Thai grilled chicken 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.12.11 Southeast Asian Supper

Some of my favorite places to travel are in Southeast Asia—Thailand, Laos, Vietnam. The people are very welcoming, the cultures ancient, the landscapes lush, the spas wonderful, the local textiles beautiful and the food absolutely fantastic. I love coconut-milk-based curries, sticky rice, laab, green papaya salad and all the exotic fruits. My mouth waters just thinking about it. The fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lettuce wraps and tangy fruits, and the classic combination of hot, sour, salty and sweet flavors, are to me the ultimate cuisine. So it will come as no surprise that my bible in this genre is Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. If you'd like to try making some of this food, I highly recommend it. Many of the recipes are from home cooks and street vendors and, while they may require some ingredients you might not normally have on hand, most of the techniques are fairly basic. We gave a dinner party this weekend and the menu featured dishes from all the countries mentioned above. And it tasted quite authentic, if I do say so myself. 
Tagged — sticky rice
Steamer 790 xxx
photos by george billard

1.5.10 Sticky Situation

As we become better acquainted, I hope to impart to you my love for Indian and Southeast-Asian cooking. I guess the first thing I would tell you is that you need to have a good source for ingredients. Many ethnic markets also carry requisite cooking tools, such as this sticky rice steamer you can pick up at almost any Thai market. Often, they'll even have a selection of mortars and pestles (mortar and pestles?), a tool which comes in handy prepping this type of food. In New York City, I recommend a visit to the Bangkok Center Grocery in Chinatown, on Mosco Street between Mott and Mulberry. First of all they are the nicest people in the whole world and will always greet you with "Sawat dee." And then they have a wicked green papaya salad that you will take home and be unable to stop eating even when your lips are burning off. They also carry hard-to-find fresh produce, like wild lime leaves (also known as kaffir).

Stock up on some cans of curry paste (the Masaman is flawless, served with a cucumber relish—recipe soon, I promise) and of coconut milk, and grab a bottle of fish sauce and you are in business for an easy, quick and delicious meal. You can simply follow the instructions on the can! I have gone to the effort of making my own curry pastes and, though they are quite good, I can't really say they're any better than the Maesri brand. But this post is really to tell you that making your own sticky rice at home is no big deal. All you need is the right steamer and the right rice.
Tagged — sticky rice