Vegetable thai spring rolls

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Here are some rules to follow to get perfect spring rolls :

– fill rolls with cold stuffing,
– drain stuffing before using it,
– don’t try to put too much stuffing in your rolls,
– chose well the pastry you use.

There are 2 types of pastry for spring rolls :

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– Rice paper : use for summer rolls (raw rolls) as well. Most of the chinese restaurants use this kind of pastry for their spring roll. It’s quite difficult to use as you have to humidify it first. Once wet, they are very fragile and break easily. The fact that they are humid make it difficult to fry them, rolls will have the tendency to explode in hot oil. Rolls prepared with this type of pastry are more greasy. I use rice paper only for summer rolls.

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-Frozen spring roll pastry : This is the only pastry used in Thailand for spring rolls. Easy to use, it gives very crispy and not too oily spring rolls. This is a super thin pastry so you have to be careful not to break it when you use it. It has tendency to dry fast and to become breakable. To avoid that, keep the pasty you do not use in a closed plastic bag.

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Tiny eggplants stuffed with sweet basil and cashew nut pesto

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Every time I go the the market with my small shopping list and my great ideas of recipes, I end up wondering why I even write a shopping list : Impossible to find most of what I want. But on the other hand I discover quite often new fruits and vegetables … things I’ve never seen before !

Today some tiny cute violet eggplants crossed my road, they seemed fresh, they ended in my basket. They were so cute that I wanted to keep them in one piece. I finally decided to stuff them with pesto and to bake them. They are perfect as appetizers, delicious warm, lukewarm or cold.

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Green mango salad

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As you already know, I love any kind of mango : green or ripe, small or huge, yellow, orange, sweet or sour does not matter !

Here is a super simple and absolutely delicious recipe : The Green Mango Salad, Yam mamuang. This salad is prepared with tiny and very sour green mangoes. If you can’t find tiny sour mangoes, you can also use traditional green mangoes that are less sour. In that case, add some lime juice in the salad sauce.

This salad can be served with deep-fried catfish, with crispy deep-fried prawns, with boiled eggs or salty eggs. You can add fried oignons or garlic, cherry tomatoes, fresh coriander leaves, sweet basil leaves or fresh mint leaves.

I like it the best in its very simple version with just some boiled shrimps and grilled cashewnuts.
When I order it in a restaurant, I will go for a Yam Pla Duck Fu, which is prepared with deep fried catfish from the river. I don’t prepare it myself because it’s a crazy job. First you have to steam the full catfish, then you need to remove its sticky slimy skin and separate the meat from the bones. This crumbled meat will be deep fried to get some crispy fish flakes. It’s a huge job and at the end of the “cat fish cooking” session your kitchen will need a serious clean up. Anyway, once I’m done skinning and frying this fish, I don’t really feel like eating it anymore… I much prefer having someone else doing all that for me 🙂 but if you want to give it a try, go for it ! Otherwise, next time you come to Thailand, you can just do like me : sit in a nice sea view restaurant and order a Yam Pla Duck Fu. Don’t forget to add that you prefer it mai sai prik, without chilies, it’s much safer !

Here is an other version : Green mango tartine
Mix shrimps, olive oil, cream cheese, coriander, green oignon, salt and pepper. Spead this paste on fresh bread and top it with mango salad. Decorate with fried oignons, black sesame seeds and cherry tomatoes. Absolutely delicious with a glass of TiPunch !
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Morning glory and dried fish curry

Morning glory and dried fish curry (Gaeng tae poh) … this is not the sexiest title for a recipe but it’s definitely my favorite curry.

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This curry is a speciality  from the region where I live. It is prepared with dried-salty fish and morning glory, perfumed with lemongrass, turmeric and galangal : yummmmmmmyyyyy !

 

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If you don’t find any dried salty fish, you can  use fresh fish steaks instead. They can be cooked in one piece in the curry sauce.

The salty-dried fish is a basic aliment in southern Thailand. We can find it in every market : any kind of fish, any kind of size, very salty or less, there is a wide choice. Most of the time it is just deep fried and eaten as a side dish.

 

Avant d’en acheter au marché, j’ai reçu des instructions bien précises :
” Il faut choisir les poissons qui sont attaqués par les mouches et où on voit les asticots grouiller” …
“QUOI ???? Tu te moques ??? C’est hors de question que je choisisse du poisson recouvert de vers !!! “ que j’ai répondu…
J’ai ensuite eu droit à tout un speech, je t’en donne un résumé : si les mouches ne pondent pas sur le poisson, c’est qu’il est recouvert d’un agent conservateur, si les mouches se ruent sur le poisson, c’est qu’il est préparé naturellement et sans conservateur. Les asticots restent juste sur la surface du poisson et il suffit de passer les poissons sous l’eau pour s’en débarrasser.
Autant te dire que même si je comprends bien l’argument de choisir des poissons sans produits chimiques, il est impossible que j’achète un truc avec des vers dessus. J’ai donc trouvé un compromis qui me convient bien mais qui exaspère le marchand de poisson… Je sélectionne le même tas de poisson que les mouches mais je prends ceux du dessous, hors d’atteinte des insectes. Voici à quoi ressemble un stand de poisson séché au marché local :

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Je n’achète, comme pour le poisson frais, que les poissons dont la consommation n’est pas déconseillée, cela me laisse donc peu de choix. Voici les filets que j’ai achetés

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Je coupe les filets de poissons en gros dés car je les préfère ainsi mais il est aussi possible de cuire les filets entiers.

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On trouve différentes sortes de liserons d’eau sur les marchés thaïs, pour ce curry, c’est encore meilleur si les liserons d’eau ont des tiges bien grosses car la sauce du curry entrera à l’intérieur des tiges. Il faut faire attention d’ajouter les liserons d’eau au dernier moment et de les cuire très peu. Ils doivent être  juste tendres.

Voici comment les couper :

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Liste des ingrédients pour 2 personnes : 

5 dl de lait de coco
2 piments (facultatif)
3 bâtons de citronelle
6 gousses d’ail
4 cm de galanga frais
4 cm de curcuma frais
1 grosse c.s. de pulpe de tamarin
10 feuilles de citron kaffir

3 dl d’eau
80 gr de filets poisson séché-salé ou 300 gr de poisson frais
1 c.s de sauce de poisson (si tu n’utilises pas de poisson salé)
1 c.c. de sucre
1 botte de liserons d’eau (environ 400 gr)

Pèle l’ail et écrase les gousses avec le plat de la lame du couteau.
Retire les feuilles extérieure des bâtons de citronnelle, fends, lea bâtons dans la longueur puis écrase-les avec le plat de la lame du couteau.

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Frotte la peau du galanga et du curcuma avec une petite brosse, sous l’eau courante puis coupe-les en fines tranche. Il est recommandé de porter des gants pour couper le curcuma… c’est un colorant alimentaire puissant 🙂
Retire la tige de feuilles de citron kaffir puis déchire les feuilles en 4 morceaux.

Lave et coupe les liserons d’eau.

Fais bouillir 1 dl de lait de coco dans une poêle.

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Lorsque le lait de coco bout, ajoute le tamarin, la citronnelle, le galanga, les feuilles de citron kaffir, l’ail, les piments et le curcuma.

Fais revenir le tout durant 3 minutes.

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Ajoute le reste du lait de coco et l’eau. Fais cuire à feu doux durant 15-20 minutes. Rectifie l’assaisonnement avec le sucre et la sauce de poisson.

Lorsque le lait de coco est bien jaune et bien parfumé, cuis le poisson le temps adéquat (en fonction du poisson que tu utilises, bien sur). Ajoute du sel ou du sucre si nécessaire. Le curry doit être légèrement acidulé et un peu salé.  Ajoute de l’eau si le curry est trop épais.

Mets les liserons d’eau à cuire dans le curry durant environ 5 minutes, ils doivent être juste tendres.

Sers le curry avec du riz parfumé.

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Steamed raviolis

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In every Thai city, there is a vast community of chinese people. Many Thai dishes are inspired from Chinese food.
Thai cities are crawling under small restaurants where you can eat a simple speciality dish. You can find noodle soup shop, red porc shop, fried chicken shop … This is the same for Dim Sum. Each city has plenty of small places preparing a wide variety of Dim Sum.
Pictures are not from me but this is just for you to understand how it work here.

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Funny, I found this picture on the net. This is a shot of a restaurant in Hat Yai
where I ate my first Thai Dim Sum 🙂

They are not restaurant like we see  in Europe. They are more like garage with tables and chairs and no decoration at all. Most of the time they look old. That’s the reason why it’s dirt cheap to eat in one of these places. Cheap means a lot of customers each day and fresh food.
We find some good looking western style restaurants with great decoration in the big cities or in touristic places but prices are much higher as well. In a place like this, you eat amazingly well for 100 baht per person (2.5 euros).

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This recipe is for 18 raviolis. Uncooked, you can easily freeze them. It’s just perfect for last minute guests, you can steam them when they are still frozen, cook them a few minutes more.

To steam the raviolis, you don’t need any fancy equipment. When I was living on the island, we had almost nothing in the kitchen and we were doing like this  :

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Boiling water in a pot + a metallic stainer on the top of it + a cover or a plate
Doesn’t look that good but it works well ! 

As I am a girl and I live close to a town, now, I frequently have to buy new things (useful or not, it does not matter). I just invested in this incredible steaming machine. It cost me 12 euros :

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Yeah, what I don’t say is that when I took it out of its box,
I had thé hands covered with a kind of residual metallic dust… yeark disgusting ! I had to scrub it for a while …

Last thing before begining the recipe, you will have to mince the meat. You can easily do it like this :

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When I do that, I sit on the floor, it makes less noise. I also put a towel under my wooden cutting board. It will stabilize the cutting board and reduce the noise as well. With a big sharp butcher knife chop the meat.

Ingredients :
18 wonton wraps
100 gr of minced raw shrimps
100 gr of minced chicken
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
black pepper
1 green onion (green leaves only)
a few coriander leaves

Sweet chili dipping sauce :
1 tablespoon of sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of white vinegar

Soy dipping sauce :
2 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
grated fresh ginger and shredded green onion

How to do ?

Sweet chili dipping sauce :
Mix vinegar and sugar together until sugar is dissolved. Add the sweet chili.

Soy dipping sauce :
Mix sugar and vinegar together until sugar is dissolved. Add soy sauce, ginger and green onion.

Prepare raviolis :
Combine shredded shrimps and chicken, garlic, oyster sauce, black pepper, sugar and soy sauce. Marinate the meat in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Then, add chopped coriander and chopped green onion.

In a small bowl, prepare some glue : 1 tablespoon of flour and some water, mix well. You need to have a paste thick like a very thick vegetable soup.

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Spread the glue all around the wonton wrap with a toothpick (or a tiny brush).
Put 1 teaspoon of mixture in the middle of the dough and fold the 4 corners to the centre. Press well on the edges to paste them together. Done, prepare the next one !

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When all the raviolis are ready, steam them for 6 to 8 minutes. Serve warm with sauces.

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Lemongrass skewers

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This is an original idea for a change : meatballs on lemongrass stalk.

For 12 skewers, you will need :
12 lemongrass stalk
150 gr minced porc
150 gr minced chicken
150 gr raw peeled shrimp
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 tablespoons of kaffir lime leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons of lemongrass, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons of chicken stock powder
2 tablespoons of bread crumb
1 eggwhite
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How to do :

Marinate porc, chicken and shrimps with soy sauce and oyster sauce for 40 minutes.
Drain the liquid.

Clean the lemongrass stalk, remove the outer leaves to have good looking skewers.

Put in the bowl of food processor shrimps, meat and all the other ingredients. Process until smooth.

With wet hands, shape 2 tablespoons of this mixture around the head of the lemongrass stalk.

Fry in a pan for 8-10 minutes, turning the skewers regularly.

Serve warm or cold with sweet chili sauce or ginger-cheese dip.

 


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Tiny green curry and tomato cakes

Here is a very simple and delicious recipe for an original snack. I tried it during my holidays in Switzerland, everybody loved it.

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For 24 mini-cakes in a mini-muffin silicone mould :

200 grams of flour
3 eggs
1 plain yogurt
30 grams of parmesan
3 tablespoon of olive oil
1.5 tea spoon of baking powder
1 big tablespoon of green curry paste
8 basil leaves, thinly minced
2 spring onions (green part only), thinly minced
1 tablespoon of stock powder
salt and pepper
24 cherry tomatoes

Green curry paste you buy in supermarkets are often very spicy and not so tasty. The best is to buy it in a Thai market or to do it yourself. Here is the DIY green curry paste recipe.

Pre-heat the oven on 180°C
Combine eggs and yogurt together. Add oil and curry paste.
Mix flour, baking powder, parmesan cheese and stock powder.
Add all these dry ingredients to the eggs mixture. Mix everything together with a spatula.
Add basil and green onion, salt and pepper.

 

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Fill the mini-muffin mold with the dough and place a cherry tomato on the to of each mini-cake. Push it half inside the dough.

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Bake 15-20 minutes in the oven.

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Green curry paste

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Green curry paste is traditionally prepared in a mortar. I tried it… it was interesting but you surely need a lot of training to be efficient at it !
Honestly the modern version with a blender suits me better ! It does not make a curry paste as smooth and as beautiful as the tradition request it but the taste is perfect and your curry will be delicious.

You can easily freeze portions of curry paste, if you want to prepare a big quantity of it. You have to count 1 tablespoon of curry paste per person in a curry recipe. The list of ingredients here will give you 4 big spoons of curry paste.

In Thai cooking fresh coriander roots are used to prepare soups and curries. We do not use the leaves in the curry paste.

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When you blend all the ingredients, you can use water instead of oil to liquefies the mixture. It’s a lighter version.

Quantity of chilies is up to you, depending on how spicy-proof you are.

Curry paste is delicious once cooked. This is not a paste you can use as a dip or s spread.

 Ingredients :

1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
0.5 teaspoon of cumin seeds
0.5 teaspoon of black peppercorns

1 teaspoon of fresh galangal, peeled and thinly chopped
3 tablespoon of lemongrass, thinly chopped
2 tablespoon of coriander roots, thinly chopped
2 tablespoon of shallots, thinly chopped
2 tablespoon of garlic, thinly chopped
1 teaspoon of fresh turmeric, peeled and thinly chopped
10 small green bird chilies
1 cup of sweet basil leaves

1 teaspoon of shrimp paste
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoon of oil with neutral taste

How to do ?

Toast cumin seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorn in a pan, without oil, until they become brown.
Put the roasted seeds in a food processor and reduce them in thin powder.

Add all the fresh ingredients and one spoon of oil, blend till it becomes a smooth paste. You can add some more oil if necessary.

Combine shrimp paste and salt in the paste.

You can conserve the curry paste in your fridge for one week or you can store it in your freezer.