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Asian recipes

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by ChristinaC on September 10, 2005 09:21 PM
My boyfriend and I have a rule about going out for dinner. We'll only spend the money if it's something exotic that we don't have at home everyday. When we go for dinner, we make a big night of for the perfect restaurant, get all dressed up and drive 2 hours if we have to. We've eaten at 3 different Asian restaurants this summer. Indian Food, Thai Food and Indonesian. I've tried to emulate some recipes by following the ones I've found online but I haven't had good luck. I just can't get the balance of sweet, sour and salty. Plus, some ingredients are hard to find (galangal, kaffir lime leaves, tamarind juice, etc.) If anyone has any ideas, tips or recipes, it would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!
Christina [muggs]

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by obywan59 on November 16, 2005 02:47 AM

I found a small kaffir lime tree in March of 2003 when I went the Home and Garden Show in Charlotte NC. I got some frozen galangal from an oriental grocery in Roanoke, and tamarind pods from Kroger in Roanoke. Tamarind pods are kind of a pain to scrape the pulp from. I've heard that you can buy blocks of tamarind pulp eliminating that tiresome step, but I haven't searched for any yet. (I still have blocks of frozen tamarind liquid from when I scraped pods the last time.)

Penzeys spices also has ground galangal and dried lemon grass (not as good as fresh, but they are good quality for dried). I started my own lemon grass plants from seed, and now overwinter them indoors with my kaffir lime.

If you're interested in some good oriental cookbooks, let me know. I have several. They have some pretty incredible recipes! Some of them I found online "like new" for about half price.

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May the force be with you
by obywan59 on November 16, 2005 03:00 AM
I just had a thought, and I was right. There's a nursery a couple of hours north of here called Edible Landscaping. They carry kaffir lime trees. They're a bit expensive ($25 + shipping), but they will mail order any time of year. I think I only paid $10 for my kaffir lime, so you might try doing a search. There may be some cheaper ones out there.

I just did a curry dish a month ago that called for 15 kaffir lime leaves, and they're right when they say there's no substitute. I've never tasted anything like that before. The dish was great!

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May the force be with you
by obywan59 on November 16, 2005 03:54 AM
Christina, what originally lead me to your post was doing a google search on looking for info on pruning kaffir limes. I did another search on the entire web and came up with a long string on kaffir lime from another forum. One of the posts mentioned a place you could order all kinds of thai plants for relatively cheap. I looked it up and they have kaffir lime as well as galanga, ginger, turmeric and tons of other stuff. The lime is $15 or $20 depending on pot size and shipping is only a few dollars.

If my plant was bigger, I'd send you some leaves. They say they freeze real well. As it is though, I was worrying about the 15 leaves I pulled off it for my curry dish. That was probably 25 or 30% of the total number of leaves. I think I need to water it more. Apparently it will really put out the new growth if it receives sufficient water. Someone mentioned harvesting 150 leaves!

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May the force be with you
by obywan59 on November 16, 2005 04:01 AM
Yeah, it's me again. [lala] Another tip here. I've purchased a "hand" of ginger from the grocery store in spring and planted it outside in the ground. It didn't grow a lot, (only a few leaf stalks, I think I didn't water it enough) but the ginger stayed nice and fresh up through frost. A lot longer than it keeps in the refrigerator. I'd just go out and cut a piece off whenever I needed some.

Galangal and turmeric would work as well as they are close relatives of ginger and grow the same way.

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May the force be with you
by ChristinaC on November 16, 2005 07:49 AM
Thanks for responding Terry! It turns out there is an Asian market here is Sarnia where I live. All this time, I had no idea! So I found everything I need. Kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lemon grass, tamarind, etc, etc. I have thought about purchasing a kaffir lime tree. It's good to know you're here so I'll have someone to question about the conditions needed. I would LOVE some recipes. I've still been using ones I've found online and who knows who writes those?? If you have time, you should post a couple of your favourites. Thanks again Terry!!!!

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by obywan59 on November 17, 2005 01:54 PM
This is the (easy) dish I recently made with the 15 kaffir lime leaves. I have since seen a post in another forum saying that what I was counting as a single leaf should be counted as 2 leaves as "my" leaf had 2 sections, but it's all a matter of taste. I was pleased with the flavor of the lime leaves.

Thai Green Curry with Snow Peas and Shrimp
serves 4 (probably more with rice)

1/4 pound snow peas (cut in half if large)
1 can (14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk, divided
3 tbsp green curry paste, storebought or homemade
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
12-15 wild lime leaves
1 tbsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
handful of fresh basil
2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Trim the snow peas removing the stem ends.

Stir the coconut milk in the can until smooth and well combined. In a large saucepan, bring 1/3 c. of the coconut milk to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Add the curry paste and cook 1 minute, stirring and mashing to soften the paste. Add the onion and continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium and add the shrimp and lime leaves. Cook about 1 minute, stirring often, until the shrimp become pink.

Add the remaining coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce and bring to a gentle boil.

Add the snow peas, stir well and simmer 2 minutes while you cut the basil leaves crosswise into strips. Stir in the basil and cilantro and remove from the heat. Serve warm. (I served it over plain brown rice)


Substitute bay scallops or small tender clams for the shrimp.

Try this recipe with about 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken meat cut into bite-size chunks and 1 1/2 c. eggplant chunks. Cook the chicken as directed for the shrimp, but after the fish sauce is added, simmer for 10 minutes, add the eggplant and simmer for 5 minutes more, or just until the chicken is cooked through and the eggplant is softened. You can omit the snow peas or add them as directed.

Note: 3 tbsp. of storebought green curry paste makes this dish very hot. I didn't mind that, but it also had a somewhat harsh taste to it. When I make this dish again, I'll either reduce the amount of the green curry paste or make the curry paste myself using the following recipe.

For this next recipe, if you want a hotter paste, you can increase the amount of fresh chilies to as much as 1/2 c. For a milder paste, decrease the amount of fresh hot green chiles to 1 or 2 tbsp.

Green Curry Paste Thai-Style
makes about 3/4 c.

1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 c coarsely chopped fresh hot green chili peppers, such as serrano, jalapeno or Thai prik kii noo
1/4 c coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, including stems, leaves and roots, if available
1/4 c coarsely chopped shallots
3 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
3 tbsp minced fresh lemongrass (about 3 stalks)
1 tbsp minced fresh galanga or fresh ginger
1 tsp grated fresh lime zest
few tbsp water
6 wild lime leaves (optional)

Place a small plate by the stove to hold the spices. combine the coriander and cumin in a small, dry frying pan. Place over medium heat and toast the spices 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant and slightly darkened. Remove from the heat and tip out onto the plate. Add the salt and pepper and set aside.

In a blender or mini food procesor, combine the chiles, cilantro, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galanga or ginger, lime zest, 2 tbsp water, spices, and lime leaves if using. Process to a fairly smooth, evenly colored paste, stopping often to scrape down the sides and grind everything well. Add a little more water as needed to facilitate blending.

Transfer the curry paste to a jar and seal airtight. Refrigerate for up to 1 month. (I've kept the red curry paste for much longer, though it would probably retain better quality to freeze it in tbsp sized portions for up to 6 months)

To prepare the lemongrass, trim the stalks to about 3 inches including the bulbous root end. Trim any dried hard portion at the root end and discard any dry outer leaves.

A more traditionl version would use equal amounts of whole cumin and coriander seed toasted separately, 2-3 minutes for cumin and 4-5 minutes for coriander until fragrant and a few shades darker, then ground in a spice grinder.

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May the force be with you
by obywan59 on November 22, 2005 04:37 AM
Here is my recipe for Rendang, a traditional West Sumatran dish. It's from Homestyle Thai and Indonesian Cooking by Sri Owen. "A well-cooked one (rendang) is brown, sometimes almost black. It should be chunky and dry, yet succulent, with the dryness of meat that has absorbed its juices and its sauce during the long period of cooking----it is the only dish I know of that passes from boiling to frying without any interruption." This is incredible.

Serves 10-12

6 shallots thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 1-inch piece ginger, chopped
6 red chiles, seeded and chopped, or 3 tsp. cayenne (I used serranos)
6 cups coconut milk (yup, that say's 6 cups)
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. galangal
1 salam leaf or bay leaf
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, bruised
2 tsp. salt
3 pounds beef brisket or rump steak, cut into large cubes

Put the shallots, garlic, ginger, and chiles in a blender or a food processor and reduce to a puree. Place the puree and coconut milk in a large wok with the turmeric and galingal. Add the salam or bay leaf, lemongrass, salt, and beef, which must be completely covered by the coconut milk. Stir, and start cooking on medium heat, uncovered. Let this simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. By this time the coconut milk should be quite thick and oily,and needs to be stirred frequently. Taste, and add more salt, if necessary.

When it becomes thick and brown, stir continuously for about 15 minutes. The dish is ready when the oil has been almost completely absorbed by the meat. Serve hot with plenty of rice.

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May the force be with you
by ChristinaC on November 22, 2005 06:49 AM
Thanx Terry!
I just read the Rendang recipe to my boyfriend....he says "Mmmm, so when are ya makin' that?" I think that's on the menu this week!! I love the kitchen! I could spend fact all day in there! I'll let ya know how it turns out.

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by obywan59 on November 29, 2005 12:32 PM
Christina, here is another excellent recipe (quick and easy) from my Thai/Indonesian cookbook.

Dendeng Daging (dry-fried or grilled beef)
with Indonesian Fried Rice

8 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tbsp. coriander
2 candlenuts or raw macadamia nuts or 5 tbsp. thick coconut cream (I used macadamia)
2 tbsp. tamarind water or 2 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2-inch of cinnamon stick
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. dark soy sauce or kecap manis
2 tbsp. sunflower or olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. rump steak, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. grated palm sugar or brown sugar

To make the marinade, put the garlic, shallots, peppercorns, coriander, nuts or coconut cream, tamarind water or vinegar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, soy sauce or kecap manis, and oil in a blender and blend into a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and add the slices of beef with the paste, mixing them thoroughly so that they are well coated. Marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Coat the slices with the sugar before cooking.

Grill or shallow-fry the meat in a nonstick frying pan for not more than 3 minutes total, turning the slices over once. Serve immediately with fried rice and a salad or green vegetables.

Indonesian Fried Rice

1 1/2 c. long grain rice
1 1/2 c. water
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. melted butter
3 shallots
1 clove garlic
1/4 pound chicken breast, sliced into small pieces
3 medium carrots, diced very small
1/4 lb. button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. tomato puree or tomato ketchup
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tsp. salt

Wash the rice once or twice under cold running water and put it in a saucepan with a thick bottom and tight-fitting lid. Add the water, bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, until all the water has been absorbed by the rice. Stir the rice once. Cover as tightly as possible so that the steam from the remaining moiture cannot escape. Reduce the heat and continue cooking very slowly for 10 minutes. A little rice will stick to the bottom of the pan; it is easily removed by soaking.

Heat the oil and butter in a wok or large frying pan. Fry the shallots and garlic for 1-2 minutes, add the chicken, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and mushrooms and continue stir-frying for 2 more minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, tomato puree or ketchup, soy sauce, and salt, and stir for 1 minute or more, or until the carrots and mushrooms are cooked. Now add the rice, and mix well by stirring continuously until it is hot. Serve at once.

Note: In Indonesia fried rice is often served with an omelette cut into narrow strips laid on top of it, or with a fried egg for each person and perhaps some watercress and slices of cucumber. It make an excellent light meal or an accompaniment to the main meal of the day.

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May the force be with you
by 4Ruddy on December 01, 2005 04:04 AM
Obywan...were you talking about ginger you bought at the grocery store? Is that what you planted? I would think that after they were refrigerated they wouldn't grow....

I have been very fortunate in having a friends that sends me curry & spices from talk about a difference! Unfortunatley, he had a heart attack and passed away suddenly last summer...
So, now I am shopping at some of the Mediterranean shops...


* * * *

Happiness, like a dessert so sweet.
May life give you more than you can ever eat...
***  - ***
by obywan59 on December 01, 2005 04:08 AM
Yes, I just took some storebought ginger and stuck it in the ground. It did fine.

Penzeys Spices has some good quality spices for mail order. That's where I get most of my spices from. They also have a lot of good recipes.

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May the force be with you
by obywan59 on February 08, 2006 03:18 PM
Easy Sweet & Sour Chicken with Bamboo Shoots & Cashew Nuts

1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 large chicken breasts, weighing approximately
1 lb., sliced into thin strips
2 tbsp. oil
1/2 c. canned banboo shoots
1 red or green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed (I minced mine)
1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
and crushed (again, I minced mine)
1/2 recipe Tiger Lily's Special Sweet & Sour
Sauce or 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce, 1 tbsp. tomato
ketchup, and 1 tsp. soy sauce (I used the
latter 3)
1 tbsp. ginger wine or sweet sherry
3/4 c. roasted salted cashew nuts

Mix the salt and cornstarch together, add the chicken, and mix together.

Heat a wok and add the oil. When it begins to smoke, add the chicken and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and keep warm.

Put the rest of the ingredients in the wok, except the sweet and sour sauce (or alternatives), the sherry, and the cashew nuts. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes, then add the cooked chicken, sweet and sour sauce, sherry, and heat through.

Stir in the cashew nuts and serve with boiled rice.

I didn't try these, but here are some variations:

Add a handful of chopped water chestnuts, fresh bean sprouts, or sticks of cucumber to the wok with the sherry at step 3. These should all stay crip and only be lightly stir-fried for not more than 2 minutes.

Tiger Lily's Special Sweet & Sour Sauce

1/2 c. tomato ketchup
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp. sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1 tbsp. crushed pineapple (canned in syrup is
1 tbsp. cornstarch, blended with 1 tbsp. water

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan except for the cornstarch mixture, add 1/2 c. water, and bring to a boil.

Add the cornstarch and bring to a boil again, stirring until the mixture thickens.

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May the force be with you
by obywan59 on February 08, 2006 03:42 PM
I used this rice recipe with the previous recipe instead of plain rice.

Yellow Rice

1/2 c. butter or ghee (clarified butter)
A few strands of saffron soaked in a little warm
milk or 2 tbsp. ground turmeric (I used
4 cloves
2-inch piece of cinnamon stick
5 green cardamom pods, bruised
1 stalk lemongrass
1 tsp. salt
15 black peppercorns
1 lb. samba or long-grain rice (2 2/3 c.)
1/2 c. coconut milk
2 1/4 c. homemade chicken stock or 2 good
chicken or vegetable stock cubes dissolved
in the same quantity of hot water

Melt the butter or ghee in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the dry ingredients and rice, and stir until each grain of rice is coated.

Add the coconut milk, stock, and saffron in milk if using. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer. stir occasionally until the rice is cooked.

I used brown rice instead of white. It takes additional water and more time till it is done.

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May the force be with you

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