THAI - Summer 2019 (Jul-Sept) Cuisine of the Quarter

The votes are in and we decided to spice things up this summer with THAI! I am very excited - I have had a copy of David Thompson’s Thai Food for ages and I keep meaning to delve into it, but somehow haven’t been able to concentrate on it. I look forward to learning and experimenting with you all in the coming months!

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Exactly the same situation as you!!

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Let’s cook through it together! :grin:

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We love Thai, and I especially love the salads with lots of herbs. I want to try some larb that I can eat with a veg wrapper, room temp or cold.

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Larb is on my list too - love it! Had an amazing whole fish dish recently that was dressed like larb.

And perhaps papaya salad.

I’m trying to stay away from noodles for a while, but pad see euw / pad key mao eventually.

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Thanks to @biondanonima’s reminder on the WFD thread, I skewed Thai for dinner tonight

SHRIMP PAD GARLIC PEPPER and SAUTÉED CABBAGE WITH LARB DRESSING

This is one of my favorite dishes at my favorite hole-in-the-wall Thai place. It’s ridiculously simple - the shrimp are sautéed and topped with golden-crisp garlic, over a bed of lettuce.

I didn’t have lettuce, but it turned out I had some cabbage languishing… not really, cabbage is remarkably sturdy. I originally intended a slaw with larb-ish dressing, but ended up sautéing the cabbage instead, with similar flavoring. Maybe raw tomorrow - I have more cabbage and more shrimp, and this meal bears repeating!

Missed cilantro bec my bunch finally went bad… sigh. Store run tomorrow.
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Sure after the travel end of this month.

I had not heard of David Thompson until a couple of years ago. Andy Ricker might be a similar category?

I’m often hesitant about Indian recipes by non-Indian chefs/writers, but for Thai food these folks seem quite prolific and focused on authenticity.

The other books I’ve come across (but not cooked from) are Leela Punyaratabandhu‘s, and also Night+Market from the eponymous restaurant.

Any recommendations?
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I love Thai - here is my “go to” website if people are looking for recipes too. I’ll have to link to some of the ones I have tried and enjoyed . . . .

http://shesimmers.com/

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Yes! That’s Leela Punyaratabandhu.

I just got back from vacation and haven’t had time to delve into actual cooking, but I did order a very tasty Thai lunch yesterday so I thought I’d share. Midtown Manhattan is home to a plethora of mediocre Thai restaurants all serving the same sweet, insipid curries, but I have found one or two that serve them properly spicy. My current favorite is a place called Viv, but while their curry is good, I mainly order from there to get Chiang Mai sausage, also known as Sai Ua. It’s not a super common menu item in NYC despite being (so I hear) an incredibly popular snack in Thailand. Viv’s version is slightly sweet and slightly spicy, and full of ginger and garlic flavors. They also use very finely-ground meat and not a lot of filler (at least as far as I can tell).

The one other place I have found in my neighborhood that serves a sausage (their menu just calls it House Sausage, so not sure of the variety) uses a much coarser grind of meat and quite a bit of rice (left in whole kernels), with less seasoning so the overall flavor is very porky and savory. I am guessing it is their interpretation of either Naem or Sai Krok Isan. It is also delicious.

Anyway, I am sure it’s not at all the way Thais eat either of these sausages, but I love to add them to green curry for an extra portion of protein and a hit of porky flavor. I need to seek out some recipes so I can make these at home.

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With the hot weather this week and a watermelon at home, an unusual recipe caught my eye in Leela Punyaratabandhu’s Bangkok cookbook: Watermelon with fish dip - pla haeng-taeng mo. Mentioned in the book that “it’s a way of cooling down the palate when eating spicy dishes and of tempering eat oppressive heat of the summer months.” Nowadays you will probably see this dish in restaurants serving old-style or royal Thai cuisine.

The most time consuming part is the make the fish flakes, I used trout, but the book said you can use also salmon and tilapia fillets. Rub salt on the filet and cook in oven for about 30 minutes, until the fish flakes easily.Transfer the fish into a mortar and grind into cottony flakes.

Heat up slightly some lard (or vegetable oil) and stir in the flakes in a non-stick pan with medium heat, toasted it for 30 minutes until it was light, crisp and golden brown. Add sugar and continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add some fried shallot (slice them into paper thin and cook with lard with medium heat until golden brown for 6-7 minutes).

Mixed both the flakes with the shallot and serve the dip with chilled watermelon.

I must said the flakes was simply delicious. It’s something you can prepare in advance.

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Golden prawn with egg yolk - I’m not very certain of the origin of this dish. I’ve eaten this in Hong Kong and in Vietnam, but it was indicated Thai influence. I suspect Thai Chinese? It is pretty straightforward, deep fry the prawns with their shells for 2-3 minutes. Cook some salted duck egg yolk with vapour for about 20 minutes, mash them and set aside. Heat up some butter and add the yolk, stir in also some mince garlic, serve with the prawns. In some recipes I’ve seen curry leaves was added.

The restaurants versions

Maybe next time, I will try with a tempura coating.

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This sounds delicious and isn’t anything I’ve ever seen in a restaurant, for sure! I adore watermelon with strong/salty flavors so I am sure I would love this. I’ll have to try it sometime when DH is away, though - I don’t think he would approve of me sullying his precious watermelon with fish flakes!

Actually, I think otherwise, I was hesitating to make this recipe, hard to see the juicy filet reducing to flakes. When I told husband he has eaten half a fillet, he didn’t believe me.

Actually the recipe is here (in bigger portion):

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Thank you! I wonder if the toasting of the fish could be done in a low oven - might take longer but wouldn’t require you to stand there stirring.

I think you can, but much longer time is needed.

Gosh thanks for the reminder about COTQ… can’t believe the summer has just sped by without much cooking at all at my end…

I still have on my list to replicate a dish I ate early in the season at a new Thai place - it was a whole fish, cubed and deep fried, with a piquant larb dressing and plenty of cilantro. Hoping to replicate with pan-fried fillets.

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We just had an outstanding dinner at SLA Thai in Montclair, NJ. Below are the details and pictures in case anyone is interested.

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