A blade shines in the darkest of the nights
Satay or sate, a very popular dish in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. is made up of marinated meat (chicken, lamb, beef, pork, fish) skewered on wooden or bamboo sticks, barbecued and served with different types of spicy seasonings. Growing up in Singapore, I have eaten my fair share of satay in my life time and I'm still not tired of it. That gives you an idea just how good these satay are. LOL!
So when Daring Cooks January host, Cuppy of Cuppylicious announced that we are going to make Thai Satay this time around, I was thrilled. Although it isn't the first time I made home-made Satay, it is my first time making a Thai version - so it is still something new.
(Adapted from book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day)
Marinate for meats
Preparing the peanut sauce
I was surprised that it turned out better than I expected - on its own, the satay doesn't really stands out much (perhaps I'm comparing too much to the satay I'm used to in Singapore) but when combined with the peanut sauce - it's very good, heightening all the aroma of the dish.
Satay can be served as aperitif, entrée or main course.
Instead of meats, some marinate tofu, fish, prawns, etc. Why not?
If you don't have space in refrigerator, just put let your meat marinate with sauce in a ziplock bag.
My mother-in-law found this delicious salad recipe from one of my books and made it for her guests. It was a great success and her guests couldn't get enough of it. So when we came back from Singapore, she made this for us and I was also so enthusiastic about it that I decided to try it on my own. This salad includes red cabbage and Chinese cabbage.
I discovered the colour of the red cabbage changes depending on the pH (acidity) of the soil. The more acid the soil is, the more leaves turn reddish... but if the soil is alkaline, it produces greenish-yellow coloured cabbages instead. It is said that the juice of red cabbage can be used as a home-made pH indicator. Interestingly, the red cabbage will turn blue upon cooking but it will retain its colour if vinegar or acidic fruit is added to the pot. The red cabbage is a seasonal plant and is planted in spring and harvest in late fall.
The Chinese cabbage is also known as Napa cabbage and originates from China, near the Beijing region. It is used to make the most common type of kimchi in Korean cuisine.
Make the Dressing
I love how the taste of fresh salad goes so well with the dressing. The onions gives the salad the biting taste while crunchiness of the peanuts, the coriander and garlic (not too overpowering) lends its wonderful flavour to the salad.
To make things simpler, I just blended the dried shrimps, roasted peanuts together with the dressing ingredients.
For those who do not like to eat big chunk of garlic, you can crush the fried garlic and sprinkle it all over the salad.
To vary the salad, I would suggest adding some bean sprouts and cooked French beans etc.
Sorry I haven't posted anything since 28/2. I just got so caught up in the daily affairs at home. My cool Sister in law came and stayed with us for a week or so before flying back to LA. We enjoyed her company so much that we were so sad to see her go, especially Little One who cried at the train station. A few days after that, I suffered a personal loss (as the saying goes, we never thought it would happen to us), then a few days later, I slipped and fell down the concrete stairs at home (earning myself a big bruise on my back and pigeon size bruises on my right arm). As if to prove that things happens in 3s, I got super lucky and caught stomach flu which lasted for days.
As I was on the mend, Little One caught a virus at the day-care centre (I think). Poor thing (and also poor self) suffered 2 days of fever and the next morning, I gave her water and she cried and stuck her finger in her mouth: 'mommy, bobo. bobo.' (so cute right but so painful to watch her suffer like this). So I had a clingy and cranky baby for 2 days (I was about to pull out all my hairs). Stuck at home for a week as she was super contagious, she got a bit of luck with the doc who prescribed ice cream as medicine. Anyone wants her virus? hmm...think I spoke too soon - I myself caught her super bug. This taught me something: don't eat some chilli while having a really bad sore throat. Duh!
End of my complains and back to food. I would like to share this easy and delicious thai dish that I have prepared for my sister in law with all of you.
(Taken from Thai Cooking)
This is a nice sweet dish, of course the pineapple dominates but the coriander and mint are what makes the whole thing interesting. My Sister-In-Law loves it very much and the dish was completely cleaned out before end of dinner.
After my great success with Moules Marinière, I decided to try cooking some of these clams again, but in a different way. I was curious to see if there was any asian recipe for mussels and as it turns out one of my thai-cooking book had an answer to that question
(from Thai Cooking)
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Personally, I was expecting it to taste very different from Moules Marinière. In the end, they taste quite similar except that the Thai version is very aromatic and spicy due to the lemon grass, basil and the chillies. The sauce was delicious and to my surprise, my 1 year old likes it very much and was happily accepting one spoonful after another. Apparently she doesn't mind a bit of chili.
Pineapple - a good source of manganese, rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin B1, exotic in fragrance and tangy in taste - my family's favourite but strangely not mine. Frankly tried as I might to like this lovely fruit, I'm still not a big fan of it ... perhaps it's the strange juicy mix of sweet and sour that just doesn't please my palate.
Pierre has been asking me to cook pineapple rice for him ever since he had this dish when we were in this Thaï restaurant in Los Angeles 2 years ago but somehow it has always slipped off my mind I wonder why ...hehehe. Then at the supermarket recently, he casually remarked that the big wagon of juicy delicious pineapples would certainly make a delicious plate of pineapple rice... huuu, what, where, which pineapples?
(taken from Thai Cooking)
If you like pineapples, you'll certainly like this one. And even if you are not a big fan of it like me, it's in fact quite nice. Sweet and salty at the same time, and it goes well with any spicy meat dish.
The book said that it is important that the cooked rice be refrigerated overnight before making fried rice and I forgot about it. So I cooked my rice early in the morning, letting it cool down before putting it in the refrigerator and cook it later that evening. It still works. The rice is easy to cook and separate well in the hot wok. Never try to cook fried rice using freshly cooked steaming rice: I have tried that before and the result I get is a big ball of fried rice.
Reduce the quantity of chilies if you are not used to spiciness or simply leave it out. It still tastes good.
Pineapples are chill-sensitive so do not store them in the refrigerator.
Phad Thai or Thai Fried Noodles has always been one of my favourites dishes - it satisfies my craving for Hor Fun which I can't get in Nantes. Although Phad Thai and Hor Fun are two very different dishes, they both use rice stick noodles and are fried. What I love about Phad Thai is that it's very savoury in taste and yet so simple to dish up.
The dish itself is a classic of thai food that you have most likely encountered if you have ever set foot in a thai restaurant. If not, well it's never too late to get hooked
(taken from Thai Cooking)
Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking: 10-15 minutes
I had my parents-in-law over for dinner and they like it very much. My mom-in-law who is on a diet after gaining some weight from her recent holiday trips, couldn't resist the temptation of a 2nd helping. They were amazed that this dish, so simple in looks, is so full of flavour: a tint of acidity and sweetness at the same time coupled with the aroma of lime, fish sauce and peanut. Pierre loves it and went for his 2nd helping too
To prepare this dish, your wok has to be kept very hot all the time. I usually stir and mix noodles with the ingredients in the wok before covering it and letting it cook for a minute. I also mix it a little bit after adding the sauces and sugar before pouring the beaten egg over the noodles. Oh, I also toss in the bean sprouts (I prefer bean sprouts al dente than raw) together with the sauces.
You can use chicken, tofu and any other vegetable such as carrot or bell peppers strips or shreds of bok choy, etc.
Some recipes use both lime and tamarind juice. It is said that the tamarind adds some flavor and acidity, but if you don't have tamarind, you can use white vinegar instead.
My search for this recipe started about 5 years ago when I had a similar dish at my friend's place. I meant to ask her for the recipe but forgot about it by the end of the evening. Then one day I stumbled upon this recipe by accident : I do not know if it is exactly the same as my friend's but when I did it, it had a similar taste and fragrance. I hadn't made this for 3 years but after my green Thai curry, I had a sudden craving for Thai food and since Pierre didn't recall ever having it, I decided to have another go at it
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 5 minutes
This salad is very refreshing and aromatic. I love the aroma of freshly squeezed lime juice mixed with fish sauce with a tint of spicy sourness. The coriander and the onions enhance the taste of this salad further. Pierre likes it almost cold, so I ran it through cold tap water after step 2, before adding the sauce to cool it down.
Bird's eye chili are very hot, hotter than fresh cayenne pepper. So if you are not used to that amount of spiciness, substitute it with cayenne chili or some other chili that is milder. Also dried chillies are hotter than fresh ones.
We haven't had curry for a quite some time now... so I decided to cook something different. I have been wanting to try my hands at cooking green curry for years, well, ever since I got this cook book from my ex colleague but I never really dared to try it... when I see the (long) list of ingredients - I usually chicken out. So this time, I was determined to do it and satisfy my hunger pangs for green curry.
In Thai cuisine, curries are a paste used in meat, fish or vegetable dishes. They use local ingredients such as chili peppers, Kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Galangal and coconut milk, and as a result tend to be more aromatic than Indian curries. Thai curries are often described by colour; red curries use red chilis while green curries use green chilis, and yellow is closer to the Indian one.
Home-made curry pastes have of course more flavour than prepackaged. As such I decided to make my own paste and write this recipe is in two parts: first the green curry paste itself, then the Green Chicken Curry.
Fresh green curry paste will keep for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Alternatively, place tablespoonful in an ice-cube tray, cover and freeze for several hours; then store the cubes in a freezer bag and use them when required. Allow to defrost for 30 minutes at room temperature before using. Frozen paste will keep for up to 4 months.
For this paste, I didn't have coriander nor cumin seeds, so I used grounded ones instead - the same for the black pepper. I also run out of French shallots so I used 2 French shallots and 1 medium size onion. As for the green chillies, I used only 4 as you can see they are extremely big. If you are not used to spiciness, use 6 instead of 8 and also remove the inside core to lessen the spiciness.
I also couldn't find kaffir leaves so I substituted them with 1 tbsp of kaffir lime zests (equals to about 6 kaffir leaves). Another alternative is to use 1 tbsp of lime zests. Note that fresh Kaffir leaves can be frozen, while dried leaves are much less flavourful, so use twice as many as the recipe calls for if you're substituting them for fresh leaves.
(taken from Thai Cooking)
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
I didn't know what to expect actually, while cooking this curry, the aroma of kaffir lime and coconut flavour filled the whole house... very delightful and mouthwatering.
The chicken curry turned out pretty delicious I must say (a pat on my own back). For the first time, I'm actually satisfied with my own curry. The verdict from Pierre : Nice, fragrant. He likes it. It is spicy but not overly spicy.
I must say that although the long list of ingredients to make this curry (especially the green curry paste) looks daunting, it is rather simple, just put everything into the food processor and let it do the work for you.
Chicken thigh fillets are sweet in flavour and a very good texture for curries. You can use breast fillets instead if you prefer. Do not overcook fillets or they will be tough.
I replaced kaffir leaves and lime zests with kaffir lime zests like I did with my paste. Trying not to waste, I used the kaffir lime juice instead of lime. And I used brown sugar instead of soft brown sugar (I didn't have any of that in my cupboard).
Many of the above ingredients can be tricky to find in western countries, but I have had good success finding them in local Asian groceries.