I was plain excited when my daughter came home from a five-day trip to Bangkok, Thailand. She was in the company of some friends and she was so enthusiastic in sharing her experience touring the place and absorbing the culture. Five days would not be enough to see all there is to see about the place but they went there for the food tour, they enrolled in a Thai cooking school to learn authentic Thai recipes. More than anything , I was elated when she brought home several ingredients for Thai cooking.
Two months ago, I bought a cookbook on Thai Cuisine and both of us planned of trying some of the recipes there. Thai cuisine has a lot of similarities to some Filipino food so it is not so hard to find fresh ingredients in the wet market. I just told her to source for dry ingredients which are difficult to buy here. And she came home with several packets of Coriander seeds, dried Kaffir lime leaves, red curry paste, chilli powder, whole white pepper, instant Phad-kapraow paste and hot and sour curry paste, good enough for several experiments in the kitchen.
The richness of Thai cooking is more pronounced through its skillful use of wealthy colors, tastes, textures and smell wonderfully incorporated in every recipe that they use. Many people think that Thai cooking is a complex process since they use a lot of ingredients and spices. It is said that “much of the heat of the spicy dishes comes from red and green peppers” which we commonly know as chillies. The Thai call it Phrik. Thai food comes in varied forms like soups, fresh vegetable salads, dips, grilled meat, fish or chicken but the most popular is the use of curry paste. I’ve been accustomed to using the yellow curry powder so I was surprised that there is a red one too.
Chicken Wrapped in Pandanus Leaves (Kai Hor Bai Toey)
You would need:
2 cups of boneless chicken meat
10 pandanus leaves (Pandan in Tagalog)
Oil for deep frying
Pound Marinade together into a paste:
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sesame oil
1-2 tsp. pepper corn
3 garlic cloves
2 coriander roots
And the ingredients for the sauce:
1 tsp. white sesame seeds
1/2 cup ( 250 ml.) distilled white vinegar
1 cup (100 grams) sugar
1 tbsp. black soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
Cut chicken meat into bite-sized pieces. Mix the marinade with the chicken. Set aside in the refrigerator for three hours. To prepare the sauce, cook the same seeds in a skillet for 2 minutes without oil or until lightly browned. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix white vinegar, sugar, black soy sauce and salt. Add the sesame seeds and set aside.
Wrap two or three pieces of chicken in each pandanus leaf to form a knot. Alternatively, wrap each pandanus leaf around the chicken to form a bundle and secure with a toothpick.
Heat oil in a wok or small frying pan. Deep fry until fragrant. (about 5 minutes). Serve with sauce and steamed rice.