We journeyed to what I call “our second home” of Lampang, Thailand, to visit dear friends Anuwat and Lek.
A typical breakfast may consist of very hard fried eggs, to the point of browning around the edges, which is cooked in a round mold so each egg is the same size, boiled ham that is in the water and little sausages that look like vienna sausage, a green salad with cherry tomatoes, and toast and jam for the foreigners. For locals, there is a congee with either beef, chicken, or pork stock, stir-fried vegetables and either plain jasmine rice or fried rice.
For lunch, many small mom and pop restaurants specialize in one item only. The first restaurant Lek took us for lunch was one that specialized in “khao man gai,” or boiled chicken and rice.
This is an easy recipe and can be made ahead of time as the chicken in served cold.
Khao Man Gai
In a large pot, add one whole chicken
Cover chicken with water to completely cover. Add:
1 tablespoons salt
Bring to boil, once it starts boiling, lower heat and simmer at low, covered, until chicken is just cooked through. The thigh should move easily at the joint. Do not overcook.
Place in the sink, a large bowl of iced water. Carefully place the boiled chicken into the iced water and allow to cool to room temperature.
Remove chicken from water, pat dry with paper towels, cut up and place on platter.
While the chicken is cooling in iced water, rinse:
2 cups long grain or Jasmine rice
Place 2 cups of chicken stock, cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoons salt
1 1/2-inch sliced of ginger
1 smashed garlic clove
One cleaned, bruised cilantro root
Dash white pepper
Into pot of rice cooker, cook.
In bowl of food processer add:
1/3 cup chopped ginger
4 cloves garlic
2-5 chili pepper (depending on how hot you want it)
1/2 cup fermented soy sauce (available at Kilauea Market)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark sweet soy sauce (available at Kilauea Market)
1/4 cup white soy sauce (available at Kilauea Market)
1/3 cup white vinegar
Pulse in food processer until well finely minced. Pour into saucepan, gently boil for 1 minute. Allow to cool to room temperature.
In an individual plate, serve rice, layer with chicken pieces, cut slices of cucumber and serve with sauce.
Season clear chicken broth with salt to taste. Chop cilantro, add about 1 tablespoon into soup, serve with chicken and rice.
One evening, we went to Anuwat’s sister’s home. The family unit is very important to Thais, and under one roof there were three married children and five grandchildren, ranging from 3 years old to a 1-month-old infant. A two-bedroom unit was built for the younger son and his wife, who had two children adjoining the main house and plans were being drawn up to build a two-story, two-bedroom house for the daughter in the corner of the family plot, next to the caretaker’s cottage.
We went to a restaurant with the adults as the three nannies took care of the children. One of the salads ordered was a spicy glass noodle salad, which was made mild and not the typical hot for the locals.
Spicy Glass Noodle Salad
Place in a bowl of boiling water, leave for one minute, place in cold water, then drain:
3 packages (1.32-ounces) bean thread, rice noodle or also called long rice
In a small saucepan, add and boil:
1/2 cup water, add and lower to simmer:
1/2 cup medium shrimp, shells and deveined
Cook for one minute. Save 4 tablespoons of shrimp cooked water. Remove shrimp, cool.
In a medium bowl, place drained long rice, add:
5 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
3 shallots, sliced
5 or more small red chilies, thinly sliced (I would recommend starting with one and see if you need more. Once you add, it is not possible to lessen the heat)
1/2 cup Chinese celery, chopped (optional: you will not find it at the market. It is easy to grow and seeds are available at Home Depot under the Aina Ola Seed Company label, labeled as Chinese celery or Kin Tsai)
3 tablespoons fish sauce or nam pla
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tomato, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced thinly
1/2 cup Chinese parsley or cilantro
Mix thoroughly and check seasoning. If you want it hotter, add more chili peppers.
The Oriental variety of Chinese celery has small leaves, with a more fragrant aroma and intense flavor that the celery we know. The leaves and stems are tender and crispy and are commonly added to soup and stir-fried dishes. I just planted them in my black pot and should be able to harvest in six weeks.
Hawaii Community College’s Bamboo Hale and the cafeteria will not be opened this week due to Hilo Classic Food Show on April 12th. Call 934-2591 or 934-2559 for tickets.