Saturday, December 19, 2015

Healthy cooking - Thai One On

I love most southeast Asian dishes, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean.  But finding the ingredients can be a little daunting in some areas. This vegetable heavy take on Pad Prik which normally uses a specialty curry paste and kaffir lime leaves (not easy to find in our small Polish owned grocers) turned out pretty  good.  Good old Srirachi Thai Chili sauce is the secret.  (the most common brand seen in stores, made by Hoy Fung foods is made in the USA, including the bottles). Oh, and there's something called "fish sauce".

Don't turn up your nose at "fish sauce".  Outside of fresh caught salmon (and I mean Big Bro caught it that morning and grilled it, stuffed with lemon and onion wrapped in bacon and drizzled with teriyaki) and occasional beer battered Irish Pub fish and chips, I'm not a fish fan.  But I use fish sauce a lot in southeast Asian and Chinese dishes.  There's a reason it's a staple in Southeast Asian cultures. If you love Caesar salad, you've eaten one of the main ingredients in the dressing.  Anchovies.  For fish sauce, anchovies  caught from clear waters and  with salt, are fermented in wooden barrels and then VERY slowly pressed to product this savory liquid  Like Brut after shave I'd not recommend putting your nose to the bottle for a big whiff, but just a small  amount can add a deep richness and depth  to a dish (with no "fishy" taste).

If you can, look for Red Boat Fish sauce on the internet, (just google it)  because most of the ones in the grocery are full of additives, wheat protein, chemicals and MSG.  Red Boat Fish sauce is gluten free and is  really tasty.
For the marinade
2 TBS fish sauce
2 TBS light oil peanut or vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon honey (or light brown sugar)
1 Tablspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons ground coriander  (you might try ginger if you can't find coriander)
1/2  tsp white pepper

For the stir fry sauce
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons  fish sauce
1/4  cup plus 2 Tablespoons cup rice vinegar
1/4  plus 2 Tablespoons water
3 TBS  light brown sugar or honey
3 TBS  Sriracha
 For the stir-fry
1 and 1/2 pounds pork or veggie meat substitute
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tablespoons of  peanut or vegetable oil
2 Thai, serrano, or red  jalapeño peppers, minced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
3 cups green beans
1/2 cup basil finely chopped only slightly.
1 lime- cut into quarters
1 Tablespoons chive chopped for rice garnish (photo op optional)
Mix the marinade ingredients together  and mix with meat that you've cut into fairly small, thinner pieces in a gallon zip lock bag, and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Mince the garlic and mix it with 1 tsp of oil.  Set it aside.

Halve the peppers, scraping the seeds out for mild to medium thai hot.  Slice the red bell pepper into long, fairly  thin strips. 

Clean the green beans and place in a bowl with the finely diced chilis and your red pepper.
Heat up your skillet or wok in which you've drizzled a couple of teaspoons of vegetable or peanut oil.  Plan on cooking your meat in three batches after you've removed it from the marinade (which is discarded).  This ensures it stays nice and brown instead of getting pale and limp from overcrowding, which teams to end up steaming the meat, not stir frying it.

When the oil is shimmering and a drop of water sizzles on it and evaporates, you're ready to cook your meat.   The meat will cook very quickly and don't be tempted to constantly maneuver it around with your spatula.  Put the pieces in there, and let cook two minutes to sear them on one side, then move them around the pan stir fry fashion until they're cooked through (about another minute)

Remove the meat to a bowl when cooked through and cook the remaining batches.

Do NOT be tempted to cook it all at once.  It takes just as long and your meat will not be nearly as good.

Add 2 tsp. more oil to the skillet and when shimmering, add the green beans and chilis/bell pepper  Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.  Clear out a little space in the center and add the garlic/oil mixture, pressing down for 10-15 seconds, then stir it in with the veggies and add the sauce.
Increase heat to high and cook for about a half a minute, until it thickens slightly (but not too long so you have some liquid left)  Add your meat, stir in the basil and remove the pan from the heat. 

Serve with rice if you are so inclined and a wedge of lime.  Note:  I boil my rice with a bit of coconut oil  (about 3% of the rice's weight) and then refrigerate for a day, then reheat.  This has been proven in studies to reduce the digestible carbs a fair amount.

3 comments:

  1. Hari Om
    I ate Thai food last night! I love it... but as pure vego, need to avoid the fish sauce. For those who wish to do so, a good alternative which provides that same kind of piquancy is tamarind paste... be VERY careful though - less is more!

    Slurperoonies... Eyes-on... YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. It looks delicious and your presentation is tops! I kinda got carried away making some burritos. I'm gonna take a gun to my scale.

    C

    ReplyDelete

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