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Thai Cooking at Home, 2005 - 2006


Susan in FL
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Any favorite som tam stand-ins? I'll have no access to green papaya or mango, and folks haven't seemed to love my sup nor mai before. I am thinking Thai-inspired, not actual Thai -- a cabbage salad done like som tam? Cucumbers (doesn't seem quite right)?

SuzanneW: Cucumber relish is delicious and simple. If you have access to a grill, meat salad seems like a natural (see below).

I have been on a Thai (and Thai-style) meat salad kick lately, but have neglected to post to this thread (one of my favorites in eGullet). Many of the salads have been more Thai-style than Thai. I have gotten much better at balancing the hot, sour, salty, and sweet flavors of the dressings.

Nahm tok (sp?): grilled beef salad with larb-like seasoning.

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Thai-style steak salad and cucumber relish:

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Thai-style pork salad:

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I have also been making a lot of Thai-style omelets. This is one of the more presentable ones:

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Suzanne: You made your own sai ua and sai krok? Wow, that's pretty hardcore! Please post the results.

My feeling is that the marinade you suggest wouldn't really "work" with shrimp--at least I've never seen in here in Thailand. I suggest you go ahead and grill your shrimp plain (and maybe try to get some squid?), but make a nam jim ahaan thale, Thai-style seafood dipping sauce, with chilies, garlic, lime juice and fish sauce.

By som tam stand in, I assume you're just looking for any sort of sour/spicy salad? In that case you should just make a yam, a Thai-style salad. You'll just need a few basic ingredients, and can use any protein you like (a simple favorite of mine is yam khai dao, simply fry a few eggs, breaking the yolk, then cut them into strips and mix them up with the other yam ingredients!). An incredibly detailed, illustrated guide to making yam can be found here at my blog.

Or if you really want to go the som tam route, why not try som tam ponlamai, "fruit som tam". Rather than shredded papaya, use chunks of cripsy green apples, guava, grapes, pineapple, etc. When done well it can be quite good. And believe it or not, there is a kind of som tam, tam taeng, that uses cucumber in place of papaya.

Bruce: I think you're right when you say the dishes are more "Thai-style" but I think anyone here would happily dig into what you've been making--the dishes look great! If you can get your hands on them, a really nice version of Thai omelete can be made with fresh oysters.

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I agree, those salads look great! I'll definitely be doing nam tok later in the week. For now, I am trying very hard to fight my tendencies to cook too many dishes for a crowd, resulting in me being harried and snappy (to say it nicely) in the last 15 minutes pulling it all together...

Good feedback on the shrimp, thanks. I'll stick with the nam jeen idea.

As a som tam stand-in, I was thinking more veggie -- tart, crunchy -- than protein so wasn't going down the yum route. The fruit idea is intriguing--I have heard of using green apple type things -- maybe some Thai eggplant would work too in the mix. Well, maybe not. I hadn't heard of the idea of pineapple for it. Mmmm, I just now remembered a som tam with khanom jeen that I had up in Na Haeo, and how I thought how perfect it would be in the summer here... oh well, another time.

Thanks for the advice. I'll report back!

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I love to try out Thai recipes on my Thai restauranteur neighbors and get their critique. Not too long ago I made some ka gai num dang for them - chicken feet in red sauce. They suggested that the exact same sauce would be even better with duck feet, and went so far as to get the duck feet for me so I could try it.

Today I made it

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I think I like the texture of the chicken feet better, but the sauce is delicious, and the duck feet are an interesting change. I haven't gotten their feedback yet, but I'm hoping they like it. What would it be called with duck feet instead of chicken?

Austin, I'll be trying your muu waan out on them soon. That'll surprise 'em.

Edited by Abra (log)
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Austin: Thanks! Oyster omelet sounds intriguing. Do you cook the oysters separately, or just fold them into the omelet?

SuzanneW: Thanks to you, too! I know what you mean about getting cranky in the last 15 minutes before serving a crowd.

Abra: a few years ago, I never imagined discussing the relative merits of chicken feet vs. duck feet. Your feet look good, and the flower (Galliardia?) is nicely color-matched. Is the red sauce like a barbecue sauce?

I’m taking a small break from Thai cooking to try some Vietnamese dishes from Mai Pham’s Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table. Results (if photogenic) on the Dinner! thread.

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Thanks, Bruce. It's some sort of sunflower. The red sauce is garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce, red wine, chili sauce, catsup, palm sugar, and lime juice. I need to try it on pork so my husband will eat it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Report from vacation cooking:

Sai oua: Basically followed the recipe in HSSS. Since I froze the sausage for grilling later, flavor may have suffered. It was denser and drier than I expected -- maybe overhandled the pork or cooked way too long on the grill. Also less intense in flavor, but nicely balanced flavor. Next time, I'll try Thompson's recipe, or up the spice. Definitely NOT spicy enough.

Sai krok issan: I've made this a few times, and each time has been different. Unfortunately, I am terrible at remembering--even in the short term--which recipe I used. This time, I used one that is floating around the web a lot:

1 pound minced pork

1/4 cup minced garlic

1/2 cup steamed sticky rice

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tablespoons fish sauce

I added some slivered wild lime leaves and coriander root, and used more sticky rice than is called for. Froze, grilled. This was much juicier than my sai oua, and a big hit with the crowd. Nicely sour. It was very crumbly on the grill, probably because of too much rice. Still, I think the recipes I've made before--probably either HSSS or Thompson--were a little better.

Neua Nam tok: Biggest success. Had no recipe, just did it with larb seasoning (lime, fish, sugar, collected meat juices, chiles), substituting red onion instead of shallot since that's what I had, and usign plenty of roasted rice powder. Served over some arugula because I had it around. Very rare meat, great use of a grill.

Gai yang: Did this two nights using the marinade proportions in HSSS. Good the first time--slightly too salty-- and fantastic the second, for no obvious reason. In addition to the ordinary nam jeen, I made a sweet and sour sauce (cooking garlic, sugar, vinegar, adding crushed roasted red chiles) from a Saveur article on Issan about two or three summers ago. I've made it before and it worked well, but this time I kept overcooking it and it was way too sticky and honey like, though very tasty.

Served with an excellent cucumber salad one night and a failed green-bean half-way som tam dish (I just wasn't paying attention), and the next time with slivered cabbage/coleslaw and what a recipe book would call "Asian dressing" -- lots of ginger, some garlic, lime, rice vinegar, fish sauce, honey, sesame oil. Worked nicely, fine for all those people who, unlike me, don't feel sad and lonely if they have gai yang with no som tam.

Never made a shrimp dish since the vegetarian was a no-show.

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Has anyone tried the Pantainorasingh curry pastes? The packaging/container is identical to the Mae Ploy brand, and the types of curries (red, yellow, etc.) are the same. The store I usually buy my thai curry pastes (and I always get the Mae Ploy) now only carries the Pantainorasingh brand, and another new one, "Madame Wong". I've tried doing searches for others' experiences on this one...but no such luck. Anyone on this thread heard of/used Pantainorasingh curry pastes?

P.S. On their website, Pantainorasingh features the curry pastes as a new product.

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Has anyone tried the Pantainorasingh curry pastes? The packaging/container is identical to the Mae Ploy brand, and the types of curries (red, yellow, etc.) are the same. The store I usually buy my thai curry pastes (and I always get the Mae Ploy) now only carries the Pantainorasingh brand, and another new one, "Madame Wong".  I've tried doing searches for others' experiences on this one...but no such luck. Anyone on this thread heard of/used Pantainorasingh curry pastes?

P.S. On their website, Pantainorasingh features the curry pastes as a new product.

Actually i would say never.

But the brand is very well known for their roast chilli paste..like the one used for Tom Yum. Also, the brand was established long long before Mae Ploy... it is among the very first ready made chilli paste producer.

This may not help directly but i think with the fact that they are not quite a real comer...they have their reputation to uphold..so

Can we assume that the curry paste will be as good?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Austin, and everyone,

Could someone describe or post a pic of dried green jalapeno? We are trying to make our own nam prik pow and I can't find this. Would it be called something else? Might a mexican grocery have it?

Thanks, we are brand spanking new to Thai at home!

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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Could someone describe or post a pic of dried green jalapeno?  We are trying to make our own nam prik pow and I can't find this.  Would it be called something else?

Mike: It is always a pleasure to welcome another Thai cooking afficionado. Jalapeno chilies have thick walls, so they are usually smoke-dried rather tha air-dried. Smoke-dried, jalapenos are called chipotle chilies (link). Nomenclature is confusing, because many Mexican chilies have different names when fresh or dried, e.g., Poblano = fresh, ancho = dried.

Anyway, your question was about Thai cooking, not Mexican. To my knowledge, jalapeno chilies are not used in Thai cooking. If you describe your recipe, perhaps we can suggest a suitable chili. Do you have access to an Asian market?

You may also enjoy Austin's very helpful thread on Thai chilies: Phrik 101, A Thai Chili Primer for the Home Chef

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Thanks!! I thought chipolte myself and just didn't seem right for thai, maybe so.

I am looking at our copy of Thailand the Beautiful Cookbook and the recipe for Nam Prik Pow- Black Chili Paste and it calls for (among other things) 4oz. dried green jalapeno OR prik chee fa haeng.

-mike

-Mike & Andrea

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There is a dish at our favorite local thai resto called "goong obe mau den". It is a rice noodle dish cooked in a clay pot with galangal (among other herbs/spices) and shrimp.

Upon opening the clay pot an incredibly heady aroma of herbs i don't even recognize envelops you...it is amazing.

Does anyone know this method or know how to make this dish or a similar dish?

thanks

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Oh! I am so thrilled to find this thread! :biggrin:

I've been on a Thai curry kick ever since I grew my own lemongrass, basil and Thai chilis this summer. I got David Thompson's book, have read through Kasma's website (and am heartbroken that her books are out of print... $70 for the pair, my husband would kill me!), delved through many pages of Temple of Thai, invested in a granite mortar-and-pestle, discovered a great little Asian market in the middle of the Midwest, and am thinking about splurging for the Cracking the Coconut book...

Well, I will definitely come back and finish reading this thread, and Pim's intro to Thai cooking class... but I wanted to humbly invite any of you to visit my blog, which mostly features my forays into Thai cooking so far (including Nam Prik Pao!). I just posted my first recipe today, and would love any feedback you have to offer. (the link is in my sig below)

Many thanks,

Katje

Come visit my virtual kitchen.

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For a midnight snack, I had Asia on a plate. Clockwise from top left: Austin’s Panang curry with shrimp; Vietnamese green mango salad with beef; Chinese-influenced salt and pepper shrimp; and Basmati rice. I highly recommend Austin’s Panang curry recipe - the instructions are clear, and the curry tastes absolutely delicious.

With a bigger plate, I could probably have covered more of Asia. :smile: These were leftovers from an extremely pleasant dinner party described here (post #16548).

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Bruce, leftover curry also makes a most spectacular breakfast.
Yup, and lunch, and maybe tomorrow's breakfast, too. :biggrin:
Do you have a link for Austin's recipe?

Right here: Care to help a lad? (click)

ETA: When I made the Panang curry for dinner, I was hurrying to feed hungry guests and rushed the final adjustment of seasonings. At breakfast, the curry was a little salty so I added a squeeze of lime and a touch of palm sugar. Man, the flavors really jumped out.

I know that the final seasoning can make the flavors sing, but I often don’t take sufficient time in the mad rush to get everything on the table. Must. Do. Better. Next. Time.

Edited by C. sapidus (log)
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Austin: Thanks for the kind words! Visiting Bangkok and eating Thai-Muslim food sounds wonderful. Is the restaurant more southern Thai or Malaysian? I’m curious because I just started reading James Oseland’s Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. I am fascinated with the interrelationships and influences between Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, and Indian cooking.

Visiting Thailand is high on my list of things to do before I croak. Unfortunately, commitments on the home front dictate that any international exploration for the next few years must take place from the comfort of our kitchen. How long do you expect to stay in Bangkok, anyway? :biggrin:

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Just a note that the Malaysian food served outside the country (and certainly in the U.S.) is almost always West Coast food (Ipoh, Penang, KL). Malay food in Kelantan is very Thai-influenced. The influence has gone both ways.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Bruce: I'll probably be here a couple more years, so don't forget to call when you arrive! The restaurant I mentioned is the same one I introduced David Thompson to, and is described here and here. It is more Malaysian, although I imagine the owners would just describe their food as "Muslim". They serve oxtail soup, biryanis, sate and curry noodles, many of which have Arabic-Indian-Malaysian origins. Either way, it's really, really good!

I'd like to get my hands on Oseland's book as well. After seeing his contributions to a thread here on eGullet, I came across his website and downloaded some of his excellent essays on SE Asian food.

Austin

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Austin: Your essays on the Muslim restaurant are wonderful. I had read one, but missed the other so thanks for providing the links. If Amazon ships to Bangkok reasonably, they have James Oseland's book in stock (click).

Pan: I haven’t run across a Malaysian restaurant in the DC area, although I have had some excellent Indonesian food.

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  • 1 month later...

I plan to cook a few things from David Thompson’s Thai Food this week. Tonight we made stir-fried minced beef with chilies and holy basil (neua pat bai grapao). More details on the Dinner! thread, post #17199.

Does anyone know if “grapao” is the same dish that is often called “kapow” in American restaurants? Beef or chicken “kapow” usually bears a three-chile designation in restaurants, but the flavors and heat have typically been underwhelming. If “grapao” is the same as “kapow”, I like Mr. Thompson’s flavor-packed version better.

The sauce was quite salty, a bit much so for my taste. I added some sugar to balance the salt, but next time I’ll use unsalted broth and less soy sauce. Perhaps scaling the recipe from one to four servings goofed things up. Does anyone have another suggestion?

gallery_42956_2536_31542.jpg

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Does anyone know if “grapao” is the same dish that is often called “kapow” in American restaurants? Beef or chicken “kapow” usually bears a three-chile designation in restaurants, but the flavors and heat have typically been underwhelming. If “grapao” is the same as “kapow”, I like Mr. Thompson’s flavor-packed version better.

The sauce was quite salty, a bit much so for my taste. I added some sugar to balance the salt, but next time I’ll use unsalted broth and less soy sauce. Perhaps scaling the recipe from one to four servings goofed things up. Does anyone have another suggestion?

Yes, it probably is the same dish. Grapao = kapow = krapow = basil. Neua pat bai grapao = beef fried with holy basil. The dish is often made with ground chicken, that's Phad Kapao Gai.

For flavouring this dish, for 2 cups of meat I use a ratio of 5 prik kee noo chilis, 5 cloves of garlic, 4 corinader roots (or 6-8 lower stems if you can't get roots) all pounded, plus a pinch of sugar, 1T oyster sauce, 2T fish sauce, light soy to taste, plus a bit of dark soy for colour. I use unsalted stock because the salt should come from the fish sauce, and cutting back on fish sauce makes the dish unbalanced. If you can't get or make unsalted stock, just use water; there should only be a few tablespoons of liquid so it won't make a big difference. Finish with 1/2c of holy basil leaves.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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