Recent Articles - Page 10

  • posted on 1/20/2012

    Pickled Garlic

    pickled garlic

    Many years ago, one of the gifts you would bring back from Chiang Mai for your friends and family was pickled garlic. Good pickled garlic is made with ripe (not young) garlic. The garlic is first soaked in water and then pickled in a vinegar, sugar and salt brine. The pickled garlic should have a soft crunch with well balanced flavors of sweet and salty. 

    There are 2 types of pickled garlic that are commercially available, whole head pickled garlic (in picture) and large individual cloves, more like shallots in appearance. The whole head pickled garlic looks good, but it requires more effort to eat because you have to slice/cut/separate the garlic from the stem and hard base. Pickled garlic is a great ingredient in many dishes like stir fries, salads and mee grob. Bland rice soup tastes great with pickled garlic and pickled garlic omelette.  The brine from pickled garlic is also a secret ingredient in many great sauces and dishes. 

    I attempted to make my own pickled garlic, but ended up with a patch of garlic in my garden instead. I was supposed to soak the garlic for one night but I had too many things to do. So, I kept postponing making pickled garlic and letting the garlic soak in water. On the second night, I noticed that the garlic started to sprout roots and shoots. A couple of days later, I put them in the ground. Now, the green leaves are shooting out. I'll have more garlic at the beginning of summer.

  • posted on 1/16/2012

    Yum Woon Sen Recipe

    yum woon sen recipe

    Yum Woon Sen or bean thread noodles salad is a popular dish in both inside and outside Thailand. The combination of ingredients and seasonings make this dish delicious. I love how the bland noodles absorb the hot spicy sour dressing while the peanuts add the nutty, crunchiness to the salad. When you hit the dried shrimp, it packs with saltiness and flavor. Chinese celery and cilantro bring in freshness. I keep going back and forth, a little bit of this and and a little bit of that.

    Many Thais view bean thread noodles as a diet food. I don't think it works for me. Yum Woon Sen is so good that I keep eating it. That's totally ineffective!

    I recommend this dish for pot luck or party because it stays delicious at room temperature for a few hours. You can prepare all the ingredients ahead of time and mix the dressing at the last minute.

    You can adjust Yum Woon Sen to have more or less ingredients. Many people like to add ground pork and tomatoes to yum woon sen. You can dress it up by adding cooked large shrimp like many restaurants do, too. I like mine simple with just dried shrimp for protein.


  • posted on 1/15/2012

    ThaiTable Now on Google Currents!

    Google Currents

    Google Currents is pretty great.  If you're using it, please subscribe to ThaiTable.  Or if you're not using it, now you have a great reason to start.

    The url is

    Alternatively, you can find the ThaiTable edition by searching for "ThaiTable" when you're in Currents.

    We'd love to hear any feedback you have.

  • posted on 1/12/2012

    Lers Ros Thai Restaurant in San Francisco Review

    Lers Ros, a popular hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant in San Francisco, is so hot that the chef-owner, Tom Silarorn recently opened a new location, after just 3 years.  The fact that the new restaurant is in the hip Hayes Valley, and only 5 minutes away from its original location, piqued my interest.

    Lers Ros’s website is full of raving reviews. A number of restaurant critics, including Michael Bauer, the restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, were impressed with Ler Ros. 

  • posted on 1/12/2012

    Basic Red Curry Paste

    basic red curry paste

    Basic Red Curry Paste is different than Red Curry Paste that it has dried chili peppers, salt, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime zest, garlic, shallots and cilantro roots. The fragrance is from fresh spices as opposed to dried spices.

    Basic Red Curry Paste is used for making 'gang kua', a curry similar to red curries. It is also used as a building block for other curry pastes such as Red Curry Paste, prig king and panang.

    Basic Red Curry Paste is available in plastic tubs and cans at Asian markets and some mainstream supermarkets. You can store the Basic Red Curry Paste in a plastic bag in the freezer for a year.

  • posted on 1/7/2012

    Vegetarian Red Curry Paste

    vegetarian red curry paste

    In Thailand, you can get vegetarian curry paste during the vegetarian festival. However, apart from that it's non-existent.  If you ever find it in stores and you want it, you should buy it and freeze it.  For vegetarians, the offending ingredient in most curry pastes is shrimp paste.  When you have vegetarian curries at restaurants, check with them if the curry pastes are made with plant based ingredients only.

    A good red curry paste should give pleasant herbal aroma with bright reddish in color. The paste should be finely ground that you can't recognize an individual ingredient. The paste should not be wet, but pasty.

    I made a batch for for a vegetarian friend of mine and her family. They love Thai food and Thai curries, but they didn't know that red curry paste contains shrimp paste.  In developing the recipe, I tried substituting miso (soy bean paste) for shrimp paste in making vegetarian curry paste. The result was fine, but didn't seem to add anything special so I tried skipping it all together and didn't miss it. Now I'm making vegetarian red curry paste this way. My vegetarian friends love it.  Here's the recipe: Homemade vegetarian red curry paste recipe

  • posted on 1/5/2012

    Vegetarian Pumpkin Curry Recipe

    vegetarian pumpkin curry recipe

    Pumpkin is a great ingredient that gives rich creamy mouth feel without being fatty. This vegetarian pumpkin curry is creamy, slightly sweet yet spicy, full of Thai herbs and spices.

    We cook a big pot so we can eat it for a few days, served with jasmine rice. The curry tastes better on the second day because the spices have marinated the pumpkin while the pumpkin dissolves a little to thicken and sweeten the curry sauce.

    I'd recommend this vegetarian pumpkin curry to vegans as well.

  • posted on 1/2/2012

    Rad Na Recipe

    rad na recipe

    Rad Na is a popular Thai lunch and is also a comfort food for me. I guess it is the warm gravy and the soft noodles.  

    There are several versions of Rad Na. Your choice of noodles ranges from thick flat rice noodles to thing vermicelli to fried egg noodles. The meat can be pork, chicken or seafood. The most common Rad Na is Rad Na Moo or Pork Rad Na. A good Pork Rad Na has tender pork with soft chewy noodles and plenty of gravy. Another version that I also enjoy is with the baby Chinese broccoli, which gives the milder and more tender taste.

  • posted on 12/20/2011

    Garlic Pepper Ribs Recipe

    garlic pepper ribs recipe

    Garlic Pepper Ribs are a comfort food that takes me back to my childhood. It's a dish that my mother made quite often. When there are so many hot dishes on the table, adults often rely on garlic pepper ribs to feed kids.  However, it's not just for kids; I still love it. 

    With just ribs and a few common ingredients, you can make this simple dish. Even the pan drippings taste great mixed with steamy rice.

  • posted on 12/14/2011

    Mee Grob Recipe

    mee grob recipe

    Mee grob is Pad Thai’s distant cousin; the ingredients are similar, but the balance is more toward the sweet, sour and crunchy, with a hint of citrus.

    There are two ways you can have mee grob, as a snack or as a part of the meal. As a snack, mee grob is served is with bean sprouts, Chinese chives and pennywort, sprinkled with fried beaten egg and pickled garlic.

    However, the mee grob that is part of a meal is made with simpler ingredients and aimed at long storage. Mee grob, in an air tight container at room temperature, will stay fresh and crunchy for at least 2 weeks. In a cool, dry climate, it can stay good for a few months.

    When I was a kid, my grandmother made her mee grob in a large batch and kept it in a special pot in her kitchen. Unbeknownst to her, every time I walked by I would sneak a few bites. I found out later that my cousins were doing the same thing!

    At Ampawa Floating Market, Thailand, I found one of the best mee grobs, made with som sah, a type of orange that I believe is Seville orange. If you're visiting, I'd recommend buying a lot and bringing it back home.