I know I have said this before and, to be honest, I am a lover of Thai food but everything on today’s menu really didn’t let the side down. The cucumber soup was a real surprise, it was great (seriously who would have thought?). We didn’t completely clean the squid and left some soft stuff on the inside, personally I think I prefer it clean but there is some soft stuff there that takes the sauce well and helps to surround your mouth with the punch the sauce offers.
Deep fried chicken thigh with sweet chilli dipping sauce
White pepper powder
Garlic cloves, finely cut
Coriander root, finely chopped
Thai sauce (Maggi sauce)
Pink noodle sauce
3 1/2 Heaped Tab
Limestone water to create thick paste
Bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
Garlic, finely chopped
In a mortar roughly pound chillies and dipping garlic
Heat a pot on low heat with vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved
Take off the heat and combine the garlic/chilli mix from the mortar and put to one side
In a bowl combine all the marinade ingredients and put chicken in the bowl. Coat chick well and leave to stand in the fridge for at 1 hour (not over night)
In a bowl whisk together the flour and lime water until it creates a thick paste. If the paste is too runny, add more flour. If too thick add more water. Put to one side
Before adding chicken heat oil for deep frying on a medium heat. Coat chicken in the flour water mix and then carefully place in the oil. Allow to cook until golder brown. Turn heat up when just golden brown to high and fry until rich brown and crispy. Take out and serve with the dipping sauce
Today’s menu is missing the dessert. We had an issue so we are going to fix that tomorrow. The pork curry doesn’t need crispy pork so if you ever has a disaster crispy pork that just doesn’t work… have this curry, everyone will love it!!
I’m one for getting off the beaten track. I saw this hut over a swamp and wanted a ‘mum can we go swimming’ sort of shot (with the shoes at the deck) but then we saw something in the mud…
There are these little fish called ‘Mudskippers’.. They get around in the mud (it looks like) scooping mud into their mouths. they then decided to have a little fight after flipping around for a while. Photos below.
There are several sides to this story… First things first… If you are coming here expecting to find out how to get to Maeklong Railway Market… Here you go:
Bangkok Victory monument station. Exit 2 (before 7 then the minibus terminal is ‘closed’ but go down the drive way).
On this day (no idea if it changes) at location 4 we got on a minibus. You apparently need to buy a ticket first but I have no idea how this happens and it all turns out OK, the driver will get money from you (70b one way)…. note… If you are over 160cm… don’t do what I did… I ended up at the back of the bus under the AC bent over (the back of the bus has AC vents that make the roof lower) in traffic for 2 hours. Very uncomfortable for me and OMG I feel sorry for the very small Thai lady on the window side who was squished in to the window by my ever increasing arse…. Another note…. Might be worth while not taking 20Kgs of camera equipment too…. Thank god no one knew English, I’m sure if they knew how to ‘tut’ in English there would have been plenty of that going on too (tripod never wins friends).
Theoretically 1.5 hours later you are dropped off at Maeklong. Behind the bus, over the road is where you get picked up to go back (Victory Monument written in English) and in front of you is the main street. Head to the main street and look left. The boom gates are there, the station on the right on and the market on the left. If you go to the station there is a sign that tells you when the next train is.
So the market…. It was amazing. I have been to a heap of markets all over the world from chickens getting killed and plucked in front of you in Egypt to English fish markets that make you sign a waver before you can take any photos (highly recommended by the way). This was something else. Even in Bangkok standards this was a little out there. Very little ice to be seen, a lot of flies to be seen and even the occasional animal (excluding the tourists), mainly cats. It has live fish, killed and prepared in front of you, frogs on their backs and the market’s signature dish, mackerel in a bamboo steamer (you don’t get to take the steamer home). The big attraction is the fact a train runs through the middle of the market. A bell goes off, the stalls finish their transaction and then they start pulling back the fruit, veggies and various animal products from around the tracks. Second bell goes off and the activity becomes fierce as the slow ones now they have seconds. The rich stalls move their trollies back along little tracks that move them back just enough to be out of the way of the train. Tourists get yelled at by the stall holders to get back (constantly) and the train rattles through centimetres from your chest. Once the train is past everything is put back and everyone goes on with their day. Photo of the back of the train is here.
For those of you who are concerned (or just want to see my kit destroyed here is the damage to the camera.
…Damage is beside the lens…
The market has stuff all over the place beside the tracks and, as you can see, heaps to move out of the way in a short period of time (watch the video for real time understanding).
Step outside the market and there’s even more going on. Dried fish, locals looking at Buddha amulets, crepes with savory fillings cooked over charcoal stoves (all photos below) and more but I will put other entries for those.. There is about 4 hours you can kill here and, if you want to stop and talk to anyone (they are all happy to talk) then more.
The one thing I did want to get from the market was a track’s eye view of the train. I hadn’t seen anyone use the perspective of the tracks in their videos so I dumped my camera in the middle of the track and left it there. This disturbed everyone, the market holders (on the right of the shot) and the Japanese tourists next to me. Check it out here: http://youtu.be/XjF9pA0xJ9o
The photos are here:
The market’s traditional fair.. mackerel in bamboo steamers…
There wasn’t any active selling. This lady was just sitting there hoping this lanky Australia would buy something… Sorry
I love the fact this guy’s next ‘customer’ is in the bucket next to him. They are all alive and get chopped up to ‘order’.
And the poor little frogs.. 80b/kg… They come in a lot less than the quail. Probably the same amount of meat:-)
Outside the market there’s still a heap going on. This guy was making savory crepes on a charcoal fire. They are really hard work to make. You create a dough with sticky rice flour, water and egg. Make a flat cake and boil the cake. Takes the cakes and mix them in a mixer to a paste. Spread that paste out in to the crepe shape and thickness and put in the sun to dry. Once dry you stack them, take them to market and so the final step here. They are sweet in flavour but not a sweet (if that makes sense) . Brilliant!!
Dried squid run through a ‘mangle’ to flatten them out for (I can only assume) eating… Enjoy.
In Thailand there is a short period of time you can buy palm sugar like this (once a year). This palm sugar is a really bold flavour and is really punchy eaten on its own. I have to try it in cooking but it looks great.
In spite of the green colour this was delicious. The padanas leaves added the vanilla flavour and it was gorgeous. Serving on bread was a very Thai thing to do but it was great on the soft, cafe cut, steamed bread.
Today’s menu involved preparing 3 dipping sauces and serving them with some very fresh vegetables. I am running out of power on my phone so I don’t think I’ll get the recipes up tonight but here are the photos as a teaser:
Today’s menu included a lot of very fresh flavours. All of the dishes today included texture and taste to delight the sensors. Those of keen eye might notice on the Chicken salad we have banana blossom. I REALLY didn’t like it so I have excluded it from the recipe (it tasted like very very (yes, two ‘verys’) green banana). The fish was light, healthy and tasty, the soup (even with the banana blossom) was delicious and the black sticky rice was a pleasant end to a day of eating. 2 hours in the gym where the spinning instructor did most of the session in English and I guess I may have burned off 50% of the day’s calories.
Dried fish, pounded into a dust. Shrimp can be used
Preparation (1 portion)
Chicken breast, boiled in chicken stock
Dried fish (above)
Bamboo shoot, finely chopped
Long green beans (or other green beans), chopped into 1cm lengths
Young chilli (or cucumber), cut into 1cm lengths
In a wok on a high heat add the chilli paste and cook until the oil turns to a very red colour. Keep the paste moving the entire time to ensure it doesn’t burn
Turn the wok to a medium heat and add coconut cream and chicken stock. Keep the mix moving the entire time. Cook until the cream turns a deep red colour. If the mix dries out add more stock
Add fish sauce, tamarind juice and palm sugar. Taste and adjust
Add dried fish and lime juice. Put in a bowl for serving
Blanch all the vegetables in boiling water and place them in ice water and assemble on a plate for presentation. Dry roasted coconut meat and deep fried red onions can be added for extra flavour and texture on the salad
Serve and allow people to pour the dressing over the salad and combine it in the way they like….YUM (tom yum)!!!
Chicken soup with banana blossom (Tom Kaa Gai Si Wha Pre)
Banana blossom (see below for cutting)
Red onion, chopped
Galangal Ginger, finely chopped
Lemongrass stalk (whole) smashed and tied in a knot
Kaffir lime leaves, spine removed
Coriander root, whole
Dried chillies, deep fried, torn into thirds
Thai chilli (very hot chilli)
Chicken thigh, chopped into cubes
1 1/2 Cup
To prepare the banana blossom first prepare a bowl of water with vinegar (about 2L water to 200ml vinegar) that’s big enough to fit immerse the blossom when cut. Peel all the outside ‘petals’ away to reveal the core. You may need to take more than one layer away. Cut the bottom stalk off the blossom. Do the next bit as quickly as possible as the blossom changes colour quickly. Cut the blossom in half down the centre from the tip to the bottom. Put 1 half in the water mix (stops it from turning black). Cut the other half in half and put one quarter in the water/vinegar mix. Cut the final quarter in half and place the two halves in the vinegar water.
Remove 1/8 of blossom from the water/vinegar mix and cut roughly.
In a pot on a high heat place chicken stock, lemongrass, coriander root, cut banana blossom, red onion and galangal ginger. Boil until chicken is cooked
Add coconut cream to pot and reduce heat to medium. bring to the boil
Add fish sauce, fresh chillies (not dried), and kaffir lime leaves
Allow to simmer. Turn off heat and add lime juice.
I discovered a down side to all this cooking…. Today after the gym session to attempt to burn the cooking and tasting I put the t’shirt on that I had on all day (normally I have a new one but washing cycles and all that….). OMG my t’shirt smelt of coconut cream. I go to a local pub to do the updates, now I am sitting in the local pub smelling like a sweet coconut ball…. Not so sure that’s a good thing. The menu is below:
Chinese kale, stalks peeled and leaves coarsely cut
Dark Soy for colour
To marinade pork put all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and leave in a fridge for more than 1 hour (overnight is better)
In a bowl mix together the corn flour, tapioca flour and 1/2 cup water. Put to one side
In a bowl combine the kale, carrot and mushroom and put to one side
On a high heat put 3 tab of vegetable oil in a wok and heat to very hot
Add noodles and flatten out the noodles to a pancake and allow to sit and fry. When they are brown on the bottom flip and cook the other side to brown. Place in the bottom of a large serving bowl (1 person) ready for pork. Put to one side. Allow wok to cool slightly
In the wok put 2 tab of vegetable oil and heat on a medium heat
Place garlic in oil and cook very briefly
Add kale etc mix, and soy bean paste. Combine with garlic in wok
Tun heat to high and add stock, pork, oyster sauce, soy sauce and white sugar. Bring to the boil
While stirring the mix slowly add the tapioca/corn flour mix until the mix is to the desired thickness
Dried red spur chillies, re-hydrated and finely chopped
Red onion, finely chopped
Garlic, finely chopped
Lemongrass, white only, finely chopped
Kaffir lime leaves, spine removed, finely chopped
King fish or king mackerel mince (very sticky mince fish)
1 1/2 Cup
Sweet basil, very finely chopped
Kaffir lime leaves, very finely chopped
Combine 1/2 cup coconut cream and 1/2 cup of water in a jug and put to one side
In a bowl combine mince fish, sugar, and egg
While mixing the fish mix add the water/coconut cream mix little by little until the mix is quite watery. Add kaffir lime leaves & sweet basil. Stir until the mix thickens (a while; you can use a mixer here on low). Put to one side
In another bowl combine 1 cup coconut cream, 1/2 cup of water and rice flour. Stir until well combined
Put the fish mix in containers for steaming. Put a ‘dob’ of the coconut cream/water mix on top
As a hater of canned tuna today’s menu ended up with a surprise. The coconut tuna can only use canned tuna and, believe it or not, it is GREAT….. I think this will make up a standard for my personal lunch menu when I eventually have to go back to work.
The sweet coconut balls are something I would order in a Thai restaurant, they are the right balance of sweet and salt without being overpowering or boring. Again, another great day and 2 hours in the gym to attempt to burn it off. The menu is below: