Monday, August 23, 2010

Thai word for the day: Khao

The most popular greeting in Thailand (next to Sawadee Kha) is 'Gin khao leaw?',khao literally means rice. But, since in almost any Asian country, eating rice defines a meal (and the others are just snacks). So,'Gin khao leaw?' or ' Have you eaten rice yet?' is just like saying 'Have you eaten yet?'

 In the Northern Thailand, they serve sticky rice rather than the regular rice.  Khao Niao or sticky rice (glutinous rice) is not just limited to being sweet like how it is usually prepared in the Philippines.

sticky rice and mango

You can also have it with any dish like fried chicken and som tam or dried fish or this new favorite of mine:

khao niao moo yong

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My own Chinese Style Twice-Cooked Pork Belly

I should post this note to myself on my laptop monitor: do not check food blogs when your hungry. Friday is my day off and usually, what I do after I walk Boo in the morning is to check my Google Reader, a repository of all my favorite blogs and news feeds (read: Paris Hilton, Amateur Gourmet, decor8, etc.). That's where I found this gem of a recipe, the 'holy pork belly grail', in one of the blogs that i subscribe to-- Almost Bourdain. Was it the beautiful photograph, or the perfectly cut meat, or because this is one of my favorite  dish? Or, maybe because I did not have anything in my stomach when I saw it. But a voice in my head said, " You've got to cook this". And so I did.

For the recipe, just click on the Almost Bourdain link above or the original source of Almost Bourdain's recipe here. I also wrote a  Vietnamese version of the recipe in my previous entry.

my pork belly on water waiting to boil to take away the impurities

my master stock

and after i steamed it for 30 minutes...


smells good, taste melt-in-your-mouth good

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My 15 minute meal: Pasta with Spanish Sardines

We've been eating a lot of fast food delivery recently because our little town of Bangtao just had its taste of 'urbanity', and by that it means Mc Donald's, Dunkin Donuts and Pizza Company just opened in a newly built commercial center 5 minutes from our apartment. So we took a rest on slow food and healthy eating and indulged on 'sin' foods for awhile. Fortunately, our fast food craving was easily satisfied so tonight our taste buds went back to normal. Scott got hungry and wanted to eat at 6pm. I have to cook fast like a fast food joint and here is what I came up with:

 (Special thanks to Gail Vitug and Aleth Agulto who brought the bottled Spanish Sardines all the way from Manila. Its a specialty from Dipolog City where I grew up and it brings good childhood memories. One of my comfort food. Scott also thought it taste very Mediterranean.)

Pasta with Spanish Sardines

Cook the pasta as directed on the pack. Drain it. Heat the pan and add butter. Put in chopped garlic and onions. Add the Spanish sardines including its oil. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.

Thai word for the day: Gai

The Thai language is very difficult to learn because it is tonal, the word /ma/ alone can mean come, dog or horse depending on the tone that you use. What makes it more confusing is the ambiguity of how they pronounce a word. Say chicken for example, I asked my friend from work earlier today on how they call the chicken in cashew dish that Scott really likes.

He wrote on the paper Kai Pad Med Mamuang Himapan. To be sure I asked him, "So, kai is chicken?". He answered, "No, chicken is Gai" .  I was beginning to get confused at this point so I asked him, "..then what is kai?". To which he replied, "Kai is egg".

Now, I'm pretty sure that there is no egg in that dish.

After a bit of deduction, I therefore conclude that Gai Pad Med Mamuang (full name Gai Pad Med Manuang Himapan) which literally means stir fried chicken with mango (mamuang) looking nut  simply means Cashew Nut in Stir Fried Chicken.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Signature Apple's Pie

In my previous entry I wrote about my apple pie making lesson at Lady Pie. Understandably, we were only taught the basics of making an apple pie as they produce it commercially. But I always wanted to do apple pies that look and feel homemade yet the taste is.. uhm, there is no other way to put-- unforgettable.

After that one day class, I researched on a lot of recipes and read articles on the science and art of making a pie and I concluded that for me (standards will always be relative), an unforgettable (the word that I used to my friend Gail was soul changing) pie would have a 'cakey' and crumbly crust and a not so sweet but decadent filling. So here's my take on the humble yet soulful apple pie:

1. the crust that I used is called Pate Brisee, a short crust pastry that is buttery and crumbly. For the crust recipe, please refer to this entry.

i used cake flour instead of all purpose flour
 2. living in the tropics, humidity can be a challenge that's why i add water with ice to the dough mixture. if you do not have a rolling pin, a cold can of beer can be handy as it substitutes as a roller and helps the dough to remain cool.

3. make sure that you read the label as I had the mistake of putting in iodized salt instead of sugar to the dough mixture that made me repeat the whole process. After you successfully slid the dough inside the tin cover with cling wrap and refrigerate it.

4. Preheat oven to 220 C

5. For the filling:

- you need a firmed textured apple, the most usual variant is the Granny Smith Apple. if you can, try to mix two or three variety to give a complex flavor.

- the rest of the ingredients are 20g cornflour, 1/2 c natural brown sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 stick butter.

- macerate the apple in sugar and spices for 30min to 3 hours. i do this because if you put in the apple and sugar mixture directly to the crust, the apple is made up of mostly water so when the pie bakes the apple would shrink thereby leaving a gap between the filling and the crust.

-drain the juice and put it in a pot. add the butter and let it boil to a simmer in low heat. dredge the apple with cornflour and add to the pot.

6. put in the filling and cover the pie with crust. brush with egg wash and put in the lowest level of the oven bake for 18-20mins.

7. let it rest and cool down before removing from tin.

Lady Pie's Apple Pie

Sarah, my good friend in Chickynet tipped me that Lady Pie (she is actually called Susan in real life) agreed to give the chickies Apple Pie making lesson and if I could hurry up and register I might make it to the 10 available slots for the class. I read her email three days after she sent it but luckily I made it to the last slot..whew!

The class was at 2pm and I promised Scott to watch the earliest Inception screening at 11.15am so after the movie I can barely distinguished if the scheduled Apple Pie class was real or it  was just a dream :P. Considering how fast we drove from Phuket Town to Bangtao just for me to get to Lady Pie, I thought the ride back was more of a nightmare.

Waiting for me was Lady Pie herself and these lovely ladies ( I was late, needless to say).

now, what was I doing with the broom that i'm holding again?
 After my grand (ehem..late) entrance, Lady Pie wasted no time on teaching us the basics of her very famous Apple Pie.

So, here are the steps in making Lady Pie's Apple Pie:

Preheat oven at 170 C. Combine 2 1/2 c. of cake flour, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tbsp caster sugar. Then add 1 cup unsalted butter and 1 egg. Roll the dough, flatten it and cut into circles that would fit the tin.

You don't need to grease the tin because the dough already has butter. Slowly slide the dough inside the tin and gently push it with your thumb so it takes the form of the tin.

Now, its time for the filling. For the filling, cut the 6 green apples thinly, then add 1/2 c. granulated sugar, 20 g cornflour and 1 tsp of salt. Let it boil and add butter.

Fill the tin cups, make sugar that you leave space for the pie to breath.

Cover it with another rounded crust and cut some bits from the leftover dough for decoration.

Brush some egg wash and put it in the oven for 15-20min or  till the crust is golden brown.
Let it cool down before taking it out from the tin.

You can serve it with ice cream
or sprinkle some icing sugar

You can pair it with wine

 or beer!

as they say here in Thailand--