Recent Articles - Page 4

  • posted on 12/11/2012

    Roast Duck

    roast duck

    Roast ducks seem to be universally hung by the neck. A neat row of roast ducks in a display window looks the same and tastes comparable in Bangkok and in the US.

    Roast ducks are sold whole or in half. In the US, half a duck will set you back $7 while the whole duck is $15. In Thailand, a whole duck ranges from 400 baht to 700 baht, depending on whether it's a sidewalk vendor or a well known restaurant. With current exchange rate, that puts a duck in Thailand at $14 to $23. That's pretty expensive considering the minimum daily wage is 300 baht.

    When you're visiting Thailand, you have to try roast ducks. You'll find the ducks have less fat and more tender meat than US ducks.  So, when I visit Thailand, a roast duck at MK Restaurant is on my to-eat list.

  • posted on 12/7/2012

    Pa Ord Noodle Restaurant Review

    With over 80,000 Thais living in Los Angeles, ThaiTown and its vicinity are crowded with Thai restaurants. How do you spot a good one? By a good one, for me, it means that the food is either as good or better than what I can cook at home.

    When I run down to LA, trying a new Thai restaurant is something I look forward to. It’s often a hit or miss. The misses are usually restaurants that cater to most American palates’.  These, I try to avoid. The hits are worth my trip. The trick is knowing how to spot winners.

  • posted on 11/28/2012

    Gai Kua Kem Recipe

    gai kua kem recipe

    When I was growing up, after Chinese New Year, the question was what to do with the chicken used in making offerings to ancestors. Now, the question is what to do with leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

    A dish commonly made from the offered chicken is salted chicken. Each household spices it a little differently with salt, soy sauce, garlic and/or ginger. My grandmother would chop up the chicken with bones still attached into bite size pieces. She'd fry up the chicken and season it with salt. The salted chicken was kept in the kitchen to be eaten for several days to come. I often sneaked in and grabbed a few pieces because it was so delicious...crunchy and salty. This chicken would make you forget potato chips.

    After Thanksgiving, my leftover turkey with just the dark meat that is hard to carve becomes something delicious. I boil the turkey until the meat falls off the bones. Then I turn the meat into turkey chips...sort of.

  • posted on 11/20/2012

    Roti Dough Recipe

    roti dough recipe

    This dough makes both sweet and savory rotis.  It's an easy dough to make and can be made either by hand or a mixer.

     

  • posted on 11/16/2012

    Crispy Roti Recipe

    crispy roti recipe

    Rotis are highly addictive. If you are on a diet, please move on to our other fine recipes.

    Crunchy crispy roti, topped with sweetened condensed milk and sugar, is always on my 'to eat' list when I visit Thailand. The combination of crispiness, sweetness and saltiness will get you hooked. When I was a kid, a roti wasn't stretched thin like this. It was gathered in a round shape, flattened and fried. The thicker roti was soft and somewhat crispy, unlike the today's paper thin Crispy Roti that shatters upon contact.

    The evolution of roti didn't end with crispy frying. Now, you can get Nuttela or jam filling, fresh fruit, cheese or even pizza toppings. Rotis are very popular among tourists...finally something that won't burn off your tongue.

  • posted on 11/11/2012

    Tapioca Dumplings Recipe

    tapioca dumplings recipe

    Pop a tapioca dumpling in your mouth and the taste bud dance begins. Even before the dumpling is open to release the flavors, the fried garlic crunches with an appetizing aroma. The coarsely ground peanuts and well seasoned filling contrasts with the sticky, bland tapioca wrap. Take a small bite of the fresh chili pepper and the heat from chili pepper keeps you on your toes. You will quickly add the green lettuce to quell the heat and follow with the fresh cilantro to complete the dumpling experience.

    Making Tapioca Pearl Dumplings, a popular street snack, at home can be easy if things are done right. It may seems like there are many steps, but it's simpler than it looks.

    A good tapioca dumpling should be small enough to fit into your mouth, with some room for lettuce, cilantro and chili peppers. It should have a good balance of strong seasoned filling and bland wrap. The wrap should be soft and thin. The filling should have a good scent of toasted peanut and cilantro roots.

  • posted on 11/8/2012

    Green Lettuce

    green lettuce

    Green lettuce has light green tender leaves with ruffles on the edges and almost no stem.

    Green lettuce was one of the first salad greens in Thailand, thus it's dubbed 'salad vegetable' (ผักสลัด) in Thai. Now with more Western food influences in Thailand, we have other salad greens such as red and green oak leaf lettuces, iceberg lettuce and butter lettuce. We even have a good number of these salad greens grown in hydroponic farms all over Thailand.

    In Thai cuisine, green lettuce has been used in 3 ways: in salads, as a garnish and as an accompaniment. Leafy vegetable salad is not traditional in Thai cuisine, so a Thai “salad” is the Thai interpretation of western salad. As a garnish, lettuce often lines the bottom of a plate to add colors and beauty. As an accompaniment, you'll see it on a plate with other fresh vegetables like cucumbers or small eggplants.

  • posted on 10/25/2012

    Kua Gling Moo Recipe

    kua gling moo recipe

    If you visit any southern food stand in Bangkok, you will see Kua Gling displayed in a large bowl. The dried yellowish meat looks unassumingly harmless. Grab a seat and order Kua Gling. The first bite, you will thinking you've made a mistake ordering something too hot to eat. But you want to continue because the flavors are so good. If you keep on eating, you will enjoy it with tears in your eyes. And the Kua Gling that you just had is not as hot as the one you'll find in the south. It's made mild to fit the Bangkokians' palate.

    Among the most popular of southern Thai dishes, Kua Gling is extremely easy to make. The term 'kua' refers to dry roasting in a pan or wok over low heat while constantly stirring. 'Gling' is the act of rolling. The heart of this dish is dry meat packed with burning heat and southern spices with the aroma and flavor of kaffir lime leaves. Kua Gling can be made with a variety of meats such as beef, pork, pork soft rib bones, seafood and frog. The most common are pork and beef.

    To lessen the fire in your mouth, Kua Gling in southern Thailand is served with (ผักเหนาะ) a tray of fresh southern leafy vegetables, stinky beans and cucumbers.

    In this recipe, we want to bring southern food with the level of heat that is comfortable to you. With the homemade southern curry paste, you can adjust the heat by choosing mild peppers instead of fiery hot ones. You'll still get all the spices and flavors.

  • posted on 10/21/2012

    Fenugreek

    fenugreek

    Fenugreek is an old Thai herb that I just discovered closer-by than I'd realized. I have known and used fenugreek in my Indian cooking for years without appreciating that it was the same as 'loog sud'.  I'd also always associated the spice with old Thai clothing care more than cooking, so I couldn't put the two together.

    In the palace, where noble girls learned the arts of being a proper Thai woman, caring and scenting clothes was part of the work. Clothes were boiled with fenugreek, other herbs and fragrant flowers, dipped in wax, dried, scraped, pleated and folded into the desired shapes. Fenugreek gives out cloudy slime when boiled or heated with hot water which binds into the fabric when dried, similar to starch that we use today to harden and keep our clothes smooth. Each household/palace had their own formula for a distinct scent. It was said that the beautiful scent from a palace lady's clothes remained long after she had left.

    Researchers in Thailand credit fenugreek with lowering blood sugar and increasing milk production in nursing mothers. In Thailand, fenugreek is available at traditional pharmacies and spice stores.

  • posted on 10/19/2012

    Banana Leaf

    banana leaf

    Banana leaves are magical; this versatile, environmentally friendly material permeates everyday Thai life. Thai people transform a simple leaf into containers and food wraps. Prior to non-stick clothing irons, the hot iron was pressed onto a fresh banana leaf to clean it and help it glide better. Mackerel (ปลาทู) is wrapped in banana leaf before the final wrap of newspaper. Haw Mok (curried fish) is steamed in small banana leaf containers. Sticky rice with banana is wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. Banana leaves are stripped and folded into elaborate ceremonial containers.

    After moving to the US, I stopped relying on banana leaves for my cooking needs because banana trees didn't grow in my backyard and I couldn't find leaves at the market. Recently, I have found the banana leaves in the freezer at many local markets. So, banana leaves are back in my kitchen again. This reopens opportunities for me to cook many more dishes authentically.

    There are a few techniques when using banana leaves in cooking.