Wednesday 9/7 Thai/Sichuan
Tom Kha Gai
The ingrediants for this one can be really tough to find; Asian grocery stores are you friend. I’ve found the one by the East side Kroger to be the best in town. Often their herbs are better and cheaper than anything you find in a regular grocery store. If you can get your hands on good ingredients this is a fairly simple, delicious soup to make.
3 Cups Chicken Stock
2 Cans Coconut Milk
12oz Mushrooms (not Portobello or Shiitake)
2 Stalks Lemon Grass
5-10 Thai Bird’s Eye Chiles
½ cup Galangal
10ish Kaffir Lime Leaves
1½-3 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1) Slice the Galangal into thin pieces (use the younger, less fibrous tender tips, if you only have fibrous parts only use 5-6 slices). Cut the Lemongrass stalk into one inch pieces and smash them with something heavy. Remove the stems from the lime leaves and tear them into little pieces
2) Smash the Chilies like the lemongrass
3) Chop chicken into bite size pieces. Clean and cut mushrooms into bit size pieces.
1) Add Coconut Milk, Chicken Stock, Lime Leaves, Lemongrass, and Galangal to a pot and heat on medium lowish (you don’t want the water to boil; you’re aiming for about 170 degrees) for a good 10 min.
2) Add the Chicken and Mushrooms. Stir occasionally
3) When the chicken is cooked through put in the Chilies
4) Season to taste with fish sauce and lime juice
This can be either moderately difficult or very difficult depending on if you make your own curry paste. While making your own curry paste makes the dish really special you can have something perfectly delicious using store bought. Asian grocery stores are your friend in finding this, make you sure you buy a thai sourced paste.
2lb Stewing Beef
1 Can Coconut Milk
1lb Low Starch Potatoes (red for instance)
8oz pear onions
2tb tamarind paste
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts
4oz Massaman curry paste (or to taste)
10 big dried chilies, roasted, soaked and seeded
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, roasted
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, roasted
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted
2 cloves, roasted
2 cardamom pods, roasted
1 teaspoon shrimp paste, roasted
1/2 teaspoon powdered nutmeg (not roasted)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon magroot skin
1 teaspoon galangal
1 tablespoon coriander roots
1 tablespoon lemongrass
1/4 cup shallots
2 tablespoons garlic
Curry Paste Directions
Dry roast the dry spices in a pan on medium heat until fragrant, about 2-4 minutes. It’s best to roast each thing one at a time until fragrant. The chilies should be browned. Roast the shrimp paste wrapped in tin foil for a few minutes too.
Soak the dried chilies until soft, then take out the seeds and inner bits and chop fine.
Pound the paste in a stone mortar & pestle. Start by grinding up the dried spices until powdered, then set aside. Put the chilies in the mortar and pound until uniformly smashed, then add the rest of the ingredients, starting from hardest and driest and working up to softest at the end. Then add the dried spice powder back in and the shrimp paste. Mix well. If using a food processor, just mix it all in together.
1) Chop the beef into large bite size cubes
2) Cut the potatoes into slightly larger chunks
1) Heat the pot to medium high, Mix the thick, creamy part of the coconut milk with the curry paste until, mixture is creamy, begins to bubble and the coconut starts to turn oily
2) Add the Meat and stir to coat.
3) Add remaining Coconut Milk and just enough water to barely cover the meat.
4) Bring to a boil and then immediately lower to a gentle simmer. Cover.
5) Cook until meat is almost tender. (exact time varies on the cut, but a generous hour should be enough for most)
6) Add Onions, Potatoes, and 2 tbs Fish sauce to the pot, continue to simmer for about 15 minutes
7) Season to taste with tamarind, and palm sugar, cook until potatoes and onions are tender, about 5 more minutes
8) Add peanuts and serve
This is a fairly easy appetizer to make. It is strangely tasty and can be really pretty…
½ lb ground pork (or equal parts ground pork and shrimp)
3 tablespoons finely-chopped cilantro stems
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium-sized shallots
1/3 cup coarsely-ground roasted peanuts
3tb fish sauce
¼ cup palm sugar
fresh cilantro leaves and red pepper cut into thin slivers, for garnish
Chop Cilantro and Garlic, pound with white peppercorns to form a smooth paste
Thinly Slice Shallots
Cut Pineapple into ½ in thick bite size pieces
1) In a skillet, over medium heat, fry up the paste in oil until fragrant. 1-2 Min
2) Add the shallots, cook till softened. 3ish Min
3) Add the pork, fish sauce, and palm sugar. Cook till meat is done. 5ish Min
You want the mixture to resemble loose jam at this point, taste it. Adjust seasoning with more fish sauce and palm sugar as needed. The flavor should be sweet, “candied meat” sweet, and a bit salty. Don’t be surprised if you end up needing more palm sugar than you thought.
4) Add the peanuts and continue to cook the mixture until it becomes thick and sticky.
Remove the pan from heat and let the mixture cool completely.
Right before serving time, form the pork mixture into 3/4-inch balls and place each one on top of each pineapple piece. Top each bite with one cilantro leaf and a couple of red pepper slivers. Serve immediately.
The Sichuan recipes are from Fuschia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty. She’s my go to chef for regional Chinese cooking, all her books, though this one in particular are highly recommended. None of these recipes are terribly difficult…
Bang Bang Chicken
1lb shredded chicken
1tb White Sugar
1tb light soy sauce
1tb black Chinese vinegar
*3tb Sesame Paste
1tb Sesame Oil
*2tb Chili Oil
.5-1tsp roasted Sichuan pepper
3tsp toasted sesame seeds
Cut Scallions into Slivers
Stir Sugar, soy sauce and vinegar until dissolved. Slowly add sesame paste mixing to keep smooth. Add everything else besides sesame seeds.
Lay scallions down first, chicken on top, the pour sauce over
Fish Fragrant Chicken
1lb Shredded Chicken
2-3 Finely chopped Scallion greens
1tb finely chopped ginger
1tb finely chopped garlic
3tb light soy sauce
1tb Black Chinese Vinegar
1tb White Sugar
*2tb Chili Oil
2tsp Sesame Oil
*1-2tb Pickled Chili Paste
Finely Chop Scallions, garlic, ginger.
Combine Soy Sauce, Vinegar, and Sugar and stir to dissolve sugar. Add Oils, then then everything else.
Pour over chicken
Kung Pao Chicken
*1 1/3 lb Chicken
6 garlic cloves
Same amount Ginger
10 Scallion Whites
4tb peanut oil
2tsp whole Sichuan Peppercorn
1.3 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
4tsp Light Soy Sauce
2tsp Shaoxing Rice Wine
1 ½ tb Cornstarch
2 ¼ tsp Cornstarch
2tsp dark soy sauce
2tsp light soy sauce
2tsp sesame oil
2tb chicken stock/water
Chop chicken into half inch cubes
Thinly slice garlic and ginger, equivalent sizes
Scallions into horse ears about size of chicken
Snip chilis in half, removing seeds
Mix all marinade ingreadients together, put chopped chicken in
Mix all sauce ingreadients together. Taste, adjust as needed.
1) Add 2 tb of oil to pan, turn on high heat. When oil is hot but not yet smoking add chiles and Sichuan pepper until crisp and oil is fragrant)
2) Add chicken and stir constantly. When Chicken cubes have separated and ginger, garlic, and scallions. Continue until chicken is cooked through (5ish minutes)
3) Add sauce, stirring. When sauce has thickened a bit and gotten a little shiny add the peanuts, give a quick stir and serve