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Thai Cooking at Home, 2005 - 2006


Susan in FL
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HKDave: Excellent! Thank you for the suggestions and translation. I’ll print out your reply and keep it with the recipe. You have given me several ideas to try.

I was surprised that the recipe called for light and dark soy sauce, but no fish sauce. I’ll add the salty ingredients while tasting next time. If the dark soy is mostly for color, I can probably cut that back if necessary.

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More from David Thompson’s Thai Food: red curry of scallops; stir-fried snow peas; and rice. The curry paste was rich, fragrant, and delicate enough not to overpower the scallops. I held back half of the fish sauce for final adjustment of seasoning, and probably should have done the same with the palm sugar.

We found fresh scallops at a roadside stand. My wife (who may be biased) said they were the best scallops she had ever eaten.

Red curry of scallops (chuu chii hoi shenn)

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Red curry of scallops (chuu chii hoi shenn)

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Wow, that looks great. I think I'll be making a red curry tomorrow with more pedestrian ingredients, probably thin-shaved beef. What did you use to stir-fry the snow peas?

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Wow, that looks great. I think I'll be making a red curry tomorrow with more pedestrian  ingredients, probably thin-shaved beef. What did you use to stir-fry the snow peas?

Thank you. I stir-fried the snow peas with mashed garlic and salt, simmered for a minute or so with a little stock (or water), light soy sauce, and sugar, and then finished with white pepper. This has become our default vegetable stir-fry because it is so quick and tasty. Baby asparagus are very good stir-fried this way, and probably broccoli or yard-long beans, too. Tougher vegetables can be blanched first.

Red curry with thin-shaved beef sounds delicious.

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Bruce, thanks for continuing to bump up this topic, and you have inspired me to check out Thai Food from the library (until I can justify buying it yet again; my former copy is resting nicely at the bottom of a MN lake). I hauled out a hunk of venison tonight to thaw, and when I get the book tomorrow, I see Thai Food on the table tomorrow night!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Bruce, thanks for continuing to bump up this topic, and you have inspired me to check out Thai Food from the library (until I can justify buying it yet again; my former copy is resting nicely at the bottom of a MN lake).

Oh do tell.

I hauled out a hunk of venison tonight to thaw, and when I get the book tomorrow, I see Thai Food on the table tomorrow night!

And we hope to see Thai food on eGullet shortly thereafter.

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Thank you. I stir-fried the snow peas with mashed garlic and salt, simmered for a minute or so with a little stock (or water), light soy sauce, and sugar, and then finished with white pepper.

Thanks, I'll try this next time. Here's our default Thai stir-fry from asparagus (from an older Aussie cookbook called Thai Cooking Class):

Stir-fry chopped garlic, then add 400g asparagus. Stir-fry one minute, add 2 TBS oyster sauce, 1 TBS fish sauce, 1 TSP sugar, 1 TSP white pepper. Stir-fry another 1-2 minutes.

Cheers!

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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yup, thanks Bruce. I too pulled out Thai Food last night, and started looking through it for stuff i can make..all your food looks so awesome. It is hard for me sometimes as my wife does not like spicy food.

jmolinari: Thank you, and condolences on the spousal spice incompatibility. In our family, younger son has the lowest spice tolerance. Sometimes we spice to his tolerance and adjust seasonings at the table with slivered chilies, a spicy dipping sauce, or Sriracha. Other times we will spice the dish normally (hot) and he can dilute it to taste with rice or coconut rice. For Thai meat salads, we usually set some of the meat aside for the boys, and then spice up the salad properly.

Another possibility is Thai fried rice, which is delicious, typically not spicy, and a great way to use up leftovers. Thai Food has several pages of fried rice recipes. Also, Panang and Mussaman curries can have a lot of flavor without too much heat.

Here's our default Thai stir-fry from asparagus (from an older Aussie cookbook called Thai Cooking Class):

Stir-fry chopped garlic, then add 400g asparagus. Stir-fry one minute, add 2 TBS oyster sauce, 1 TBS fish sauce, 1 TSP sugar, 1 TSP white pepper. Stir-fry another 1-2 minutes.

Cheers!

sarensho: Sounds good! I expect that oyster sauce would lend some nice umami to a vegetable stir-fry. I look forward to trying it.

Anyone willing to share their recipe for various chili pastes?  Do you buy or make fresh?

Thanks!

-Mike

NYC Mike: I'm happy to share recipes (respecting eGullet copyright policy, of course). Are you looking for curry pastes (e.g., red, green, Panang, etc.) or chili pastes (like table sauces or dipping sauces)?

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sarensho: Sounds good! I expect that oyster sauce would lend some nice umami to a vegetable stir-fry. I look forward to trying it. Of course, it's all a matter of taste!

I happen to like that particular stir-fry sauce because it really highlights the oyster sauce and pepper. I'm not a big fan of using a little oyster sauce in everything, as the flavor becomes muted and it can be a bit boring.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I think Chili Pastes for enchancing dishes and as a condiment. :hmmm:

Thanks CS!

NYC Mike: Have you tried Sriracha or sambal oelek? For sweet and salty, you could try kecap manis.

If you want to make your own, here are some fish sauce-based chile sauces from Kasma Loha-unchit, and and nam prik from Chez Pim.

Is that the sort of thing you are looking for?

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Stir-fried noodles with chicken and yard-long beans (pad si ew) adapted from Thai Food. On the pictured batch I forgot to stir-fry the egg with the noodles, so I stir-fried the egg separately. I used fresh banh pho noodles, cutting them into smaller segments after the first batch to minimize clumping. Is there another type of noodle that is more appropriate for this dish?

A key step was adding enough chicken stock at the end to distribute the soy sauces uniformly and avoid salty spots. Garnishing with Sriracha and cashews after picture-time provided a little heat and crunch. I also added fried shallots when eating leftovers for breakfast.

This was my first time stir-frying noodles, so it was a learning experience. I liked the mix of flavors, textures, and temperatures – resilient noodles, seared chicken thighs, cool bean sprouts, firm yard-long beans, and the salty-garlicky-chickeny sauce. I’ll probably try pad Thai and a few other Thai noodle dishes, but the family seems to prefer fried rice to fried noodles.

Pad si ew with yard-long beans

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Bruce: Your dishes are looking great! It's fun to see somebody so excited about Thai food--you really must make it out here at some point. Yes, kraphrao (how I would spell it) is almost certainly the same as the other similiar-sounding words you've mentioned. It's a thin, light green fragrant leaf that is normally not eaten raw, but rather is used in stir fries and sometimes soups. For phat kraphrao and Thai food in general, I really suggest that you flavor to taste. Try to disregard recipe instructions on how much fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, etc. to add, and concentrate on reaching a taste that you're looking for. This is very important in Thai cooking. If you're still wary, than at the very least, start with just half of the suggested amount, add and taste, add and taste. Remember, it's all about taste, not amounts!

The scallop curry looks great. Incidentally the Thai word for scallops, hoy shen has a funny origin. Hoy means simply "shellfish", but shen is the Thai pronunciation of the English word Shell (the Thai language doesn't have any final-syllable "l" sounds, so this is changed to an "n"), and is used because scallop shells resemble the Shell Oil Company's distinctive logo!

Traditionally, phat sii iw is made using the wide rice noodles. They're meatier and a bit easier to handle in the wok.

NYC Mike: I did a magazine article (which can be seen at my blog) about a few different nam phrik a while back, and I think there might even be a similar post somewhere in the bowels of eGullet. Do a search for "nam phrik" and see what comes up. I'd suggest making nam phrik kapi, one of the most essential (and easiest) Thai dishes of all.

Austin

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Bruce: Your dishes are looking great!  It's fun to see somebody so excited about Thai food--you really must make it out here at some point.
Thank you! I really appreciate your advice and encouragement.
Yes, kraphrao (how I would spell it) is almost certainly the same as the other similiar-sounding words you've mentioned. It's a thin, light green fragrant leaf that is normally not eaten raw, but rather is used in stir fries and sometimes soups.
Interesting – I don’t think that I have seen kraphrao leaves here. Do you know if they are exported, or what other names they might be called?
For phat kraphrao and Thai food in general, I really suggest that you flavor to taste. Try to disregard recipe instructions on how much fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, etc. to add, and concentrate on reaching a taste that you're looking for. This is very important in Thai cooking. If you're still wary, than at the very least, start with just half of the suggested amount, add and taste, add and taste. Remember, it's all about taste, not amounts!
That is excellent advice. I am better at “adding and tasting” when I make something familiar, but I need to work on “adding and tasting” when I try something new. Eventually doing so will become second nature, but I have to fight my tendency to follow the recipe when cooking something for the first time.
Incidentally the Thai word for scallops, hoy shen has a funny origin. Hoy means simply "shellfish", but shen is the Thai pronunciation of the English word Shell (the Thai language doesn't have any final-syllable "l" sounds, so this is changed to an "n"), and is used because scallop shells resemble the Shell Oil Company's distinctive logo!
Wow, the power of corporate symbols. I take it that scallops are not native to Thailand? Are scallops used frequently in Thai cooking?
Traditionally, phat sii iw is made using the wide rice noodles. They're meatier and a bit easier to handle in the wok.
I’ll look out for wider rice noodles next time. Few fresh Asian noodles are available locally, but we have a wide assortment of dried noodles. Can I soak or blanch dried rice noodles before stir-frying them?

Thanks!

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Bruce:

My copy of Thai Food. Sigh. I was sitting on the big rock at the end of the dock at our cabin, and a kid threw a tennis ball for a visiting dog. The ball hit me in the head, I dropped the book, and the dog slid the book into the water. All the way down to 20 feet off the granite rock. I now read paperback trash on the rock.

Rice noodles. I am lucky in that I can get fresh ones in three widths -- about 1/4", a little wider, and then sheets that are 8" wide. But, I have used dried, and just soaked them first. I think stir frying these noodles can be a challenge.

Austin -- any chance you could post a photo of kraphrao? What do the stems look like? My local asian market has a wall o fridge cases with all sorts of leaves.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Bruce:

Rice noodles.  I am lucky in that I can get fresh ones in three widths -- about 1/4", a little wider, and then sheets that are 8" wide.  But, I have used dried, and just soaked them first.  I think stir frying these noodles can be a challenge.

With the dry noodles, I soak them in hot water. When they are soft, rinse them under cold water then drain them well before frying.

With packaged fresh ones, bring to room temperature, then separate and warm them up in the microwave before stir-frying. Make sure the pan you're using is well oiled and hot before you add the noodles. You don't want to stir them too much or they will break up and turn into a clump.

I find the dry ones hold up better for someone new to stir-frying these noodles.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Bruce:

Rice noodles.  I am lucky in that I can get fresh ones in three widths -- about 1/4", a little wider, and then sheets that are 8" wide.  But, I have used dried, and just soaked them first.  I think stir frying these noodles can be a challenge.

With the dry noodles, I soak them in hot water. When they are soft, rinse them under cold water then drain them well before frying.

With packaged fresh ones, bring to room temperature, then separate and warm them up in the microwave before stir-frying. Make sure the pan you're using is well oiled and hot before you add the noodles. You don't want to stir them too much or they will break up and turn into a clump.

I find the dry ones hold up better for someone new to stir-frying these noodles.

Susan, Dejah: I have printed out your suggestions and folded them into the noodle chapter of Thai Food. Thank you!

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It's taken me some time to discover this thread!

I'm hooked on lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, and coconut milk, but not belacan. :wink: I like it but just can't handle the strong aroma that lingers in the house.

A couple of weeks ago, I had hor mok talay for the first time (really the first taste of Thai in a restaurant). Austin and another eGulleteer, Peter have given me recipes for a grilled and steamed version. I'll be trying them out at home as soon as I get some free time. If you haven't tried, this, do so. It's wonderful!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Few fresh Asian noodles are available locally, but we have a wide assortment of dried noodles. Can I soak or blanch dried rice noodles before stir-frying them?

I've found it helpful to give the soaked/blanched rice noodles a very light coating of oil, if you have problems with the noodles sticking when stir-frying.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Few fresh Asian noodles are available locally, but we have a wide assortment of dried noodles. Can I soak or blanch dried rice noodles before stir-frying them?

I've found it helpful to give the soaked/blanched rice noodles a very light coating of oil, if you have problems with the noodles sticking when stir-frying.

You DO have to soak or boil dried rice noodles. I have some soaking in hot water for the last 2 hours. They will be ready for stir-frying come supper time.

A poster in another thread mentioned spraying the noodles with Pam or something similar. Maybe it was sanrensho. :smile:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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You DO have to soak or boil dried rice noodles.  I have some soaking in hot water for the last 2 hours. They will be ready for stir-frying come supper time.

A poster in another thread mentioned spraying the noodles with Pam or something similar. Maybe it was sanrensho. :smile:

I'm assuming the first comment was address to Bruce, not me.:smile:

It wasn't me that posted about using Pam. I don't use Pam, but I do find it helpful to lightly coat the noodles with oil to prevent sticking. This is after too many incidents of having rice noodles stuck to my wok.I believe the end amount of oil used is the same, unless it's my technique that needs brushing up.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Made my first vegetarian Thai dish last week for a Sri Lankan student in my class.

I was happy after to find out that eggplant was her favourite vegetable. I gave her 2 containers of the curry and one of jasmine rice. She rushed out and bought a loaf of bread for the second feed. :biggrin:

I combined a couple of recipes and used Thai eggplant, sliced carrots, cauliflower, babycorn, lime leaves, coconut milk, palm sugar. I also made my own red curry paste with cooking onion, lemongrass, lots of red chillies, garlic, galangal, coriander seeds, regular soy sauce, kaffir lime leaves, brown sugar, and turmeric.

I found the coconut milk cancelled some of the heat, and will reduce the amount next time. Also, I will leave out the palm sugar.

Here are pictures of the prep. and results.

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Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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