Tag Archives: chilli

Som Tam

Som Tam is a Thai style Green Papaya Salad. A popular street food, Som Tam can be found in road side stalls, markets and many restaurants in Thailand. There are many styles of Som Tam and it is believed to have originated in Laos. Isaan Som Tam is made by crushing small crabs  (Som Tam Pu) and is always very very hot! My Som Tam is more like Som Tam Thai which contains peanuts.

My Papaya was green on the outside but getting quite pinky orange on the inside. It was still firm enough to grate however, and very yummy.

Cooking Thai food is always about the taste. I don’t follow recipes I just do it to taste. What follows is what I did the last time I made Papaya salad but when making the dressing remember to mix it, then taste it and add the salt, sour and sweet flavours to taste as needed.

Papaya-salad

Ingredients

Dressing
2 Tbs fish sauce
3 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs palm sugar (or brown sugar)
3 cloves of garlic
2 small hot chillies

Salad
1 small papaya, peeled and grated
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely julienne
6 beans, very finely sliced
1 tomato, chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
a handful of bean sprouts
5 Tbs tiny dried shrimp (crushed a little in the mortar)
Roasted peanuts (or crushed nuts*)

Green-Papaya-Salad

Method

For the dressing
In a jar I mixed the first three ingredients of the dressing. I gave the jar a really good shake and then tasted the dressing. You should be able to taste the salt of the fish sauce, sourness of the lime and sweetness of the sugar. Adjust your dressing until you are happy with it by adding more of what is needed i.e. sour, sweet or salty.

With a mortar and pestle I crushed the garlic and red chillies and added them to the jar with the dressing. I gave it a really good shake and set it aside in the refrigerator until needed.

For the salad
In a bowl I mixed the papaya, carrot, chilli, beans, tomato, spring onion and shrimp. Then I added a couple of tablespoons of crushed nuts because I didn’t have any roasted peanuts. The peanuts in this salad are usually chunky.

I added the dressing and mixed the salad well before serving with a sprinkling of crushed nuts.

Like this recipe? Please pin or share with family and friends… thank you!

PIN_SomTam

Advertisements

Laos Larb Kai (Chicken Salad)

I have made the point of naming this Laos’ Larb Kai because it came to my attention while we were travelling in Laos, that the delicious meat salad called larb, did in fact originate in Laos not Thailand as many believe.

I have always enjoyed larb at the Thai restaurants in Adelaide, and in Thailand itself. I wasn’t surprised to see it on the menu in Laos, but I assumed, incorrectly, that the idea had derived from Thailand not the other way around. In fact, it is regarded as the national dish of Laos – unofficially.

This spicy meat salad is served at room temperature with sticky rice or salad vegetables.

IMG_1889 (1)

Ingredients

3 Tbs of uncooked sticky rice (Optional)
300g of chicken mince
3-4 asian shallots, finely sliced
2-3 stalks of spring onion, finely sliced (optional)
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
a handful each of mint and coriander* chopped
1 Tbs chilli flakes
The juice of one lime
1 Tbs fish sauce
1/2 Tbs brown sugar

How I make my larb….

First step is to toast the rice. I say optional for the rice because I have made it many times without the rice when I just wanted to make a quick meal. The toasted rice just adds texture.

To toast the rice, I just heated a wok on low heat without oil and added the rice. I continued to stir the rice until it browned and started to smell like popcorn about 10-15mins.

After I let the rice cool a little, I ground it in a mortal with pestle to a powder and set it aside.

For the salad dressing I mixed the juice of one lime with the fish sauce and brown sugar and set aside.

For the larb I added a little oil to my wok and fried up the chicken mince, breaking up any big lumps as I went. I removed the chicken from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. This is when I prepared my vegetables (cucumber and beans) with which I was going to serve with the larb.

Once I was ready to serve I added the shallot, spring onion, and chilli flakes to the chicken in the wok and stirred it well (without heat). I then tossed in the mint, coriander, chopped red chilli and mixed well. I added the dressing next giving the salad a mix, before finally adding three tablespoons of the rice powder.

TIP: add the rice powder gradually as is will depend on the texture you want – I added one tablespoon gave the salad a good toss and did a taste test, before repeat that same process twice more.

Serve with rice or lettuce cups, or as I did with sliced cucumber and green beans.

IMG_1895_1

Like this recipe? Please pin or share with friends and family… thank you!

This spicy meat salad is made with chicken and fresh herbs.

Tom Kha Gai

Sawadee Ka!

Tom Kha Gai, aka Thai Chicken Coconut Soup, is one of my absolute favourites! Now that we are back in Phuket I thought it was about time I made it. I first discovered this soup when Dwayne and I visited Phuket in 2007. I gotta say, I was a little reserved about trying a coconut soup… it didn’t look that appetising, but it was delicious! So flavoursome in fact, that I sat there tasting it and deciphering the flavours so I would be able to make it myself when I got back home. I think my tastebuds did a good job of recognising the ingredients and my Tom Kha Gai is delicious….. if I do say so myself! However, I don’t have a recipe to share with you as I cook it by taste every time I make it, and I forgot to write it down as I cooked it this time for the blog… doh! But I do remember what goes in it and what I did so I will explain it the best I can.

Tom Kha Gai
Tom Kha Gai

This is what I did….

I heated 1 cup of chicken stock and added about 8 kaffir lime leaves bruised and ripped apart, two sticks of lemon grass – the hard part remove and the inner white part bashed with a mallet; a couple of crushed garlic cloves, a 2cm piece of galangal, thinly sliced, a 2cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced and some chopped chilli.

I simmered it for 1/2 hour, then I added some chopped chicken and simmered for 10 minutes before adding the coconut milk (approx 250ml) and a handful of enoki mushrooms*. I simmered the soup for another 5 minutes and then added fish sauce, to taste, and a handful of coriander.

To serve, I ladled the soup into two large deep bowls and garnished with some more chopped coriander.

It is so easy to make and delicious!

Tom Kha Gai
Tom Kha Gai

Notes:

When I make Tom Kha Gai for Dwayne and I, I do not remove the chunks of ginger, galangal etc when I serve it, as this is how I have had it served to me most of the time in Thailand. However, when I have prepared this soup for guests I have strained the soup before I add the coconut milk, chicken, mushrooms, fish sauce and coriander.

*Shitake, or oyster mushrooms are more often used in Tom Kha Gai but enoki mushrooms were what I had at the time.

Enjoy!

Why don’t you pin this recipe so you will always know where to find it!

Tom Kha Gai - Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

 

 

Beef Rendang

One of our favourites, which we ate in abundance while cruising through Indonesia, is the beef rendang. Rendang is a spicy meat dish which originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia. [wikipedia] This dry style of curry is sometimes called caramelised beef curry because of the ‘reduction’ style of cooking.

Beef Rendang with coconut milk, chilli and kaffir lime leaves

Prior to refrigeration technology, this style of cooking enabled preservation of large amounts of meat. When the Minangkabau farmers killed a cow for a special occasion it was often turned into Rendang. Rendang provided a way to make the beef last for weeks in Indonesia’s hot tropical climate. For rendang the meat is cooked for hours with coconut milk and a paste of mixed ground spices, which includes ginger, galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, shallot and chilli. This paste has antimicrobial properties and serves as natural organic preservatives. 

For my rendang you will need the following ingredients….

2 small brown onions, chopped
8 asian shallots, chopped
10 cloves of garlic, chopped
2cm piece turmeric, chopped
1 tsp salt
15 dried long red chillies, soaked in boiling water until soft, drained
1 tsp ground coriander
2-3 tablespoons oil
1kg beef, cubed
5cm piece of galangal,
grated 2 sticks of lemongrass, (soft white only), finely chopped
2 sticks lemongrass (white only), smashed with the flat side of a knife
8 lime leaves
500ml coconut milk

Cooking rendang is a simple but lengthy process. My instructions are as follows…

Place the onions, shallots, garlic, turmeric, salt, chillies and coriander into a blender (or mortal & pestle) and process until smooth. Set aside the spice paste.

Grinding the spice mix for the Beef Rendang

Heat the oil in a pan and brown the beef in batches. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the galangal, lemongrass and lime leaves to the pan and fry for a minute in oil, remove and add to the beef.

On medium-low heat fry the spice paste for a few minutes, then add the beef and the galangal, lemon grass and lime leaves and the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 – 4 hours.

It is ready once the curry sauce has reduced and the oil is separating from the rest of the curry. Serve with steamed rice and enjoy the taste of Indonesia. This rendang is delicious ‘if I do say so myself’!

Beef Rendang - the oil separating from the curry.
Beef Rendang – the oil separating from the curry.

 

Dwayne’s Chilli Seafood

While cruising Indonesia we were lucky enough to visit a tiny fishing village on the island of Panebangan. The people were exceptionally friendly and welcomed us with huge smiles and a large bunch of bananas! It was at this village, the following morning, that we were invited onto a fishing boat for breakfast. Dwayne watched how the fisherman made chilli fish and it has since become Dwayne’s signature dish! This is great for when I don’t feel like cooking…. i.e. “I’d really love your chilli fish for dinner tonight Dwayne!”

Dwayne has made this a couple of times for dinner. Once he used fish and squid and the other time he used crayfish.

It’s simple and tasty. This is how he does it…

  • fresh chillies, chopped
  • fresh garlic, chopped
  • asian shallots, chopped
  • salt

Dwayne preparing his chilli fish

Blend all the above ingredients with the mortar and pestle.

Blending up the chilli and other ingredients

Add oil to a pan and heat.
Add the spice mix, fry until fragrant.
Add the seafood (fish or what ever you want) and fry it for a while.
Then add some water and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasional.
Season with salt as needed.

Serve with steamed rice.

Fish and squid with chilli sauce

Crayfish and roe in Dwayne's chilli sauce

For the full story of Panebangan check out Karamata and Surrounding Islands

Dwayne with his chilli crayfish

Guess what we are having for dinner tonight!

Chilli Mud Crab

We made this chilli crab while anchored off a small island in Indonesia called Lapan. We had been in Indonesian waters for three days, and had yet to find a village with a restaurant/Warung. Having a craving for something a little spicy we cooked up the last of our crabs (caught in Darwin) and enjoyed this chilli crab for lunch before we jumped in the very inviting water for a snorkel.

CHILLI MUD CRAB

This is is what I did…

To a small bowl I added and set aside;

2 Tbs of Hoisin sauce
½ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup Sweet Chilli Sauce
1 Tbs Fish sauce
¼ cup water
¼ tsp sesame oil.

Dwayne, in the meantime, cleaned and cut the crab into segments, cracking the claws to allow the flavour to enter and infuse the crab. I heated a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pot (I was currently wok-less) and sautéed three finely chopped garlic cloves and two teaspoons of grated ginger for about thirty seconds, then I added the crab pieces and stir-fried for around 3-4 minutes.

CHILLI MUD CRAB

I added the sauce and tossed to cover all the crab, heating it until it was just beginning to boil, then I reduced the heat to simmer, and covered until cooked (around 7 minutes). I added some chilli flakes (would have used sliced chilli, and sauted with garlic and ginger if I had any) and served with steamed basmati rice. Note: I would have used sliced chilli, and sauted it with the garlic and ginger if I’d had any at the time.

CHILLI MUD CRAB

Spicy Crayfish Risotto

I made this risotto while we were anchored in Darwin Harbour awaiting our visa and paperwork to set sail for Indonesia. The crayfish was caught on our way to Darwin as we cruised the Great Barrier Reef.

SPICY CRAYFISH RISOTTO made with a crayfish caught on the Great Barrier Reef

I have never made a risotto before, so I googled to get some ideas. In the end I combined some of my favourite flavours to make the risotto I had envisioned. Yay!

Ingredients for my crayfish risotto, chorizo, garlic, chilli, mushroom

This is what I did… I melted butter in a large pan and sautéed finely chopped onion and garlic, diced chorizo and sliced chilli until the onion had softened.

SPICY CRAYFISH RISOTTO

Next I added the rice and cooked it for approximately four minutes “toasting it”. This step apparently determines the final texture of the risotto. It heats the outside of the rice quickly thus preventing it from breaking and seals in the starch.

I then added a cup of white wine. On medium heat I cooked it until all the liqud was nearly absorbed. I then began the task of adding 1/4 of a cup of hot fish stock at a time, waiting for each to be absorbed before adding more, all the while stirring. When the rice was nearly done (a taste test will tell you) I added sliced mushroom, heaps of tarragon and the lobster.

SPICY CRAYFISH RISOTTO made with tarragon, chorizo, mushroom, chilli, garlic and crayfish
Spicy Crayfish Risotto

Was so good!