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BellaOnline's Thai Food Editor

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March 10 2005 Thai Food Newsletter


Here's the latest article from the Thai Food site at BellaOnline.com. Thai Cuisine Newsletter FREE Thai Cuisine Monthly Newsletter Sawasdeekha! (Thai greeting from a woman, meaning ‘hello’) This is my first recipe newsletter to you all as the new Thai Food Editor on BellaOnline. Thai is a cuisine that uses the freshest ingredients possible; basil, chiles, garlic, an array of vegetables, meats and seafood. Cooking methods, in most cases, are quick stir fries in a wok, or quickly sautéed curries in a pot. Jasmine rice is a must, as this fragrant rice is the perfect compliment to the lovely dishes of balanced flavours. Thai food is a cuisine of tasteful balanced dishes, and not all are hot - it is the artful balance of salty, sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter that makes it one of the world’s most unique and flavorful cuisines. I have been cooking Thai food for over 20 years, and have taught friends and family how to make simple, quick dishes of one of the most popular, exciting cuisines in the world. I look forward to helping each of you who visit this site to take the step into the adventure of easy to prepare Thai recipes, and the tranquil beauty of the Thai culture. I learned to make this dish several years ago from a chef friend, Kei from the Laos-Thai region which is known as Issan. Issan is in the North East plains area of Thailand and the cuisine has a commonality between the people of Thailand and Laos. This tasty and very quick dish is especially popular with men after a night of partying and drinking. Afterward, they gather at a noodle stall and order up Drunken Noodles. Our family loves this as an easy lunch or dinner. DRUNKEN NOODLES 8 ounces of wide rice ribbon noodles (sen yai or jutaboon)* 1 handful of shelled shrimp (optional) 1- 2 chopped chicken breasts 1/2" size 1/4 cup of firm tofu, cut into small cubes (optional) 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 1 sliced shallot (optional) 1/2 Red sweet pepper cut up in 1" square pieces 1/2 med. red onion cubed Handful of cubed head cabbage 1 cubed seeded tomato 1 whisked egg Generous sprinkling of white pepper The following coats the noodles with a "sauce" of great flavors 2 tablespoons Oyster sauce (Maek Rua or Dragonfly Brands) 1 tablespoon white (rice) vinegar 1 tablespoon fish sauce (Nam Plah) (taste and add at the end) 1+ tablespoons of date palm sugar (white sugar is okay if not available) 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon prik phom (ground red chiles) or Sambol Olek (ground chile in jar) 1/2 cup of bean sprouts (optional) 4-8 Chopped red prik kee nue (Thai bird chiles, fresh) Garnish with: cilantro green onions sliced Handful of bai kaprao (holy basil leaves) or Bai Horapha (Thai basil) 1 bulb of pickled garlic, thinly sliced 3-4 red Thai Dragon Chiles, julienned and placed in ice water to curl Toasted chopped peanuts Soak the noodles in warm water for about 15 minutes. Optional garnish = Reserve a handful of rice noodles and cut them into 3" lengths to fry in hot oil until crispy. Method Heat wok to smoking, add oil and swirl. Then fry shallots and garlic quickly, do not brown. Add chicken breast and brown, add veggies, scoop onto sides of wok, add eggs; cook, then flip over and shred in long ribbons. Add everything else. If you don't have a wok or are uncomfortable with the speed required, I would suggest cooking your ingredients before hand then just add them all at one time to the noodles and sauce ingredients. Toss in the bean sprouts, tomatoes, and basil at the end toss to warm, don't over cook them. If desired, the tofu can be marinated in some dark soy to which a couple of sliced chilies are added. Also there is a tofu available that is already flavored and kind of dry that is very tasty in this dish. The fried noodles, sliced green onions, toasted chopped peanuts, a little coriander, basil leaves, and the pickled garlic are then added as a garnish. * Sen Yai /Rice noodles: You can find these fresh in Oriental markets - don't put them in the refrigerator or they harden and you will go crazy trying to separate them. They also go sour if not used within a day. They are also available packaged dry - I always keep a package of the widest dry rice noodles handy for a quick Drunken Noodle fix. **I much prefer using only Thai Bird chiles and Thai Dragons in this and all Thai cooking, but in some areas it is difficult to find these. Serranos can be substituted. I am in California and Thai chiles are available fresh year round. I grow them myself all year round by bringing the potted chile plants inside from about Dec. to March. I normally would use more chiles than suggested in the recipe, but start here and work up to your taste tolerance! Remember Capsicums are addictive - the more you eat, the more you want, and the more you eat, the hotter you want. *** Fish sauce cooks out quickly and always needs to be added at the end. I prefer Golden Boy Brand Thai Fish Sauce. Copyright: Global Access, ltd. 1998 The following recipe is unusual in that it uses green chiles, which are also used in Thai green curries. You can decrease the called-for quantity of chiles to make this recipe milder. You can always serve a dish of Nam Pla Phrik (sliced chiles in fish sauce) on the side for those wishing to adjust the heat upwards. CHICKEN WITH BASIL GREEN CHILI 2 tbsp. peanut oil 6-8 cloves garlic, minced 8-12 Thai dragon chiles juilenned (or Serranos) 6 shallots, sliced 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2" thick slices 2-2 tbsp. fish sauce (nam pla - Golden Boy is a good brand) 2 tsp. date palm sugar (white sugar can be used) 1 tbsp. white vinegar (Coconut vinegar is best) 1 tbsp. sweet black soy sauce (see-eu wan) 1 1/2 c. loosely packed Thai basil or (1/2 fresh mint and 1/2 regular Basil) Place wok over medium-high heat. When hot, add oil and swirl to coat wok. Add the garlic and chilies and stir-fry briefly, just a few seconds, but do not let garlic brown. Increase the heat to high and add the chicken and shallots. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce. Stir-fry just until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the basil and continue cooking for a few seconds, just until the basil begins to wilt. Serve with steamed jasmine rice. Copyright: Global Access, ltd. 2003 http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art29594.asp/zzz Be sure to visit ThaiFood.bellaonline.com for even more great content about Thai Food. To participate in fun online discussions, this site has a bulletin board all about Thai Food that you can visit here - I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message, as it allows me to write about what interests you. Feel free to pass this message along to family and friends! Mary-Anne Durkee, Thai Food Editor http://ThaiFood.bellaonline.com


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