Recent Articles - Page 6

  • posted on 9/1/2012

    Tindora

    tindora

    Ivy Gourd, also known as scarlet-fruited gourd, grows wild throughout Thailand. After the rains, it often grows and sends out long shoots along fences. The young leaves and shoots are popular in soups and stir fries. In Thailand, people eat the fruit, but not as frequently as the leaves, so while you see the leaves at markets, you rarely see the fruits. This differs from the US, where you can find the fruit at Indian markets under the name Tindora, but never the leaves.

    While the plant belongs to the cucumber family, the flavor is richer. The fruit is green with whitish stripes going from end to end, similar to a watermelon. In fact, it looks like a miniature watermelon. It's about 2 inches in length and ½ inch in diameter. The fruit ripens from the inside out. I took this picture on the right before I picked the gourds. They were mostly green. Just overnight, 2 of them turned bright red. The ripe fruit is soft and sweet while the green fruit is bitter. There are actually 2 varieties: bitter and non-bitter.  The variety common in Thailand is the bitter one. The variety we've found at the Indian markets in the US are not bitter.

    I first saw Ivy Gourd growing wild in Hawaii. After some research, a USDA webpage shows it also grows in Texas and Florida. The plant is a climber and regarded as weed. In Thailand, we control this type of weed by eating them! To prepare the gourd for cooking, it's cut cross sectional and wash with salt and water to remove the bitterness. The most common way of cooking is to add it to curries. 

  • posted on 8/13/2012

    Sour Curry Paste

    sour curry paste

    Sour Curry Paste is the base of all the Thai curry pastes. The core ingredients of all curry pastes are dried chili peppers, shallots and shrimp paste. To make other curry pastes add additional spices to make distinct flavors and scents.

    To make basic red curry paste (not red curry paste add galangal, cilantro roots, lemongrass and kaffir lime zest. To further bump up the sophistication of the flavor, add peppercorns, cumin and coriander. Green curry paste is red curry paste with green chilies in place of dried red chilies.

    Make your own homemade Sour Curry Paste .

  • posted on 8/5/2012

    Bananas in Syrup Recipe

    bananas in syrup recipe

    Banana in syrup is one of my favorite desserts. While the delicious, shiny red pieces of banana look like candy, they are not as sweet as they appear.

    The small bananas common in Thailand called gluay nam wah(กล้วยน้ำว้า) are a key ingredient in this recipe. In the US, the closest type of banana I found was Manzano.

    Bananas in syrup is easy to make and tastes great, but making it beautifully red does take a little patience.

  • posted on 7/26/2012

    Gluay Nam Wah

    gluay nam wah

    One of the most versatile plants in Thailand is the banana. The most common variety of banana in Thailand is 'Gluay Nam Wah'. It is often grown around people's houses because of its usefulness: the leaves is used as a wrap for food, flowers and fruit are eaten and part of the trunk is eaten or used as animal feed.

    Gluay Nam Wah is a small banana compared to the variety commonly available in the US. Each hand has between 10-15 bananas. Each banana is about 3-4 inches in length and about an inch in diameter. The flesh is off white with tiny edible seeds inside.

    Gluay Nam Wah can be eaten raw or cooked. If you get a chance, try some...

  • posted on 7/18/2012

    Limewater

    limewater

    What is limewater or nam pboon sai (น้ำปูนใส)?

    Limewater is the secret ingredient in Thai cooking that firms up soft fruit for long cooking and makes crispy batter.

    Let's start with the raw ingredients in making limewater (Nam Pboon Sai). Slaked lime (lime + water = Ca(OH)2 ) or calcium hydroxide is traditionally made with burning shells at high heat and adding the burned shells to water. The water that you get is limewater. However, in Thailand the red lime paste is more common because the paste is used in making paan.

    To make red lime, powdered turmeric is added to the mixture. Instead of turning yellow like turmeric, this pasty mixture turns bright red. Nam Pboon Sai or limewater is made when more water is added to the mixture. When the lime settles, the clear, pinkish water above is used in cooking.

  • posted on 7/14/2012

    Roasted Chili Paste Recipe

    roasted chili paste recipe

    Nam Pig Pow is a type of chili paste that has many versions and names according to ingredients and colors. Nam Prig Pow's main ingredients are shallots, garlic, chili peppers and seasonings (salt, fish sauce and sugar). Common protein added to chili pastes are dried shrimp and dried fish. A more exotic addition to chili pastes can include waterbugs and various fish.

    This particular type of chili paste is also called 'nam prig dang' or red chili paste from the reddish color from chilies.

    My father often came back from a big banquet and ate his late night meal with of this chili paste. This is his recipe, simple and delicious.

  • posted on 7/14/2012

    Chili Paste Recipe

    chili paste  recipe

    There are so many types of Thai chili pastes. Most non-Thais are introduced to chili paste via tom yum goong. This type of chili paste is sweet with a dark thick body and red oil. For Thai people, chili paste is versatile. It can be eaten as a side dish as dipping sauce with fresh vegetables, as component in other recipes such as yum (salad) or tom yum, or as fusion food on a piece of bread.

    This type of chili paste should be accurately called nam prig pud but most people know it as nam prig pow. The term pow is referred to roasting method in an open flame until the outside is charred. Pud (or pad) is stir fry method ie. Pad Thai – sitr fried. This chili paste is made with ground spices, then stir fried with oil. The true 'nam prig pow' has roasted ingredients and is not stir fried with oil. However, the term 'nam prig pow' now includes 'nam prig pud', and often 'nam prig pud' refers exclusively to 'nam prig pow,' as evident in store-bought chili paste.

  • posted on 6/23/2012

    Wild Asparagus Berries

    wild asparagus berries

    Wild asparagus berries are often foraged and sold at markets in Thailand in small quantities. Many Thai people have never heard of these hard to find berries, let alone tasted them.

    The berries taste lightly bitter with an asparagus crunch texture. The green berries are edible but the ripe red berries with black hard seeds inside can send you to your dentist. The berries are about the size of a small pea. In fact, I saw these berries through a plastic bag in my mother's refrigerator and thought that they were peas. I forgot that most people in Thailand don't have green peas in their fridges.

    A common dish made with the berries is curry with fish or smoked fish. The bitter berries give the curry taste and texture. The smoked fish enhances the curry sauce.

  • posted on 6/6/2012

    TTM+ 2012 Booth

    A Booth at TTM+ 2012, a travel expo in Bangkok, Thailand

    This is a normal size booth at a convention.  I was walking around prior to the expo and saw this beautifully decorated booth. I couldn't help it taking this picture. The only real things are tables and chairs. The rest are wallpapers and wood panels.  The ocean view is so nice that it makes be want to go back tomorrow to find out which hotel they represent.  What a great job on making it look so inviting!

  • posted on 5/23/2012

    Sticky Rice with Banana

    Kow Tom Hua Ngawk ( ข้าวต้มหัวหงอก, ข้าวต้มจิ้ม )

    This sticky rice snack has an interesting literal translation: grey haired boiled rice. The term boiled rice is not unusual because the sticky rice with the whole banana filling is wrapped in a banana leaf and boiled until it's cooked. However, the grey hair part is an unlikely description, it must have come from how the sprinkled shredded coconut resembles grey hair.