Tangled Branches: Satiated

riveting tales of how we sustain ourselves

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thai Basil and Nongkran Daks

The spouse got an email this week from a business acquaintance who told him that she had just seen our favorite local Thai restaurant on the Food Network. We didn't think much more about it, and then we went there for lunch today. Oh my! The place was packed. I was afraid they'd be too busy and rushed, but the food had the same fresh and fabulous taste as always.

Congrats to Nong! We liked your Pad Thai best even before it was famous!

Check it out for yourself:

Thai Basil Chantilly
Nong's Pad Thai recipe @ The Food Network site
Loudoun Extra article

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posted by Entangled at 2:27 PM 0 comments

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thai-ish Stir Fry with Chile and Basil

This little experiment exceeded my fondest hopes - really good Thai food at home. I noticed there weren't too many ripe tomatoes in the vegetable patch, but chile (chilli?) peppers were abundant and the basil needed to be cut back. Hmmmm, chiles and basil, chiles and basil....oh yeah....pork with chiles and basil!

But I didn't have all my cookbooks with me in the country, so I'd have to improvise. Checking Chez Pim for inspiration, I found a stir-fry made with nam-prik pao, which is made with dried chiles and shallots and shrimp paste - all things I didn't have. So I made a paste consisting of 1 'Pinocchio's Nose' pepper, several (3?) 'Serrano Tampiqueno' peppers, 1 'Czechoslovakian Black' pepper, 1 'Bellingrath Gardens Hot Purple' pepper, 4 medium cloves of garlic, and the lower stems of some basil sprigs (the basil tops get added later). All the peppers were the reddest, ripest ones I could find. I chopped all this as finely as possible (not quite a paste) using an electric mini-chopper.

I sliced 3 thin-cut boneless pork chops, several New Mexico-type peppers, and part of a red onion (lengthwise) into thin strips.

Now we're ready to cook. I heated some oil in a large non-stick saute pan. When it was hot I added the chile paste and fried it for a short time (until the whole house smelled of chile and garlic). The I added the sliced peppers and onions, and 4 'Bellingrath Gardens Hot Purple' peppers (whole, but crushed with the flat side of a chef's knife). I stirred the vegetables around for a minute or so, and then added the sliced pork. Kept cooking and stirring just until all the pork pieces looked cooked. Then I added several splashes of fish sauce, tasting until I got the saltiness the way I wanted it. At the very end, I tossed in several sprigs (just the top 2 or 3 sets of leaves) of various basils - 3 or 4 sprigs of Thai basil, 2 or 3 sprigs of 'Mexican Cinnamon Spice' basil, 2 sprigs of 'Sweet Petra Dark' basil, and 3 or 4 sprigs of lemon basil.

I expected this amount of food would serve 2 with leftovers, but we ate it all! And it would have been fine without the Bellingrath Gardens Hot Purple peppers, but with them it was incendiary - just the way we always ask for it in Thai restaurants and hardly ever get. Oh yeah, I should also mention that it took a long time with the range fan, ceiling fans, and open windows before the chile fumes cleared out of the house, but we dined on the deck and it was a nice evening to have an after dinner glass of wine outdoors.

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posted by Entangled at 9:57 AM 2 comments