Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Hot Asian Stuff

Four Rivers in Dickson does a very nice yum cha, even if their Szechuan food is blanded out to ridiculous extents. OK, so yum cha isn't usually very fiery, but we did go through a lot of chilli sauce with our dumplings.

Cooking Coordinates in the Belconnen Market is a nice place to browse for kitchen equipment. There's a nice range of toys equipment from Kitchenaids to silicone spatulas; a lot of cake decorating supplies; and you can rent large odd shaped cake tins, should you ever be in need of a Thomas the Tank Engine cake, or a giant loveheart, or even a cup cake stand. They also stock a small range of gourmet ingredients, including Herbie's spices.

They usually have some sort of demo or class on the weekends, in their little kitchen theatre out the back. Pick up a flyer and book ahead. Last Saturday, Kate McGhie did a Thai cooking demo and I went along with Belinda. We got demos, samples and recipes for a terrific meal - ma hor, a crab salad, a divine pork and tamarind curry, a chicken cooked in lemongrass, and a coconut pandan icecream. I intend to make the pork and tamarind curry sometime soon. Interestingly, it was served on shredded cabbage, not rice. Very good. The chicken was rather less successful - something went wrong and the room was filled with smoke. Oops. I'm fairly sure that wasn't supposed to happen.

So of course I had to make Thai food this week, even though I'd already shopped and didn't have all the ingredients. I ended up making a red curry of prawns, with green beans, bamboo shoots and pineapple - fruit is quite traditional in a red curry, but no other colour, I believe. I also made a coriander salad to have on the side -very inauthentic, but it worked really well, so I'll write up the recipe.

Recipe: Thai-ish Side Salad
1 bunch coriander, leaves only - save the roots, though
2 large spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 red capsicum, chopped to julienne shreds
1/2 lebanese cucumber, chopped (optional)
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

the coriander roots, scrubbed and pounded in a mortar & pestle
1/2 tsp sambal oelek
1/2 tsp mint paste
1 tsp palm sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
juice of half a lime

Mix the dressing well. Taste and adjust for preference. Mix all the salad vegetables together, and stir in the dressing.

Notes: Serve as a side dish with a rich coconut-based curry. It's a very refreshing contrast. I have the cucumber on the side, because The Bloke doesn't like it. I'd prefer to have fresh mint leaves, but the supermarket "herbs in a toothpaste tube" mint was all I had. I thought it worked quite well as an addition to the dressing.

You should definitely taste and adjust the dressing to your own taste. Kate pointed out that Thai food works on balancing sweet, sour, salty and hot, and the salad should have all of those elements. Palm sugar, lime, fish sauce and chilli are the basic notes.


Hamster said...

Don't know if you've seen this already but if not Yu might be interested in this website.
It's got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along
Good if you like to try cooking Thai food at home

Cath said...