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Krueng Kang Ped (Red Curry Paste) [Mar. 19th, 2007|10:39 pm]
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Red curry paste is a versatile and delightful concoction, rich with a melody of sweet, salty, spicy, and sour. The majority of the flavourings come from the complex interactions between the large number of fresh ingredients. It tends to be less spicy than green curry paste and derives its hotness from a combination of dried and fresh chillies, as they both lend a different taste. There are a good number of canned curry pastes on the market, but they tend to lose their liveliness, and if one has access to the ingredients and a little time on their hands, it is entirely worthwhile to make one's own paste.



  • 8 long dried red chillies, split, deseeded, and soaked in warm water until soft
  • 6 red birds eye chillies, halved and deseeded
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, sliced into thin rounds and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander roots (preferably) or stems, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp galangal, peeled and cut into thin rounds
  • 2 tbsp lesser ginger, cut into rounds
  • 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat a dark, heavy saucepan over medium heat. One ingredient at a time due to the different time requirements, roast the coriander seeds, the cumin seeds, and the white peppercorns until a rich brown with a strong scent, taking care not to burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool, and then grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Add all ingredients to a food processor in approximately the order above (the idea is to have the smaller or oiler ingredients on top to ensure even blending). Blend on medium speed for around 15-20 minutes or until desired consistency is reached (the mixture should be resemble a thick paste, although chopped ingredients will still be identifiable). Stir occasionally by hand to help the blending process.

Alternatively, if one does not have a food processor, a blender can be used, or if one is ambitious, the procedure can be done by hand using a mortar and pestle.

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Lemon-Poppy-Cran Loaf [Mar. 19th, 2007|10:35 pm]
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A tangy, mildly sweet cake that functions as everything from an accompaniment to tea to a quick snack on the go. The tartness of the cranberries contrast the sweetness of the lemon and sugar.



  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 medium lemons
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh, or frozen and thawed to room temperature

Peel the zest from the lemons, reserve, and then juice them.

Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl large enough to accomodate all ingredients.

Beat the eggs until fluffy. Cream together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and butter. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the creamed mixture along with two cups of milk and stir until just combined, adding more milk as necessary to have a thick batter.

Finally, briefly stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, poppy seeds, and cranberries.

In a greased 8x14 inch baking pan, bake in oven for 45-55 minutes until top has browned slightly and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and serve.

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Sesame Chicken [Jan. 23rd, 2007|12:05 am]
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This is my variation of the classic North-American Chinese invention: tender, crispy-battered chicken in a sweet, sesame flavoured sauce, garnished with toasted sesame seeds.



  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1" by 1.5" strips
  • 2 tbsp rice cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups Japanese panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 inch ginger root, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice cooking wine
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 3 cups vegetable oil

In a bowl, mix together the first batch of ingredients, i.e. the chicken, rice wine, starch, flour, baking powder, sesame oil, and egg. Stir (only briefly so as not to exhaust the baking powder) and let sit for 20 mins.

Toast the sesame seeds: in a pan over medium heat, cook for 3-5 mins, stirring occasionally, until golden. Remove and allow to cool.

Prepare the sauce as follows: mix the tapioca starch with the warm water and shake or stir vigorously to dissolve. In a pan over medium heat, combine the sesame oil, ginger, soy sauces, remaining rice wine, brown sugar, garlic, and tapioca-water slurry. Stir vigorously and continuously to prevent the starch from thickening into a paste for several minutes until the concoction resembles a sticky gel; this should occur prior to boiling. Remove from heat.

In a deep fryer or a wok over high heat, bring the vegetable oil to a temperature of 350F. When oil is hot, drench the chicken pieces in the panko bread crumbs and deep fry for 4-5 minutes until golden. Remove and allow to drain.

Douse with sauce and toasted sesame seeds and serve with white rice.

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Young Taro and Chicken in Thick Yellow Curry Sauce [Jan. 16th, 2007|12:13 am]
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This Thai-inspired dish substitutes taro for the potato normally found in yellow curries, and thickens the sauce, resulting in a gentle, fragrant curry that delights the palate.



  • 4 tbsp yellow curry paste [link]
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 lime leaves, thinly slivered
  • 1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 5 small taro, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4" cubes

In a wok over high heat, mix 1 cup of coconut milk and the curry paste and bring to a rolling boil. Cook for three to four minutes, boiling steadily, until thick. Add the fish sauce, lime leaves, sugar, and tamarind paste, and stir for one minute or until sugar is entirely dissolved.

Add the second cup of coconut milk, stir, and return to a boil. Mix in the taro and bring to a lively boil over medium high-heat. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup water as necessary.

Stir in the chicken and an additional 1 cup of water. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring often, continuing to boil.

Remove from heat and serve with fresh wheat noodles or rice.

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Kang Karee (Yellow Curry Paste) [Jan. 16th, 2007|12:08 am]
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Yellow curry paste is typically milder in terms of spice than the other Thai curry pastes, and is the marriage between Indian-style spices like cardamom and turmeric and Thai flavours, such as coriander and lemongrass. The result is a versatile, fragrant curry paste that lends itself well to a plethora of uses. As with other curry pastes, it can be found canned (although this is not the same as sour yellow curry paste, which is intended for use with fish), although canned curry paste tends to lose a dimension of taste and is no substitute for freshly homemade.
  • 8 red birds eye chillies, halved and deseeded
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1.5 inches ginger, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp white peppercorns
  • 5 pods cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Remove the cardamom seeds from the pods. Place with the coriander seeds and white peppercorns in a small pan and heat over medium-high heat until darkened, but not burnt. This should take several minutes, during which you should stir gently from time-to-time to ensure even roasting. When finished, grind the concoction using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.

Add all ingredients to a food processor in approximately the order above (the idea is to have the smaller or oiler ingredients on top to ensure even blending). Blend on medium speed for around 5-10 minutes or until desired consistency is reached (the mixture should be resemble a thick paste, although chopped ingredients will still be identifiable). Stir occasionally by hand to help the blending process.

Alternatively, if one does not have a food processor, a blender can be used, or if one is ambitious, the procedure can be done by hand using a mortar and pestle.

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