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Everything posted by trillium

  1. Kristin, those are just a variation of cayenne peppers that are dried. Are you not able to find anything like that in Japan? Not to steal any of Austin's thunder, but in Kasma Loha-unchit's books she goes very extensively into what chillies you might substitute for what. Are you able to get Mexican types of chillies? If you are, then I can look up what she suggests and report back. For kaffir lime peel she suggests using the dried, refreshed in water, or none at all. Also, blenders tend to give a better result for grinding (instead of mincing) then food processors, but you need a lot of patience to keep pushing the stuff down. In South Asian shops here in the US you can buy smaller screw on jars for your Oster blender that helps to avoid that problem. regards, trillium
  2. mamster, while you're looking, just a tip, once rubbed it's pretty hard to miss...it goes by "stinkweed" in some parts of the country. Sometimes it's sold in bloom, sometimes not, but the smell is pretty unmistakable. buying dried from a spice shop hasn't worked in my experience, it had no taste, but the stuff I dried myself (after growing it) was pretty pungent. it should be very pungent if you do use dried! I'd be happy to mail you some if you can't find it, or if you're here during the summer, you can come pick it fresh from my back yard. I get lots of volunteers every year and let a couple grow. regards, trillium
  3. Yeah, Old Chang Kee is not what it used to be, last time they were tried, they disappointed, but the partner has fond memories of eating them when he was a child and there was only 1 shop front. Curry puffs to order are unfortunately (or fortunately from the waistline point of view) just a dream here in Portland, unless you make them yourself. The mee siam turned out really good too, we did it the old fashioned way with a separate gravy and a separate frying and garnishing sambal. Super yum, but I'd kill to be able to just go eat it at my favorite stall, it's a lot of work. regards, trillium
  4. Just to bring up an old thread, I finally made curry puffs this weekend since my mum was visiting and is good with pastries. Yes, I'm shameless, and I wanted help since the other cook was busy making mee siam! Anyway, we used the recipe from The Star because thats the one that seemed closest to some notes scratched down from consulting with Singaporean mum. They turned out really well, but next time I'm going to do a different curry filling, this one wasn't the yellow kind I think I would like better. The skins came out very flakey, and unlike those the partner remembers from Old Chang Kee. I used less water then the recipe calls for and let the dough rest for 4 hours in the fridge. Next time my mum wants to try the double skin recipes...I've created a monster...actually two curry puff eating monsters.... regards, trillium
  5. You might consider a tart instead of a pie. That way you avoid the excess super sweet jelly stuff, and just get glazed nuts and a little sweet stuff underneath. I think it might be more popular (think Cantonese nut and seed mooncake). I usually make a shortcrust pastry in a tart tin, fill it with pre-roasted pecan halves, and then pour just a little of the gooey stuff on top to coat the nuts. All the ethnic Chinese I've served it to have loved it, but they are our age, not your Granny's. It's funny, we were talking last night about how I don't like the smell of the meat from the pig we got this year, and the parnter thought it was pretty mild for a male pig. Then he started talking about how he knows many people back home who won't eat beef or lamb because they think it has a nasty smell, and some who even hate the smell of butter. All of this is a round about way of saying if you decide to go with a tart or pie, ascertain if your Granny can tolerate the smell of butter in a pastry crust, otherwise, just use lard! I'm very curious to hear how this all goes, so please report back! All of us with elderly Asian relatives can learn from your successes (or erm, failures). regards, trillium
  6. The partner's dad is a pretty traditional eater, but he likes deep fried chicken a lot, so I'd agree with that recommendation. Oh, but you're trying to avoid fats? Crab cakes seem like a good idea too. I'd stay away from pumpkin pie, seriously, I don't know a single non-American (and I know a lot of them) that likes it. After years and years (12!) I can get some appreciation for my every-bit-made-from-scratch pie but not much. Pecan tarts are way more favored and pecans are a native nut here, and they travel well. Other simple things like English toffee go over well, and you could pre-make it. I have to agree with Ben though, the most appreciated things done for the elders in the Chinese side family have been things that give a lot of face and show filial piety. They tend to have nothing to do with how the food tastes, if food is involved. You know, things she can brag about to her friends or ways she can show you off. Good luck! trillium
  7. I guess we're not so into zen exercises, we use our pasta machine to cut them, works great and you can do different widths! Also, if you dust with cornstarch or rice flour, it knocks off the noodles easier and ends up being less gummy when you boil them. Sorry about the peat moss and perlite, what a bummer! regards, trillium
  8. If you're at the store buying curry paste, OnigiriFB is right, buy the tubs, and if you're worried store them in the fridge, if you're not, a cool, dark place like a cupboard works fine. Anyway, when you're buying the paste, mien and pickled choy you might buy some SE Asian "Indian" curry powder, (there are brands from Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore etc., sometimes labelled "Madras" curry powder). If you do make a paste, make more then you need, fry the leftover in coconut oil (I use the Spectrum brand from a health food store) and freeze it. Money in the bank and pre-frying it helps it stay fragrant and not bitter! ecr, kanom jiin was one of my favorite things also, and I was partial to the green (really hot) versions. I like the regions where you soured it with lime more then the ones were you use green mango, but it's all good. And the communal eating was fun too. regards, trillium
  9. I was on the mend, actually, and in the sleeping 18 hours a day stage. And the first soup was tom yum, the khao soi was after I got my smell back. When I'm ill, I crave chilli paste, and added extra sambal to my bowl of khao soi. And you know, coconut milk is good for you and your immune system! Curry noodle soups are pretty ubiquitous it seems, khao soi can seem awfully similar to some laksa versions too. Isn't kanom jiim supposed to have a Chinese trader connection too? regards, trillium
  10. Just remember, high tea = working person's meal (high because you eat it at a table), afternoon (or low) tea = fancy finger sandwiches and extended pinkies. I like Upton's Teas for every day first thing in the morning cuppas. Tien Ren for pouchongs and oolongs. Harney's, Todd & Holland and Mariage Freres for fancy and flavored teas. regards, trillium
  11. I was making something else from Madhur Jaffrey's "From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail" (one of the house favorites, I love her writing style and this book is fun, it's also been a great lesson in not being toooo dogmatic and judgemental about dish "purity", if Madhur can chuckle about Japanese curry, we can about "Singapore-style" rice noodles) and noticed that she has a Burmese sourced recipe for khao soi, it was just spelled so differently (khoaw sewy or something like that) then I was used to that I hadn't recognized it as such. I think we might try that one next, it involves roasted chilli powdered sprinkled on top and hard boiled duck eggs, and stories of eating in Burma and going to trendy khao soi parties in India. I got the flu 2 weeks ago and the best part about it was that the partner made me khao soi with homemade mein and hum choy and a nice skinny free-range chicken. How spoiled am I? And no, he didn't use Pim or Kasma's recipe, but Sompon Nabnian's instead (sorry Rona). It was delicious, and I really liked how toasting the tumeric first changed its character. Sadly, we took no photos. regards, trillium
  12. Boars have a much stronger "so" smell then sows and not all countries neuter the male hogs to avoid the "boar taint". Women are supposed to be more sensitive to the smell then men, fyi. The diet effects the flavor too. The pig we butchered this year had a very different diet then the one we had the year before that, and you can really notice the difference in the flavor and smell of the meat. As for chickens, I would rather have them once in a while as a luxury item then eat the bland stuff from the store. They cost a lot more to raise truly free-range, but they're much, much tastier. regards, trillium
  13. If you heat up your seeds while they're in soil (I use a lightbulb over my starter tray) you can grow kraphrao. Just let it get established indoors and then plant it outside when the weather doesn't fall below 50 at night. I grow 3 or 4 varieties in containers. I put the containers on the cement driveway against the house foundation and they get plenty of heat. Works well with chillies too. regards, trillium
  14. Fresh Sichuan peppercorns (which are not really true peppercorns) will make your mouth/tongue very, very numb after you chewed on just one. If they don't do that, they're not fresh! You may also get a tingle and a little bit of a sour taste along with the "hot" and the numb. The best way to switch on the "ma" is to make sure you're starting with very fresh peppercorns. Sometimes it's easier to find fresh peppercorns in an herbal shop instead of a grocery shop. regards, trillium
  15. Have a wonderful time! Oh, and the south is supposed to be the least HAWT of all of Thailand. HAWT is relative, but I wouldn't plan on hiking around in the hottest part of the afternoon. Other then that it was reasonable to this pretty active but HAWT wimp (with plenty of iced drinks!). Oh, and if you love chillies, and you're at the night market across from the 7-11 in Krabi, check out Abrahim's stall. It had some skate stewed with those tiniest, hottest ones that made even the SE Asian in our group sweat and he's a chilli lover. Plus, Abrahim is a kick and the food is delicious and there are a lot of regional specialties at his booth (even if he isn't a native, he moved to the area 20 years ago). regards, trillium
  16. Well, I did give you a disclaimer about the polite friend. I'll admit this was the one part I had the hardest time with (eat only when seated) but I watched everyone else at all the markets very closely and I have to say that in 3 weeks I only saw that "rule" being broken a couple of times, and it was always little kids and kid food (like ice cream or pancakes with chicken sausages), so I went along with it because I like to be polite and it made my friend happy. It wasn't that hard, since there is always seating around the vendors, and it's ok to bring food from another vendor to the tables that you choose to sit down at. There are almost always places to sit down around any food selling place, whether they're tables and chairs or seawalls and rocks. But you're right, enjoyment of food tops everything else when it comes to eating manners, and really, like I said, I don't think it's something anyone is going to be shocked and appalled about, and smiles really do get you super far. I think if a stranger touched my head in my own cultural setting, I would find them dreadfully rude, it wouldn't occur to me to warn someone not to do it somewhere else! Yikes...good advice. regards, trillium
  17. I can't help you with the Phuket side of things, but if you end up in Krabi, do search out Ruen Mai. The signage is only in Thai but it's pretty easy to find and people will be happy to point you along (it's on Maharat Rd near the Eagle lights intersection). Some of the nicest food we ate in a restaurant setting in Thailand. For cultural dos and don'ts, I can tell you what I was taught by my friend who grew up in Bangkok, but I think she fell on the super polite side of things. I'll note that I don't think anyone would hold it against you if you were inadvertently rude, the tolerance and kindness of most people in all parts of Thailand is pretty amazing. Since you'll be in an area very used to tourists, some of this stuff probably doesn't matter anyway... First of all, never ever, ever say anything bad about the royal family or treat anything with pictures of the royal family in a disrespectful manner. Apparently this includes stepping on money to keep it from blowing away (oops). Secondly, show the monks respect, and if you're female, go out of your way to make sure there is no physical contact (step off the sidewalk and let them pass, don't bump into them on a plane, etc.). They're not allowed to touch women and it's polite to help them make sure they don't. Thirdly, shoes off in a lot places, for sure in temples and spirit/town shrines, some rooms in museums, and some shops. About eating, these are mainly just politeness, but I'd see the "rules" bent once in a while. Sit down to eat, it's rude to walk around eating something (in a market for instance, but drinking is ok), and wait for all the dishes to arrive at the table before you start eating when you're seated at a table. Lastly, smile! It's bad form to frown and grimace, even if you're unhappy with a situation. This one is tougher for farangs I think, and not something that I think Thais expect of us (to rarely frown or make an unhappy face). regards, trillium
  18. To make a good cocktail. regards, trillium
  19. We had a Brooks Pinot Noir last night with our roast duck, sambal belecan long beans and rice. Went particularly well. I am not a big fan of sweetish (to my palate) white wines, so I was particularly pleased with this pairing. regards, trillium
  20. Looks like a company here in Portland, House Spirits, is going to release a genever style gin this month. "Medoff and Krogstad have several other releases planned, including their own line of gin, which is due out sometime this month. It's modeled after the traditional Dutch style liquor known as Genever -- a strong herbaceous, juniper-flavored gin -- and is similar in viscosity and style to gins such has Magellan and Hendrick's. " Full story on local spirits production here in one of the worlds most annoying newspaper websites (you've been warned). regards, trillium
  21. Good candlenuts. Good any sort of raw nuts actually, I'm mostly thinking of raw cashews and peanuts. The snack made with deep fried glazed anchovies, peanuts, kaffir lime leaves and chillies. Candied and pickled nutmeg fruits. Decent dried seafood and fish. regards, trillium
  22. Don't forget the smashing part too. The guy I studied would stack them up in a towel and then do this fluff and smash routine before serving them. Looks like ecr's guy is doing something similiar too. regards, trillium
  23. I bought Fee's American Beauty hoping to save some fridge space, since the homemade one I make goes moldy. Fee's tastes nothing like homemade grenadine. I'm not saying it's bad, especially if you like a sort of bitter almond flavor, but it bears little to no resemblance to anything remotely pomegranate-like. It does taste different then the Rose's and the Torani I've tried, but I'm honestly not sure I'd say it's better. Call me a challenged rube too. regards, trillium
  24. Huh? Aviations are out there that use sugar syrup? I bought a bottle of this stuff just to make the Jupiter out of Vintage Cocktails (because I have liked everything else I've tried out of the book) and was just cursing the fact that it is taking up space. I wasn't that crazy about the Jupiter, certainly not enough to use up a whole bottle's worth, so I'm loving this thread for ideas for using it up (except that I don't really have any flavored vodkas or sprite lying around!). Because I regretted buying the bottle, last time I was in a place with decent booze stores I bought good french apricot liqueur, but I bought a little bottle of it and now I wish I'd bought a regular bottle. That stuff makes some nice cocktails. I'd give up my Parfait and my Creme de menthe for a big bottle of it, but not the Creme de cacao! regards, trillium
  25. Malay Satay Hut in Seattle has a guy that does roti canai by flipping it in the air a lot and getting it pretty wide and thin. They're opening a place in here in Portland too. But they don't do what we call murtabak, just roti canai, which isn't as flakey and is more eggy then what we call roti prata (notice I'm qualifying my nomeclature). I stared a lot at the guy making roti at the Muslim roti place in Krabi, Thailand, which had the best savory, flaky, roti prata, in Thailand (a lot of it I found dreadful, with bright orange margarine and sweetish, except in Trang and this one place in Krabi). They kept the balls of dough soaking in some sort of oily solution near the warm propane grill, and kept them covered with a wet oily cloth. I have pictures I'd be happy to show you if you email me, I'd prefer not post them on eG and lose the copyright, since my friends took them, not me. Kasma has an article and recipe for rotihere. regards, trillium
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