Posts Tagged ‘cooking lessons’

As I am presently reading Ruth Reichl’s gourmet memoir Save Me the Plums, I remember those days when Nissa and three of her close friends went on a five-day trip to Thailand to learn first hand how to cook Thai food. One of them is a famous chef now, well-known on television and some five-star hotels in the metropolis.  There were times during their student days when they would shop for ingredients and spend the night over cooking and experimenting in the kitchen.

One of Reichl’s features in her book was when she went to Thailand to study and learn Thai food.  Once in a while, the kids and I go to a Pad Thai restaurant to re-acquaint ourselves  with the taste and texture of Thai food. The first time I tried a glass of tamarind juice, I was sold.

I am reposting a previous blog post here back in June 2010. You may enlarge the pictures. They are high-resolution shots.

Discovering Thailand Cuisine Through My Daughter’s Eyes

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.

Here’s one recipe which is the whole family’s favorite when we eat at a Thai restaurant.  It’s called Chicken Wrapped in Pandanus Leaves.


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.

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Gosh! Headache, runny nose, cough, nasal congestion  –  it’s the whole rigmarole of having this cold that’s keeping me so lazy today.  I had a sore throat for almost a month  now then when I woke up this morning,  runny nose and severe cough have set it.  Sunday is always spent with the family and the only thing worthwhile that I did was to attend the 9am mass with them and cook for lunch.  Wee, even lazy Sundays sometimes have great surprises in store.  My daughter and I agreed to go out after the morning mass to buy ingredients for baking, but we were both coughing like crazy so we decided to stay home. It’s one of those times that we get to update each other about  anything under the sun, her work and their plans of getting married within the year.  Then she asked, “Are you excited Ma?” Let’s just say, I am imagining the time I could hold my first grandchild in my arms.  We both laughed. Everything is fine, really!

So we spent the afternoon just watching CJ7 on AXN .  CJ7 is a blend of comedy and drama and moral lessons. It’s actually a movie intended for children, surprisingly though, my daughter and I enjoyed watching it. The funny thing is, I shed a tear or two when the main character died leaving a son to fend for himself alone.  I haven’t watched TV for quite sometime but I do listen to the news on AM radio every morning.  When you want fresh news, I recommend you to try listening to an AM station. Oh, I remember now, my daughter loves to watch this program on Starworld , every Sunday, Junior Master Chef Australia. Don’t you envy those nine and eleven year-old kids showing their prowess  in the kitchen? I do. So if you have some time to spare, this program is really worth watching.

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