Recent Articles - Page 6
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.
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 Nutella 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Red Rice has become an addiction for me. It started when we all wanted to get healthy and tried the different types of rice. I loved the color of the rice and first selected it purely based on aesthetics.
It was not easy to get everyone in the household to shift from jasmine rice to something different. Also, cooked red rice is not as tender as milled jasmine rice that I was used to. So, I started out with just a handful of red rice mixed with jasmine rice. The red rice stood out amongst the white grains, looking just beautiful. Slowly I increase the red rice to jasmine rice ratio but just enough to still keep the rice tender. Now, I'm comfortable with 50-75% red rice to jasmine rice. I'm now so used to eating red rice now that when I eat elsewhere, it seems like something is missing.
The Red Rice has a nutty flavor and chewy while jasmine rice us soft and gummy. To get the benefits of both types of rice, this recipe has 50% red rice and 50% jasmine rice. The result is soft and colorful rice with the bran benefit.
The term 'Red Rice' translated literally in Thai is 'Kow Dang' which refers to all types of brown rice. However, the variety imported into the US, is known in Thailand as Kow Mun Pboo.
Red Rice has a long, skinny grain with a deep red, almost brown bran. The rice is milled to remove the outer husk but the outer skin layer or bran is not polished off, unlike with white rice. If you break a raw rice grain in half, you'll see the red skin on the outside with white rice inside.
The term 'Red Rice', in Thai, is also associated with the old phrase 'Kow Dang, Gang Ron' or red rice with warm curry. This phrase refers to hospitality or a favor that's taken, but not appreciated, acknowledged nor reciprocated by the receiver. This old phrase came from the time when eating brown rice was the norm. Now milled rice or polished rice is what most people prefer.
Pumpkin Curry was not one of my favourite curries growing up. As I have learned to appreciate vegetables and other ingredients and taste them for their pure flavors, Pumpkin Curry now ranks high in my kitchen. The sweetness of the pumpkin contrasts with slightly salty curry. Each bite is full of creamy, nutty pumpkin with spicy sauce. Every Fall, I look forward to pumpkin curry.
The difference between pumpkin and squash seems to be which side of the pond you reside. Even though, I’m on the side that should go for 'squash', pumpkin gives the fairytale association. This fairy godmother will not turn the pumpkin into a coach for you to attend a party but she can turn pumpkin into pumpkin curry for your potluck.
Any type of pumpkin or squash is great with this recipe. In the picture on the right, I use fairytale pumpkin, also known as muscat squash. However, in the step-by-step pictures below, kabocha squash was the choice for the day. The fairytale pumpkin cooks much faster and has bright orange color, like carrots. The kabocha is denser with bright yellow flesh. My preference is the kabocha because its flavor is closer to the Thai pumpkin.