Project PokPok Cookbook: Stir-Fried Yunnan Ham with Chilies

yunnanham2

This is one of those dishes I mentioned in the cookbook which hails not from Thailand, but from some totally other country — in this case, China. And, like pretty much everything else in this cookbook, it’s outstanding.

I was, sadly, unable to source actual Yunnan ham, but settled for Serrano ham, which was still delicious, and was listed as an alternative if needed, along with country ham. I did go to a local butcher for the very best stuff I could find, and I recommend you do the same, since the taste of the ham will totally determine the quality of this meal. But, you know, whatever works for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Suup Kraduuk Muu (Pork Stock) — recipe below
  • Scant tablespoon Thai thin soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 oz. piece of Yunnan ham (or smoky serrano or country) cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 oz. large, flavorful, mild green chilies, such as Anaheim or Hungarian wax, seeded, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4″-wide bite sized pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 piece of peeled ginger, cut into long (2″), thin (1/4″) sticks
  • peeled garlic clove, halved lengthwise and lightly crushed into small pieces in a granite mortar (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup raw corn kernals
  • about 1 cup oyster or mixed mushrooms, cut or torn into large bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup peeled yellow onion, thinly sliced with the grain
  • 1/4 cup peeled carrot, cut into 1/4″ thick bite sized slices
  • 1/4 cup green onions, cut into 2″ lengths

Preparation:

Combine the stock, soy sauce, sugar and pepper in a small bowl and stir well. Then combine the ham, chilies, garlic and ginger in one container, and the corn, mushrooms, carrot, and onions in another.

Heat a wok over very high heat, add the oil, and swirl it in the wok to coat the sides. When it begins to smoke lightly, take the wok off the heat, add the ham, chilies, ginger and garlic, and stir fry, constantly stirring, scooping and flipping the ingredients, until the ginger and garlic are very fragrant but not browned, about 30 – 45 second.

Put the wok back on the heat, add the corn, mushroom, onions and carrot, and stir fry for another minute.

Add the stock mixture and stir fry until the vegetables are just cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly, another minute or so. Add the green onions, stir fry for 10 seconds or so, transfer to a plate, and serve.

Suup Kraduuk Muu (Pork Stock):

recipe coming soon (like tonight maybe!). Just use store bought for now.

 

 

Project PokPok Cookbook: Kai Kaphrai Khai Dao (Stir-Fried Chicken with Hot Basil)

IMG_7510

So, most of the dishes in Round One of Project PokPok Cookbook are on the simpler side…including this wonderful and majorly delicious one pot meal.

The hot basil is really the star of this dish, so you will have to make sure you get the right stuff…not Thai basil, and often you will see something called hot basil but it’s not REALLY hot basil!! Tricky stuff, y’all.

The only homemade ingredient you need for this one is Phrik Naam Plaa, or Fish Sauce Soaked Chiles, which is pretty quick and easy in case you just want to make a one off meal, and not have a whole project like me. Although, I highly recommend eating like this every day. I’ll include that recipe at the bottom of this one.

This is…a really special dish. I would DEFINITELY not leave out the fish-sauce-soaked chilies. But it’s really special, regardless. Enjoy.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Thai Fish Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Thai black soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 11 grams peeled garlic cloves, halved lengthwise and crushed into small pieces in a granite mortar (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 5 oz. ground chicken (preferably thighs) or pork
  • 1 oz. long beans, cut lengthwise into 1/8″ strips (approximately 1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 oz. yellow onion, thinly sliced against the grain (approximately 1/4 cup)
  • 4 Thai chilies, preferably red, thinly sliced
  • 3 -4 dried Thai chiles, fried (directions below), coarsely crumbled
  • 6 grams hot basil leaves (about a cup)

To Serve Alongside:

1 – 1/2 cups Khao Hom Mali (Jasmine Rice, recipe below)

Phrik Naam Plaa (Fish Sauce Soaked Chiles, recipe below)

Cook the Egg

  • Heat a wok over very high heat, add the oil and swirl it along the sides to coat. When it begins to smoke, crack in the egg and cook for about 5 seconds. It should spit and sizzle violently and the whites should bubble and puff. Decrease the heat to medium and continue to cook, frequently tipping the pan and basting the egg with the oil, just until the white has set and turns golden at the edges and the yolk is cooked the way you like it (hint: a runny yolk makes this dish magic), about 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Transfer the egg to paper towels to drain, leaving the oil in the wok.

Stir Fry and Serve the Dish

  • Combine fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl and mix well.
  • Heat the wok again over very high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, add the garlic to the wok, take the wok off the heat, and let the garlic sizzle, stirring often, until the garlic turns light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Put the wok back on the heat, and add the chicken, long beans, onions and fresh chilies. Stir fry and break up the chicken as you do, constantly stirring, flipping, and scooping the ingredients, until the chicken is almost cooked through, about 1 minute.
  • Add dried chilies and the fish sauce mixture, adding a drop of water to make sure nothing’s left behind in the bowl if needed, and continue to stir fry until the liquid has been absorbed by the meat, about 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Turn off the heat.
  • Just before you’re ready to serve, turn the heat back to high, and once the meat is heated through, add the hot basil, and stir until it is wilted and very fragrant, about 15 seconds or so.
  • Serve with Jasmine Rice, Fried Egg, and fish-sauce-soaked chilies.

Jasmine Rice:

  • 2 cups Jasmine rice
  • 2 cups water

Put the rice in a fine mesh strainer inside a large bowl. Fill the bowl up with enough tap water to cover the rice by an inch or two. Use your hand to gently stir the rice, then lift the strainer from the bowl. The water will be cloudy from the starch. Repeat the process until the water covering the rice is more or less clear. You  will probably have to repeat this three or four times. Drain the rice, gently shaking occasionally, until it’s fully dry to the touch, about 15 minutes.

Put the rice in a rice cooker in an even layer. Add the water, cover, and press the button,

Once it’s done, let the rice sit in the cooker for about 20 minutes,

Finally, fluff the rice: use a spoon to gently rake the top few layers of rice to separate the grains, then gradually rake the next few layers, and so on, working your way to the bottom.

Phrik Naam Plaa:

  • About 14 fresh Thai chiles, preferably green, thinly sliced
  • About 1/2 cup Thai fish sauce
  • About 2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic (optional)

Combine the ingredients in a bowl or container and stir. Keeps covered in the fridge for 2 days or so.

Fried Dried Thai Chilies:

  • Put the chilies in a wok or a pan, add enough vegetable oil to coat them well, and set the pan over medium low heat. Cook, stirring and tossing almost constantly, until the chilies are a deep, dark brown color (but not black), about 7 – 10 minutes. Keep in mind that the residual heat of the oil will continue cooking the chilies. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chilies to a paper towel to drain.

 

 

 

 

Project Pok Pok Cookbook: Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings

chickenwings

Well, as anyone who’s been to PokPok can tell you, the wings are the thing. Which is kind of funny, since they’re not Thai at all, but Vietnamese. Which is okay by me, cause they’re amazing.

There are actually a few recipes in the cookbook that are just from Andy Ricker’s travels around Asia that he happened to really like, so he threw in to both his restaurants and his cookbook. I think (although I could totally be mistaken on this one) that his first venture was just a wing shop? Am I wrong? Feel free to let me know if I am in the comments. In any case, he serves them in almost all his shops and they are the yummiest. This is the one recipe I’ve made a few times, and it’s about as good as it is in the restaurant — although you can’t beat the consistency that comes from a deep fryer that’s pumping ’em out. Still, these can be made in the privacy of your own home and are well worth the effort.

The Plan:

  • The night before, marinate the wings, fry the garlic, and make the picked carrot and diakon.
  • Up to an hour before: Fry the wings

You will need:

  • a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
  • A deep fry thermometer
  • A wok

Sauce and Marinade:

  • 8 medium cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 lbs of medium sized chicken wings, split at the joint

To Fry the Wings and Finish:

  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup white rice flour (NOT glutinous rice flour — this is important, messed that up once and the whole finish was wrong)
  • 1/4 cup tempura batter mix (preferably Gogi brand)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons Naam Phrik Phao (roasted chili paste, recipe below) — optional but recommended

To Serve Alongside:

  • Drained Cu Cai (Pickled Carrot and Daikon, recipe below)
  • Several long spears of Persian or English cucumber
  • Several sprigs of Vietnamese mint, cilantro, and/or Thai basil

Make the Sauce and Marinade:

  • Very finely chop the garlic, sprinkle on the salt, and then chop the two together for 15 seconds or so. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl, add the 1/4 cup of warm water, and let it sit a few minutes.
  • Set a fine mesh strainer over another bowl, pour the garlic mixture into the strainer, and use the back of a spoon to smoosh and stir the garlic to extract as much liquid as possible. Reserve the garlic. Add fish sauce and sugar to the bowl and stir until the sugar has fully dissolved. You should have about a cup of liquid.
  • Put the chicken wings in a large mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of the fish sauce mixture, reserving the rest, and toss well with your hands. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or as long as overnight, tossing every hour or so.

Fry the Garlic:

  • Meanwhile, pour enough oil into a small pan to reach a depth of 1/4″ or so and set it over high heat until it shimmers. Set a fine mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl. Test whether the oil is hot enough: when a piece of garlic added to the oil bubbles right away, add the rest. Decrease the heat to medium low (don’t rush the process with high heat), and stir once or twice. Cook the garlic until it’s evenly light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Strain the garlic, reserving the flavorful oil for another purpose. Gently shake the strainer, then transfer the garlic to paper towels to drain and cool. You should have about 2 tablespoons of fried garlic. It keeps in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days.

Fry the Wings:

  • Transfer the wings to a colander in the sink, shaking them occasionally, to let them drain well before you fry them, at least 15 minutes.
  • Pour enough of the oil into a wok (or Dutch oven or wide pot) to reach a depth that will submerge the wings, about 2 inches. Set the pot over medium heat, bringing the temperature to 350 degrees using a deep fry thermometer, carefully stirring the oil to maintain a consistent temperature and adjusting the heat as needed.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the rice flour and the tempura batter.
  • Fry the wings in batches. Toss half the wings in the flour mixture to coat them well and knock them against the edge of the bowl so any excess flour falls off before adding them to the oil. Add the first batch and cook, prodding the wings to move them around after 4 minutes or so and then every few minutes until they’re evenly deep golden brown and cooked through, about 6 – 8 minutes. Transfer them to paper towels to drain, let the oil come back to 350, and do the same with the next batch.

Finish the Wings:

  • Add the 1/4 cup of water to the remaining fish sauce mixture, stir well, and set aside.
  • Work in two batches to finish the wings. Combine 1/4 cup of the fish sauce mixture and half of the chili paste (if you’re using it) in a non-stick wok, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture has reduced by half (about 45 seconds or so). Add half the chicken wings and cook, using tongs or a deft flick of your wrist to toss the wings in the liquid every 15 seconds or so, until the liquid has become a sticky, caramel-colored glaze that coats the wings, about 1 minute. A 1 tablespoon of the reserved fried garlic, toss well, and keep cooking, tossing constantly, until the glaze has turned a shade or two darker, about 30 seconds more.
  • Transfer the wings to a serving plate. The sticky coating seals in the heat, so this batch of wings should stay hot while you finish the next ones.
  • Rinse and wipe out the wok, and repeat with batch 2.
  • Serve alongside pickled vegetable, cucumber spears and herb sprigs.

Naam Phrik Phao (Roasted Chili Paste)

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 oz dried Thai chilies (about 1 cup)
  • A very small drizzle of Asian sesame oil (look for brands that are 100% sesame oil)

Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over low heat until it shimmer. Add the chilies and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re evenly dark brown but not black, 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chilies to a food processor, reserving the oil, and let them cool. Process to a coarse paste. Stir in just enough of the reserved oil to saturate the paste but not so much that it’s swimming in oil. The consistency should be like that of chunky peanut butter. Stir in the sesame oil.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.

Drained Cu Cai (Pickled Carrots and Daikon)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of white vinegar, preferably a Thai brand
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • about 8 oz. peeled carrots, cut into approximately 5-inch-long, 1/2-inch-thick sticks
  • about 8 oz. peeled daikon radish, cut into approximately 5-inch-long, 1/2-inch-thick sticks

Mix the sugar, vinegar, sale and water in a large, stright sided container until the sugar has fully dissolved. Mix the carrot and daikon together and add them to the container, gently pushing them down until they’re more or less submerged.

Cover the container and store in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.

Project Pok Pok Cookbook: Yam Tuna

tunasalad

This dish has transformed how I will make tuna salad forever. I mean, it’s just as easy with ten times the wow factor. Don’t take my word for it — it will be just as simple for you to make.

Here’s how:

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (key limes or spike the lime with a squeeze of Meyer lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon Naam Cheuam Naam Taan Piip (Palm Simple Syrup)
  • about 2 tablespoons of lightly packed peeled ginger, cut into long thin strips (1 1/2″ x 1/8″)
  • about a tablespoon of garlic, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • about 4 Thai chilies, preferably green, thinly sliced

Salad:

  • 1 can solid light tuna packed in water, drained and broken into large chunks
  • 4 – 5 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 stalk thinly sliced lemongrass, tender parts only
  • 2 tablespoons of peeled yellow onion, thinly sliced along the grain
  • 1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped cilantro, thin stems and leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon of thinly sliced green onions, lightly packed

Make the Dressing:

  • Combine fish sauce, lime juice, simple syrup, ginger, garlic and chilies in a medium pot, set over medium heat and heat the mixture until it’s warm to the touch, about 15 seconds or so. Turn off the heat.

Assemble the Salad:

  • Add remaining ingredients to the pot with the dressing and toss gently but well. Transfer the salad, liquid and all, to a plate in a heap, and serve.

YUM.

Project Pok Pok Cookbook: Yam Khai Da

eggsalad.jpg

I found the salads to be amongst my favorite of the recipes I’ve tried so far. They are simple, lovely, incredibly flavorful little concoctions that make me (and my pallet) very, very happy.

Yam Khai Dou, the fried egg salad, was the first I tried.

The only ingredient you need to make in order to prepare this salad is a Palm Simple Syrup

Yam Khai Dao (Fried Egg Salad)

Serves 2 to 6 as part of a meal; recipe is easily doubled

Ingredients:

Eggs:

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Dressing:

  •  1 1/2 cups lime juice (Preferably from Key limes or spiked with a small squeeze of Meyer lemon juice)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of Cheuam Naam Taan Piip (Palm Simple Syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
  • 3 grams peeled garlic, halved lengthwise and very thinly spliced (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 2 grams fresh Thai chilies, preferably green, very thinly sliced

Salad:

  • 14 grams green leaf lettuce, cut into 2 inch thick pieces (about 1 cup, lightly packed)
  • 1 oz. yellow onion, thinly sliced with the grain (about 1/4 cup, lightly packed)
  • 14 grams peeled carrot, cut into long, thin strips (about 3″ x 1/8″) (about 1/4 cup, lightly packed)
  • 1/4 cup very coarsely chopped Chinese celery (thin stems and leaves), lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup very coarsely chopped cilantro (thin stems and leaves), lightly packed

Preparation:

Fry the Eggs:

Heat a wok or non stick frying pan over high heat, then add just enough oil to reach a depth of a generous 1/4 inch. Once the oil begins to smoke, carefully crack the eggs and decrease the heat to medium. The eggs should spit, bubble and crackle. The whites should puff and develop large transparent bubbles.

Once the egg whites get crispy and golden brown, about 45 second to 1 minute, use spatula to flip the eggs (trying not to break the yolk…but if you do, no problem) and keep cooking until the bottom is golden brown and the yolks are set but still molten, 30 to 45 seconds more. Transfer the eggs to paper towels to drain. Discard the oil, rinse wok, wipe out and let cool.

Make the Dressing and Assemble the Salad:

Add the lime juice, simple syrup, fish sauce, garlic and chilies to the wok, set over medium heat and heat the mixture just until it’s warm to the touch, 15 seconds or so. Turn off the heat.

Quarter the eggs through the yolks and add the to the wok along with the remaining ingredients. Stir gently but well, then transfer the salad, liquid and all, to a plate in a low heap, so that most of the herbs end up on top, and serve.

Palm Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 oz. palm sugar, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water

Preparation:

  • Combine the sugar and the water in a very small pot and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring and breaking up the sugar until it softens, just until the sugar has completely dissolved. If the water begins to bubble before the sugar has completely dissolved, turn off the heat and let it finish dissolving in the hot liquid.
  • Let cool before storing. The syrup keeps in an airtight fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Project: Pok Pok Cookbook; The Breakdown

friedricecloseup

What, you were expecting those recipes right away? Greedy, greedy, greedy. Also, not only do projects take time, but blogging takes time, too, and I’ve been sorely lacking in that lately. What can we do to create more time???

Okay, so before I get to the recipes, (I’m writing a few posts at once today, so don’t worry! They’ll come one by one, hopefully all week long) I wanted to give you the breakdown on where I ended up after all my elimination rounds.

The recipes I settled on for Round One of Project Pok Pok Cookbook:

Salads:

Apps:

  • Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings (I mean, how can you not?)

Sides:

  • Phat Khanaeng (Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts)
  • Phat Fak Thawng (Northern Thai Styled Stir-Fried Squash)
  • Phat Buung Fai Daeng (Stir-Fried Water Spinach)

Main Courses/One Plate Meals:

  • Aep Plaa (Curried Fish Grilled in Banana Leaves)
  • Yam Jin Kai (Northern Thai Chicken Soup)
  • Kaeng Khanun (Northern Thai Young Jackfruit Curry)
  • Kai Kaphrai Khai Dao (Stir-Fried Chicken with Hot Basil)
  • Khao Phat Muu (Thai-Styled Fried Rice with Pork)
  • Phat Si Ew (Stir Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken, Chinese Broccoli and Soy Sauce)
  • Hoi Thawt (Broken Crepe with Mussels)
  • Stir Fried Yunnan Ham with Chilies
  • Cha Ca La Vong (Vietnamese Tumeric Marinated Fish with Noodles and Herbs)

Now, of these 5 dishes did not make it in Round One, most because I had trouble finding Korean Salted Shrimp. I have located it, but those dishes had to be shoved to Round Two since I was starting a Whole60 so had limited time to work with.

Here’s the like ingredients these dishes had in common which I had to prepare in advance to make them:

IMG_7759

I will add links to recipes for these ingredients as the recipes use them. Many are quick and easy, although some take hours.  Also, all these recipe titles will become links as the recipes are posted. Ahhh!! Okay, recipe posting commence!! Hope you enjoy. I found pretty much everything, across the board, spectacular.

New Project: The Pok Pok Cookbook

chickenwings.jpg

I know, I know, it’s been forever, I’m sure you’ve all been freaking out on a regular basis about where I’ve been. Life is busy!! Projects take time.

Anyhow, here’s a new/old one: the Pok Pok Cookbook. I was actually gifted this cookbook in 2013 — a fact I was reminded of when opening the cookbook to an inscription which read: “I love you! Now cook this stuff for us! 12-25-13”. Yes, I do realize that it’s now 2018 as of tomorrow.  Yes, I understand that’s 4 whole years. The Pok Pok Cookbook is not a simple project. I have made one or two batches of Pok Pok wings over the years and there are, of course, one off meals you can make here and there but if you really want to cook the stuff in here, it takes a commitment, probably some equipment you don’t have, definitely some ingredients you will have to seriously source, and some time to cook a load of ingredients that require home cooking and are made from ingredients that have been seriously sourced. And in my defense, in this time I have acquired some of the needed cookware, not all, but one can only do so much.

Even now, I’m attacking this project in doses. This is just Part One. I’m back on Whole 30 for a couple of months come tomorrow, and so will break from this project and return for Part Two in March or April. I’m hoping, in those few months, to get a couple more things so I can cook more dishes, though I still have plenty I can make with what I’ve got.

There are seventy recipes in all, so I think we’re talking about three parts in all. I’ve definitely learned during Part One, and so I think I’ll be able to have a better plan for Part Two.

yunnanham2.jpg

I was hoping to have a full month of Pok Pok in December, but by the time I was able to get to the Asian market I had about two weeks left. Here’s how I approached it:

First, I went through the book and marked off recipes which interested me. (I think that was pretty much all of them). Then, I went through again, and if I didn’t have the proper equipment, I eliminated it. That probably left me with about half the recipes, cause I still don’t have a clay mortar with wooden pestle, nor an aluminum steamer; also no sticky rice steamer or long handled noodle basket, and no meat cleaver. What I DO have, and you will need to attempt pretty much any of this:

  • A flat bottomed wok and wok spatula
  • A granite mortar and pestle
  • A rice steamer

Umm…I think that’s it. If you have those three things you can make a lot of this stuff.

So, thirdly, I went through all my remaining recipes, and I wrote a list of homemade ingredients they needed, and I counted how many like ingredients there were. Any ingredient that was used three or more times got a check on that recipe.

So now I was left with about 25 recipes. I went through the book a final time and just let my instincts decide which ones were the winners for round one; partially based on what I wanted to cook and partially based on the level of complication there was in any given recipe — certainly in Part One the winners are the simpler recipes that don’t take weeks of prep.

I ended up with a list of 3 salads or appetizers, 3 sides, and 9 main courses that I was hoping to make over the last two weeks.

padsaiew.jpg

I succeeded in making all three salads, 2 of the sides and 7 of the 9 main courses. My reasons for failure were missing ingredients and time. I was hoping to get as many ingredients as possible in person, and then supplement only as absolutely necessary online — which is also tricky. Still, I did pretty well, and it’s certainly been a deliciously fun adventure which has taken me all over NYC in search of the right stuffs.

My next few posts will be the recipes I tried! Forgive the photography — there was never any food left the next day to photograph anything in the daylight. Happy 2018!!

tunasalad.jpg