Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Taste Of Thailand

Originally uploaded by boondockma

Following a weekend packed full of preparations, yesterday was such a fun day with a very tasty conclusion!

Sunday morning we removed the marinating chicken from the freezer and placed it in the refrigerator so the flavors could continue to get to know each other as it thawed. I then got busy peeling and thinly slicing my fresh ginger root, which I measured and counted as 1 part. I then added 3 parts each of water and sugar, stirred it up good, and brought it to a boil. I let it boil for several minutes, before turning it down and allowing it so simmer for several hours, until it was a consistency that I was happy with. Once it had been rendered down and thickened, I removed the now tender ginger slices and placed tham on parchment paper to begin drying while I allowed the syrup to cool down a bit and transferred it to a container to be kept, tightly covered in the fridge.

Several years ago (probably 14) I worked with a wonderful Laotian Lady who prepared egg rolls and these great sticky rice banana things, wrapped in banana leaves. Every couple of weeks she would take orders and bring these treats in for her coworkers. I was delighted to find a recipe for Khao Tom Madt in my search for a Thai dessert, and the kids and I had a fine time putting it together.

Sunday evening I placed my sticky rice in a bowl and liberally covered it with water, setting it aside to soak overnight. In the morning, I drained the rice, as the kids carefully measured the coconut milk, sugar, and salt into the large skillet. I then added the drained rice, and they took turns cooking and stirring the mixture until the liquid was completely absorbed, and the rice was almost tender. We then let this mixture cool while we cut portions of foil (since banana leaves are something we aren't able to find around here) onto which they spread portion of the rice mixture, topped that with banana halves, then added a bit more rice which they then molded around the bananas before we snugly wrapped them up individually in the foil. These were placed in a makeshift steamer, and set aside until after supper was finished cooking. I was actually rather impressed with how well the kids resisted the temptation to lick the sticky rice from their fingers during this whole process. Of course, once they were finished with all eight portions, they went right to town on that, before washing their hands and proceeding to wrap their little bundles.

Next on the agenda was our edible crafting event, which ended up being quite the challenge, which resulted in some minor frustration but more chuckles, and some pretty cool garnishes for our dinner. I found the instructions for the Radish Butterflies at WikiHow, so if you want to give it a try, do a search there. I would suggest choosing the largest radishes you can find, and go for the center cut. You also might want to grab a few extra radishes, just in case you find yourself needing to do some "do-overs". Of course, since this project involves the use of knives, as well as a lot of concentration, it's probably not something you'd want to try with young children, although they may enjoy watching you give it a try!

Dinner was a delicious combination of "Gai Yang" (barbecued chicken), Oriental Mushrooms (an old favorite dish from my "Betty Crocker" cookbook), and Broccoli. While we happily consumed our meal, oohing and aahing over the wonderful taste variations, our "Khao Tom Madt" steamed on the now available stove top. After steaming for about 45 minutes, we allowed them to cool down a bit before serving with some of the ginger syrup I'd made the day before. We peeled down the top of the foil and dipped them in the syrup, which was a nice, flavorful addition.

Since this dessert is rather filling, we only consumed half the portions. The other 4 are wrapped and ready for steaming this evening, so tonight's dessert is taken care of as well!

Of course we still have plenty of the ingredients we used for this meal, in addition to other ingredients I just couldn't stop myself from grabbing, so we're looking forward to another great Thai adventure in the very near future! For oodles of great Thai recipes, including two of those we prepared the last few days, visit Thai Recipes Kitchen

Thanks to Kimmi's little lecture a while back, I did remember to grab the camera for this meal, as well as some of the preparations. If you want to see more than the one I'm posting here, be sure to stop by my flick'r. Clicking on the "backyard view" photo will take you there!


Kim said...

thanks for the photos! ;>

Sounds awesome - and fun with the extended project! Now, if you weren't going to grill the chicken, what would be your recommendation? Pan fry? Oven bake with foil?

Boondock Ma (Kim's Mom) said...

Hey Kimmi! It really was a lot of fun!

Seriously, I think grilling would be the best option, if at all possible, but if not, considering how quickly the chicken cooks (as I pounded it pretty thin)I think pan frying would probably work better than in the oven.

Kim said...

gotcha....well maybe I can talk Nick into starting up the grill based solely on your recommendation! I do love grilling, but Nick never seems very into the process....and I only want to deal with prep of food, not the grill itself!