Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fried Whole Fish with Spicy Thai Chili Sauce

Pla Rard Prik

We've been eating a lot of fish dishes lately. It's just one of those moments when I feel enough of red meat and heavy food, so I stuff my fridge with all kind of fishes, vegetable, soy beans and tofu.

These dish is full of flavors - spicy, tang, sweet rounded it up with a touch of salty with a complement scent of kaffir lime leaves, shallots and garlic. Yum!

Get it fresh from the fish market

- Chose one good size of fish you like. This time the red snapper was smiling at me at the fish stall in Chinatown, so I had her cleaned and brought her home with me.
- Clean it one more time, once it's home, blot it dry with paper-towel, score it on both sides, ready to fry in hot oil

Spicy Thai Chili sauce

- Fresh Thai chili ( as much as you can handle the spicy taste)
- 2 heads of fresh shalot
- 3 cloves of fresh garlic
- 10 leaves of fresh kaffir lime leaf, super fine julienne

Chop up all of these ingredients together except the julienne kaffir lime leaves

- 2 tbsp palm sugar
- 2 tbsp concentrated tamarind water
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp water

1. Fry the whole fish in hot oil until perfectly cook - a bit crispy in both side.
2. In a small sauce pan with low heat, melt palm sugar, tamarind, fish sauce and water together until it reaches full bubbles.
3. Add it chopped garlic, shallot, chili and kaffir lime leave.
4. Taste and adjust the taste that suit you. Turn off the heat.

9. Ladle the chili sauce and top it on the fried crispy fish. Serve.

We eat it with plain rice, steamed Chinese broccoli tossed with a little bit of oyster sauce and garlic oil.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cooking Sticky Rice in a Microwave

Here comes everybody's favorite rice, the sticky rice. Sticky rice is considered a staple diet for people in the Northern and Eastern part of Thailand when rice is more of staple grains consumed commonly by the rest of the country.

Cooking sticky rice is a bit tricky for most people. As Thai, we all know how easy it is to cook rice - every households have rice cookers which makes no-brainer to have perfect fluffy rice - just pluck-in and press the button. But when it comes to cooking sticky rice, manual mode is applied, and I'm not a master of that.

Last time we went back to Thailand, Noom's mom asked if I knew how to cook sticky rice in Microwave because she's heard that's how most Thai people, including her friends, living aboard cook sticky rice.

It was my first time cooking something in her kitchen, and it happened to be cooking sticky rice for my mother in law who is a master of Eastern food. Even though I wanted to run out of her kitchen, I went for it.

It turned out she loves it. She loves that it's quick and easy compare to the original way which always takes times, and it became my job to do sticky rice when she made Eastern food.

It only takes 12 minutes to cook sticky rice in a microwave.

1. Rinse a cup of sticky rice a few times to reduce the starch.
2. Soak the rice with clean water for 30 minutes.

3. After 30 minutes of soaking, check the level of water. Make sure that there is 1/4 inch. of water above the rice, or check it with your fingers. Your fingers shouldn't be covered with water when the other side of fingers touch the rice.
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the microwave for 7 minutes.

5. Take it out of the microwave after 7 minutes. Open the plastic wrap, be careful with the steam coming out. To this point, the rice is not completely cooked, still.
6. Use a fork to fluff up the steaming rice. Fluff it thoroughly.
7. Put the plastic back on again, and send the fluffy sticky rice back to the microwave for 5 more minutes.

8. And there you have it. Easy and delicious sticky rice. Eat with grilled chicken, papaya salad. Best lunch always.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baoguette Cafe, Vietnamese's close to home

My craving for noodle kicked in, and I didn't have time to make nor to go to Chinatown. So we made our stop short at Baoguette Cafe, Vietnamese sandwich & noodle place - just ten steps away from our apartment.

It's a tiny place - just two small tables, one big table and a counter bar for seating. It's not a fancy schmancy place for a romantic dining, but it is an easy place for a quick stop with a hint of South East Asian ambient you would get from those pictures of street vibes of Vietnam on the wall and the display of Asian ingredients in the kitchen window.

The decor reminds me of a street food vibes back at home in Thailand, and I think that's what this place' s trying to say here.

We went there late afternoon, and it wasn't crowded - still there's no small tables for us, so we got big table at the front just for two of us.

I had Pho Special which has rare beef, brisket, tendon in anise broth, served with raw beansprout, fresh basil leaves and a wedge of lime on the side for $8.

The portion is huge for me. They give a generous amount of tender beef and they are delicious. The broth is tasty - not too strong nor too light, but I am a spicy girl, so Sriracha sauce helps me there.

Also, love the fresh scent of basil and raw red onion in the broth. It helps taming my craving for Thai Guy Teiw Nam Tok.

My husband asked for Baoguette, a classic Vietnamese sandwich which comes with pork pate', pickle, daikon, carrot, cucumber, cilantro and jalapeno for $5. The size of it is still big for me, but it is OK for my husband - just OK.

I will go back and try the sandwich next time. There are a few Vietnamese restaurants in our neighborhood waiting for us to stop by as well.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rice Soup with Cod Fish

Kaw Tom Pla

My husband and I are not breakfast kind of people. The only time we become breakfast persons is when we are at home in Thailand where breakfast is always ready on the table every morning.....Thanks mom.

Here in New York, we usually have only coffee in the morning and go on our lives. We know that's not a good way to live a good life, so we are trying to get rid of our bad habits and aiming for the right directions.

Now, we're making an effort to have breakfast every day and cutting down a big dinner into small amount of fruits and vegetable and soy milk before bed....sounds good huh?

Still, I am struggling to come up with what we're going to have in the morning...It has to be something that is not too complicate and doesn't take too much times to make. So, I try to think of what kind of breakfast mom would make for us every morning back home, and the one that we usually see on the table is Rice soup and Congee.

One of my favorite rice soup is rice soup with white fish. Just like most rice soup, it is light and easy to make and doesn't take much of the morning time to come up with. So, I'm stocking up white fish meats in my freezer.

You will need

- white fish of your choice. I use cod fish here - cut into big chunks.
- long grain rice
- chicken stock or stock you like
- celery leaves
- garlic oil
- Galangal powder

Soy bean condiment (optional) but it tastes better to have it
- 1 tbsp. fermented soy bean
- a wedge of lime
- a pinch of sugar

1. Boil rice with stock until the grains break. Gradually add a bit of water if it is too thick, taste it, add a pinch of salt if you like.
2. In another small pot with water boiling, put in celery stalks or roots and fish meats. Boil the fish meats for three to five minutes. Scoop out the fish, save the fish water.
3. Making soy bean condiment by mixing all the condiment ingredients together.

Ladle the rice soup into a serving blow, top with fish meats, garlic oil, celery leaves and sprinkle with Galangal powder. Add the fish water if you feel that the soup is too thick. Seasoning as you eat with a bit of soy bean morning is as bright as sunshine.

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