Thai Cooking

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					My Home 08S 25-33          4/11/08         6:25 PM          Page 30


                                                   Private Lesson
                                                   A NIGHT WITH NONG:

                                        A TASTE OF                                                                                             As the setting sun cast a golden glow
                                                                                                                                           leading straight to my neighbor’s elegant
                                                                                                                                           Martin’s Point home, Nongkran Daks

                                        AUTHENTIC                                                                                          (Nong) and I appeared at the door
                                                                                                                                           armed with Thai cooking ingredients and
                                                                                                                                           an enthusiastic spirit. Our hostess was
                                                                                                                                           attracted to the idea of a combination
                                                                                                                                           cooking class and dinner that some local

                                              Thai Cooking        By Anne Snape Parsons
                                                                                                                                           restaurants offer and thought it would be
                                                                                                                                           fun to plan a similar event in the privacy
                                                                                                                                           and comfort of her own home.
                                                                                                                                               Multi-cultural and multi-lingual,
                                                                                                                                           Nong stays close to and delights in her
                                                                                                                                           culinary heritage. She grew up in the
                                                                                                                                           kitchen and worked in restaurants

                   ai                                                                                           Tom Yam Ku
       Sya Rong H r
                  e                                                                                            Spicy Shrim
       Crying Tig g Hai is crying.
                on                                                                                             This is the most
                                                                                                                                       p Lemon Gra
                                                                                                                                                      ss Soup
                       er, R                                                                                                    popular dish am
        Sya means tig                  tizer                                                                                                   ong ne wcomers to Thai
                        that this appe                                                                         may add sliced fis
        The story goes          icy, even tigers
                                                                                                                                 h, squid, and mus
                                                                                                                                                  sels to this hot an
                                                                                                                                                                        food. You
                         very sp
         was originally                                                                                        Ingredients                                           d sour soup.
         cry trying to eat it.                                                                                  1/2 lb. raw shrim
                                                                                                                                   p, shelled and                   Method
                                                                                                                    deveined, shells
                                                                                                                                       set aside                     Simmer the shrim
         Marinade Ingr                                                                                         6 cups water or ch
                                                                                                                                    icken stock                     in the 6 cups of wa
                                                                                                                                                                                           p shells
                          k                                                                                                                                                                 ter or
         2 lbs. flank stea                                                                                     2 cups fresh mus
                                                                                                                                  hrooms, thinly sli                stock until they tu
                          e                                                                                                                          ced                                  rn pink.
         2 tbs. soy sauc                                      Method                                 e
                                                                                                               1 tomato, sliced
                                                                                                                                  into 8 pieces                    Strain out and di
                           e                                                      t in the marinad              lengthwise
          1 tbs. fish sauc Crab label brand)                   Place the mea vered about                                                                           shells. Add the lem
             ong prefers 3                                     and refrigera     te co                           2 stalks lemon gr                                grass, coriander ro
          (N                                                                         night in the                                   ass,                                                  ots, and
           1 tbs. oyster sa
                            uce                                 4 hours or over ake rice powder                   cut into 2-inch se crushed then                 magrut leaves, re
                                                                refrigerator.    To m                  rice
                                                                                                                                     ctions                                             turn to
           1 tsp. choppe   d garlic                                                   ast uncooked                3 magrut leaves,                                boil and simmer
                                          peppercorn             from scratch, ro golden in color.                                   torn into small                                   for a
                             ground black                                             til
                                                                  in a dry pan un processor or
                                                                                                                  pieces                                         while to allow th
            1/2 tsp. freshly                                                                                                                                                         e flavor
                                                                   Then    use a food                  rice       3 coriander roots                              of the spices to in
                                                                                                                                                                                       fuse the
                                                                                      to reduce the                                   (also known
                                                                   coffee grinder l the meat on                   as cilantro), crush
                                                                                                                                                                 broth. Add mushr
              Dipping Sauc
                              e                                     to a powder. G st done, about                  4 tbs. fish sauce                            and tomato wedg
                                                                                                                                                                                      es. Add
                               uce                                   a hot fire, until          e. In the
              1/2 cup fish sa                                               utes on each sid the                   5 tbs. fresh lime
                                                                                                                                                                the shrimp last, co
                                                                                                                                                                                      ok 3 or
                                                                     5 min                                                            or lemon juice           4 minutes until sh
               1/2 cup lime ju
                                 ice                                                     bine all
                                                                      meantime com e dipping                        2 tbs.Thai hot sauc                        turns pink. Do no
                                                                      ingred  ients for th                                               e                                          t over-
               2 tbs. water                                                              aside.                     (Nam Prik Pao)
                         t, peeled, thin
                                         ly sliced                     sauce and set                                                                          cook. Turn off the
                1 shallo                                                                ce the steak as              1 tsp. salt                             Stir in the Thai ho
                                  rice powder                          To present, sli                   all                                                                       t sauce,
                1 tbs. roasted                                          desired an  d arrange on sm                  1 green onion,                          fish sauce, and lim
                                    der (or to taste)                                       e ladled into
                 2 tsp. chili pow                                       plates with sauc bowls.                       finely chopped                        juice. Ladle into as
                                                 mint, cilantro          individual sauc
                                                                                           e                                                                                         many
                 1 tbs. each,   chopped fresh                                                                         1 sprig cilantro,                     as 8 bowls and ga
                  and green onio                                                                                       finely chopped                      with green onion,
                                                                                                                                                           cilantro leaves.

My Home 08S 25-33     4/11/08    6:25 PM     Page 31

       during her college years in Bangkok
       where she earned a degree in agricul-
       tural economics. An incredible cook and
       dedicated teacher, Nong is serious about
       authenticity and has a flair for bringing
       Asian cuisine to life in its entire unadul-
       terated splendor.
           Described by Erin Zimmer of the
       Washingtonian magazine as a “cooking
       guru and the Thai Rachel Ray,” Nong is
       originally from Chumphon province in
       southern Thailand, where sustainable
       seafood, fresh vegetables and coconuts
       are plentiful. Not surprisingly, she revels
       in teaching the secrets of authentic Asian
       cooking, and she planned to impart that
       knowledge to the ten friends gathered
       together for a special evening of learning
       and dining.

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           In no time, everyone was engaged in
                                                       dishes, offer some practical tips, and        her cooking classes, you will discover the
       the prep work in the extensively equipped,
                                                       perhaps relate some stories.” Nong is         secrets that make her dishes so appealing
       gourmet kitchen, intent on doing some
                                                       the author of several Asian cookbooks,        and, according to a number of reviewers,
       serious cooking. Adorned in a variety of
                                                       the owner of a successful restaurant,         “the best Pad Thai this side of Bangkok.”
       aprons, some brandishing chopping
                                                       Thai Basil, in Chantilly, Virginia, and a     As the cooking lessons got underway,
       instruments and others coddling their
                                                       member of Slow Food and Les Dames             Nong explained, “It is the layering of
       special cutting knives, these young women
                                                       d’Escoffier (a society that accepts only      flavors that make Thai food so alluring.
       (a relative term on the Outer Banks)
                                                       women professionals – including chefs,        What sets this food apart from other
       stopped short as they saw the petite Asian
                                                       wine experts, food journalists, pub-          cuisines is the fusion of flavours – spicy,
       woman with a huge smile on her face.
                                                       licists, cookbook authors and cooking         sour, sweet, and salty. The menu tonight
       “Ready,” she barked, “okay, let’s start.”
                                                       teachers).                                    holds plenty of pleasures, and afterwards,
           Looking around the kitchen, Nong                                                          you can share the sensual appeal of Thai
                                                            If you are lucky enough to take one of
       said, “I’ll share some secrets of my                                                          food with your partners.”
                                                                                                                  MY OUTER BANKS HOME 31
My Home 08S 25-33    4/11/08    6:31 PM    Page 32

           As Nong passed around the menu            vegetables), Lemon Grass Shrimp Soup,    garlic sauce and toasted rice powder), Pad
       with recipes for Golden Cups (small pas-      Crying Tiger (a Northeastern recipe of   Thai Noodles, and Sticky Rice with
       try shells filled with ground chicken and     marinated flank steak with fresh lime-   Mangoes. The students were thoughtful
                                                                                              and serious as they read the evening’s
                                                                                              script. One student remarked,“It’s hard to
                                                                                              imagine that we can learn to cook all of
                                                                                              these dishes in one evening, but I’m game.”
                                                                                              “Just remember,” Nong replied, “that a
                                                                                              major ingredient in a great dinner party is
                                                                                              to bring to the table your appetite, your
                                                                                              friends, and your conversation.”
                                                                                                  As the students spooned the filling
                                                                                              into the chic little pastry shells, Nong

                                                                                              explained, “My ingredients are as fresh as
                                                                                              possible. For example, it is better to grind
                                                                                              spices rather than buy them ground –
                                                                                              cheaper too! When I was about eight-
                                                                                              years-old, I helped my sister-in-law, a
                                                                                              caterer, grind spices for parties and, as a
                                                                                              university student in Bangkok, I came
                                                                                              home on weekends to cook for friends
                                                                                              and family. I loved to study food and
                                                                                              cook for others, especially after I married
                                                                                              Larry, a Peace Corps volunteer, who later
                                                                                              became a Foreign Service officer. Our
                                                                                              travels took us to Laos, China, Hawaii
                                                                                              and Taiwan.”
                                                       Point Harbor, NC 27964                     In another nod to Thai tradition,
                                                     252.491.2545 * 800.367.2846              Nong said, “I emphasize time-proven
                                                                  methods in cooking all my dishes.” While
                                                                                              it was clear that Nong’s passion for Thai
            The Outer Banks’ exclusive outdoor furniture dealer.                              food obviously sets her apart from others
                            All Weather Wicker • Local Wood Products                          of her ilk, a question was raised,
                             Recycled Plastic • Pool Furniture & More                         “Remember we live on the Outer Banks
                            we are rental home specialists.                                   and we don’t have access to some Asian
                  Showroom 1 minute north of Wright Memorial Bridge
                                                                                              ingredients, so what do we do?” Nong
                                                                                              pointed across the Russian olive hedge to
My Home 08S 25-33     4/11/08     6:32 PM    Page 33

       my home. “That lady has lemon grass
       and Thai basil growing in her garden and
       a large pot with Kaffir Lime leaves on               VACATION FOR A WEEK
       her patio. Other items such as fish sauce,
       palm sugar, noodles, galangal root,                  VACATION FOR A LIFETIME
       tamarind paste, and so on, you can find
       at the Asian stores in Virginia Beach and
       Raleigh, or, you can go online and order
            She did express a quizical concern             7 Locations Covering The Entire Outer Banks.
       that in Thai cooking, the root of the
       cilantro plant, when ground is an essen-
       tial ingredient in many Thai foods, yet it                   The Best Rental Management Program
       is difficult to find. She uses a mortal and                       On The Beach - Proven Since 1980.
       pestle to grind her spices, but said a food
       processor works well too. The Thai cook                               Vacation & Long Term Rental Homes.
       wastes nothing. While there are no
       Asian markets on the Outer Banks,                                                                  Experienced And
       local grocers recognize the growing
       popularity of Asian inspired meals and                                                               Knowledgeable
       are stocking many of the ingredients.                                                                  Sales Agents.
            As the party moved into the dining
       room, Nong smiled with quiet satisfac-
       tion as the women supped on the lemon
       grass soup. The general consensus among
       the guests was that the complexity and
       flavor was a combination not present in
       Americanized Thai food. Nong then
       demonstrated how to carve roses from
       tomatoes and use them as decoration
       with bunches of cilantro for the Crying
       Tiger steak that they had marinated and
       cooked on the outdoor grill. The aroma
       transported everyone back to the
            The next dish, Pad Thai, was greeted
       with huge kudos. Nong had earlier
       shown them how to take some tamarind              View ALL Outer
       paste and squeeze it into a cup of water,          Banks Homes
       let it soak, and then put it through a
       sieve, reserving the liquid. This was one
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       dish where Nong used a number of                      Online!                 252-441-4263 • 866-853-4711

                                                       secret methods she shared with the           Anne Snape Parsons is a co-author of
                                                       group. Without a doubt, it was voted the     the recently released book, Kitchen
                                                       “best Pad Thai ever tasted” by the           Memories, a legacy of family recipes from
                                                       students. Because one of the friends         around the world, which includes a few
                                                       was celebrating her birthday, our            Outer Bankers. She met Nongkran Daks
                                                       hostess had asked for a special dessert.     while she was writing it and now, as
                                                       No bazillion caloried cake here! Nong        friends, Nong enjoys visiting Anne on the
                                                       showed how to pair mango with a              Outer Banks. Teaching private lessons here
                                                       sweet, sticky rice – a delicious, and        gives Nong an opportunity to share her
                                                       healthy, dessert – presented with a fan of   knowledge in an intimate social setting.
                                                       mango slices and mint arranged around        More information about Nongkran Daks
                                                       the rice. It was a light dessert and a       and her cookbooks is available at
                                                       superb finish to an enchanted evening.   ■

                                                                                                                 MY OUTER BANKS HOME 33

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