Thai Green Curry Paste

Ingredients
1 tbsp lemongrass (white parts)
1 bunch fresh coriander (or 1 tbsp powder)
2-3 slices of fresh galangal (or 1 tbsp)
1 tbsp shallots
1 tbsp garlic
10 fresh green peppercorns (1 tbsp)
1 Thai chili
1/2 tbsp kaffir lime zest
1 slice fresh turmeric (1 pinch of powder)
1 tbsp shrimp paste
Pinch of fine table or sea salt

Step 1: Cut up the lemongrass, coriander, and galangal into small pieces, and add to a stone mortar.

Step 2: Then add the shallots, garlic, peppercorn, and Thai chili. You can add them in whole, or roughly cut the shallot/garlic.

Step 3: Add kaffir lime zest, salt, and turmeric. For the kaffir lime zest: slice small parts of the skin off rather than grate it. For the salt: be sure to use finely ground salt, as it is used to help make the paste, not for any flavor.

Step 4: Firmly smash all of the ingredients in an up and down motion. Do not grind, or it will make the paste watery. Continue until it becomes a paste. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth, as long as there are no large pieces of ingredients. It should take roughly 5-10 min.

Step 5: Add shrimp paste. Keep smashing, but a little more gently, so that everything mixes well. You may also use a spoon to scoop & smash.

Scones

Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/79470/simple-scones/

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter (cultured is best!), frozen
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
Blackberries & raspberries (optional)
Honey (optional)

Directions

Step 1) Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2) In a medium or large bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal)

Step 3) In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.

Step 4) Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)

Step 5) Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Add fresh fruit on top & sprinkle with honey. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Thai Ingredients

Phew, it’s been a while! I just came back from a 3-week family vacation in Thailand, visiting my relatives. My dad was born in Bangkok, and one of his sisters (my aunt) still lives there. My siblings and I haven’t been back in 10 years, and it was so enriching to view Thailand with fresh new eyes. Plus, I got to see all my cousins!

In one of the cities we visited (Hua Hin), we all took a short cooking course; so in the coming weeks, you can bet I’ll be posting some Thai recipes.

To start with: an introduction of some Thai ingredients.

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Galangal / Siamese Ginger (Kha)
Also called Laos. It is from the same family as ginger with similar shape and color, but is not as strong. It is used for making curry paste, soups, and salads. Dried galangal needs to be soaked in water before use.
galangal
Lemongrss (Thakrai)
Lemongrass is commonly used in teas, soups, salads, and curries. Only the lower part is used for curry pastes, and the whole thing can be used in soups and salads.
lemongrass

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Fresh Fruit Tart

 

Fruit Tart

I had some time on my hands over the weekend, so I decided to do a little experimenting! I have been wanting to find a good fruit tart recipe; I made one with a cream cheese-based filling some time ago, but it wasn’t good enough to warrant a second try. Fruit tarts are something I want to be able to pull out of my back pocket – you can’t deny its loveliness, and making it seemed to call more for planning ahead rather than any particular trick or skill. So, armed with a big cup of joe this morning, I set out to find my favorite fruit tart recipe.

… 

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Nigiri Sushi

I was craving nigiri the other day, and remembered that I saw sashimi-grade fish being sold at a local Asian/Japanese supermarket. Having never made nigiri before, I thought this would be the perfect weekend project. If I’m looking to make a general dish (rather than follow a specific recipe), I usually research 5-10 various recipes, and read up on the dish. Nigiri took a little more research than usual, since there are actually three “dishes” I am making: sushi rice, sushi soy sauce, and raw fish. Making nigiri is harder than it looks – the ones pictured are far from perfect – but I’ll definitely be practicing!

Salmon and Tuna Nigiri… 

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Hummus

Every now and then, I get a craving for hummus. And, every time I do, I wonder why I didn’t crave it sooner. It makes for such a delicious, healthy snack – especially paired with some fresh whole wheat pita bread. Hopefully, I’ll have perfected a pita bread recipe in time for next week!

Out of the hundreds of hummus recipes out there, the main ingredients are consistently: chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, and olive oil. Frequently, thought not consistently, featured ingredients additionally include garlic and salt. My recipe differs really only in the mix of spices I use, and some of my preparation methods.

Hummus Reipce… 

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Matcha Mochi Cake

Drats, I missed my weekly Sunday post.. won’t happen again, I promise! I’ve been on a bit of a baking spree lately, and have been especially interested in Japanese pastries – they all seem so quaint and pretty. A few that I tried came out well, but were very, very time consuming. So, imagine my delight when I found this latest recipe by Jen from Tiny Urban Kitchen that included only 2-3 steps! Presenting.. matcha mochi cake!

Matcha Mochi Cake
Crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.. this recipe is so simple yet so delicious. I barely made any modifications to Jen’s original recipe save for halving it and slightly reducing the sugar. Give it a try!… 

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Ma Po Tofu, 麻婆豆腐

Cody and I were over at his sister’s for dinner the other day, and the moment he saw that his sister’s husband had cooked up ma po tofu, he immediately pointed at it and said, “Ma po tofu! You have got to make that next.” Ma po tofu is a spicy dish made with tofu and ground pork – its intense flavors burst out in your first bite, and you can’t help but keep eating it! Traditionally, this dish is as hot as you can make it, but since I can only take a moderate spice level, I adjusted the recipe to fit my palette.

Ma Po Tofu… 

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Almond Macarons

When I came across the golden-edged Ladurée Sucré recipe book in Anthropologie, I was sold in all of 5 seconds. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for aesthetics & design, and this was the most beautiful recipe book I’ve come across – to top it all off, this book holds the recipes for Ladurée macarons! The crown jewel of macarons! I’m not at all exaggerating – swing by their store the next time you’re in New York City, and you’ll find the treats there live up to their reputation.

Unfortunately, the recipe steps were too vague for a first-timer like me. My macaron shells had no feet, they were too round, and they cracked at the top. So I tried other recipes and watched videos (this and this really helped). Turns out that the secret to macarons is not so much the ingredients, but the folding technique. Anyway, here is my final recipe & directions – it’s around 80% true to the Ladurée recipe. If this is your first time, I’d recommend trying this out with a small sample, i.e. dividing everything by 6 (using just 1 egg white).

Almond Macarons… 

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Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup, 紅燒牛肉麵

Taiwanese beef noodle soup, or, 紅燒牛肉麵 (hong shao niu rou mian), is a staple that you will find in many Taiwanese restaurants. It’s peppery, spicy, savory, slightly sweet.. a perfect blend of spices. My boyfriend was born in Taiwan, and he’s been telling me how much he loves his dad’s 牛肉麵 – perfect opportunity for me to learn a new dish! After multiple tries (and tastings by my boyfriend), here’s a recipe I’ve put together, with consultation from his dad.

Hong Shao Niu Rou Mian… 

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