Sunday, 3 November 2013

Thaiday Friday and Chiang Mai curry

It's been a little while since Fetty's Street Food officially launched and most recently I've been lucky enough to meet Shannon Smuts from Pure Good on St. Johns Street in Cape Town. Shannon has given Fetty's a platform on Friday's to cook and serve Thai street food in a joint venture we're calling Thaiday Friday.

With respect to this new opportunity I want to write about a meal that still stands out in my mind as one of the best I've ever had in Thailand. It was near the end of my journey through this wonderful country and my first venture up north to the second largest city in Thailand, Chiang Mai. It's a cultural city with so much of its charm still in tact. So many larger cities lose some essence but Chiang Mai has lost very little.Yes it's modernised a little and there are influences from the west like pool bars, burger joints and even plush hotels but inside the old city it's raw and almost untouched. The people are genuine, the guest houses are quaint and markets are huge, with everything from textiles to, my favourite, food. The food took my breath away and inspired me greatly. It also made me extremely hungry. The only problem was what to choose... Since this would be my first meal in Chiang Mai I decided to dive straight in to the one you don't find anywhere else, Kaeng Hangleh Moo (Chiang Mai Curry with Pork).

It's a unique curry that you're unlikely to find outside of north Thailand. Taking a lot of influence from neighbouring Myanmar, which in itself has Indian and Bangladeshi roots, it's without the expected coconut cream and fresh chilies. The use of the three Cs, coriander, cumin and cinnamon gives an aromatic element to the curry that stands out in both taste and smell. It's also sweeter than other curries with equal amounts of fish sauce and palm sugar. Served almost dry it was a clear winner to start my time in Chiang Mai.

Here's my recipe for Chiang Mai curry:

Ingredients:

For the curry paste:

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 10 dried red chilies, deseeded and soaked for 10 minutes
  • Thumb size piece of galngal (Chinese ginger)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Thai shallots or pickling onions
  • Thumb size piece of turmeric root, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
For the curry
  • 2 - 3 cups water
  • 750g Pork or Chicken fillets
  • 3 tbsp oil (for frying)
  • 2 cloves garlic, made into a paste
  • 1/2 thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp Chiang Mai curry paste
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Thumb size piece of ginger, sliced into fine matchsticks
  • 4 Thai shallots or pickling onions, halved
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce


Method:

For the paste:
  1. In a pan dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds for until fragrant (be careful not to burn them).
  2. Transfer to a pestle and mortar to grind into a powder. Remove to a separate dish.
  3. In the same mortar bash together the lemongrass, rehydrated chilies, galangal, garlic and shallots / onions one at a time until well combined. 
  4. Add grated turmeric and salt. Keep grinding and bashing to incorporate.
  5. Add the roasted spice powder and combine well.
  6. Lastly add the shrimp paste and mix well to form a thick paste. Ensure there are no large pieces of lemongrass, chili or onion in the paste. It should be even in texture.


For the curry:
  1. Boil the water in a kettle.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the pork or chicken into bite size chunks.
  3. Blanch the pork or chicken in boiling water for a couple of minutes and strain for use later.
  4. In a wok or large pot heat the oil.
  5. When hot fry the garlic and ginger until fragrant and add the curry paste.
  6. Fry the curry paste for about 2 minutes, stirring to prevent it from sticking.
  7. When the oil separates from the paste add the pork / chicken, peanuts, ginger and shallots / onions.
  8. Stir fry and coat with the cooked paste for a minute before adding about 2 cups of water.
  9. Add the tamarind paste and bring the curry to the boil.
  10. Cook the curry for about 1 hour until the meat is tender.
  11. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar and cook for another 10 minutes.
  12. Stir occasionally but not vigorously to break the meat apart.
  13. Just before serving season with the soy sauce and taste to adjust the flavour.
Serve with Jasmine Rice.




It's well worth the effort to make this curry from scratch. You won't find a ready made Chiang Mai paste in you local store so give it a go.

For authentic Thai street food pop in to Pure Good, 21 St Johns Street, on Friday's between 12 and 2pm.

Take Care
fet

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Oh my goodness, you HAVE to try this

So I've been on a search recently for the most amazing dessert that I could make quickly and cheaply. I've been playing with recipes online tweaking them and adjusting for my tastes as well as to make them viable for Fetty's Street Food - I mean street food is about convenience and quick turn around times. 

A handful of recipes just weren't cutting it until I thought back to a butchery class I attended in London where afterwards we were served a monster four shoulders of lamb between 16 between us. We stuffed ourselves on ample meat for a week until they surprised us all with a massive portion of the most delicious sweet I've ever had. A simple bread and butter pudding.
This dessert would be my inspiration!
Luckily India taught me a thing or two about spices and how they work together. Subtleties play an important role in making spice shine and not overpower a dish. Making spices work in a dessert is a new concept I was excited to try out and after several attempts I think I nailed it... This dessert answers all my pudding prayers. It's sweet, it's warm, it's got texture, it's tasty as anything you've ever had, it's guilty, it's satisfying, it's memorable and most of all it's smothered in butter, chocolate, custard and unique flavours. This is my aniseed, cardamom and rose water bread and butter pudding...



ANISEED, CARDAMOM AND ROSE WAER BREAD & BUTTER PUDDING

Yields: 8 small / 4 large portions
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15-25 minutes

Ingredients:

- 1 loaf mosbolletjie bread
- 200g unsalted butter
- 250ml cream
- 100g caster sugar
- 10ml vanilla essence
- 3 eggs
- 35ml rose water
- 16 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground to a powder in a pestle and mortar
- 90g milk chocolate, cut roughly to make choc chips

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
2. Butter a loaf tin or 8 individual ramekins.
3. Cut the mosbolletjies loaf into 8 equal sized pieces. Cut each piece into 4 slices.
4. Whisk the eggs in a bowl together with the vanilla essence, rose water and cardamom powder. Set aside.
5. In a pot slowly melt the cream and caster sugar together until the caster sugar has dissolved (do not boil the cream).
6. When the cream mixture has sufficiently cooled add the beaten egg mixture and stir well to combine.
7. Melt the butter in the microwave a little at a time (20 seconds at a time will do)
8. Dip the mosbolletjie slices into the melted butter and stack neatly in the loaf tin or ramekins.
9. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate in between the slices of bread – get your hands dirty.
10. Carefully pour the custard mixture in between the slices of bread. Make sure all air pockets are full with the custard to the brim of the loaf tin or ramekins.
11. Place the loaf tin or ramekins in a larger oven proof dish and fill this dish with water to create a bain-marie.
12. Put the bain-marie into the oven and bake for 15-25 minutes. Keep an eye on the bread above the rim of the loaf tin or ramekins. It may burn.
13. When the custard is firm and the top of the bread is crispy the pudding is done.
14. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving either on its own or with ice cream.

The crust above the rim of the loaf tin / ramekins goes crispy while the soaked bread stayed soft and soaks up all the delicious custard. It's a contrast that's wonderful. A winner that will undoubtedly impress your guests, and yourself.

Enjoy it.
fet

Monday, 29 April 2013

My Bhindi Bhaji

If you've never had Okra (Bhindi) then you're seriously missing out. Until I lived in London I had no idea what this strange but ultimately delicious vegetable was. Now I pick them up whenever I can from the local market, speciality deli's or certain supermarkets.

They're long and thin like green chillies, but with a star shape to them. They're slightly fury and unlike anything you've seen before. So they're not just great to eat but look amazing too. It's the perfect accompaniment to a curry, be it hot or not.

This is my own recipe and I wouldn't change it for anything. Don't be scared of the amount of spices in this dish. These are all unique and add a flavour of their own. However, once together you will be blown away by the incredible dish you've created. (You can actually use this spice paste as the base for most curry dishes, just add tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, yoghurt, or water and pretty much any veggies or meat you wish).

Authentic Bhindi Bhaji

What you're going to need:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Thumb sized ginger, pureed
  • 2 large cloves garlic, pureed
  • 2 or 3 birds eye chillies (red or green, these are small but potent), finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 500g Okra (more famously known as Lady Fingers), roughly chopped in 2cm lengths
  • 2 ripe tomatoes chopped into segments (like an orange)
  • Fresh coriander, chopped and whole
How you're going to make it:
  1. Start with a heavy based pan / pot and get your ingredients ready.
  2. Heat the oil in the pan / pot for 1 minute until hot (not boiling).
  3. Add the cumin seeds and roast them for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  4. Next add the chopped onion and brown (roughly 5 – 10 minutes).
  5. Once a light shade of brown, add the ginger and garlic puree as well as the finely chopped chillies.
  6. Fry for another 2 – 3 minutes.
  7. Add the spices (turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, garam masala) and fry for 2 minutes.
You should have a lumpy paste at this stage
  1. Next, add the chopped Okra and fry in the paste for roughly 5 minutes before adding the chopped tomato. At this stage the tomato juices will coat the spices and create a little sauce. (Add a little water if the spices start to catch)
  2. Lastly, add some chopped coriander and dish up in a side dish / bowl.
  3. Sprinkle with fresh whole leaf coriander
Enjoy.
Fet

Don't forget these useful techniques:

Fixing your chopping board: Wet a kitchen clothe and place it, folded, on your counter with a heavy chopping board on top. this should fix your chopping board in place to let you get on with chopping.

Spices: Because all the spices go in at the same time you can pre-measure these and put them aside. This avoids one spice going into the recipe and burning while you're measuring off the other spices. (It's very important to cook the spices for the same amount of time).

To Puree: Finely chop your ginger and garlic (keep them separate). Once chopped take your large blade knife and flatten the chopped ginger and garlic with one end pushing down away from yourself at a very acute angle to the chapping board. Keep doing this until the chopped ginger and garlic forms a juicy paste.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Pad Thai – the Khao San Road Kind of Way


Khao San Road is somewhat of an institution in Bangkok. It’s the place to go when you don’t know where to go. From there anything is possible. Need a tuk tuk, get one there, need a hotel? Get one there. Need to do some shopping? Do it there. Need some food? Get it there. You get the point. It’s what I like to call the Bangkok melting pot. Everyone comes here. I just met twins from Hong Kong in a tattoo parlour, a British girl shopping for washing detergent in the seven eleven and an Aussie drinking a beer (typical), and it’s not even 6pm. I landed here at around 3pm from Krabi, a coastal town which boasts sandstone cliffs, endless beaches and humidity beyond compare. When I got here I boarded a bus and made my way to central Bangkok before swapping the aircon of the bus for the natural cooling air on the back of a taxi motorbike. Zooming through traffic, even up the wrong way on a highway, I eventually landed at the familiar spot that is Khao San. This road is about 400m and, like I made clear before, has everything you can want. I needed WiFi and here I am enjoying a beer at a bar while reminiscing about my day.

One of the highlights of my day, which was definitely not being denied taking certain items on the plane from Krabi, has to have been my late lunch. A paupers meal on the side of the road on, you guessed it, Khao San Road. There are a number of meals you can get on the side of the road while walking and admiring the sights – fresh fruit, grilled corn, BBQ sausage and palony’s, chicken kebabs/wraps, spring rolls or Pad Thai (plain, with egg, with chicken or with seafood). I opted for a Pad Thai without hesitation - my staple when in this area. A random traveller advised me once to get a Pad Thai with egg and a spring roll which they cut up into the Pad Thai and mix it through while cooking it in a wok in front of you. I tried this and have never looked back. It’s become my staple, my Bangkok saviour. These hawker artists throw the ingredients together in a wok or flat top grill and within minutes you have a delicious concoction of fresh vegetables, herbs and noodles flavoured with typical Thai tastes. Then it’s up to you to give the Pad Thai character synonymous with your own personal style. Mine is a dash of dried shrimp for salt, a smidgen of sugar for sweetness, a lump of dried chilli flakes for heat, a squeeze of lime for tang, a hell of a lot of crushed and roasted peanuts for crunch and a few splashes of chilli oil to bring it all together. It blows my mind every time.

Having visited Bangkok five times now and planting myself firmly at the virtual entrance of Khao San Road at the Top Inn I have become accustomed to the nuances of this place. I’m still no expert but I’d like to think I know how to spot a good Pad Thai. After witnessing several being made over the course of my travels here this is a recipe I’ve thrown together just like a proper Pad Thai should be, thown rogether...

My Authentic Khaosan Road Pad Thai

For one!

  • 60g stick rice noodles, soaked for 15 minutes in warm water seasoned with 1 tsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup Chinese greens (these could be bok choi or spinach or any greens bought at a Chinese/Asian supermarket)
  •  ¼ cup finely sliced carrots
  • ¼ cup bean sprouts
  • ¼ cup spring onions
  • ¼ cup morning glory (optional – bought exclusively at an Asian supermarket. I fount this ingredient recently in Cape Town at an Asian supermarket at N1 City)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp roasted and crushed peanuts
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp dried shrimps (optional – you can substitute this with extra fish sauce)
  • 1 tbsp (less or more) dried chilli flakes


  1. Firstly get your noodles ready by soaking them in some warm water for around 15 minutes with fish sauce and soy sauce. This will flavour the noodles and colour them slightly. After 15 minutes remove them and pour a little vegetable oil over them and lightly massage them with your fingers to prevent them sticking together.
  2. Now that your noodles are prepped and ready get your wok on the heat – ideally a round based wok on gas but if you don’t have one then a flat based wok or a large pan will go fine.
  3. Heat a little vegetable oil in the work or pan. When hot add you egg, within 30 seconds add your Chinese greens, carrots, bean sprouts, spring onions and morning glory. Stir for about 1 minute until the vegetables are covered in oil and the egg is scrambled.
  4. Add your noodles to the vegetables and stir fry for 2 minutes before seasoning with fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and lime juice.
  5. Turn off the heat and serve onto a plate. Season with dried shrimps (optional), crushed peanuts, chilli flakes and chilli oil.
  6. Enjoy with chop sticks.



There you have a traditional Thai meal of the highest order ready in under 30 minutes. The key here is to make Pad Thai individually – one at a time. Don’t try make a big portion for 4 or more people, you’ll only end up disappointed.

Right now I’m so satisfied, nothing in the world could have made me happier than eating this Pad Thai like I did just now.
Enjoy!
fet

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Shake it up


The Thai’s are spoilt for choice when it comes to fruit. All around you, whether it’s a market, a stall on the street or a vendor cruising around on a bike and side cart you can get the ripest seasonal fruit for next to nothing. From individual portions to bags full, options are endless. Just this morning I tucked into some delicious, sweet and juicy pineapple. The vendor I bought it from prepares it in such a unique and attractive way. Despite the unbelievable freshness of the fruit, it simply looks good too. He was an artist. Sculpting the fruit to make it beautiful only helps the taste.

Pineapple alone isn’t exciting even though it is the tastiest pineapple you’ll ever have. There’s something about the tropical environment of Thialand and SE Asia that transforms the fruit into sweeter and juicier than we’re used to. The variety is what makes fruit here so exciting. Fruit like 
  • Longon - a yellow ball about the size of a lychee and wikedly sweet
  • Sala - Remember Wicks bubblegum? Well this fruit tastes like it
  • Dragon fruit - The weirdest looking of the lot. A bright pink fruit that grows on a cactus and is pure white with thousands of tiny black pips. Slightly sweet and of the texture of kiwi fruit
  • Star fruit - Also unusal looking and with a juicy flesh with the texture of grapes  
  • Mangosteen - Sweet like a lychee with a dark purple shell 
  • Jack fruit - Stinky and known to grow up to 30kg in weight. Jack fruit has a less pungent smelling fruit with a crispy texture unless it's kept outside where it can go slightly rubbery
  • Rambutan - Red/pink in colour it's another lychee type fruit with small soft spikes
  • Yellow watermelon - Exactly the same as watermelon but yellow. I was so excited when I first saw this
  • Durian - A huge spiky fruit, often confused with jack fruit. It's known as the king of fruits and has a custard type pod inside. The flavour is rich and luxurious, it's definitely the most unusual fruit you'll ever have

Another thing about the Thai’s is that they’re industrious. They make use of everything. Almost nothing goes to waste. This has given them an ability to have more than one use for the fruit they have. They sculpt it, cook with it, add it to sauces, make juice and other drinks, feed their animals all with fruit.

One of my favourite uses of fruit is juicing. Here’s a fool proof Thai shake recipe that, if made at home, will be exactly as good as one you’ll order while lying on a tropical beach in Koh Samui. It's enough for two shakes

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of your favourite fruit – mix them if you want
  • My favourite mix is: juice of 1 small orange, juice of ½ a lime, ¼ mango, 1/3 cup pineapple
  • ½ - 1 ½ tsp sugar (depending on the ripeness of your fruit)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup ice
Method:
  1. Peel and roughly chop the fruit.
  2. In a blender add the fruit, sugar, water and ice and blend together until the ice is well crushed.
  3. Taste and add more sugar if needed.
  4. Pour into a cocktail glass and enjoy.


This is the easiest way to recreate authentic Thai flavours at home. It's also a great way to get those vitamins in... Give it a try.

Enjoy
fet

Friday, 1 March 2013

The perfect hangover cure

It is with great appreciation that I write this blog post... On my latest trip to Thailand with my friend Thomo, we decided to go and watch a ping pong show (for those of you who don't know what a ping pong show is I'll let you google it) and proceeded to get horribly drunk last night. It wasn't intended but I guess some places just have a knack of pushing your fun buttons - Patong Beach is just one of those places. It's not the most glamorous tropical island in the world but when the sun sets there is just one thing to do, and that is have fun.

The downside to all this "fun" that's had in Patong is that every day and every night eventually comes to an end and the next day inevitably hurts a little more than you want it to. This morning (or should I say this afternoon when I finally woke up) was no different. You'd think a person would learn but like I said, spontaneous fun has a way of convincing you that everything will be alright.

Now back to the appreciation I spoke of earlier... everyone has their own hangover cures and remedies, except for me! I don't know how to rid myself of a hangover except to wait it out and hope it goes away before too long. But today I found what I think could just be my perfect hangover cure! Now I know not everyone reacts the same to hangovers and these so-called cures but this one worked amazingly well for me. It's called Hoy Tod.

Hoy Tod is greasy, it's salty, with just the right amount of sweet, it's not healthy but who the hell cares!

This recipe will serve 2 people, make the batter at once and then the omelette one at a time using half the remaining ingredients in each omelette.

Ingredients:
  • 100 ml all purpose flour
  • 200 ml tapioca/corn flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • salt
  • 150 - 300 ml water, as needed to make a smooth batter
  • 2 eggs
  • 5-10 tbsp vegetable / sunflower oil
  • 1 cup fresh raw mussels
  • 2 spring onions, cut at an angle in 1 inch lengths
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • black pepper
  • Siraracha sauce

The key to a good Hoy Tod is in the crispiness of the omelette. This is achieved with two main ingredients, fine flour like tapioca or corn flour and oil, lots and lots of it. You're essentially frying an omelette.

Here's how:

  1. In a mixing bowl mix together tapioca / corn flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and garlic with a pinch of salt. Add enough water to make a batter slightly runnier that pancake batter.
  2. Let this batter stand for about an hour. It'll thicken up a little so add some more water if necessary and you're ready to go.
  3. To a cup add about 1/3 batter and crack an egg into to the cup. Mix well with a fork or chop sticks until well combined.
  4. in a heavy based pan heat 3 tablespoons of oil until smoking hot. Add the batter from the cup and pour half a cup of mussels on top of the batter in the pan.
  5. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil over the omelette and swirl it around in the pan. 
  6. When the edges of the omelette start to go dark brown then start cutting it up with a spatula and mixing it around the pan flipping it over to crisp up both sides. The omelette should break up a little with different size chunks making up your end result.
  7. If the pan becomes a little dry add more oil.
  8. When the omelette is crispy add half the spring onions to it and give it a few more swirls around the pan before removing it to a plate off the heat.
  9. Very quickly in the same pan add half the bean sprouts and fry in the left over oil for 1 minute, constantly tossing. Flavour the sprouts with fish sauce and white sugar.
  10. Add the crispy omelette back to the bean sprouts and mix through. Season with pepper.
  11. Make your second omelette for someone else, unless you want it all to yourself.
  12. Serve straight away with Siraracha sauce (which you should be able to get at most Asian supermarkets)





This is by no means a meal you want to have when you're dieting. It's drenched in oil but as a snack while lazing about watching something good on TV I struggle to have anything better. Make it a Sunday meal you can spoil yourself with for being so good during the week...

Enjoy
fet

Monday, 25 February 2013

Tom Kha Gai – Chicken in coconut milk

A favourite Thai soup that bursts with flavour.




Tom Kha Gai – Chicken in coconut milk

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp galangal ginger, finely sliced (substitute with ginger if you cannot find galangal)
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, lightly crushed under the blade of a knife and cut in 1 inch lengths
  • 4 coriander roots, crushed (substitute with 10 coriander stems)
  • 6 fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn (substitute with 12 dry kaffir lime leaves)
  • 250g chicken, thinly sliced (against the grain)
  • 400ml (1 tin) coconut milk
  • 5-6 mushrooms, cut into quarters (oyster mushrooms work best)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1-2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 birds eye chillies, sliced in half lengthways to release flavour
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 medium lime
  • ½ tbsp tamarind paste (substitute with 1 tbsp rice vinegar and 1 tsp brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp white sugar


Method:
  1. In a pot, add coconut cream. After foaming hot add the galangal, lemongrass, coriander root and kaffir lime leaves.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes to release the flavours.
  3. Add the chicken, when nearly cooked, add coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  4. When the coconut milk starts to boil add the sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, sliced shallots and chillies.
  5. Bring back to the boil and season with fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and tamarind paste.
  6. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
  7. This soup works very well with rice noodles – simply follow the packet instructions to prepare the noodles. Pour the soup over the noodles in a bowl.