) started feeding the baby after I put it on the stove. We really enjoyed the coconut flavor that the sauce added to the corn - very tasty and different.

                                                  1. re: emily

                                                    Wanted to note that I wasn't all that impressed, though, with the Arroy-D boxed coconut milk. Seemed pretty thin and not really any better than the canned varieties I've bought (Chao-ko, Mae Ploy, Thai Kitchen) and much worse than frozen Hawaiian Sun coconut milk (which is amazing).

                                                    1. re: emily

                                                      I think the Tetra-pak cocnut milk is a tad thinner (depending on storage temperature) than the canned versions. It has no emulsifiers or preservatives. Just coconut milk.

                                                      That becomes very important if you are making curries and need to "crack the coconut cream", which cannot be done with the canned stuff. As for the frozen product, haven't seen it around here. Will keep an eye open.

                                                      1. re: emily

                                                        I buy the Arroy-D coconut cream, and use it in place of coconut milk. It's just enough richer that it will crack, especially if you skim the fattier part from the top of the carton and use that for the cracking process.

                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                          Isn't Arroy D coconut cream typically used for desserts?

                                                          1. re: ARenko

                                                            It's really just a somewhat fattier version of coconut milk. Not a ton fattier. It is not sweetened. To me, it can be used where you need a little extra fat, especially if you want to skim some true cream or fat off the top to crack.

                                                  2. Sii Khrong Muu Yaang--Thai-Style Pork RIbs, p. 129

                                                    These were tasty enough, but not fantastic--without the Jaew, too sweet for my taste, but I also didn't find the Jaew improved them much though it did balance the sweetness.

                                                    Had I used spare ribs, would they have been better? (I used a half-rack of baby backs already in the freezer, and they weren't cut across the bone.) Possibly.

                                                    For the 10-hour marinade: 2 T ea. honey, Thai thin soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine, 1 T grated ginger, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, and just shy of 1/2 tsp. of ground long pepper (which I subbed for the white pepper and cinnamon because it has a smoky, cinnamon-y quality, and I have a slew of it) as well as a pinch of nutmeg.

                                                    I cooked these in a 250F oven for two hours, turning and rotating them, and then turned up the oven to 300, basted them with the remaining 4 T honey thinned w/2 of hot water, and let them go another 45 minutes or so. The honey did start to burn although I would describe the finished ribs as having the "lacquered, mahogany surface" Ricker describes.

                                                    I used the dipping sauce (reviewed separately) because it had been such a PITB to make, but I didn't think it was worth the effort. DH turned his nose up at the Jaew.

                                                    I was expecting these to have a much more complex flavor, but I didn't taste much of the marinade in the meat. Not terrible, but I have other rib recipes w/similar flavor profiles I prefer.