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Shrimp Curry with Yu Choy and Kabocha Squash

Shrimp Curry with Yu Choy and Kabocha Squash

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  • 1 pound yu choy, bottom 2 inches trimmed, stalks and leaves cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 4 cups 3/4-inch cubes peeled seeded kabocha squash (from about one 2 3/4-pound squash)
  • 2 13- to 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk, divided
  • 2/3 cup (packed) Thai basil leaves, divided
  • 6 large fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 3 double-leaf kaffir lime leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Thai green curry paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 pound uncooked medium-size shrimp, peeled, deveined

Recipe Preparation

  • Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Add yu choy. Cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Using strainer, transfer yu choy to colander. Rinse with cold water and set aside. Return water to boil. Add squash. Boil until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

  • Blend 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/3 cup basil, cilantro, and lime leaves in mini processor or blender until herbs are finely chopped and loose paste forms.

  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and curry paste; stir 30 seconds. Add herb paste and lemongrass; stir 1 minute. Add remaining milk, fish sauce, sugar, and squash. Boil until squash is tender, about 4 minutes. Add shrimp and yu choy. Simmer until shrimp are opaque in center, about 2 minutes. Mix in 1/3 cup basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

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Year of the Deer- 12 Months of Wild Game Cooking

This year, for the first time, Wade and I kept a food journal. When we started it, we intended to use it as a reference point for new recipes, but as the year went on and I’d scan back through it, I started thinking that other people might find it interesting too. I wish we’d started doing this years ago- I’d love to have been able to see the changes in our cooking as we ate more game.

There’s so much I want to say about our shift to eating only wild game meats, and how it’s made us into sharper, more resourceful hunters and cooks. How it forced us to learn how much to take for our year and budget our consumption. How it broke us of the mentality of hoarding game meat for special occasions or particular preparations.

But I don’t want to touch on any of that here, because ultimately, I think the message I want to convey with this is one of abundance, pure and simple. I want hunters and non-hunters alike to see wild ingredients and the wild places that provide them as places of richness. I want people to see food forged out of a connection with the landscape as a luxury, not a sacrifice. Many Americans have long associated wild game with poverty, scarcity, and inferiority- something to move away from as we become able to afford domesticated meat. That mentality has helped to shift generations of Americans away from our national inheritance, which has been deeded to us by law- our land and the animals that make their lives on it. Restoring our relationship with this most precious gift is some of the most important work we have to do, and one of the many ways we can do it is through food.

So below, you’ll find a complete accounting of our meals for the year. Some made it to the website, most didn’t- if you see something on this list that you’d like to see more of, please let us know in the comments.

Wait—Is Squash a Fruit or Vegetable?

Most squash varieties have a mild, nutty flavor and silky texture. As a result, they&aposre usually treated like vegetables in cooking. However, squash is technically a fruit. This is because it contains seeds and comes from the flowering part of plants. Other "fruits" that are treated like vegetables are cucumbers, eggplants, and tomatoes.

Now that we&aposve settled that, read on for a list of sixteen common winter and summer squash varieties, plus easy ways to cook with them.

Recipes for Tom

Most kabocha grown and distributed today in Japan are improved varieties of kuri kabocha [lit. chestnut pumpkin] or seiyo kabocha [lit. Western pumpkin, Cucurbita maxima Duchesne], which were introduced to Japan in the late 19th century. The less commonly distributed nihon kabocha [lit. Japanese pumpkin, Cucurbita moschata Duchesne] arrived in Japan on a Portuguese ship via Cambodia and has deep grooves on its skin, as seen with the representative kiku kabocha [lit. chrysanthemum pumpkin] variety. Cambodia is said to be where the vegetable's Japanese name "kabocha" comes from. As a side note, kiku/nihon kabocha's true origin is Mexico, whereas kuri kabocha's roots are in Peru -- just two more examples of vegetables crisscrossing the globe.

Among all sorts of varieties, the one with glossy dark green skin (kurokawa kuri kabocha, lit. black skin chestnut pumpkin) is typically associated when people hear "kabocha" in Japan. Both dark and orange skin kabocha are very starchy and sweet. In the US, however, quite a few dark skin kabocha sold at neighborhood markets or chain grocery stores are not quite as starchy or sweet as widely available varieties in Japan or some other countries, and I sometimes find buttercup squash is a better choice. If you find kabocha from your local store rather watery and bland, try an Asian grocery store. In particular, the orange variety, increasingly common in the US recently, seems to have consistent sweetness. Thinner skin is another advantage of the orange variety.

One of the popular orange varieties often I see here appears to be Utsugi akagawa amaguri kabocha [lit. Utsugi's red skin sweet chestnut pumpkin], a traditional Kaga vegetable from Utsugi area of Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture (Kaga is the prefecture's old name) or a strain of this type. If so, it is usually incorrectly labeled as Uchiki, probably because of the region-specific reading of the Chinese characters (打木) for the town name.

Kabocha with yellowish orange flesh is often cited as a representative vegetable rich in carotene, Vitamin B and Vitamin C. It is also rich in Vitamin E as well as potassium and fiber. Kuri/seiyo kabocha is nutritionally superior, especially in terms of β-carotene (4000 μg/100 g edible part, which is as high as spinach, vs. 730 μg for kiku/nihon kabocha) and Vitamin C (32 mg/100 g vs. 16 mg for kiku/nihon kabocha). Carotene (both β and α) and Vitamins C and E prevent cell damage from active oxygen and carcinogenic substances. Some carotene changes into Vitamin A in the body, which strengthens skin and mucus and protects respiratory organs, in turn improving resistance against infectious diseases in combination with Vitamin C -- hence some scientific grounds for the seasonal custom of eating kabocha on winter solstice to prevent colds. Vitamin E improves blood circulation and helps ease sensitivity to cold. Potassium lets the body get rid of excess sodium, thus helping to control high blood pressure.

Kuri/seiyo kabocha (raw): 91 kcal/100 g 76.2% water, 1.9% protein, 0.3% fat, 21.3% carbohydrate, 1.1% ash
Kiku/nihon kabocha (raw): 49 kcal/100 g 86.7% water, 1.6% protein, 0.1% fat, 10.9% carbohydrate, 0.7% ash


Kinshi uri no tosazu-ae / spaghetti squash in bonito flake infused sweetened rice vinegar dressing

One of the standard Japanese dishes featuring kinshi uri (somen kabocha) spaghetti squash. Adding katsuobushi bonito flakes to sweetened rice vinegar gives a nice underlying punch to this dish. A tiny amount of mitsuba also accentuates the overall flavor. A small and refreshing side dish.

15 Easy Japanese Side Dishes For Your Weeknight Dinner

This Japanese Spinach Salad applies a simple method called the Ohitashi to infuse vegetables with umami and subtle flavor. It’s one of the common techniques Japanese use to prepare vegetable dishes. I love that it helps preserve the nutrients of vegetables at its best. And double yes when you can pair this salad with everything you cook!

Crispy on the bite, yet delicately soft, this pan-fried Teriyaki Tofu can turn any tofu skeptics into a convert. It’s a dynamic recipe for anyone to try, with easy options to turn the dish into vegan or gluten-free!

Easy steamed chicken mixed with cucumber and dressed in a chili oil (La-yu) marinade. The contrasting texture makes it a perfect way to start a meal.

Broccoli is probably the most universal vegetable side dish anyone can count on! To keep it fresh and tasty, the trick is to blanch the broccoli with salt and sesame oil. It’s easy, healthy and so versatile! You could also change up the flavor by drizzling in some hot sesame oil or top it with some of your favorite sauce the next day.

Trust me, this dreamiest Ramen egg (Ajitsuke Tamago) is not just for ramen!! It is absolutely delicious as a side for your braised pork belly (kakuni) or bento lunch box. I love preparing the eggs in advance, so my family gets to enjoy the egg dish for extra protein in their meal any day of the week.

This Japanese Chilled Tofu (Hiyayakko) is usually topped with katsuobushi, green onions, grated ginger and season with a little bit of soy sauce. But feel free to change up the toppings and seasonings. Omit katsuobushi and use sweet corn, wakame, chopped tomatoes, green onions or wakame for the vegetarian or vegan option. It makes a nutritious side dish anytime!

3 Ingredients – that’s what you need to make some of the best chicken wings! The key is to soak the chicken wings in sake for 15 minutes. If you like it spicy, sprinkle Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese seven spice). After broiling the chicken, the skin gets so crispy and they are addicting and simply amazing! Wings as a side dish make your weeknight dinner extra special.

Made with mashed potato and colorful vegetables, Japanese potato salad is creamy yet full of textural crunch. If you’re a potato salad lover, you will be happy to add this delicious side into your repertoire. Summer potluck? Holiday get-together? Chicken dinner? It would work on any occasion. We have an Instant Pot version for you too.

Sweet yet savory, Tamagoyaki makes a delightful Japanese breakfast or side dish for your bento lunches. Because it’s a favorite among the kids and adults alike, Japanese home cooks make tamagoyaki regularly. The more you make it, the more you’ll get better at it. For anyone looking for a short cut, you can definitely make my Quick & Easy Tamagoyaki recipe.

Crispy panko on the outside and delicious black forest ham on the inside, Ham Katsu is the simplest cutlet you can make with easy-to-get ingredients. Inspired by the Japanese drama – Midnight Diner.

When kabocha is in season, this recipe is one you would want to enjoy regularly. Here, kabocha squash is simmered in savory dashi broth seasoned with soy sauce and sake to absorb all the delicious flavor. It’s chock-full of nutrients and absolutely comforting!

Dressed in spicy sesame oil-based sauce, this Spicy Bean Sprout Salad provides extra punch and kick to your meal. It’s fantastic with rice bowl or noodles.

Tender eggplant glazed in a sweet miso sauce, this Eggplant Dengaku is a classic Japanese home cook dish. To save time, you can prepare the sauce the night before. When ready to cook, warm the sauce up and slather it over the eggplants and pop straight into the oven until the eggplants are nicely caramelized.

Cooling cucumber, sweet corn, imitation crab and lettuce in a creamy Japanese mayo and ponzu dressing, what’s not to love? Thanks to its complementing flavor, the crab salad not only goes well with Japanese or Asian meal but also delicious with a Western-style meal.

Shiraae (白和え) is a way of cooking by mixing lightly-cooked vegetables with crumbled tofu, miso, and sesame seeds. You get all the nutrients in one simple side dish. Besides green bean, you can also use spinach or asparagus. You’ll love that it delivers the unmistakable taste of home. A recipe to keep in your rotation.

We hope you and your family enjoy these Japanese side dishes!

My Everyday Asian Vegetable

Choy Sum - Flowering Cabbage

Choy Sum (also known as flowering cabbage) is a most popular vegetable in Southeast Asia. It belongs to the Brassica family along with Bok Choy and Gai Lan (Chinese kale or broccoli). The most common uses are in stir-fries and soups. My favorite way of preparing this is to stir-fry it as a side dish with salt and pepper or stir-fry with any rice noodles or egg noodles. It takes a short time to cook and is easy to pair with other ingredients.

Stir-fried Choy Sum as a Side dish

Stir-fried Choy Sum

Phad Pak Gwang Tung


Heat canola oil in a wok on high heat and stir in garlic. When garlic is golden, stir in choy sum. Stir in a few drops of water and season with salt and pepper to taste, stirring well. Serve hot as a side dish with steamed jasmine rice.

Stir-fried Phuket Hokkien Mee with Choy Sum

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Stir-fried Mung Bean Sprouts and Tofu with Garlic Chives Recipe, Phuket Cuisine

A Stir-Fry from the Palm of My Hand

When I was growing up, in the mornings my grandma would often drop a few coins in the palm of my hand and tell me to go purchase Tao Gua (Tofu), Tao Nge (Mung Bean Sprout), and Guiy Chai (garlic chives) from a mobile market—a pick up truck filled with ingredients. I would return with a bag full of three pieces of tofu cake, mung bean sprouts, and a bunch of garlic chives. Together they made the cheapest and best stir-fry and we ate it about once a week. We would usually stir-fry them later for lunch if it were for dinner, my grandma would soak the bean sprouts in cold water to keep them fresh in the tropical climate. This was back before we had a refrigerator. When I was at the Asian Market yesterday, I purchased these three ingredients in almost the same quantities as I did then and it came up to $ 2.75, only a few dollars and some coins.

Thais call bean sprouts Thua Ngok (ถั่วงอก), but in my hometown of Phuket we call them Tau Nge, a Phuket Hokkien word. Hokkien is a Chinese dialect spoken by many Chinese throughout Southeast Asia. Tauge, is the word for mung bean sprouts in Chinese Hokkien and in Indonesian and Malaysian languages as well. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Dutch also use taugé for bean sprouts, probably a holdover from the time when they occupied Indonesia.

Mung bean sprouts, tofu and garlic chives are long-time favorite vegetables of Chinese Hokkien cuisine and culture, even though bean sprouts are actually native to Bangladesh.

Firm Tofu, Mung Bean Sprouts and Garlic Chives

Green onions or regular chives are usually a good substitute for garlic chives, but in this case I strongly recommend that you use garlic chives in order to maintain the flavors and authenticity of this dish. Garlic chives are available all year round at the Asian Market and it is a perennial herb in the Northwest. You may find other recipes where you will want to use them as well.

The other day when I was dining with a friend, I was so impressed to find a similar dish served at the Tamarind Tree Restaurant in Seattle. Their dish was almost identical in flavor, but instead of tofu, it used shitake mushrooms. I hope when you are at the Tamarind Tree Restaurant, you will please try Nấm xào giá

Phuket Stir-fried Mung Bean Sprouts and Tofu with Garlic Chives

Stir-fried Mung Bean Sprouts and Tofu with Garlic Chives

Phad Tao Gua Tao Nge Phuket


5 minutes total preparation and cooking time, 3 ingredients and less than $3. It is my all time favorite stir-fry.

Heat the wok on high heat, then test it with a few drops of water. If the water evaporates in two seconds, pour in 1 tablespoon canola oil. Cover the surface with oil by using a spatula or other utensil, then spread out tofu in the wok and fry on medium heat until they firm up and turn a golden color. This will take 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Heat the same wok on high heat and add the remaining canola oil and the garlic stir until golden, about 10 seconds. Stir in bean sprouts and cook on high heat for 45 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly. It will sound really interesting and steaming. It is the moisture from the bean sprouts creating the sounds against the hot wok. You will see steam, but not smoke. Then stir in garlic chives to cook lightly, about 45 seconds. Stir in tofu, soy sauce and sugar. Mix together, then serve promptly with hot steamed jasmine rice.

Pranee’s note:

The bean sprouts should not cook longer than 2 minutes, or they will lost their crunch. This dish is very simple and the flavors depend on having the freshest bean sprouts, tofu and chives—and that is enough! I love this dish because it has a clean and simple flavor and texture. The moisture released from the bean sprouts makes a sauce. If that doesn’t happen, add one or two tablespoons of water.

Another variation of this dish that you might see in Thailand substitutes calamari, prawns or pig blood cake for the tofu.

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Phuket Chicken Biryani Rice Recipe, Kao Mok Gai

Follow the Tradition of Thai Muslim Cooking on Phuket Island during the Ramadan

Phuket Chicken Biryani Rice, also known as Kao Mok Gai, is a well known Thai-Muslim rice dish. Southern Thai cuisine gets its distinguished flavor from the neighboring countries of Malaysia and Indonesia. Growing up in Phuket I loved the diversity of our local cuisines. Our family cooked Thai and Chinese cuisines and at the market I enjoyed Thai Muslim cooking. After Persian Muslims settled in Phuket, their descendants took their traditional Biryani Rice and created a Thai variation, Koa Mok Gai. It is cooked for special occasions like weddings or during Ramadan. It is not a common dish to cook at home but most of the time we can purchase it from Kao Mok Gai vendors. If you want to try it when you visit Phuket, stop by an open air market in Bangtao or Kamala.

Phuket Chicken Biryani Rice—Kao Mok Gai Phuket

Over the past 10 years I have stayed in contact with a few chefs from Bangtao and Kamala Village. I learned to cook Kao Mok Gai from Varunee, my Thai chef for the culinary tour in Phuket. Her mom is a renowned caterer among the Muslim population in the Bangtao area. Over the years, I have written down many versions of her Kao Mok Gai.

Kao Mok Gai with Fresh Vegetable, Chile Sauce and Chicken Soup

The other day I wanted an easy lunch, which led to the creation of a quick and easy version of Kao Mok Gai. It took me 10 minutes to make, since I already had the ingredients in the house. It may take you 15 to 20 minutes to prepare the ingredients.

If you have an old-style rice cooker that is easy to clean, I recommend using that. Otherwise place everything in a Pyrex 9″x13″ pan and cover neatly with foil, bake in an oven at 350F for 25 minutes and let rest for 10 minutes before removing the foil and serving.

Phuket Chicken Baryani Rice

Kao Mok Gai

Serves: 4 to 6

Active Time: 10 minutes

Buffet Style: Place rice and chicken on a nice platter and garnish the top with fried garlic or shallot. Served with condiments suggested below (please also see photo).

Individual serving: One cup rice, 1 piece chicken, garnish with fried garlic served with condiment and sauce.

Condiments: Sweet chili sauce, sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, cilantro and green onion.

Thai Vegetarian Option: Saute shiitake mushroom, fried firm tofu, raisin and cashew nut. Thai Cooking for Kids Gluten-Free Recipe

Here is a famous Kao Mok Gai prepared by Varunee’s mom for 250 children. I hosted this event for school children at the Kamala Beach School 6 month after the Tsunami. We served the food at the temporary kitchen in July 2005.

Pranee with Mama Boo, July 2005

Kao Mok Gai, Lunch for Kamala School Students July 2005

© 2010 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen I Love Thai cooking

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Sunflower Sprout Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette Recipe

Sunflower Sprouts Salad with Chili-Lime vinaigrette

Yum Med Tan Tawan Ngawk

Sunflower Sprouts by the Alm Hill Gardens Stall – The Columbia City Farmer Market

July 15, 2010 – Yesterday I was at the Columbia Farmers Market. While waiting for my friend, I visited the Alm Hill Gardens stall, and was introduced to sunflower sprouts. I have tasted it before, but these fresh sprouts from the farm I will never forget. It was fresh, buttery and nutty. I brought some home and made a salad for a side dish to accompany my Thai chicken Baryani rice, Kao Mok Gai.

Chili-Lime Vinaigrette, tomato and dill

August 4, 2010- My friend Annette came over for lunch today and it is a perfect day for me to perfect my Sunflower Sprout Salad Recipe and do some photos for the blog. As I envisioned to add some texture, and sunflower seed is a perfect theme for salad. I have no reservations about adding the abundant and flavorful mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes. The rest is simple. I hope you like my chili-lime vinaigrette. Interesting and freshest ingredients in an easy recipe is a way to go.

Sunflower Sprouts S

Sunflower Sprout Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

alad with Chili-Lime vinaigrette

Yum Dork Tan Tawan Ngawk

Whisk olive oil, sea salt, sugar, black pepper, chili powder, lime juice until it is well mixed. Fold in shallot, tomatoes, sunflower sprouts and dill, and mix gently. Sprinkle sunflower seeds before serving. Serve immediately.

© 2010 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen

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Thai Stir-fried Watermelon Rind with Salted Pork Recipe

Thai Grandmother Cooking is a sustainable cooking

Pranee’s Grandmother Recipe

My mom taught me many culinary skills but it was my grandmother who deepened my sense of sustainable cooking. We cooked virtually everything sustainably, just like the French. I have a habit of saving the rinds in a zip lock bag and cooking for myself because I am not sure if anyone else care for it. I would not miss this opportunity that only come once a year. I either incorporate them into a hearty soup or stir-fry. For stir-frying, I stir-fry it with either salted pork or dried anchovies. There is nothing more or less, just two ingredients. If you haven’t try to cook with watermelon rinds, you will love the flavor. I like it more than stir-fried cucumber, as it has light flavors of watermelon and cucumber.

how to remove the green skin from the water melon

A little light green on the rind has a nice little sour to it, where as the pink has sweet melon flavor. After stir-frying the fragrance and flavor are more like cucumber. As my grandma always said, “sour, sweet, fat and salt” are neccessary in any main dish. I tasted a similar combination once at the IACP international event in New Orleans by renowned chefs combining fresh frozen cubed melon garnish with fried crunchy pork rind. (I will get the name and post it later)

It takes 10 minutes to prep and 3 minutes to stir-fried and next it became my lunch. I enjoyed it on my patio in the sun recently. The aroma took me back to my grandma’s kitchen and a warm of sunshine of Thailand.

Note: I decided to add chive from my garden to make this Thai rustic cooking more appealing and also for photography purpose. However, the favor of chive does go well with the stir-fried watermelon rind and salted pork.

Pranee’s Grandma Cooking–Stir-fried Melon Rind with Salted Pork

Thai Stir-fried Watermelon Rind with Salted Pork

Phad Puak Tang Mo Moo Kem

Heat a wok on medium-high heat, and stir in salted pork or bacon. Saute them until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove excess fat to allow only 1 teaspoon on the bottom of the wok. If no fat can be rendered, then add 1 teaspoon canola oil. Saute in garlic until yellow. Stir in sliced watermelon rind and cook for 1 minute, the aroma of garlic, bacon and melon like should develop before adding 1 tablespoon water. Cook for one more minute and make sure to have about 1 or 2 tablespoon sauce, otherwise add more water. Stir in chives and serve right away. Or use chive for garnish. Serve with warm jasmine rice.

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Thai Vegetarian Option: Saute shiitake mushroom with sea salt to substitute salted pork.

Thai Cooking Recipe for Kids, Gluten-Free Recipe

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Cucumber-Pineapple-Tomato Salad Recipe, Yum Sam Kler

The high point of my Forth of July celebration was having my friend and her family over for Thai Grilling. Our last Fourth of July celebration together was in 2008 on Phuket Island during the monsoon season.

Before noon, I marinated some Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin and Lemon-Lemongrass Chicken. Then I prepped for Cucumber-Pineapple-Tomato Salad. I made some “Coconut Water Vinegar Dressing” ahead of time and kept it pickled in the fridge. Everything was done in about an hour.

For lunch before the party, my family and I went to Sunfish on Alki Avenue in Seattle and got Fish and Chips. I had my seafood combo as usual and enjoyed it with some chili flavored vinegar. I complimented their homemade vinegar and they shared a secret with me: they make the chili-infused vinegar with 6% Malt Vinegar.

I enjoyed organizing the house before the party but had to make sure I had one hour free before the party time. Half an hour later, I knew the rain would not stop, so I wore a rain jacket and did all the grilling on my patio.

Coconut Water Vinegar

Before sharing my recipe calling for coconut water vinegar in a salad dressing, I want to give you a quick lesson on coconut cream, coconut milk and coconut water.

When you remove the coconut husk (mesocarp) from a whole coconut, you can see the coconut shell (endocarp). After cracking the coconut shell, you get to the natural water inside the nut and this is called coconut water. The white meaty part inside the shell is the coconut meat (endosperm). Grating a chunk of white of coconut meat with a coconut grater gives you fresh wet grated coconut. To extract coconut milk, add a cup of water to 2 cups fresh grated coconut, then squeeze out the white milky liquid this is concentrated coconut milk. (Thai call this the “head” of coconut milk). Add 1/2 cup water to the used grated coconut to extract a thin coconut milk (Thai call this the “tail” of coconut milk). Let the coconut milk sit, and a fat creamy layer will form on the top this is the coconut cream.

Back to the coconut water. Coconut water occurs naturally and has nothing to do with the process of making coconut milk. Nature provides the coconut meat and water as nutrients for shoots to grow near the three germination pores, or “eyes,” on the coconut. This coconut water inside the coconut shell is very good for the coconut plant, but it is also very good for you. It is full of vitamins and minerals. It is especially high in potassium and electrolytes, and has a neutral ph level. I strongly recommend that tourists traveling to paradise island drink this natural drink to help with rehydration, and it has the added benefit of being a sterile juice inside the shell.

In the Philippines, this natural water is used to make coconut water vinegar, but I don’t see it being made in Thailand where we use 5% distilled vinegar. I love the flavor of coconut water vinegar and felt inspired to use it in the cucumber-pineapple-tomato salad that I served with my grilled cinnamon pork tenderloin. Distilled vinegar will work for a substitution, but for this recipe, I strongly recommend that you try it at least once with coconut water vinegar.

I love the blend of cucumber, pineapple and tomato with a hint of coconut flavor. Brown sugar adds a nice touch to it. One of my students told me that the leftover dressing had such a great flavor that she ended up using it in a martini. In this case, I would recommend using mint instead of cilantro for the herb option.

Thai Cucumber-Pineapple-Tomato Salad

Cucumber – Pineapple – Tomato Salad

Yum Sam Khler

Heat vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot over low heat and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside.

Place cucumber, pineapple, tomato, shallot, and cilantro in a medium-size salad bowl when the dressing is cool, pour it over and stir. This recipe works best when the salad and dressing are mixed together from 1 to 8 hours before serving.

Pumpkin Carrot and Corn Pork Soup

If you like Japanese kabocha pumpkin like I do, this is the best time of the year to enjoy them. Although kabocha pumpkins are available year-round, they are at their best now in the late summer / early fall season. When picking a kabocha pumpkin, look for ones with a dark green skin and a dry corky stem. Sometimes you will see narrow greyish-green strips running from the top to the bottom of the pumpkin. These are all signs of a kabocha pumpkin that is mature and ready for immediate cooking.

Unripe Kabocha Japanese pumpkins taste bland

Luckily for me though, I found good looking ripened kabocha pumpkins in my local supermarket this week. At .69/lb, how can I pass them up? And having tasted some delicious pumpkin-filled moon cakes a few weeks ago, I was reminded of how much I love the taste and sweetness of this squash. Although there are many ways to cook a kabocha pumpkin, one of my favorite ways of course is to make soups out of them. Here is one of my favorite pumpkin soup recipes – made with carrots, corn, and pork. It is a naturally sweet-tasting, kid-friendly soup. It is nourishing, rich in beta carotene, high in fiber, and low in fat and sodium. This soup is very easy to make also. After blanching your pork, you cook all of your ingredients for 1.5 hour before putting in the kabocha pumpkin. Cook for another 30 minutes and the soup is ready! Give this recipe a try and I hope you will like this soup as much as I do.

Thai green chicken curry

Put 225g new potatoes, cut into chunks, in a pan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.

Add 100g trimmed and halved green beans and cook for a further 3 minutes, by which time both should be just tender but not too soft. Drain and put to one side.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil until very hot, then drop in 1 chopped garlic clove and cook until golden, this should take only a few seconds. Don’t let it go very dark or it will spoil the taste.

Spoon in 1 rounded tbsp Thai green curry paste and stir it around for a few seconds to begin to cook the spices and release all the flavours.

Next, pour in a 400ml can of coconut milk and let it come to a bubble.

Stir in 2 tsp Thai fish sauce and 1 tsp caster sugar, then 450g bite-size chicken pieces. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 8 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Tip in the potatoes and beans and let them warm through in the hot coconut milk, then add 2 finely shredded kaffir lime leaves (or 3 wide strips lime zest).

Add a good handful basil leaves, but only leave them briefly on the heat or they will quickly lose their brightness.