Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tom Kha Goong / Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp

I remembered very well the first day I came to the States, Tom Kha Gai soup was my first dish I made for my new family and friends.  I made Tom Kha Gai (chicken) in a big pot and it’s sold out quick!  

Tom Kha is normally made with Gai or chicken meat and sometime with shrimp but pork or beef is rarely used. In Thailand we usually use chicken that skins and bones are still attached. The skin-on and bone-in chicken gives the dish tremendous flavor than just chicken breast that sometime the meat becomes too dry after cooking. Why call it Tom Kha, you might ask. Because we use a lot of Galangal or Kha in the soup as it is the main ingredient. If you don’t use Galangal for this kind of soup, you might have to call it something else, seriously! Fresh Galangal is available mostly at Asian supermarkets, but I found that buying a glass jar of Galangal in brine water seems very convenience and it tastes great… like fresh…and…a lot cheaper! As for lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf, please use fresh only because the fresh herbs when infused with boiling water is much better taste than dried herbs, trust me.

Interestingly, this soup can only be seasoned with the salty fish sauce and the sour form lime juice, lots of lime juice!    But you can use salt if you think fish sauce is too fishy… but never ever think of using soy sauce because it will not turn out the way it is supposed to be.   Since the coconut milk already contains a natural sweet in itself, sugar is not necessary.    The finished broth from this soup is so uniquely light and flavorful with the infusion of those herbs and a little kick of spice from fresh chili added in the broth will make you want to make this soup more often, I swear!

Now, let’s learn some Thais.  Tom = bring water to boil, Kha = Galangal, Gai = chicken, and this time I used Goong = shrimp.   And this one I made called Tom Kha Goong!   Isn’t that fun?  

 What you need:

3 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 can(13.5 oz.) Coconut milk
1 lb fresh shrimps, cleaned and deveined  ( or chicken)
2 cup Oyster mushroom or any mushroom you like
1/4 cup young galangal finely sliced 
5 leaves Kaffir lime leaf, torn or roughly chopped
2 stalks Lemongrass cut diagonally about 1-in size
5-6 Thai red chilies, slightly smashed /slit open/sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3-4 tbsp fish sauce (or salt)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
*carrot is optional. I just used them for color!

How to:

- in a medium pot, add vegetable or chicken broth over medium heat, when it slightly boiling, add coconut milk
- add kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal and chilies into the pot to infuse the aroma of the herbs
- add mushroom and shrimp, let it cook for 7-10 minutes or until the shrimp is just poached, try not to overcooked
- turn off the heat, season to taste with fish sauce and lime juice, and chopped cilantro
- serve hot by itself as a first course, or with steamed Jasmine rice as the main entree, or add angel hair pasta noodle or rice noodle for noodle soup, which I have tried and it was very good.



Monday, May 21, 2012

Red Curry Chicken with Lotus Root

I was requested by my hubby for red curry chicken for dinner, so I decided to make it with poached lotus root I brought a package home from Asian supermarket another day.  So, his wish was granted!

Chicken red curry is a typical Thai food selling by the street food vendors all over in Thailand.  Normally, the vegetables using in Thai red curry are bamboo shoots, kabocha squash, winter melon, and Thai eggplants depending on what is available, but you can use any vegetables you like.   Why limited...right?

Lotus root is starch vegetable…like potato.  It is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol, a good source of Fiber, load with Vitamin C, B6, and potassium. I remembered having them as a dessert in Thailand by cut them up and cooked them with sugar, added some crushed ice and drizzled with a little bit of coconut milk on top…hmmm….perfect for a hot weather in Thailand.   Though I’ve never used lotus root in the curry before, the result was amazingly delicious.    You’ve gotta try cooking with lotus root sometime.  It can be use in cooking for all kind of things like soup or stir-fried or bake it like potato chips.  if you like potato, you will like lotus root.  Have fun! 

What you need:

1 can (13.5 fl.oz.) coconut milk
2 cups water
2 cup chopped boneless chicken breast or tight as you prefer 
1 cup poached lotus roots
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tbsp Thai red chili curry paste (I use the Mae Anong brand)
3-4 tbsp fish sauce (or salt but do not use soy sauce)
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup Thai basil leaves
3-4 Kaffir lime leaves – thinly sliced crosswise

How to:

- add about 1/4 of coconut milk into a heavy bottom pan or a sauté pan over medium high heat until it gets to bubble a little
- add red curry paste and stir until its incorporate well with the coconut milk
- add chicken and stir, then add 1 cup of water and let’s its simmer to cook the chicken for about 3-5 minutes
- add the rest of coconut milk, 1 cup of water, lotus roots, red bell pepper,  and kaffir lime leaves, stir
- season with fish sauce and sugar and adjust for your desire taste, you can give it a pinch of salt if you like, but not necessary since the fish sauce is already salty
- let it continue to simmering for another 7-10 minutes
- turn off the heat and add Thai basil leaves.  Serve while it’s still hot with steamed Jasmine rice!



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Meyer Lemon Cupcakes Filled with Meyer Lemon Curd

It's Sunday and it’s Mother’s Day, I woke up quite early this morning than I usually do on the weekend.  Walking toward the kitchen to turn on my coffee machine, there I saw a lovely, orangey Mother’s Day card resting peacefully on the counter.   Just to make a long story short since I did not really want to go on and babbling about it, this card has made my day.   

Still in my jammies, I saw a basket full of Meyer lemons my hubby got them another day from a friend sitting quietly making me thinking, ‘what can I do with those?”    Lemon curd!   That’s right!   Let’s make lemon curd.    And the idea of making Meyer Lemon cupcakes was followed.  

I found myself having so much fun making these cupcakes by using the non-fat plain yogurt I have instead of butter milk the original recipe called for and I have added extra lemon juice and zest and reduced the sugar because I like the tangy sweet taste of Meyer lemon more than just the sweetness from sugar.  Plus, the Meyer lemon curd filled in the middle was just to die for.   So, let’s have some fun, shall we?

 Meyer Lemon cupcakes:  

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
8 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs
3 tbsp fresh squeeze Meyer lemon juice
1 tbsp Meyer lemon zest, finely zest
*fresh raspberry

Preheat the oven at 350’ F

- arrange the cupcakes liners in 12-muffin pan
- add the first three dry ingredient and mix well
- in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, lemon juice and zest, vanilla extract, set aside
- in another bowl, mix sugar and butter with an electric hand mixture in low speed until it turn light in color and then add the eggs mixture and the flour, by make it 3 batches, into the sugar mixed to incorporate together but don’t over mix
- pour the batter into the cupcakes liners evenly and bake for 25 minutes and let them cool completely on wire rack
 - scoop out the middle of the cupcakes, depends on how big or how small you want, and fill them with the lemon curd, dusting with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh raspberry...voila!  

Meyer Lemon Curd: 

 1/2 cup fresh squeeze Meyer lemon juice
1 tbsp Meyer lemon zest, finely zest
1/3 cup sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg s
2 large eggs yolks
Pinch of salt

- in a small bowl, beat together the eggs and the yolks
- heat lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter in saucepan over low heat
- when the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted, whisk the warm lemon into the eggs and keep stirring constantly, little by little to warm them
- bring the warm eggs mixture back into the saucepan over low heat and stir continuously until the mixture is thickened
- pour the lemon curd through a fine sieve, and let it cool down in the refrigerator



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Baked Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hot Sauce

     Crab cakes have always been my favorite and I’ve been thinking about making it for quite sometimes now and this is a time. I used to have crab cakes at the restaurant that were usually fried with butter and they were ridiculously goooood! Of course butter makes everything taste awesome…right?!     And now when I’m thinking of making it myself, I just want to cut down some of those calories a little bit by baking them, add some little kick of Louisiana Hot sauce, and using Greek yogurt instead of using real mayonnaise – oh, I love Greek yogurt and regular plain yogurt! 

And nowadays, I found myself trying to use yogurt more often in my cooking. It’s good for you and it also tastes great. And the result of my baked crab cakes? Amazing!  While it’s a little crisp on the outside, the inside is light and luscious still of all the goodness that was added in there. And a little heat from the roasted red bell pepper hot sauce for the dipping is surprisingly wonderful, better than I used to have elsewhere. So, try to have some fun, it’s not as hard as you might think.

What you need:   -  make about 12- 14 depends on how big you make it

1 can-16 oz or 2 cup crab meat, picked over
1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp Louisiana hot sauce
1 cup bread crumbs + 1/2 cup for coating (I used Italian bread crumbs)
1/4 cup celery finely chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper finely chopped
1/4 cup green onion finely chopped
2 tbsp cilantro leaves finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole egg
1 egg white
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Louisiana hot sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
Cooking spray

*Preheat the oven at 350’ F

- in a large mixing bowl,  add together crab meat, celery, red bell pepper, green onion, cilantro leaves, Greek yogurt, egg + egg white, lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, salt and pepper, sugar, and bread crumbs, mix them all together thoroughly  (did I forget anything?)

- form into patties about the size that fit in your palm and coat them with bread crumbs, set them on the baking sheet

- spray both sides with cooking spray and bake about 12 minutes each side
* serve immediately when it’s cooked through with the roasted red bell pepper hot sauce and wedge of lemon

For the sauce

1/2 cup miracle whip
1 tbsp roasted red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Louisiana hot sauce
Pinch of salt to taste
: blend all the ingredients together in the food processor until it has a smooth consistency



Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gai Pad Krapow / Thai Spicy Basil Chicken

Ahha! Gai Pad Krapow… you know?…there is a bunch of Gai Pad Krapow recipes flying around all over the net and I little bit hesitate to come up with mine. But, I’ve been craving for this dish for quite sometimes now and I think it’s my turn to put mine up. I’m pretty sure you see most of recipe use ground chicken for this dish but I think I’m just gonna use sliced chicken meat instead. Of course, you can use any kind of meat you like, including seafood.

This dish is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand that everyone LOVE it! It’s kind of a street food that whenever the vendor cooking this dish, everyone get affected by it. The smoke from the wok when cooking garlic and chilies will make you choke and cry! No kidding! You just want to run as fast and as far as you can because the fume is sooo unbearable, BUT I swear, it will make you really want to have some and want to order the same thing. Again…no kidding! For heaven sake! We are Thais and it’s all about Hot and Spicy!
Gai pad krapow is so tasty-licious with the fragrant of Thai holy basil and to make it authentic Thai, it has to be fiery HOT, serves with steamed Jasmine rice, of course, and MUST have fried egg on top to make it a complete meal…again, you don’t have to, but trust me, they meant to be together!
Oh…when you are having this dish, don’t forget to have a big glass of Thai ice tea…because you are really gonna need it.

*since this dish need quite of a high heat to cook it fast, have everything cut up and ready is a smartest way to go.
What you need: (just for 1 serving! :P )

1 cup chicken tight meat sliced (more flavor that chicken breast)
3 clove garlic minced
5 Thai bird chilies sliced
1/2 small red or green bell pepper* optional
1/2 small onion sliced – white or yellow or red
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce* optional
1/4 cup Thai holy basil leaves only
1 spring green onion chopped* optional
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg – quick fried or poached

*for those optional items above, if you can find them, I guarantee that they will make the dish more savory and delish!

How to:

- heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add vegetable oil
- when the oil gets sizzling hot, add garlic and chilies, and quickly stir, and then add chicken
- add sliced onion, bell pepper (if used) and keep stirring until the chicken is cooked through
- season with soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and add some water to prevent the dryness
- add holy basil leaves and green onion and turn off the heat
- serve with jasmine rice with a little dash of white ground pepper and top with fried egg! voila!


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