Friday, January 23, 2009

Yum Ta Lae, Seafood Salad

This Yum is so yum. It' s light, tangy, spicy, and , one more time, yummy.

If you go around asking Thai women what their "Jenny Craig food" is when they are on diet, I bet, you would hear the word...Yum. Yum can be referable as salad in English just the way they are fixed, but, Yum in Thai kitchen can go further than just a simple toss of vegetables and the dressing. There are tons of food and ingredients using to fixing Yum. Please don't kill me by asking how many kinds of yum we have. Can I rather do your dishes? I promise I'll tell more about them- starts with these easy seafood yum.

The taste of Thai salad is a well balanced taste of sweet, salty, spicy, which is leaded by sour taste. The foundation of most Thai salad dressing is fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chillies, and that you are ready to fix Yum.

Say hi to Seafood lovers.
What kind of Seafood you love, bring them on..or you can take some from my dish.

- Shrimps, Calamari, Surimi, Japanese crab meats (now this one is tricky because they are actually made from fish meat)
- French Horn Mushroom
- 10 kaffir lime leaves, minced
- 1 stalk Lemonglass, minced
- half of onion, cut.
- 2 ribs celery, cut.
- peanut (optional) or can be substituted by other kind of nut or seed.


- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp palm sugar or granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- minced chillies, depends on your spice level.
- 3 small heads Shallots, minced


1. First, fixing the dressing and let it sit - mix all dressing ingredients together until incorporated.

2. Boil seafoods in boiling water for 2 minutes, except the crab meat, which is ready to eat.

3. Slice French Horn Mushroom into pieces, but not too thin, they will shrink when they are grilled, grill them until skin crisped.

4. put all ingredient into mixing bowl.

5. toss them up with dressing, top with peanut.

6. serves right away. Don't dress them if you are not ready to serve, lime juice will kill the good balance of the taste if it's dressed and has been sitting for to long.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dressed up Tofu, Tao Hoo Song Kreung

I first had this dish more than ten years ago, back then I was not quite a big fan of tofu dishes, and I was hooked right away. My foodie friend ordered it for the table at our getting together party, the next thing I knew, it's become our usual-dish every times we sit and eat together.

It's called Tao Hoo Song Kreung, which is simply translated as a dressed up tofu in English. The word Song Kreung in Thai is used in many meaning involving dressing up in everything - foods, clothes, even hair styles. It means turning ordinaries into an extraordinaries - in anything - put more jewelries, more cloths, more ingredients. As it is in this dish, the plain tofu is dressed up with a varieties of vegetables and meats.

There are many different ways to cook this dish in term of the varieties of ingredients, depends on each kitchen, but the foundation of the dish is the same, which is skin crisped tofu topped with sauté assorted vegetables and meats.

This time I don't have much varieties of the ingredients. I just took what ever vegetable I had in a refrigerator that is good for sauté, as well as the meat, and of course, they made a delicious tofu dish as always.

Not a big fan of tofu? Give this one a chance.

You will need

1. Soft tofu ( look for those with the word "Silken" on the package.
2. Vegetables - broccoli, carrot, snow pea, mushroom you love, asparagus, Chinese cabbage. In a nutshell; what ever vegetables you like. Try choosing the kind that is not easily wilted.
3. Meat of your choices - chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, squid. You can even mix them all together, I am serious. Remember? it is Song-Kreung
4. two cloves of garlic, crushed


1. Soy sauce or Oyster sauce to marinate the meats.
2. 1 tbsp. fish sauce
3. A pinch of sugar
4. 1 tsp. white vinegar
5. ground pepper

I am hungryyyyyy

1. cut up all vegetables into small pieces, do the same with meats, except shrimp
2. Marinate the meats with Soy sauce or Oyster sauce for 10 min.
3. cut tofu into half (you can use all two pieces or use only one piece - how hungry you are)
4. blot tofu with paper towel, let paper towel sucks the water out of tofu, so that it will not splash when it hits the oiled, hot pan.
5. Heat up the pan with the amount of vegetable oil until the oil get very hot.
6. Carefully put tofu into the hot oil to be browned through all sides.

7. Take the tofu off the heat after all sides are browned, and let it sit in a serving plate.
8. Heat up a pan to sauté vegetables and meats.
9. Put in crushed garlic until scented, follow with marinated meats.
10. add two table spoons of water, keep sautéing the meats for three minutes until the pink meats are gone.
11. add in all vegetables, give a quick stir, season with fish sauce, sugar and white vinegar.
12. sauté for two minutes, sprinkle with ground pepper, turn off the heat.
13. Scoop up the sauté onto the resting tofu.
14. serve with fluffy, steamed rice.

15. Yum Yum Yum.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hor Mok, steamed salmon curry cake

This is not a kind of cake with sweet icing on top though and it is not sweet, instead, it's spicy food made with curry paste, coconut milk and eggs. YUM

Curry cakes are usually made with fish meats and all kind of seafood. They are a solid form of curries, I would say, to eat with plain, steamed rice, but, for me, no rice is even better. There are many Thai foods I crave for, which is, again, not easy to find, especially when I live far from Thai community. The only way to satisfy my craving is to call mom for the recipe and directions.

I used to think that this kind of foods is complicated to cook because they look complicated, to me. Besides making water into ice, I had no idea how to make curry into solid form - inside a steamer not a freezer. That was out of my world. Now they are just a piece of cake...righttttttt...after going broke by numbers of long distance phone calls.

In Thailand a batch of curry cake is scooped up into banana leaves folded and secured to form tiny bowls covered with vegetables at the bottom of the bowls. In New York, finding banana leaves is more likely finding gold. So, forget about banana leaves, just good heat resistant ceramic bowls my curry cakes would be happy enough. Still, if finding banana leaves is not a burden, go for it. It is worthy - smell so good and look pretty too. This time I got creative using bell peppers as my tiny bowls and that I can eat the whole thing. I realized I didn't buy enough bell peppers and they were kind of small, so I had to put the rest of the batch into ceramic bowls as usual.

Try some if you love spicy food.

- start with 2 pieces fresh salmon cut into chunks or your choices of fish meats or any seafood.
- 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste.
- 2 eggs
- a can of coconut milk (save up 2-3 tbsp for topping at last)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
- about 5 bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed, or just heat resistant bowls.
- vegetable leaves for covering the bottom of the bowls - basil leaves are the ideal.

Let get your arms toned.

1. Mix salmon, coconut milk, curry paste and eggs together.
2. Stir them together to incorporate.
3. Season with fish sauce and palm sugar and keep stirring until creamy thick - thick enough to hold itself a little.
4. Prepare the steamer. I use a wok with a steamer plate and a lid since it is easy for me. You can use any kind of steamers that allow hot steam from boiling water go through tiny holes to steam the bowls. (I used wine corks to help balancing bell peppers since they don't have flat bottom)

5. Open the lid checking them after 15 minutes, add a tiny pinch of salt to preserved coconut milk and top it on the curry cakes follow with basil leaves.

Eat them with steamed rice, or just them. I eat them as an appetizer, or even a snack sometimes.
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