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  • Vegetable Curry (kaeng phak)

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    This will use a green curry paste (prik kaeng kiao wan).
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  • Brown Rice (khao hom)

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    As I research, review and prepare recipes I watch for recipes that may fit the culinary restrictions of my friends. In some cases very strict kosher, and in others passing vegetarian. Truly vegetarian or vegan Thai recipes are rare (at least in Thailand). Not only are fish sauce and shrimp paste signature ingredients of much Thai food, they are also present in such key ingredients as curry pastes. Thus a dedicated vegetarian must not only cook for themselves, but nearly always cook from scratch, which is at the very least a time consuming process.

    I’ve tried to match cuisine with diet in a number of my recipes/posts, some folks may take great pleasure in trying to make these attempts look foolish or uneducated, but my basic comment stays the same. I will leave it to the reader to explore what those may be. Let it be said I will continue to make these posts / attempts …
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  • Vegetables in a Coconut Sauce (phak tom kati)

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    The name literally means ‘vegetables boiled in coconut milk’.

    Makheua Mhuang are very small Thai eggplants, that resemble crisp garden peas. They (I expect) are not available near you, use tender garden peas, raw. If you can only get frozen peas, then drop them in hot, not boiling water, until defrosted, then transfer to ice water to stop the cooking and then strain thoroughly.

    If swamp cabbage is not available substitute spinach. Thai long beans (sometimes called yard beans or yak’s tails), can be replaced with ordinary western long beans. Green peppercorns are sold in Thailand on the stem, making them easy to discard before serving, but I suggest that if you can only get loose peppercorns, that you put them in a tea infuser.
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  • Thai Cooking Techniques

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    Certain cooking methods are universal – boiling, grilling and deep-frying – but others are peculiar to a single cuisine, especially one as ancient as Thai.

    Historically, the material and shape of the cooking utensil effectively determined the type of cooking that was possible. And with the clearing of forests for the ever-expanding paddies, fuel became increasingly scarce (except in the north of the country and in mountainous areas farther south). Consequently, cooking methods evolved to use precious fuel most efficiently: brief cooking times over gentle heat and slow, lingering grills over dying embers. If an intense burst of heat was required, the embers would be fanned or stoked.
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  • Kaeng Paste Basics (Even more curry pastes)

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    Thai ‘curries’ are typically made using a ‘curry’ paste. In reality ‘curry’ is a westernized word stereotyping a group of dishes:

    First the word used for these dishes in Thai is kaeng (pronounced ‘gang’) and it covers soups, stews and of course curries. A paste which is used could be used just as well for a soup as for a curry.

    Second it is not true curry: the word for curry is kari and it is only applied to a small number of dishes: Most if not all the dishes that appear on western Thai restaurant menus as ‘curries’ are kaengs, and are made not with curry paste but with a sauce made from prik kaeng (chili paste).

    There are many different prik kaeng in Thai cuisine and from them you could make a vast number of different dishes by using different protein ingredients, and vegetable ingredients. So one could say (a paste + a meat (tofu) + a veggie mix), could make a wide and varied set of kaeng’s.

    If you know the four basic pastes listed here, and some basic techniques, you can make a vast array of dishes. A rough rule of thumb is that one cup of raw chilies yields a cup or so of paste and it will keep about 3 months in the fridge.

    The average kaeng will require (depending on how hot you make it) between 2 and 8 tablespoons of paste, and since there are roughly 16 tablespoons in a cup, you can scale this recipe up to suit your needs. Suffice it to say that we plan to make these pastes on a cycle over 8 weeks and make 6-8 portions of each of them. Place in tightly stoppered jars, and keep in the fridge for at least a week for the flavors to combine and develop before use.
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  • Thai Food Basics

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