Recent Articles - Page 13

  • posted on 10/20/2011

    Bael Fruit Tea Recipe

    bael fruit tea recipe

    It's not Thai tea that reminds me of home, but hot bael fruit tea. The distinct, smokey aroma and a tiny hint of sourness makes this tea my comfort drink.

    Toasting bael fruit brings out the flavor packed in the dry fruit. Once, I thought I needed a short cut and eliminated the toasting step, but my tea was dull. You can make this tea in a big pot and have it throughout the day.

  • posted on 10/20/2011

    Bael Fruit

    bael fruit

    Bael fruit looks like a leftover from the dinosaur age; it has a hard shell, greenish, yellowish russet skin. On the inside, the flesh is bright orange when dried. The cross-sectional cut reveals the beautiful, uniform seed pockets.

    Dried bael fruit is toasted for tea, hot and cold.  Fresh bael fruit can be preseved in the form of candied fruit.

  • posted on 10/17/2011

    Thai Puppet Dance

    artists houseSoon to be on a well worn path or a lost art?

    Bann Silapin, Klong Bang Luang (aka Artists' House -บ้านศิลปิน) is not yet on the tourist map, but their Thai puppet dance can very well pin this little sleepy community as a 'must visit'. In the middle of cosmopolitan Bangkok, the old way of life and art are finding its place in the community. The Thai puppet dance deserves more than just a new life but a center stage. Without support and recoginition, this dance team can disappear like another before them.

    Hoon Lakorn Lek or Thai puppet dance is a combination of Khone (Thai masked dance) and puppet show. Three puppeteers are on full scale stage control a 3-foot tall puppet. The front puppeteer controls the head movement and puppet’s left hand.  The person in the middle controls the feet. The back puppeteer controls the right arm. The puppeteers perform right along with the puppets. They dance and jump gracefully in unison with the character. Wearing black outfits and black masks, the puppeteers disappear into the background, only the characters float around playing an episode of Ramaya, a popular Indian epic. At The Artists’ House, this classic good-against-evil story glued me and the rest of the audience to their seats.

    Artists' House

    Along the original narrow Chao Praya River, which is currently called Klong Bang Luang (คลองบางหลวง), a 100-year-old house sits at the end of a narrow walkway along the water.  The house serves as a refuge to artists, especially the Thai puppet dance performers.  The Thai puppet dance was popularized by a well-known, international award recipient puppet company, Joe Louis.

  • posted on 10/12/2011

    Tom Yum Gai Recipe

    tom yum gai recipe

    The tom yum gai looks simple, but is packed with complex flavors of lemongrass, galangal, shallots and kaffir lime leaves that layer tightly on one another. The heat comes from toasted dry peppers and the holy basil makes that heat interesting. The lime juice keeps the soup sharp and interesting.

    Tom yum gai is easier to make than tom yum goong for a couple reasons. Quality shrimp is hard to come by in the US.  You can keep perfecting the tom yum gai’s flavors without impacting the chicken’s texture. Overcooked shrimp will turn hard.

    A couple weeks ago we went to a party and, an hour before we left, the host asked us to bring "something Thai".  We had these ingredients on hand or in the garden, so we whipped this up as a last minute dish.  The dish was a huge success and everyone asked for the recipe.

  • posted on 10/9/2011

    Pickled Mustard Recipe

    pickled mustard recipe

    Pickled mustard may not be a star in dishes, but it enhances other ingredients with its sour flavor. Without pickled mustard, kanom jeen namya is bland and curry noodles lack the sour punch that cuts through the rich sauce.

    You can easily buy pickled mustard at Asian markets, but I like the flavor of my homemade mustard green best. Another reason that I stopped buying pickled mustard is because many contain food coloring. There is no need for the additives, if you make it right.

    Follow the easy recipe below.

  • posted on 10/9/2011

    What should I make for dinner?

    Figuring out what to cook seems to always be the hardest part of meal.  Now, the thai ingredients list page helps you plan shopping and dinner by proposing what you can make with the ingredients you have on-hand.  As you click on the white check box next to each ingredient's name, a list on the right grows, telling you what you can make.  It also tells you what you can make if you pick up one or 2 or more things next time you're at the store.  This is particularly helpful when you're trying to figure out what you can do with that old bottle of something in the back of the fridge.  What you click stays in a cookie, so that as you go around the rest of the site and come back to that page, you don't have to re-enter it every time.

    Also our popularity sent us over the limit for Google custom search so you might have gotten an error when doing a search before today. Now we've released that limit and you can search all you want.

  • posted on 10/4/2011

    Kasma Loha-unchit's Thai Cooking School Review

    Khun Kasma has taught Thai cooking for over 25 years and written 2 popular cookbooks, It Rains Fishes: Legends, Traditions, and the Joys of Thai Cooking and Dancing Shrimp: Favorite Thai Recipes for Seafood. Her cooking school, which she operates with her husband, Michael, is located in their house in Oakland, California. I had the opportunity to visit Khun Kasma's advanced class, which revealed why teaching style matters.  In this class students cook, learn and laugh together.

    The Format of the Advanced Class

    After the meet and greet and a snack, the class settled down at a kitchen table discussing menu for the evening. An appetizer, two main courses, one soup and a dessert were to be put on the table. Khun Kasma went over the recipes in details, describing what needed to be done and sprinkling Thai food history in between.

    As soon as the last recipe was discussed, students started to put their chairs away. Everybody got really busy, pulling thing out of cabinets, pots, pans and bowls, like it was their own house.  Each team of 2-3 people worked from their notes and recipes, discussing and solving problems.  After several weeks of cooking beginning and intermediate, advanced class students had become good friends and knew each other really well.

  • posted on 10/2/2011

    Vegetarian Stir Fried Pumpkin Shoots Recipe

    vegetarian stir fried pumpkin shoots recipe

    Stir fried pumpkin shoots have a great a crunchy texture with a mild flavor.

    I often wonder if people know what to do with all the various shoots that you find at farmer's markets like pumpkin, pea, chayote or bitter melon. Asian cuisines seem to revel in these shoots, but they're non-existent in western cuisine.  

    For a dollar a bundle at my farmers market, I can make a great stir fried that costs $8 to $10 in a restaurant.  The catch is that it requires time to prepare the shoots. The fuzz along the stems and tendrils need to be removed. I used to impatiently rush the task, but now I look forward to it, liking the meditative act of peeling away the fuzzy skin.  Then I keep the shoots in the refrigerator, ready for a quick meal during the week.

  • posted on 9/30/2011

    Pumpkin Shoots

    pumpkin shoots

    Pumpkin shoots are available at farmers’ markets all summer long. For a bundle that weighs a pound to a pound and a half, it will set you back 1 whole dollar.  Pick bright green, plump shoots.

    One of the easiest dishes to prepare with pumpkin shoots is stir fry.

  • posted on 9/28/2011

    Green Curry with Chicken Recipe

    green curry with chicken recipe

    I love Google Translations, both because it's servicable, but also because it can be simply hilarious. After seeing so many Thai green curry recipes on the net with ingredients or methods that seem to have gone through an equivalent of a translation machine, let me offer how we do it. More important, this is the most requested recipe by you, our readers.  

    Thai green curry with chicken was a classic take-me-to-the-temple curry. Patrons would bring green curry with chicken (chicken with bones, chicken blood and gizzard) and eggplants to offer to the monks at temples. My family was not a big fan on chicken blood and gizzard, so I'll leave those out.

    Thai green curry is fiery hot with a hint of sweetness. The curry paste is made with fresh green Thai chili peppers.  Some people even add additional whole fresh pepper to the curry before serving. I'll stick with mild green curry, so I made my own curry paste.