Friday, March 19, 2010

Thai by Request

We have a friend visiting for the weekend and in preparation, a few emails were circulated to discuss food options.  On the menu tonight:
Tom Ka Gai - Coconut Chicken Soup
Grilled Halibut with lime, garlic, ginger
Fried Rice with lemongrass and coconut milk
Wok Fried Pea Sprouts with garlic

The Tom Ka Gai is a recipe adapted from Pranee, a woman who cooked, with us, a thai meal at a friend's house.  
1 1/2 Cups Water
6 pieces sliced galangal
1 lemongrass stalk, smacked and sliced into one inch lengths
4 shallots, smacked
5 Kaffir lime leaves - 1 substituted 2 slices of lime
3-5 smacked chilies - left out because of the kids
2 chicken breasts, sliced - I only  used one
1/2 to 1 cup coconut milk - I used 1/2
1/2 cup oyster mushrooms - I used 1 cup - love em
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
Sugar as needed - I used a bit of palm sugar
In a saucepan bring water to boil, add in galangal, lemongrass, shallot, Kaffir lime leaves and chili.  Let boil 1 minute.  Put in chicken.  When chicken is cooked, put in coconut milk.  Still until it boils.   Add in rest of ingredients and bring just to boil.  I remove all the herbs so you don't have to pick thought it when eating.  The lime slices make it a bit bitter.  Oh, how I miss the Kaffir leaves.  The soup is a burst of a fragrant bouquet,  acting as a wake up call.  It is flavorful and light and disappears from my bowl almost immediately.

This was a beautiful piece of halibut.  Snow white, firm and marble like.  I didn't want to cover it up, so 15 minutes before cooking, I brushed the fish with the following mixture hoping it would not be overpowering:
For 2.5 lbs of halibut
2 tsp each of minced ginger and garlic
Juice of half a lime
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp veg oil
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sweet soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1tsp sesame oil

Pea sprouts are my favorite vegetable.  Simple and pure wok fried in a bit of vegetable oil, salt and garlic.  When prepping, pinch off the thread like fronds and only keep the tender portion of the sprout.  If it feels tough to break off, then it will be tough to eat.  
Be careful not to overcook.  Saute on high heat only until the leaves just wilt.  

Fried Rice with Lemongrass and Coconut Milk
4 cups white rice
1 tsp each of minced garlic and ginger
1 tbsp minced lemongrass from inner tender portion of the stalk
1 small shallot minced
2 tsp sweet soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp coconut milk
about 20 or so basil leaves
vegetable oil
In a large wok, saute garlic, ginger, lemongrass and shallot in oil until softened.  Add rice and combine.  Then add in soy, fish sauce, and coconut milk.  Toss and stir fry well and add in basil leaves to finish.  Top with a fried egg, or two, if you'd like.
I felt a little off my game tonight.  What was it?  I don't know.  Everything was good.  But it felt like it could have been better.  I am left wanting...something.



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