Recent Articles - Page 11

  • posted on 11/4/2011

    Should I go to Thailand Now?

    Visiting Thailand is always an adventure, but sometimes, due to rain, politics or economic crashes, you get opportunities to see situations that you might not have planned. If the event happens between when you buy your ticket and you arrive, or while you are there, there are ways to make it a rich experience.

    Show up

    Don’t just cancel your trip or go straight home. While you need to keep yourself safe, normally adverse events are very localized to where the event is happening. Thailand is a huge country with lots of great places to go and things to do.

    Stay Current

    Unfortunately, western media accounts of events in Thailand are generally extremely biased toward the sensationally wrong (CNN Headline News crawl: “Bangkok opened the flood gates.”) and often don't clearly explain what is actually happening in an actionable way. Whether it is a poor grasp of Thai politics, biased or overly "balanced" editing or a belief that the reality is too complicated for 500 words, western papers have never seemed apt to report the real machinations of Thai events or politics. The end result is simply that you need to go elsewhere for news.

  • posted on 11/2/2011

    Anantara Hua Hin Cooking Class

    Cooking classes in paradise:  play, cook, eat and play some more... 

    Many hotels in Thailand offer a Thai cooking class on the premises which effectively consists of a chef demonstrating 3-4 dishes. Priding itself on providing “an authentic, indigenous experience,” with Thai food central to the experience, The Anantara Hua Hin presents their deep and strong commitment to the cuisine. The Anantara Hua Hin provides a beautiful dedicated gazebo with cooking stations and an experienced cooking instructor to teach you one-on-one as you learn through doing.

    The Welcome

    As soon as our car pulls into Anantara, Hua Hin, a popular coastal town 3 hours outside of Bangkok, I know I am in for a treat. Lush trees, bushes and flowers cover the ground. 20 foot high stone walls, massive bas-relief elephants and huge posts originally for holding elephants, line the drive. The drive opens to a combination of modern and traditional Thai style buildings, packed with Thai art and antiques. As we get out of the car, serenity pervades.

    Chef Bongkosh picks us up and introduces herself as one of the chefs and the cooking instructor. Easy going, soft spoken and cheerful, the chef has taught over 2000 people, beginners to experienced chefs, to cook Thai food over 4 years. Prior to joining Anantara, she was a cooking instructor at Sofitel Centara, Hua Hin.

  • posted on 11/2/2011

    Southern Sour Curry with Koon Recipe

    southern sour curry with koon recipe

    Southern sour curry is known outside of the south as ‘yellow curry’. It actually is sour curry with fresh turmeric, extra peppers and a sharp sour taste. The turmeric turns vegetables and meats in the curry bright yellow, hence the name ‘yellow curry’.

    Southerners add lime juice to get the extra sharp sour where the central sour curry relies on tamarind which give a more complex sour with a hint of sweetness. 

    I love this hot curry, but when it is made for southerners, it is often too hot for me. The ingredients required to make the paste is relative easy to find, so I make my own curry paste.

    In a pinch, I can pour southern sour curry on top of rice and happily eat it any time. Say "roy jung hoo" when you're done! That's southern way of saying "delicious".

  • posted on 11/1/2011

    Southern Sour Curry Paste Recipe

    southern sour curry paste recipe

    Among the curry pastes, sour curry paste is one of the easiest one to make: the ingredients are relatively easy to source and then, since there is no fiberous lemongrass, easy to pound in the mortar. It takes no more than 10 minutes to make. I usually make it on the fly.

    This recipe is for a wimpy southern sour curry lover like me. Southerners eat very hot food. If you feel like being a southerner for a day, quadruple the amount of fresh and dried chili peppers!

  • posted on 10/31/2011

    Koon

    koon

    Koon is a type of elephant ear plant, a tropical plant with big, narrowed heart shaped leaves. Koon grows near water. It is a popular plant among tropical and water gardeners.

    The light green stems are peeled and eaten. Inside the stem, you can see white spongy texture. When added to dishes, this texture absorbs spices and flavors like a sponge. I especially like it in a southern sour curry.

    While some types of elephant ear plants are edible, and others are poisonous, you rarely find the poisonous ones for sale at markets. There seems to be a big confusion over matching the scientific names and local names. At farmers markets, koon is often labeled ‘taro stem’. Koon, though related to taro, is not taro. Koon is also related to 'bon', a similar edible plant that tastes great, but can cause itchy irritation when eaten.

  • posted on 10/28/2011

    Grilled Sardines Recipe

    grilled sardines recipe

    Grilled sardines are simple and simply Thai. Dishes like curries and noodles are influenced by foreign cuisines; grilled fish is core and basic. We live along canals, rivers and oceans. Fish is caught and turned into meals for today or dried and preserved for days to come.

    The role of fish is so traditional that when Thais receive guests at home, we always ask the guest if they have eaten by asking if you, "Gin kow, gin pla?" or "did you eat rice and eat fish?".

    I made grilled fish when we got the fresh sardines and preserved the rest in the form of fish sauce. The grilled sardines can be served with chili fish sauce (nampla prig) or chili sauce and fresh vegetables.

  • posted on 10/28/2011

    Sardines

    sardines

    Ever check where the canned sardines in tomato sauce come from?  A good number come all the way from Thailand.  However, you won't see the fish at markets in Thailand.  A majority of the catch goes straight into the cannery.  A few leftover and other fish go to fish sauce factories. We're in our second month of the yearlong process of making fish sauce.

    Sardines are a great fish to eat because they are not currently overfished.

  • posted on 10/28/2011

    Pickled Red Scallions Recipe

    pickled red scallions recipe

    Upon spotting the red scallions at my local farmers’ market, I immediately thought of my grandmother's pickled scallions.

    The pickled red scallions are sour with a hint of salt. Rich curries like masaman curry, gang gari and panang taste better when the richness of the curry is juxtaposed with sour pickled red scallions. Hot spicy chili sauce like mackerel with chili sauce, is more homey with pickled red scallions.

  • posted on 10/28/2011

    Red Scallions

    red scallions

    The red scallion is similar to green onion that it has green top.  The bulb is different: red scallions have a pink bulbous bottom instead of a white skinny bottom. They are available at farmers' markets all summer long.

    A few years ago, when I first saw red scallions at farmers' markets, I was happy because I could now make a Thai condiment I love.  I make pickled red scallions to go with curries and mackerel with chili sauce.

  • posted on 10/27/2011

    Pickled Young Ginger Recipe

    pickled young ginger recipe

    Pickled young ginger is easy to make and pleasing to look at. This pickled ginger is the same ginger that you see accompanying sushi. In Thai cuisine, pickled ginger accompanies many dishes from appetizer to main course.

    Young ladies at the royal court showed their prowess by carving the ginger prior to pickling. They would make beautiful animals, flowers, leaves, bouquet and boats.  I'm just happy to cut it super thin without cutting myself.