Thursday, August 28, 2008

thai food at home

Lauren clued me into a recipe in the latest issue of New York magazine--it was from Sripraphai! by fortuitous coincidence, Priya and I were at the co-op later and saw fragrant Thai basil being sold very cheaply. so we grabbed some and decided to make Thai dinner.

after lunch at Buddha Bodai (I had the fake chicken with black pepper sauce and Chinese vegetables), I went round the corner to Bangkok Center Grocery to get some of the missing ingredients. now, the recipe called for some mysterious things..."Golden Mountain" sauce chief among them, but also "Thai-style soy sauce", "Thai or bird peppers", and "long hot peppers". I was unclear on the difference between Thai and bird peppers, but I knew them when I saw them, and sure enough Bangkok Center Grocery had a small packet of about 20 for only a dollar, in the fridge (I picked out the greenest ones, and when I got home after a few hours of them being unrefrigerated in my bag, many had turned shades of orange or red!).

as for long hot peppers--no clue. no evidence of them at the grocery. also no green mangos for our planned salad. Thai-style soy sauce? this place carried a lot of soy sauce, but there didn't seem to be any special Thai soy sauce. The Golden Mountain sauce sounded the most crucial and also the most delicious. I was picturing some kind of thick yellow syrupy thing made from Thai fruits and savory spices...I spied a bottle and read the ingredients:


So, uh, it's soy sauce.

Anyway, after all that (only $2.25 total), we headed to my house (Priya bringing some Japanese eggplant and the greenest mango she could find) to cook. We had chili-basil ground chicken (I just used Golden Mountain sauce for all the soy sauce, left out the "long peppers", and used about 1/3rd of the 15-20 bird peppers they recommended), eggplant with sugar and garlic and Thai basil, jasmine rice, and not-so-green mango salad (we left out the fish sauce and sugar figuring that they wouldn't work with a ripe mango, and again subbed in cashews for peanuts).

Priya fretted that she had spoilt the eggplant by browning the garlic too much, but it turned out to be fantastic (after she did some quick repair with fresh garlic). it was a bit spicy, but nothing compared to the ground chicken, which turned out really good. it was a bit weird eating just ground chicken, almost like keema or something without bread, but Priya thought it might be great in wonton skins and next time we definitely have to do that.

the mango salad was pretty good, but not nearly as good as when we used green mangos. next time.

I had some of the chicken for lunch the next day and still had enough left over in the evening to mix it with broccoli, rice noodles, and Golden Mountain sauce in a pan for a lame-o drunken noodles imitation (but it still tasted great).

then, best of all, Priya produced a bag of dessert she had somehow secreted in the fridge when I wasn't looking--pistachio cupcakes from Sugar Sweet Sunshine in the LES! she knew I loved them and they're also only $1.50 each--yeah, expensive for cupcakes objectively, but since other places sell cupcakes for $2.50, it seems cheap. anyway, great dessert, great surprise!

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