Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thai Fragrant Cookies, Kanom Kleeb Lumdual

Kleeb Lumdual, Thai Cookies

I wish you could smell and taste these delicious yet beautiful Thai cookies. I don't know exactly when it started, but I know that these fragrant cookies have been around in Thai cuisine for many decades.

Rumduol or Lumdual is the name of the national flower of the kingdom of Cambodia. The plant belongs to an Annonaceae family. The flowers have a very lovely sweet scent. I remember when I was a little, I used to play under the Annonaceae shrub we call Nom Maew or Cat's nipples flowers because of the size and....have you ever seen cat's nipples? The Cat's Nipples flower is a close cousin of Rumduol flowers only that they are much smaller than Rumduol.

Rumduol Flowers

What makes these lovely Thai cookies distinctive, besides their look, is the way they are scented. Since most traditional Thai desserts have very simple ingredients, flour and sugar, they need to be scented after finished.

The Thai fragrant candle, or Tien-Ob, in Thai, is a candle that is made out of bee wax mixed with a bunch of dried fragrant herbs and frankincense, is used for scenting Thai desserts since the old time.

Thai Fragrant Candle, Tien Ob

Even though these cookies are made out of very simple ingredients, they are quite pricey because of the times and effort put into making them. I used to whine a lot when I knew how much I had to pay per gram for these cookies.

From now on, I will keep my mouth shut if I had to buy them again because I now know how much effort I have to put in to shape up each flowers.

It needs gentle hands and patience to shape them into delicate flowers resembling the real Rumduol flowers.

Believe me, my version, as you see here from the pictures, is not even close to those that is made by professional which are smaller, look more delicate and prettier than what you've seen here, and that is the price you pay for.

But, hey, my mom already cried seeing I can make these kind of delicate Thai dessert.

Simple ingredients kill.
Make about 30+ flowers

- 2 cups, all purpose flour
- 1 cup, sugar powder or icing sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- Thai fragrant candle for scenting

1. Mix flour, sugar, salt together.
2. Gradually drizzling in the oil. Mix them throughly. Be careful not to make the mixture too wet.

* Testing by grabbing a small handful of mixture and squeeze it tightly in your palm, shape it into a small ball. If you cannot shape a ball, the mixture is too dry. Little by little, add more oil. If you feel the oil in the ball, it is too wet, add little flour.*

3. After the mixture is well mixed, start making Rumduol flowers.

Making delicate flowers.

1. Shape the mixture into one inch balls, or if you wanted to feel like a pro, make them a half inch ball.
2. Cut the ball in to four pieces to form petals.
3. Attach three petals together, using your finger tip to smooth out the top where they are met, so the petals won't separate when baked.
4. Make a tiny tiny ball, attach it into the middle of the three petals, slash the tiny ball open with a sharp knife.
5. Put them on a cookie baking sheet. Send them to the pre-warmed oven with 350F for 12 minutes. These cookies should look off-white, not yellow crispy kind of cookies.
6. Take them out of the oven, let them cool down completely on a cookie rack before scenting.

Scenting the cookies

1. You need a wide open jar with a lid.
2. Place a small dipping bowl at the center, inside the jar.
3. Piece by piece, carefully place each flowers into the jar.
4. Light both of the candle wicks, make sure they are well burned to the wax before blowing them out.
5. As soon as the candle is blew out, place it on the small dipping bowl inside the jar, close the lid right away, keeping the candle smoke lingering inside the jar until faded.
6. Your lovely edible Rumduol flowers are scented.

The best Kanom Kleeb Lumdual cookies should be off-white in color, but here I used unbleached flour, so the color is not that white, and it supposes to melt in your mouth when you eat it.

I do really wish you could smell it...Loveeeeely!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grilled Turmeric Chicken, Gai Yang Kamin

I am so happy that I've got to do the dishes today. It means that I don't have to do the cooking, my husband, Noom, is the one who will be wearing the cooking pants, and this is what he's served me - Grilled Turmeric, or Kamin as Thai say it, Chicken.

We use a lot of turmeric in Thai cooking, mainly in curry paste. It is another influence from our neighboring country, India. Besides using them in our food, this miracle yellow herb is used on our skin and body too

turmeric powder

Make the rub
- 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce

1. Rub 2 pieces of big chicken thigh with the rub ingredient, let them sit for 10 min. *mind you, wear the gloves, this turmeric powder will stain your hand yellow for two weeks*
2. Grill until fragrant and properly cooked in both sides.
3. Serve with green salad and Noom's signature salad dressing, homemade toasts or fried.

Noom's Salad Dressing
This salad dressing happened after we got back from the Moroccan restaurant in the neighborhood. I ordered one of their specials and I just love the dressing, so we'd tried to make it without knowing what kind of ingredients in those dressing, all we had was just the taste, and Noom's come up with this recipe.....nothing new :)

- 2-3 tbsp chopped shallot
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. salt
Mix them together, can be kept in the fridge for a month.

toasted homemade bread

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chive Cake, Kanom Guui Chy

I just got a good looking bunch of chives from the market. My mind flew back to a street where my university is located. There was a smoke filled stall on the side walk in front of the university gate selling these filling appetite called Kanom Guui Chy or Chive cake in English.
Fresh Chives

As an art student, I normally spend long period of times in each classes-painting, sculpturing, printing, and more often had little times to eat before running to another class. To tame my hunger before a next meal, I would run out to grab these chive cakes, sizzling in a flat, wide, hot pan, bathed with dark, sweet spicy sauce. They are tasty and filling kind of appetizer made with very simple ingredients-flours and chives.

You need three kind of flours
The cake part
- 1 1/2 cups rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup glutenous rice flour
- 2 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil

The chive part
- 200 gram chives, cut into one inch long
- 1/4 baking soda
- 1 tbsp. black soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. mince garlic
- 2 tsp. sugar

Saute the chives
1. In a small bowl, combine backing soda, black soy sauce, soy sauce, sugar together.
2. In a frying pan, put in vegetable oil, heat it up to medium heat.
3. Put in mince garlic saute until fragrant.
4. In goes chives and sauce mixture.
5. Saute until chives are wilted and incorporated with sauce, turn the heat off.
6. let them cool down.

- Prepare a steamer, bring it to boil, get ready for steaming.
- lightly oil a small brownie pan, set aside.

Mix the flours
1. Mix all flours together.
2. Mix in vegetable oil, and gradually add water, stir until incorporated.
3. Mix in saute chive, stir.
4. Pour the mixture into a oiled pan.
5. Bring it into a steamer. With the lid close, steam for 20 minutes, until the mixture looks almost translucence.
6. Bring it out, let it sit and cool down before cutting.

Now they are ready to eat, or sear them in a hot oil pan to make skin crispy like I love.

Black Sweet Dipping Sauce
- 1-2 crushed small chilies.
- 2 cup sweet black soy sauce.
- 1/4 soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. white vineger.
- 2 tbsp. sugar.

1. Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring it to medium heat to incorporate.
2. Turn off the heat, serve.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Son In law Eggs, Khai Luk Koei

The son in law eggs

The word Luk-Koei means Son in law in Thai. Why they are given such a name, I have no clue. I've heard some say that these eggs are traditionally served at the wedding celebration. Well, there is something relevant here, at least.

dried chilies

This is a very delightful dish. Most kids love it, adults ask for it. It is almost like a comfort food from childhood. Sweeten with palm sugar, a hint of sour of tamarind, and fish sauce to complete the taste. Then glam up with fried shallots and fried, dried chilies to challenge the taste buds.

This is not a spicy dish even though there are the fried chilies on top of the eggs. As I said the kids love it because of the sweet taste, so those fried chilies are meant for adults who wants a little kick to wake up their taste buds, and the kids can just pick them out.

hard boiled eggs

Start with hard boiled eggs

- 5 hard boiled eggs
- 3 heads fresh shallots, chopped.
-4-5 dried small chilies
- oil for frying

fried shallots and fried dried chillies

1. put 2 tbsp. oil into a pan, heat it up to medium hot, then in goes fresh shallots. Fry them until they start to be golden, fetch them out, let them rest. Like garlic, shallot is easily burn, so be careful if you don't want to end up with nasty bitter burn shallots.

2. With the same oil, fry dried chilies about 1 min., take them out.

3. Add more a mount of oil into the pan for frying hard boiled eggs. Fry them until the skin turn golden and look crispy.

4. Take them out of the pan, let them cool down before cutting them into a half.

Making the sauce

- 2 tbsp. palm sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. tamarind puree
- 2 tsp. fish sauce

1. In the same pan, take out some oil and leave about 1 tbsp. in a pan, turn the heat to low, put all ingredients into the pan.
2. Let the sauce simmering on low heat until it comes thick syrup, turn off the heat.

Glam up the son in law
- put the sauce on the eggs, top with fried shallots and fried chilies, serve.
- We eat them with rice along with other foods on the table.

Thai people don't consider eggs as for breakfast only. We eat eggs whenever we want to-breakfast, lunch, dinner, so don't cringe when we say we have fried eggs, boiled eggs for dinner.
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