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Old 07-27-2005, 03:23 PM   #31
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The smell of cut up Makrut leaves.
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Old 08-04-2005, 07:12 PM   #32
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I love this site! One thing: When I lived in Hawaii, there was a rumor that Keo was actually a Cambodian or Laotian (don't remember which). His food was great, no matter what. Any of you who like to read should consider reading "The English Governess at the Siamese Court" just to get an idea of the ethnic mix in the area, and the way the borders have moved. There are a lot of influences from a lot of countries in Thai cuisine, and there was even in the 1860s, so you can just imagine how the modern cuisine has evolved.

To me the thing that really, really makes me thing of Thai cuisine (I've never been to Thailand, hubby was stationed there BC)(no dirty jokes there, OK?!) and hubby agrees is the masses of fresh herbs. Quite often at even the most authentic Thai restaurants in the US, they don't bother with them ... the 'locals' don't 'get it', don't appreciate it, so it isn't worth the trouble and expense. Ditto Vietnamese cuisine. But in Hawaii and out west, when we'd eat southeast Asian cuisine, there would be masses of fresh mint, cilantro, basil, etc, not only cooked into the dish, but presented with the dishes, to break and put into your food. Those fresh flavors are missing in most US restaurants I've visited.

My favorite Thai dish isn't available most places around the country .... mee krob (you can spell it a half-dozen ways), and is one I'm unlikely to try to reproduce (hate to deep fry).

But I vote for tons of fresh herbs and greens.
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Old 08-11-2005, 10:18 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bknox
Every now and again I make curry paste. This opened a discussion with my younger brother about 'what is a true Thai flavor'. Curry always makes me think of Thai food but Tim says Lemongrass reminds him of Thai and that curry is too universal to be Thai specific (whatever).

My question;

What flavor or flavors remind you most of Thai cooking?

Bryan
Quite honestly Indian curries and Thai curries share very few of the same ingredients!!!

Flavours of Thai cooking are kaffir lime leaves (bai magroot), chiles of course, Thai Basils (bai Krapao, bai mengluk, and bai Horpha), lemongrass, and of course fish sauce/nam pla. However a good fish sauce is of great importance. It should be a light carmel colour and have little fragrance. If it is overtly fishy it most likely is old or a dreadful brand. Golden Boy is an excellent brand of fish sauce.
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Old 08-11-2005, 10:27 PM   #34
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Smile Thai dry rub & Thai Barbecued Chicken (Gai-Gai)

I think you are confusing Indian and Thai with adding anise and cinnamon. These are not commonly if ever used in Thai cuisine. Fresh giner rarely, galangal or kha chai yes. Garlic often.

Sugar/date palm sugar is used as a balance with sour of lime juice. Remember Thai cuisine is a balance of spicy, sour, salty, sweet, and sometimes bitter like the pea eggplants in some curries.

One of the favourite Thai dishes is barbecued chicken. When you stop along the way on the train or nuses local people come onboard with skinny barbecued chickens on bamboo sticks yelling gai-gai. It is usually served with sticky rice and chilli (sic) sauce in the North of Thailand.

Bangkok barbecue is more of a yellow curry-coconutr milk marinade.

Mary-Anne
Thai Food Editor
Bellaonline.com



Quote:
Originally Posted by bknox
I think I will have to give up the curry, It does remind more of Indian cuisine, and go with more of a lemon grass and coconut milk combination.

I was digging through some spice blends the other day to try and define a Thai flavor and came across the following rub recipe. I used it on chicken.

1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground Anise seed
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspooon ground cloves

I thought it was great. Reminded me of Asian cuisine but not Thai specifically. Maybe I will play with using lemongrass and ginger and see if it hits any nerves.

Bryan
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Old 08-11-2005, 10:36 PM   #35
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vegetables, fish sauce, and such

The sugar was NOT added to cover the flavour of the fish sauce. It was added as a balance if using lime juice and sugar. Remember Thai cuisine is about balance!!!! They would have been very haooy to have date palm sugar instead of the common white stuff.

In Issan (north east) many more vegetables are used than in other parts of Thailand. Many times these vegetables have a sourness to them. This is eaten with the special rice of theis area. It is a Jasmine, but is somewhat like stickyt rice in consistency. It is best steamed not ever boiled.

My guess by his name, Bhun Pheng, was Lao-Thai and from Isan. Many people are a mixture as they cross the border river and are of mixed blood.

Mary-Anne, Thai Food Editor
Bellaonline.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by kyles
I was lucky enough to live with a group of very lovely Thai boys at university. They used fish sauce, chilli, lemon grass when they could afford it, and lots of sugar to take the fishy taste away, which used to make me laugh (in a nice way) they would splash in the sauce, taste and throw in sugar! Lemongrass was not freely available in 1990's Tasmania so they made do.
They used a lot more vegetables than you find in restaurant Thai cuisine.
I really miss them, especially Bhun Pheng, who was so funny. The uni had lots of mushroom compost laid down and he used to pick all the mushrooms and cook them. Sadly the university didn't like a sandaled and shorted Thai boy picking mushrooms by the side of the road, and had them poisoned. He just couldn't believe our attitudes in the west to how we waste food.
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Old 08-11-2005, 10:46 PM   #36
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Smile Thai ingredients & good Thai cookbooks

David Thompsens book is sort of the Larouse of Thai cooking and probably not for a Beginner.

Fresh ingredients are a must. Remember dry lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves are worthless! A huge element in Thai cuisine is fragrance!

There are several very authentic books I'd suggest.

Victor Sodsok's True Thai is filled with excellent recipes. You follow these recipes and you will cook great Thai food.

My favourite Thai cooking instructor (Oakland, CA) and authour is Kasma Loha-Unchit. Her fist book Raining Fishes won the James Beard award for the International category. Her second book is Dancing Shrimps.

The recipes in her books are mainly for seafood as she is from Bangkok.

Following recipes in Kasma's books guarantees authentic Thai taste. Many of her recipes are available on her site:

www.thaifoodandtravel.com

I might add at the moment I have over 70 recipes posted that I have learned in Thailand during my 30+ trips to the Kingdom on the Thai Food section on Bellaonline.com

Mary-Anne, Thai Food Editor
Bellaonline
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
In general I agree but this book is a huge exception to the rule: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

It's a fabulous Thai cookbook, albeit perhaps too authentic for many.

And I agree 1000000000000% about the use of authentic ingredients.
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Old 08-11-2005, 10:55 PM   #37
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Bangkok and cuisine

Yes Miang Kam is wonderful. BTW that leaf is called Chaploo in Thai or Lalot in Vietnamese. Most Asian markets in the US call it lalot. It is also used a vegetable. You can roll ground meat, lemongrass, chiles, garlic, etc. mixed together in these leaves. You secure with bamboo like toothpicks (shorter) and grill. Wonderful taste.

If you are in BKK if you haven't expierence Somboon's curry crab-do so!!!!! One location is near Patpong and the other is way out maybe soi 120. They closed the one by Chulalongkorn University :-( Oh and there is one near Siam Square. Don't order the crab meat out of the shell. LOL You must suck the meat and curry out of the shells for real flavour. You will be hooked for life like our family!

On every trip we eat there several times.

You do understand about Thai cuisine and it's balances of hot, sour, sweet, salty and sometimes bitter! Textures are fabulous like the Kay Soy (Curry noodle soup) It is usually made with a curry rich with coconut milk, chicken, egg noodles, and topped with crisy fried noodles. It is typical of Chiang Mai and near the Burmese border as it is originally a Burmese dish.

Mary-Anne
Thai Food Editor
Bellaonline.com


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chopstix
I'm very lucky to be living in Bangkok for half a year now. On top of many wonderful things, it's been an amazing gastronomic experience. For me what makes up Thai flavor is the creative combination of contrasting yet complementary flavors, colors, and textures -- sweet, sour, hot, salty, crunchy, spicy -- and always, the exotic taste of fresh herbs (like Thai Basil, cilantro, kaffir lime leaves, mint leaves, lemongrass, etc). An indispensable condiment on any self-respecting Thai's table are chopped bird's eye chili in fish sauce.

They have an incredible appetizer dish here called Mien Kam. All the ingredients are laid out on a tray and you're supposed to place 1 or 2 pieces of each ingredient on a small cookie-sized round leaf (mind you, this is a leaf from some plant and not from a vegetable): small dried shrimps, ginger, peanuts, toasted coconut shavings, chopped chili, diced onion, diced lime. Top everything with a thick sweet coconut paste and roll the whole thing up like a tiny spring roll. Pop it all in your mouth in one go. I promise you, you won't believe the amazing explosion of flavours in your mouth!

How the Thais thought to combine all these different things to make such an incredibly simple but unforgettable dish is beyond me. Just one more thing that fascinates me about the Thai people.
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Old 08-11-2005, 10:57 PM   #38
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spices

Remember to pan roast your spices to release the flavours before grinding.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bknox
How about it! i thought the anise seed was unusual as well but thought the dry rub was excellent.

As far as measuring anything, my rule of thumb is get as close as possible. I use a coffee mill as well to grind spices and find that if you measure before you grind it is pretty close. My biggest problem is not grinding it into a fine powder because I prefer pepper to be a little crunchy.

Glad you enjoyed the recipe. I am going to attempt a new one tonight that hopefully will be more specific to a Thai blend. I failed horribly last night and I had to make my wife something else. If I succeed I will post the recipe.

Bryan
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Old 08-11-2005, 11:05 PM   #39
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Smile Fresh Herbs

In Vietnamese Cuisine the "salad" plate of mounds of fresh herbs is a must for every meal. These herbs are eaten with each dish.


The Thais garnish often with the herbs incorporated in a dish to accent the flavours.

I love making Thai salad rolls using shrimp, pork, bean thread noodles, fresh herbs, red leaf lettuce. etc. You wrap this all in rice papers, and have a dipping sauce. The recipe is on Bellaonline.com Thai Food. This is a fresh and easy meal for summer time. You could even have a roll your own party!

BTW it is easy to grow the herbs. In many cases such as with the Thai basils (bai horpha, bai krapao, and bai mengluck) you can buy a bunch remove and use the leaves, then stick the stems in a glass of water, after the roots devlope, just plant for new busy plants. I do this with Shiso called purple mint also in SE asia.

Mary-Anne
Thai Food Editor
Bellaonline.com
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire
I love this site! One thing: When I lived in Hawaii, there was a rumor that Keo was actually a Cambodian or Laotian (don't remember which). His food was great, no matter what. Any of you who like to read should consider reading "The English Governess at the Siamese Court" just to get an idea of the ethnic mix in the area, and the way the borders have moved. There are a lot of influences from a lot of countries in Thai cuisine, and there was even in the 1860s, so you can just imagine how the modern cuisine has evolved.

To me the thing that really, really makes me thing of Thai cuisine (I've never been to Thailand, hubby was stationed there BC)(no dirty jokes there, OK?!) and hubby agrees is the masses of fresh herbs. Quite often at even the most authentic Thai restaurants in the US, they don't bother with them ... the 'locals' don't 'get it', don't appreciate it, so it isn't worth the trouble and expense. Ditto Vietnamese cuisine. But in Hawaii and out west, when we'd eat southeast Asian cuisine, there would be masses of fresh mint, cilantro, basil, etc, not only cooked into the dish, but presented with the dishes, to break and put into your food. Those fresh flavors are missing in most US restaurants I've visited.

My favorite Thai dish isn't available most places around the country .... mee krob (you can spell it a half-dozen ways), and is one I'm unlikely to try to reproduce (hate to deep fry).

But I vote for tons of fresh herbs and greens.
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Old 08-12-2005, 08:45 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shantihhh
If you are in BKK if you haven't expierence Somboon's curry crab-do so!!!!! One location is near Patpong and the other is way out maybe soi 120. They closed the one by Chulalongkorn University :-( Oh and there is one near Siam Square. Don't order the crab meat out of the shell. LOL You must suck the meat and curry out of the shells for real flavour. You will be hooked for life like our family!
Hey Shantihhh, many thanks for all that information about Thai food. A friend's invited me to Somboon but I passed. I'll try it soon. What's the Thai name of the curry crab with shell on?
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