Saturday, November 30, 2013

AFF Thailand: Gluay Cheum

This Bananas in Syrup was tempting while perusing ThaiTable website.   Even more tempting was the recipe only ask for 3 ingredients, 1 part sugar to 2 parts water, and of course, the bananas.
I only did half a recipe., so below is the modified version.  Once Gluay Cheum has cooled down to slightly warm, I tried a piece.  It was not sweet at all, and the banana was a bit chewy.  However, the texture turned very chewy at night. 

Source: ThaiTable
Yield: 3 servings
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 Pisang Awak

1/  Combine water and sugar in a pot, then heat up till sugar dissolves to form a thin syrup. 
2/  Add in banana pieces and let the banana cook in syrup over very low heat for 60 to 90 minutes. 
3/  Serve warm or at room temperature. 

a/  Stir the bananas from time to time to stop them from burning. 
b/  As the syrup gets more concentrated, add a tablespoon of water here and there toward the end of the process3                 


AFF Thailand: Ma Haw (Galloping Horses)

An interesting Thai appetizer which I chanced upon Baby Sumo's blog via the inlinkz.  From the small photo icon, I was wondering what could those yellow pieces be, so I went ahead to click on it to find out.  Oh, it's fresh pineapple cubes. 
Hmm...this recipe has crushed peanuts, pineapple, what's there not to like about this?  In fact, I really like the minced meat topping, it was very very delicious upon tasting.  I had to quickly store it away from my sight lest I end up consuming them all. 

MA HAW (galloping houses)
Source: Baby Sumo
Ingredients: 2tbsp cooking oil
3pips garlic (chopped)
225g minced pork
2tbsp light soy sauce
3tbsp palm sugar
1 spring onion (white parts only), finely sliced
1/2tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

25g unsalted cooked peanuts, skin removed and roughly ground
A pinch of ground white pepper
1 pineapple

To garnish
20 coriander leaves
1 red chilli, very finely sliced

1/  Heat oil in a wok over medium high heat, then add the garlic and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, until lightly browned. Lower to medium heat, then add the minced pork and cook for a further 5-6 minute, until the pork is cooked through and begins to brown slightly. Use your spatula to break up the meat until it has separated.
 2/  Add the light soy sauce, palm sugar, pepper, spring onions, chopped coriander, and crushed peanuts, and stir well. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes until the mixture is dry and sticky. Taste and season with more soy sauce, as required.
 3/ To serve, place pineapple segments on plate, then scoop a tablespoonful of cooked minced meat onto the segment. Garnish with a slice of chilli and coriander leaf each.


AFF Thailand: Tub Tim Grob

 Red ruby dessert, a must-have dessert to end a good Thai meal for us. We need it in part to tame the tongue from the fiery hot spicy food, other than to have a sweet ending to a sumptuous meal. 
I forked out about RM10 for 7 servings, with the breakdown as such: 
Water chestnuts - RM2.00
Coconut milk - RM2.00
Jackfruit - RM5.00
Miscellaneous (such as tapioca starch, sugar, pandan and etc) - RM1.00
Steps to make this might look complicated and daunting, but the concept ain't difficult to grasp.  Let's dig in, shall we? 
Source: Wendyywy
Yield: 7 servings
6 pieces water chestnut - peeled and cut into tiny 5mm cubes *I bought a small RM2 pack of cleaned and peeled water chestnut that was about 7 pieces.  It was sold by the weight.* 
1/2tsp red food colouring (¼ cup beetroot juice if going au naturel)
1tsp water - only if using red food colouring, else omit if using beet root juice 

1cup or more tapioca flour *corn starch will not be suitable, so DO NOT substitute*

125g water
125g sugar
1 blade pandan leaf - shredded, knotted and bruised

200ml thick coconut milk *I used the RM2 ready-pack from wet market*

750g ice cubes 

1/  Make the syrup by bringing water, sugar and pandan leaf to a boil on medium heat, then let it simmer for 2 minutes before turning off the fire and let it cool down. 
2/  To prepare the coconut smoothie, pour half the ice, half the syrup and half the coconut milk into a blender jug and whizz till fine.  Do the same for the other half and pour the coconut smoothie into a freezable container and freeze it for use later. 
*I divided this equally into serving size and managed to get 7 cups, and I freeze it solid before use as I broke the process down over two days since the fruit seller didn't start business that early when I made my dash to the wet market.* 
3/  Mix red food colouring with water, and mix this diluted food colouring to the cubed water chestnut to evenly colour them red. 
OR if using the natural beetroot juice, soak the water chestnuts cubes into the beetroot juice for 5-10 minutes, and drain.
4/  Place tapioca starch in a large bowl, then pour all the dyed water chestnuts into the starch and toss the bowl so as to evenly coat the chestnuts with starch.  
*The idea is to toss the whole bowl, do NOT use a spoon for this task.*  
5/  Pour all the water chestnuts into a colander in another receptacle, be it a basin/bowl/plate in order to catch and collect the extra starch from the coated water chestnuts as you sift. 
* Remember, it is a colander and not a sieve, there's a difference.*
6/  Spread the coated water chestnuts onto a plate and lightly spray with water to moisten it.  Toss them around and spray with water again until the surface looks moist but not wet. 
7/  Place water chestnuts back into the collected starch, toss and sift a second time. 
*For a thicker layer of starch which will result in a bigger red ruby, repeat the 3 steps of spraying, tossing and sifting once more.  I didn't, I stopped at dual coating.* 
8/  Let the starch coated water chestnuts rest for 30 minutes so that the outer layer of starch can absorb moisture from the water chestnut, thus making the starch stick better to the water chestnut. 
9/ In the mean time, bring a pot of water to boil and prepare a big bowl of ice water. 
10/  Pour in all the coated water chestnuts, stir gently for a while immediately after pouring so that the chestnuts do not clump altogether and let this boil on high heat for a minute. 
11/  Using a colander, pour away the boiling water and put the drained water chestnuts into ice water to let it swell for at least 10 minutes. 
*Stir the water chestnuts occasionally to break them up, else they will all stick together.*
12/ To serve, place frozen coconut smoothie into a serving bowl, top with sliced jackfruit and red rubies. 
I was trying to playing with my food, also known as "nothing better to do", since the frozen coconut smoothie would take some time to melt, so I was in no hurry to serve this.  I came up with 2 different food styling for this Tub Tim Grob.  Which do you like? 

AFF Thailand: Grilled Pork With Sauce

I actually did this in reverse, meaning I made the sauce first because I had too much of cilantro to finish up.  It started with some recipes calling for the roots, such as this, my first entry into the AFF Thailand - Chiang Mai Peppery Chicken
The sauce recipe caught my sight because I have all the ingredients to whip it up.  I was thinking of using it as a dipping sauce for boiled/steamed chicken, since it would be able to jive up the normally bland chicken breast.  And then, lady luck was with me...I happened to have some fresh lean pork in the fridge waiting for me to pack into portion size and freeze for future use, so I sliced and marinated the pork loin immediately to make Grilled Pork.  Just nice, marinate in the morning and it would be ready to be grilled in time for dinner, I can do that. 
Yums...I am being to love thai food more and more. 
Source:  Thai Table
4tbsp water                             
3tbsp brown sugar
1tbsp fish sauce 
1tsp ground fresh chilli paste *I used chilli boh* 
1tsp tamarind paste                             
2tbsp cilantro - chopped *I used 2 sprigs cilantro and chopped instead for easier measurement*

1/  Heat up water, brown sugar, fish sauce, tamarind and ground fresh chilli paste in a pot over gentle fire until sugar is dissolved.  The sauce will thicken as it cools down. 
2/  Once sauce has cooled down, add the chopped cilantro and this is ready to be served with grilled pork. 

p/s:  I have slightly modified the above steps because the author mentioned cilantro twice in her recipe, and I think there might be a typo or so.  I chose to add the chopped cilantro only after the sauce has cooled down so as not to 'cook' the aromatic herbs.   

Source:  Thai Table
Yield:  Serves 2 adults when eaten on its own without any accompanying rice
1 lb pork *I used 500g*
3pips garlic - minced
1tbsp coconut milk (optional)                                               
1tbsp fish sauce                                                 
1/2tsp fine salt                             
2tbsp sugar                     

1/  Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from burning while on the grill. 
2/  Slice the pork into thin long strips, a quarter of an inch thick. 
2 options:
a:  If using the skewer, inch wide strips are better. 
b:  If grilling the pork on the grill without the skewers, a bigger piece will help it from falling into the coals.

Shall try to marinate pork chops using this same recipe per the author's suggestion because these grilled pork turned out to be very tender despite it being the leanest part of the oink-oink called 肉头 (bak thau in hokkien) which I usually use to make tonic drinks. 


Friday, November 29, 2013

AFF Thailand: Home-Made Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce

One good thing about AFF is that it pushed my boundary, doing something which I won't normally go out of my way to try.  And this recipe is one of it since one small bottle lasts for ages in our home.  This recipe captivated my attention because I was curious if it's the same as store-bought, and YES, if I may say so. 

Source: Peng's Kitchen, originally from SheSimmers
Yield: 300ml
3pips large garlic - peeled
2 red chillies - deseeded *I kept the red chillies intact for some heat*
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2tbsp salt
1tbsp corn flour
2tbsp water

1/  Purée together all the ingredients in a blender, except for the last two (also known as the corn flour solution or slurry). 
2/  Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture thickens up a bit and the garlic-pepper bits begin to soften, which takes about 3 minutes. 
3/  Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue to simmer for one more minute. The cornstarch will help the sauce to thicken slightly thereby causing nice suspension of the garlic-pepper bits; otherwise, you get a thin sauce with all the little pieces floating on the surface. 
4/  Let cool completely before storing in a glass jar and refrigerate. 
Notes (by SheSimmers):
a/  I keep the chili seeds in, but your mileage may vary, so adjust the heat accordingly. More seeds = more heat. Keep in mind, however, that the heat is the strongest the day you make the sauce and starts to dissipate gradually. This sauce keeps for a long time, and after a couple of weeks, you can’t even taste the pepper.
b/  If you want to make a large batch of this sauce (more than half a gallon) — and you certainly should since this sauce lasts a long time — the best thickener to use is pre-gelatinized or “pre-gel” starch which is both acid- and heat-stable (corn or potato starch is not). It’s marketed under the brand name Clearjel®. Your chilli sauce will remain viscous and maintain the nice suspension for the entire duration of its shelf life when thickened with pre-gelatinized starch.
c/  Traditionally, Thai sweet chilli sauce is not thickened with starch; the syrupy consistency is achieved through cooking the sauce containing lots of sugar down until it’s thick enough to create a good suspension of the garlic-pepper bits. However, if you notice, bottled Thai sweet chilli sauce normally contained a starch thickener. You can go either way. I personally prefer the version that contains less sugar which is this one.

AFF Thailand: Banana Fritters Ala Thai (Kluay Kaek)

This is a nice change to the usual Banana Fritters I make at home, not that I do it often.  The grease and the cleaning up puts me off, so we usually get our fix outside.  At the rate of RM1 for about 7 slices, forking out RM2 for a paper bag chockfull of crispy fragrant banana fritters sans the work sure is more inviting than to labour over the hot oil.  But we don't consume this often also, it's an occasional treat if we happened to be hungry when we drive pass Pisang Goreng (not Goreng Pisang as it is more widely known, for Goreng Pisang is the verb *act of frying the bananas* while Pisang Goreng is the noun *the fried banana fritters*) stall during tea time, and that's usually during weekends when all diets go flying out the window.  Literally the car window.
The grated coconut is hardly noticeable, so it's good for I am not a big fan of kerisik, nor do I shun it.  The sesame seeds gave a nice nutty crunch, and best of all, the fritters stay crispy after cooling down because of the presence of rice flour. 
Initially I wanted to half the recipe but since I bought the least amount of grated coconut (RM0.70), I went ahead with full recipe.  Even with that, I still have like 2/3 of a packet of grated coconut in the freezer.  The dilemma of cooking for a small family of eaters.  And boy, using 6 bananas is an understatement, I ended up like frying 2 combs of Pisang Awak (about 4 inches in length each banana).  It could be that Pisang Awak is smaller compared to Nam Wa Banana.  I didn't want to waste the batter, so more bananas was it.  The balance of the Banana Fritters were packed into serving size and stored in the freezer for future comsumption. 
No regrets in attempting this, dh gave a triple thumbs up! 

Source:  Faeez's Blog (BitterSweetSpicy), originally from Tes at Home
Yield:  3 big servings for 2 adults
6 Thai Banana (Nam Wa banana)- peeled, thinly sliced lengthwise *I used about 20 pieces of Pisang Awak*
1 cup rice flour (110g)
1/3 cup flour (55g)
1tsp baking powder
2tbsp sugar *I used 1 tbsp sugar and it was sufficiently sweet for us*
3/4 tsp salt *I used 1/4 tsp fine salt*
1 cup water
1/2 cup grated coconut (30g)
2tbsp sesame seed
Oil for deep frying
1/  Sift rice flour, flour and baking powder together in the mixing bowl. 
2/  Add salt plus sugar and gradually add water to mix well for a smooth batter. 
3/  Add sesame seed and grated coconut, and stir well together.
4/  Heat oil in the pan over the medium heat.
5/  Dip banana slices in the batter and deep fry them until golden brown. Serve hot.
My lazy method:
1/  Put all dry ingredients into a big bowl, then stir to mix using a whisk. 
2/  Add water to get a smooth batter, then add in grated coconut and sesame seed to combine and batter is ready for use.* 
a/  Cut bananas lengthwise with the peel on, then remove the peel.  It is easier and much faster to handle the slippery banana this way as compared to peeling the banana first then only slice. 
b/  You also get more uniformed slices of banana this method, and save your fingers from getting injured in the process.  **I learnt this method from watching the Pisang Goreng vendor(s) going about their business** 
c/  I didn't find it necessary to sift the dry ingredients together at first because each time before using the batter, I would stir it lest the flour gets settled to the bottom, so that would be sufficient to get everything together.  Also, one less tool to wash (re the sifter), so YaY! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

AFF Thailand: Chiang Mai Peppery Chicken

A simple stir-fry that I did at the spur of the moment because I thought I thawed the Deboned Chicken Thigh to cook Western Food for dinner last night. 
It turned out to be one whole chicken breast, so the meal plan was changed to having rice with this instead. 
A mistake which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the Chiang Mai Peppery Chicken was very comforting for the chilly weather since it has been raining consistently every evening here. 
Taste wise, it was perfect, I didn't need to adjust anything at all.  But if I were to cook it again, I will hold back on the fish sauce a bit because this dish was a tad too salty for our palate.  Probably go for 1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce first, then taste it before adding more, if necessary.  Problem might be due to the brand of fish sauce used too. 
Some mini minor changes I did to the recipe was using 2 red chilli instead of 1 red chilli and 1 green chilli called for in the recipe.  As for the 2 tablespoon of chopped garlic, I used a whole bulb of garlic since I minced the garlic just before cooking, it's a challenge to chop more garlic than needed, then measure out 2 tablespoon.  I also don't fancy keeping the extra chopped garlic in the fridge as it takes up unnecessary precious fridge space, so using the whole bulb was the best choice. 
Ground white peppercorn was substituted with white pepper because of availability. 
Water used was also reduced to 100ml, and that I find was just perfect for us, not too watery. 
Source: :  Adapted from "Nyonya Deli" by Chef Plilip Yoong (page 52)
2tbsp oil
2tbsp garlic (chopped)
4tbsp coriander root (chopped)
1tsp ground white peppercorns
500g chicken (cut into serving sized pieces) 
1 red chilli (sliced)
1 green chilli (sliced)
100ml water
1tbsp oyster sauce
1tbsp fish sauce
2tsp dark soya sauce
1tsp sugar
1/  Marinate the chicken with the seasoning first while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. 
2/  Heat up oil then sauté chopped coriander root, chopped garlic and white peppercorns till fragrant. 
3/  Add in chicken, red and green chillies and stir well until chicken turned opaque. 
4/  Add in water and simmer till sauce has thickened, then dish up and serve.