Friday, March 25, 2011

Thai Green Chicken Curry

March is Thai Cuisine Month at FabFri

Thailand is famous for its fresh tasting curries, made from aromatic pastes of chilies, fresh herbs, roots, fish sauce and seasonings. The most well known are Green curry, Red Curry, Masaman Curry (sweet and sour) and Penang curry. Most curry pastes are available ready to use in the grocery stores, but there is no comparison to the flavor and color of the homemade pastes.
Green curry paste has the fresh and aromatic flavors of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and coriander seeds. This paste can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use it with chicken or fish or even tofu and vegetables to make a flavorful curry.

Green Curry Paste
Ingredients: (makes about half cup)
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp white peppercorns
4-5 tbsp water
12 Thai chilies
5-6 cloves of garlic
2 lemongrass stalks, coarse outer leaves discarded, chopped
5 Fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves
1 1/4 cup fresh coriander
rind of 1 lime
  1. Dry fry coriander and cumin seeds in a moderately hot skillet for 2 minutes until fragrant. 
  2. Grind these seeds along with peppercorns coarsely using a mortar and pestle. 
  3. Put the ground spice mix along with all other ingredients in a blender and process for 2-3 minutes into a thick and smooth paste. 
  4. Transfer to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Green Chicken Curry
Ingredients: (serves 4)

2 tbsp peanut oil/vegetable oil
2-3 Tbsp green curry paste (recipe above)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cubed
2 kaffir lime leaves torn
1 lemongrass stalk finely chopped
1/2 inch galangal chopped fine
1 cup coconut milk
16 baby eggplants halved
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
salt to taste (optional)
fresh Thai basil leaves to garnish
  1. Heat wok to high heat and add oil. Add curry paste and stir fry for 40 seconds to release the aromas. 
  2. Add salt, chicken, lime leave, galangal, eggplants and lemon grass and fry for 3-4 minutes until chicken turns white. Make sure you add less salt because fish sauce is very salty and will be added later to the dish. 
  3. Add coconut milk and simmer for 8-10 minutes till chicken cooks through and eggplants are just tender. 
  4. Stir in the fish sauce and garnish with basil. Serve over a bed of steamed rice.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pad Thai (Thai Fried Rice Noodles)

Pad Thai is a universal fave among Thai food lovers and a popular midday snack in Thailand. It has become a signature dish at Thai restaurant around the world and varies enormously. I love Pad Thai because it is a one dish meal and is a blend of interesting flavors all in one. The trick to making a good pad Thai is to not overcook the rice noodles and making the dish in batches to serve maybe 1 or 2 at a time. Overcrowding the wok with all the ingredients leads to a mushy and oily lump of noodles. Also prep all the ingredients and keep ready before heating the wok, this way you will never overcook the noodles. This recipe serves four, just cook each portion separately.

Ingredients:(serves 4)
200 gm dried white rice noodles
28 medium sized raw shrimps de-veined and peeled
200 gm firm tofu cut into bite sized pieces
4 eggs beaten
8 tbsp roasted unsalted roughly ground peanuts
4 cups beansprouts
1 can water chestnuts drained (optional)
1 can baby corn drained (optional)
4-5 green onions chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
8 tbsp oil
For 1 1/2 cups pad Thai sauce
1 cup tamarind pulp (for sour part)
1/3 cup brown or white sugar (for sweet part)
1/2 cup fish sauce (for salty part)
Paprika to taste (for spicy part)
Garnish with
Chopped peanuts
Green onion
Sprigs of coriander
Chopped green onion
Lime wedges
Hot sauce 
Chopped Thai red chilies
  1. Start by making the pad Thai sauce. Mix all ingredients at medium heat until well blended. Keep aside while you prep the other ingredients. 
  2. Soak the rice noodles in hot water until al dente - OK to eat with a bite in it. Remember they will cook some more in the wok later. Drain and add a tsp oil so they won't stick together and keep aside. 
  3. Heat wok to smoking point and add oil. Add garlic and tofu and cook for a minute till tofu is crisp and slightly brown at the edges. 
  4. Now add the noodles along with 1/3 cup of pad Thai sauce. Stir vigorously while breaking the noodles so they don't lump together. Cook until noodles are a bit soft. 
  5. Push the noodles to one side and crack an egg in the center. Scramble and mix with the noodles. 
  6. Push the noodles to one side again and add shrimps, green onions, water chestnuts, baby corn, peanuts and bean sprouts. Toss these till shrimp are cooked thru about a minute or two. 
  7. Turn off the heat and give the wok a good stir to mix everything up. 
  8. Serve hot with a sprinkling of lime juice and garnished with peanuts, coriander and green onion. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Satay Chicken Skewers

Satay chicken skewers
Satay is a dish of marinated and grilled pieces of meat served with a spicy sauce. It is popularly associated with Thai food but may have its origins in Indonesia. Succulent pieces of lamb, chicken or pork are cooked over a charcoal grill to retain their juiciness within while creating a crisp exterior. It is accompanied by the famous peanut sauce and cucumber relish at the beginning of a meal along with a soup.

Satay Chicken Skewers
Ingredients: (serves 4)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
wooden skewers
1/2 onion sliced
2-3 cloves garlic
1 inch piece galangal sliced
2-3 Thai chilies
1 lemongrass stalk chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
1-2 tsp sugar
1 tsp oil
  1. Cut the chicken into thin strips and place in a bowl.
  2. Soak the wooden skewers in water for 15-20 minutes to prepare them for the grill.
  3. Put all other ingredients in a food processor and process well. Taste to see if the balance of sweet and salty is correct. Add more sugar or fish sauce(for saltiness).
  4. Pour the marinade on the chicken and mix well. Marinate for at least 2 hours or maximum overnight.
  5. Thread the meat onto the skewers.
  6. Grill on the BBQ or broil in the oven on high on the topmost rack turning every 5 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the meat this should be done within 15-20 minutes. Do not overcook.
  7. Serve with Nam Jim Satay (recipe below) and slices of cucumber as an appetizer OR over a bed of steamed rice or rice noodles with the peanut sauce as a more substantial meal.
Satay chicken skewers with peanut sauce

Peanut sauce
Indispensable with satay, this crunchy sauce works great as a dip with spring rolls and other grilled meats. Thin it out with some water and use as a delicious salad dressing over sprout salad or greens.
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup roasted peanuts
2 tbsp sugar
2-3 tsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp lemongrass
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
3 red chilies
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2-3 tbsp fish sauce
  1. In a dry grinder grind the peanuts to a coarse powder.
  2. Process the last 7 ingredients with just enough coconut milk to moisten the mix.
  3. In a pan take 1 tsp oil and on medium heat gently stir fry the above mix until it turns light brown.
  4. Add the remaining coconut milk and peanut powder along with sugar and tamarind pulp. Simmer for 10 minutes stirring often until desired sauce type consistency is obtained.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)

March is Thai Cuisine Month at FabFri

Thai food is known for its balance of the four fundamental flavours in each dish or the overall meal -- salty, spicy, sweet and sour. Fresh and aromatic basil, cilantro, galangal (sharper more peppery version of ginger), hot red and green thai chillies, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and fish sauce are some of the most commonly used ingredients in Thai cuisine.
I got hooked on to these flavours fairly recently and since then have explored and tried several versions of some of the most popular recipes. This month we are feasting on all these dishes and getting high on Thai. So join us and enjoy.

Tom Yum Goong
Perhaps the most famous of all Thai soups is this delicious spicy shrimp soup called Tom Yum Goong. It is a perfect blend of all four Thai flavours and is a great concoction to clear up your sinuses this allergy season. In Thailand it is often served in a charcoal heated hotpot.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
6 Cups water
6 lemongrass stalks crushed
3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
10 kaffir lime leaves
1-4 Thai red chilies finely chopped (number depends on the desired spice level)
1 inch galangal peeled and finely chopped
2-4 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 lb raw shrimp, deveined and peeled
2 oz mushrooms sliced
12 cherry tomatoes halved OR 4 regular tomatoes cut in thick thunks
juice of 2 limes
cilantro and basil leaves for garnish
  1. Pour stock in a large stock pot and add lemongrass, cilantro, lime leaves, chilies, galangal, fish sauce and sugar. Cover and bring to boil, simmer for 3 minutes.
  2. Add shrimp and mushrooms and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and lime juice. Check seasoning and add more fish sauce (for salty flavor) and sugar if necessary.
  4. Remove and discard lemongrass stalks. Serve garnished with cilantro and basil.