Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kao Pad Moo / Thai Pork Fried-Rice

Growing up in Thailand, I’ve learned how to make fried-rice at a very young age, just like those who grown up here in the U.S. learned how to make sandwich at home, and please don’t be offended by what I just said.   I meant, I didn’t even know how to make sandwich until I came to the U.S. 12 years ago!  No joke! The hubby was even laughing at me when I asked, “How do you make a sandwich?”

By all mean, the staple food of us South East Asia people is rice, especially in Thailand.   We eat rice with everything, every single day and every meal, except for dessert...well, we use rice to making dessert dishes,too.   I was taught to cook rice, both jasmine rice and sticky rice (famously eaten in the North and the North East of Thailand), since I was nine...maybe, every morning before doing anything else.  Other meat dishes that could be eaten with rice were planned later and that because the rice must come first!
And when we have a lot of rice leftovers, we make fried-rice.  And that means, every youngsters must learn how to make fried-rice!  The basic ingredients of Thai fried-rice I was taught at home have oil, garlic, and onion, either fish sauce or soy sauce or dark soy sauce, sugar, egg, and rice, of course.  No meat?   Not necessarily.  Other fancy stuffs like in the restaurants we learned how to add into it later.   Just like many Thai dishes, everything can transform into a delicious dish easy if you just use your imagination.  So, don’t be surprised if you travel to Thailand and see dishes that you don’t even know or see before, you have to be brave and try new things that might, at the end, surprise you.   Just like Bizarre Food host Andrew Zimmern says, “If it looks good, eat it!”

So, what is the difference between Thai fried-rice and Chinese fried-rice? The answer is tomato and Chinese broccoli. At Thai restaurants here in the U.S. would sometime skip the Chinese broccoli, which exceptional, but not tomato.   So next time, if you ordered fired-rice at Thai restaurant and didn’t see chopped tomato in it, don’t be afraid to ask, where’s tomato?

Personally, I like tomato in fried-rice because it gives a little unique sweet taste of tomato to the dish. Therefore, Thai fried-rice is usually served with fish sauce mixed with lime juice load with thinly sliced of Thai chili plus lime wedge and cucumber slices to balance out the palate, and sometime would come with fried egg, which is optional. 

Like I said earlier, other fancy stuffs we add into it later. You choose you own protein and veggies to be added to the dish but don’t forget the rice though, otherwise, you’d end up with meat and veggies stir-fry and not the fried-rice.

What you need:   for 2 servings

2 cups cooked rice
6 oz. pork meat, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of white or yellow onion, thin sliced or chopped
1/4 cup carrot cut into small cubes
2 eggs 
1 medium Roma tomato chopped
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup Chinese broccoli or bok choy – optional
A dash of ground white pepper
3 tbsp canola oil


5 green and red Thai chilies, thinly chopped 
1 tbsp fish sauce 
1/2 tbsp fresh squeeze lime juice 

: mix those three ingredients together and set aside


To be served with:
Lime wedges 
Cilantro leaves or chopped scallions for garnish 
Cucumber slices – optional 

How to: 

- Add 2 tbsp canola oil into a large sauté pan or wok over high heat
- Add minced garlic and fried until it fragrant and then add pork meat and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the meat cooked through
- Add chopped carrot and onion, cook until they are wilted, and then add rice
- Seasoning with sugar and soy sauce stir to combine well
- Push the fried rice to the side of the pan and then add 1 tbsp canola oil into a pan
- Crack 2 eggs into the pan and make quick scramble, and then stir in the fried rice to mix well
- Add Chinese broccoli or bok choy (if used), stir to cook until the vegetables are wilted
- Add chopped tomato and a dash of ground white pepper, turn off the heat - Serve immediately with chili, fish sauce and lime mixture, lime wedge and sliced cucumber, and garnish with cilantro leaves or chopped scallions


Friday, January 25, 2013

Gluay Ping / Thai Grilled Banana with Coconut Palm Sugar Sauce

Grilled bananas are my all time favorite snack. Whenever I go visit my family in Thailand, I’d always look for a vendor that selling this kind of snack on the side of the road and eat them like a starving monkey almost every day. I usually buy only grilled whole bananas that’s no smash and no sauce – you have an option of with or without smash and sauce – because the sauce can be very sweet, too sweet for my tooth sometimes. Thai people love eating grilled bananas as a quick snack because they are quick, cheap and very filling. It can also become an instant dessert just by dipping in the coconut palm sugar sauce.

 There are varieties of banana in Thailand as same as here in the U.S. that use for cooking which mostly are for making dessert However, Gluay Nam Wah bananas are famously used for grilling in Thailand but burro bananas and other kinds are also used as well. Bananas for grilling have to be just ripe and still firm so when press it won’t fall apart. 

I have burro banana trees at home that yield fruit all the time but the hubby doesn’t like them that much, which sometime I have to give them away to friends after I grilled them for myself, of course.

Maybe I could make another Thai dessert dish with these burro bananas called “Gluay Buad Chee” or Banana in sweet coconut milk, which usually serve warm. I think it’d be perfect for this kind of weather


What you need: 

4 Burro bananas – ripe and firm 
3/4 cup coconut milk 
3-4 tbsp palm sugar 
Pinch of salt 
Bamboo skewers

How to: 

- First make the caramel sauce by combine coconut milk, palm sugar, and salt in small sauce pan over medium low heat.
- Simmer the sauce and keep stirring to prevent burn until the sauce is getting thicker and turn to caramel color for about 5 minutes. Set aside

- Peel bananas and cut them crosswise about 3/4 inch thick

- Skewer banana into bamboo skewers and grill them over low heat about 3-5 minutes each side or until they get grilled marks

- Place grilled banana stick into a plastic bag and use a heavy object such as a rolling pin or a bottle to press them slightly flat

- Soak or brush them with the coconut caramel sauce and serve them warm


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Seaweed Salad

Honestly, I’ve never made seaweed salad or cooked with fresh seaweed before, but I love eating them which usually, of course, wrap around sushi in dried form of seaweed, crispy toasted seaweed snacks, seaweed salad, and in Miso soup at Japanese or Korean restaurants. I’ve always thinking about making seaweed salad at home but never had a chance to do it. So, I brought home a package of fresh seaweed from the Asian Supermarket that happened to have only one package left that day and was thinking about dishes that I could possibly make with it. I said dishes because there were 12 ounces in the package and seemed to be awful lot just to make a salad. So, I used half of the package and left the other half for my next dish.

The fresh seaweed I got from the market didn’t label the type of seaweed, but I believed they were Kelp. These dark green leafy plant came in a very long strips and still had the “salty-sea smell” with some slimy on them.   I wondered if they needed to be cooked before consuming.    So…I did some research. Some said that seaweed can be eaten raw and some said that fresh seaweed are needed to be cooked in boiling water for at least 3 minutes limit and no more to preserve its nutrition.   Therefore, some types of seaweed are dehydrated and dried and needed to be soaked in water for at least 5-10 minutes to make it pliable before prepare into salad or soup.


My research has led me to a little bit of confusion; however, what did I do with them?     “Let’s meet in the middle,” I thought.    So I washed off the slimy really well before I soaked them in the hot water for 15 minutes, and then rinsed them again with cold water and let them dripping out excess water in the colander until they were ready to use. 

The dressing for my seaweed salad was very easy to make which you could adjust the taste for your own liking, chili or no chili you decide, and add some of your favorite veggies. The completed salad is needed to be marinated overnight before eating, the longer it’s marinated, the softer the seaweed and yet taste a lot better!

So! What are benefits of eating seaweed, if you asked? There are plenty of good stuffs, especially to those who really need to shred some pounds and live healthier. Well, I don’t know about you, but I chose to live a healthy live.    You know?  Healthy life won’t bite! 

 You can find out more of seaweed benefits here

What you need:

6 oz fresh seaweed strips (kelp)
1/4 cup carrots finely julienned
1/4 cup finely sliced celery
1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp Rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp Asian chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds 1 tbsp finely chopped spring onion
How to:
- Soak fresh seaweed in hot water for 15 minutes and rinse thoroughly with cold water and set aside. If you think the seaweed strips are too long, you can cut into your desired size. I didn’t cut mine.
- Making the dressing by whisking together soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, and chili garlic sauce until sugar dissolve.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine seaweed, carrot, celery and toss in the dressing, sesame seeds and chopped spring onion and mix well.
- marinade it overnight before serving.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kimchi and Tofu Udon Noodle Soup

Soon after the New Year, the hubby fell ill with a cold and bad congestion and that he had to stay home for almost a week. Days later, he got better and I was next! I’ve been sick as a dog for the whole week and was trying to get over it by eating soups, all kind of soups, almost every day but the one that actually knocked out the cold was this one – the spicy Kimchi noodle soup.

Both the hubby and I love Kimchi. He always goes to the same small Kimchi maker store in Korean Town and brought home a jar of napa cabbage Kimchi and a jar of cucumber Kimchi. We both go crazy about eating them every day, or I’d say, we fight over it every time.

This is a simplest version of making Kimchi noodle soup using chicken broth with Udon noodles and tofu. If you like Egg noodles and other type of meat, go for it. The vinegar and Sriracha hot sauce I used are optional but I really recommend for the more intense sour and spicy. Now you know how that nasty cold got knocked out of my system….for good!

What you need:   for 2 servings 

7 oz Udon noodle
5 oz Firm Tofu cubed
1 cup cabbage kimchi (chopped if cabbage still whole) + 3-4 tbsp kimchi juice
2.5 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp finely chopped green spring onion
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
2 soft-boiled eggs

How to:

- In a medium pot, bring chicken broth to a boil over medium heat
- Add Kimchi and its juice into the pot, add soy sauce and vinegar to taste
- Add tofu and noodles into the pot and let them cook for 3-5 minutes, stir gently
- Add sesame oil and turn off the heat - Serve each bowl with soft-boiled egg and sprinkle with chopped spring onion, sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil on top if you like


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Whole Wheat Apple Yogurt Coffee Cake

I've been having a weird feeling of baking a cake for week – coffee cake for breakfast just to be specifically.
To satisfy my unusual craving for coffee cake, I decided to bake apple coffee cake over the weekend since I had the last 2 Green Smith apples left sitting pretty in the basket waiting to be eaten.
“Honey, I’m baking a cake………for breakfast!” I told the hubby.
He replied disbelievingly and slowly with the very low tone,
“you A-R-E baking A c-a-k-e for b-r-e-a-k-f-a-s-t?”
“Yeah!” Enthusiastically me.
And the hubby just gave me the blank look about what I was just saying because breakfast is not my thing, but I was about to make a cake for breakfast! I thought my idea had just terrified him to death! Oh well!

The recipe I found on Food52 used 3 cup of all purpose flour (it must be a very big cake!) but I only used half of the recipe since only two of us here. I also slightly changed the recipe with a combination of whole wheat flour and all purpose flour, substituted butter with canola oil, lemon juice for orange juice, added fat-free yogurt, and finished it off with cinnamon-sugar topping.

And the result?  Yummmm.......

This cake was so simple and very easy to make without electric mixer and I don’t have one. Despite of the modified recipe, it turned out to be such a light, moist and fluffy with the right amount of sweetness, loaded with cinnamon goodness, and the crispy crust around the edge. I needed to tell you right now that the whole house smelt so cinnamonly delicious. I have to secretly warning myself that one tiny piece with my morning coffee should be enough but I just broke myself walked back and got another bite! Oh nooooo!

Now I've come to understand better why American folks love to have it for breakfast and called it coffee cake when it obviously no coffee in it. Though I’m not a baker but I definitely bake this coffee cake again in a heartbeat.

What you need:  for 9-inch round cake

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup fat free yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 medium Green smith apples, peeled and cubed
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice
Cinnamon sugar for topping
Mix together 3 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon 

How to:
- Preheat the oven to 350’F use 9’ round pan
- Grease 9’ round cake pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside
- In a medium bowl, toss 3 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon into apples and set aside
- Combine together whole wheat flour, all purpose, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt and
set aside
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, canola oil, yogurt, and vanilla to mix well
- Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and toss in the apple to combine
- Pour the batter into the cake pan and sprinkle on top with cinnamon-sugar
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the toothpick insert comes out clean
- Serve warm


Monday, January 7, 2013

Crab-Parmesan Frittata for Two

There’s some time when wake up in the morning with a feeling of “oh, I’m so hungry!” That’s me this morning. So, I baked frittata for the hubby and I with some of crab meat and Parmesan cheese.
Frittata is simple and so easy to make with things that you already have in the fridge. It’s basically an omelet but trying to make it and say like the Italians…fri- taaa-taa, with the Thai accent, is more fun! Haaaaa….. 

I’ve made mini frittata cups twice, Spaghetti Squash Mini Frittata Cups and Tomato-Zucchini Frittata Cups, and love making them more often. Frittata can be eaten at anytime during the day whenever you are hungry. Make a lot for breakfast and have some leftovers for lunch, snack, or dinner, or have it the next day when you don’t have enough time to make breakfast.

See? How could you not like it?

What you need:
3 eggs
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup crab meat, picked over
1/4 cup red bell pepper, thinly chopped
1/4 cup zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese + 2 tbsp
1 tbsp finely sliced green spring onion
Salt and pepper to taste 

How to:
Preheat the oven to 350’F 

- In a medium bowl, combine crab meat, bell pepper, zucchini, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and gently mix well and divide equally into two 5-inch baking dishes

- In another bowl, whisk the eggs with milk, salt and pepper to taste
- Add the eggs mixture equally into the prepared dishes and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and green spring onion 
- Bake for 25-30 minutes and serve immediately with your favorite hot sauce


Sorry!  I was so hungry!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ramen Noodle Soup with Pork Meatballs

 Hello 2013! Just wanted to let you know that I’ve made it another year! Wooohoooo!

So,…what kind of food should I be eating for good luck? Hmm…for a superstitious like me, I believe that eating fish, shrimp, beans, greens, pork, and noodles for the beginning of New Year will bring good luck. Well, guess what? Since I wish and hope that the best of luck to come my way one of these days, I decided to make noodle soup with pork and pork meatballs.

There’s nothing more satisfying than having a big bowl of hot noodle soup in a freezing weather like this, don’t you think? I often make noodle soup at home. Not because I’m an Asian, and like most Asians, that love eating noodles, but a big bowl of hot noodle soup is also the hubby’s favorite and he often requests even in the summer when it’s too hot to even thinking about hot soup. 

There are steps in making a good bowl of noodle soup which can be intimidating to some people, but, 
believe me, each step is easy enough to follow and absolutely worth the effort. The most important part is the broth which is various depends on where each recipe comes from, which I truly believe that no matter the recipes come from, they all are uniquely AWESOME! If you make good broth, you don’t even need the addition condiments. Though there is a more complicate version of making such perfectly good broth for different kind of noodle soups, my recipe for the broth is the simplified version to make it easy to follow without missing anything but a satisfying result. No matter what kind of meat you use the basic broth presented here is the same which it has never let me down, just change the type of meat and bones you want to use for broth - beef noodle soup might use beef bones and chicken noodle soup might use chicken bones for instance.

YES, there is nothing wrong using store bought broth when you have little time to cook, but who can argue that homemade broth taste better. Since we all have our own personal taste, the addition condiments like chili, vinegar, sugar, and fish sauce are also important for every bowl of noodle soup. Yet, there is a secret that makes each bowl more authentic and enjoyable that will make you go Ahhhh or OMG or Wow .
The secret is the fried garlic. Of course, if you are not a fan of garlic, you can just skip it, but let me tell you that a good bowl of noodle soup will instantly become a GREAT bowl of noodle soup with a spoonful of golden fried garlic. I swear!

I usually make a big batch of fried garlic and keep it in a jar and store in the refrigerator. However, my big batch of fried garlic is usually last for a few days in my household because I use them in almost everything and not just in soups.
Pork meat balls are typically used in noodle soup in S.E. Asia in which there are also beef meatballs, fish meatballs and shrimp meatballs. This time I use pork meatballs with ground pork just to keep it simple, or thinly slice of Chinese BBQ pork or Char Siu is perfect to the soup, too 

So, if you like having noodle soup at your favorite noodle restaurant, why not make it your own at home. I promise you it will worth the while.
*This recipe can be served for 4-5 depending on how much or how little when you serve it

What you need:

1. Broth
15 cups water
2 (1-2 lbs) pork bones
2 tsp sea salt (more or less to taste)
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh ginger chopped
2 cups Daikon chopped
1 cube pork bouillon (optional)
1 package/10 oz Pork meatballs

: In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients, except the pork meat balls, to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to medium-low and let it simmering for at least 30-45 minutes (the longer the better) with occasionally skim out the excess fat and any dirty foams on top and discard it. After 30 minutes, add the pork meatballs and let the broth simmering on low heat. The broth will probably reduce as much as 2 cups. It’s perfectly okay!

2. Pork
10 oz ground pork
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp white pepper powder
1/2 cup water

: Add soy sauce and white pepper powder into ground pork and mix well. In a small pot or pan, bring water to a boil over medium heat, add ground pork and cook until the water is cleared and reduced. Set aside. 

3. Noodles
8 oz. Fresh Ramen noodles 

: Cook noodles in the unsalted boiling water for 3-5 minutes and then rinse well with cold water. The noodles should still be chewy. Set aside. 

A handful of bean sprouts 
8 oz. baby bok choy blanched 
2-3 spring onions finely chopped 
Fried garlic in oil** 
White pepper powder 

4. Assemble – more or less is depending on how hungry you are.

- For each serving, add approximate of tennis ball size of cooked noodles in each bowl follow by bean sprouts, blanched bok choy, cooked ground pork, chopped spring onion, a teaspoonful or more of fried garlic with oil, and a dash of white pepper powder. Fill the bowl with the broth, how much you decide, and 3-4 pork meatballs. - Serve immediately with additional condiments if preferred.

Additional condiments:
- Red chili flakes
- White vinegar or lime juice
- Fish sauce
- Sugar
- Chili oil
- Coarsely ground peanuts (optional) 

Golden fried garlic

What you need: 
2 cups peeled garlic 
1 cup vegetable/canola oil 

How to:
- using food processor to finely chop garlic, but not too fine, with several pulses
- put the oil in a medium pan or wok over medium-high heat
- carefully add garlic into hot oil, keep stirring around the edges to prevent burn. If the garlic burn too quickly around the edges, the heat is too high.
- as soon as the garlic turn slightly to pale golden color, take off the heat immediately and leave the garlic in the pan since the hot oil will continue cooking the garlic and make them more golden in color, and in the same time cooling down the hot oil.
- store cooled garlic and oil in a glass jar and keep it in the refrigerator which can be kept for weeks.

**if you only want fried garlic to be crispy without oil, continue frying the garlic until they turn to deep golden brown color and then drain the hot oil immediately to separate the garlic and the oil and lay them on the paper towel to absorb out the excess oil.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...