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Friday Foods: Thai Green Curry

Thai green curry
Photo by jetalone

The first time I encountered green curry was when my colleagues and I went to Bali Thai, for a fellow colleague’s farewell dinner. I didn’t know what to expect as I’ve never had it before. I was surprised at how creamy, yet spicy it was. At that time, I was on a cooking binge so I searched and found a relatively simple (but tedious) recipe for green curry from scratch.

Ingredients
For the green curry paste
* 15 large fresh green hot chillies
* 3 shallots, sliced
* 9 cloves garlic
* 1 tsp finely sliced fresh galangal
* 1 tbsp sliced fresh lemon grass
* 1/2 tsp finely sliced kaffir lime rind
* 1 tsp chopped coriander root (or substitute coriander stems if unavailable)
* 5 white peppercorns
* 1 tbsp roasted coriander seeds
* 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
* 1 tsp sea salt
* 1 tsp shrimp paste (omit this is you’re going vegetarian)

For the curry
* 400 grams beef (a little less then 450g)
* 1 tbsp cooking oil (corn, safflower or peanut oil, not olive oil)
* 3 tbsp green curry paste (more if you like it spicier)
* 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
* 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn
* 5-10 small fresh Thai eggplants, quartered
* 2-3 fresh red chilies, sliced diagonally
* 1/4 cup sweet basil leaf (optional)
* 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce (or salt if you’re going vegetarian)
* 1 1/2 tsp palm sugar (or regular sugar if you don’t have any)
* Sweet basil leaves and red chili slices for garnish


For vegetarian:
2 cups napa cabbage or chinese cabbage, shredded
1 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 cup fresh or canned straw mushrooms
1/2 cup canned baby corn
1 cup tofu puffs (or firm tofu cubes that have been deep fried)
1/4 – 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves, loosely packed.

Preparation

Toast the spices in a frying pan until they’re fragrant but not for too long as they burn easily. Combine coriander seeds, cumin and peppercorn in a mortar, pound well. If You don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a dry blending attachment that usually comes with the blender. Transfer to a bowl and put aside.

Pound the chilies and salt together well. You can use a blender for this, just try not to add in too much water. Add the remaining ingredients except shrimp paste, pound until mixed well. Add the cumin mixture and shrimp paste, continue pounding until smooth and fine.

Slice the beef into thin pieces, about about 1/3″ (3 cm) thick. Sauté the green curry paste in oil over medium heat until fragrant, reduce the heat, gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the coconut milk a little at a time, stir until a film of green oil surfaces.

Add the beef and kaffir lime leaves, continue cooking for 3 minutes until fragrant and the beef is cooked through. Add the remaining coconut milk, season with palm sugar and fish sauce. When the mixture returns to a boil add the eggplants. Cook until the eggplants are done, sprinkle sweet basil leaves and red chilies over, then turn off the heat.

Garnish with sweet basil leaves and red chilies before serving with hot rice.

Note: The last time I made this, I used all the paste that I made (yeah, all 15 sticks of chili) as I thought that the curry needed to be thicker and spicier. It depends on how spicy you want it. You can also substitute the beef with chicken or fish, though that changes the cooking time. Give it a go and tell me what you think.


Friday Foods: Black Pepper Beef

Black Pepper Beef Ginger
Photo by irwandy

My best friend is an awesome cook and I really like the way that she does her cooking; simply throwing everything together, roughly cut and just going with the feel of it. One of the many recipes that she shared with me is the black pepper beef, which is versatile and simple to do.

Ingredients
1/2kg of beef, thinly sliced and marinated with chicken stock granules
1 medium onion, sliced
3-4 tbs thick, sweet soy sauce (or to taste)
1/2-1 carrot (depending on the size), sliced into thin strips
1 green onion, sliced diagonally to about 1-4 inch thick (or what ever size that you want)
1 bell pepper, core removed and sliced into strips or cubed
1 tbs cornflour, mixed with a couple tablespoons of water
1-2 cups water
1 egg
white and black pepper to taste
1 tbs oil


Heat up the oil in a pan or wok and throw in the beef and the pepper.

Stir it around and once the beef is cooked, add in the onions and stir until it’s soft.

Add in enough water just to cover the meat and stir in the soy sauce. Taste to see if you’ve added enough of the soy sauce and pepper.

When the mixtures bubbling, add in the cornflour mixture to thicken. You don’t have to add in everything. Just add, stir and see if it thickens to what you want it to the consistency that you want.

When it’s thickened, reduce heat and add in the vegetables, mix and cover. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked through.

Turn off the fire and break an egg into the pan/wok. Serve with hot rice or you can eat it on its own.

Note: You can add in any kind of veggies that you like; broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms are some examples that you can use.


Friday Foods: Spicy Soy Sauce Beef

Having to cook for myself when I was studying abroad meant that I usually asked around for easy recipes to cook. One of my favourite beef recipes to do was one that was give to me by my ex’s mother, a simple yet spicy soy sauce beef recipe or better known as Daging Masak Kicap (pic). It’s my go-to recipe when I feel like having beef and also one of my favourite dishes when my granny used to make them.

Ingredients
1/2 kilo of beef, cut thinly
2 potatoes cut into wedges and fried
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
6 shallots, sliced
a little bit of sliced ginger
Mixed together – 1 tsp chilli paste & 1 tsp curry powder
2 fresh red and green chillies, sliced
2 tsp vinegar


Marinate the beef with a little bit of salt and tumeric powder. Fry the beef in a little bit of oil. Add in a little bit of water and cook the beef until it’s well done. Remove the beef from the pot.

Add in a little bit of oil and fry the garlic, shallots and ginger. Add in the chilli past and curry powder mixture and fry until it’s fully cooked (basically when people outside of the kitchen are sneezing). Add in half a glass of water, soy sauce and a little sugar. You can add in a little crumbled cube of beef stock if you want. Stir until the sauce has thickened.

Add in the beef, the potatoes, fresh chillies and vinegar. Stir and simmer for a few minutes. Serve hot with rice.

Serves about 4.


Friday Foods: My Mother’s Rendang

It’s been a really long while since I posted a recipe for this column. Things have gotten a bit hectic but fear not, here’s a recipe for you.

Beef Rendang
Photo by arnold | inuyaki

One of the dishes that one must have for Eid is rendang. There are many variations of the dish, using many different types of meat. I have an aunt who makes turkey rendang. Anyway, this dish is rather easy to make, that is if you don’t take into consideration the amount of ingredients you need.

Ingredients
1kg of beef, sliced
5 tbs coriander
1/2 tbs fennel
1/2 tbs cumin
20 dried chillies, cut open and soaked in hot water for at least 10 minutes
4 fresh chillies
3 lemongrass
6 cloves of garlic
3 shallots
1 large onion
2 inches turmeric
2 inches ginger
2 candlenuts
15 cloves
10 cardamom seeds
2 inches cinnamon
2 star anise
400ml coconut milk
100g kerisik
4-5 slices of tamarind, soaked in water
1/2 cup oil
1 turmeric leaf


Boil the beef with a stalk of lemon grass, a clove of garlic, sliced, and half an inch of ginger, sliced.

In the mean time, ground the fennel, cumin and coriander, and set it aside.

Drain the soaked chillies and put it in the blender with the fresh chillies, garlic, shallots, onion, turmeric, ginger, candlenuts and the bottom 2 inches of the remaining two lemon grass. Fill half the blender with water and blend all the ingredients until you get a smooth paste.

In a wok, heat up the oil and fry the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and star anise for a little while before adding in the blended ingredients. Mix in the ground spices and fry until the paste is dry, lumpy and fragrant. Add in about 1 tablespoon of salt and about 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, depending on how sweet or salty you want it.

Add the fried ingredients into the pot of beef that is boiling and stir in the coconut milk, the drained tamarind and the kerisik. Slice the turmeric leaf into the pot. Pound the remaining stalks of lemon grass and add it into the pot. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beef is tender and the gravy has thickened.

Serve hot with white rice.


My Mother’s Chicken Rice Recipe

Since I’ve closed down my food blog, I’m just going to slowly re-post some of the recipes from there to here. Hopefully it’s going to be a somewhat regular Friday Foods column. So here’s the first of hopefully many more to come.

Chicken rice a favourite local dish. In every single eat place, there would be at least one stall that sells chicken rice. It comes in two variations, roasted chicken and steamed chicken. The recipe below is for steamed chicken. It’s a little tedious but worth the effort.

chicken rice
Picture via Wikipedia

Ingredients

For the chicken:
half a chicken
2 inches of ginger, grated
3 tablespoons of sesame seed oil
3 tablespoons of light soy sauce


For rice:
3 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked for 15 minutes
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 inch ginger, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 pandan (pinescrew) leaves
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 cube chicken stock
3 cups of water
2 cups of stock from boiling the chicken

Sauce for drizzling on the chicken:
5 tbs oyster sauce
5 tbs sesame oil
5 light soy sauce

Mix everything in a pot and heat it up.

Chilli Sauce for dipping:
5 stalks fresh chilli
1 clove garlic
1 tomato
1 tsp tomato sauce
juice from 3 limes
sugar to taste

Blend the chillies, tomato and garlic. Add in the lime, tomato sauce and sugar. Bring it to a boil.

For the Chicken: Marinate the chicken with half of the grated ginger for at least 15 minutes. Boil the marinated chicken for 15 minutes and then dunk the chicken in icy cold water for another 15 minutes. Rub the chicken with the sesame oil, the soy sauce and the rest of the ginger. Steam the chicken for another 30-25 minutes. Cut the chicken into 7 pieces. Drizzle the sauce for the chicken just before serving.

For the rice: Heat the oil in a wok and fry the ginger, garlic and onion. Add in the pinescrew leaves and continue frying until the onion has turned slightly brown. Drain the rice and stir it into the wok. Transfer everything from the wok into the rice cooker and add in the water, the stock cube and the stock from boiling the chicken. Cook the rice for 20 minutes in the rice cooker.

Serve the rice and chicken with stir fry vegetables of your choice.