Archive for May 7, 2009

All About Curry

My mom just got back from a convention in Bangkok and instead of bringing home clothes or shoes from Chatuchak or MBK, she brought with her an assortment of food related items.  The original food enthusiast of the family told me that she purchased a heavy-duty mortar and pestle made of stone (looked like cement to me! LOL!) that caused her to pay for excess baggage. Believe me, this is a very rare occurrence for my frugal mom. She must have really loved that mortar and pestle to pay extra for it. That thing is serious business. It is probably 8” in diameter and could cause serious injury if mishandled. Nothing excites cooks more than hard-core kitchenware!

pounding ingredients for the curry paste in our new mortar and pestle

pounding ingredients for the curry paste in our new mortar and pestle

She also brought back loads of spices such as curry paste, kaffir lime leaves and of course, cook books.  All these reminded her of her spicy meals in Bangkok which led her to crave for some home-made chicken curry. So being the caring daughter that I am (ahem, ahem), I volunteered to prepare her curry-filled dinner.

kaffir lime leaves add a nice aroma to curry dishes

kaffir lime leaves add a nice aroma to curry dishes

I am quite keen on eating spicy food which is why I have grown to love Thai cuisine .  I enjoy the complexity of flavors and how they balance the heat, sweetness and sourness in their dishes. So to really enjoy curry, I suggest making it from scratch and none of that store bought curry powder. ☺

spicy chicken curry. perfect for the rainy weather.

spicy chicken curry. perfect for the cold weather.

Curry Paste

•    1 onion, finely chopped
•    1 stalk lemon grass
•    1 piece, thumb size ginger, peeled
•    1 tbsp. chili paste (I used sambal)
•    2 cloves garlic
•    1 tbsp. coriander seeds
•    1 tbsp. tumeric powder
•    1 tbsp. cumin powder

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or pound away on a mortar and pestle like I did. ☺

bottled thai herbs and spices are a good alternative if you can't get them fresh.

bottled thai herbs and spices are a good alternative if you can't get them fresh.

Chicken Curry

•    curry paste
•    2 tbsp. fish sauce
•    1 can coconut milk
•    2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
•    3-4 kaffir lime leaves
•    1 whole chicken, cleaned and cut
•    2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
•    1 eggplant, chopped
•    ¼ cup water
•    basil leaves (optional)

In a non-stick pan, sauté curry paste and tomatoes until tomatoes are soft.  Add coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add in chicken, kaffir lime leaves and potatoes.  Add water and simmer on low heat, uncovered for 10-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent chicken from burning. Add fish sauce and eggplant. Mix in basil leaves (optional).

Serve with steamed rice and say “Sawasdee Ka!”

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Silicone Cups and Green Tea Cupcakes

img_5020Either I did something wrong or these silicone baking cups aren’t as good as they claim to be. Silicone cups are supposed to be non-stick but it sure didn’t seem that way when I was trying to remove my cupcakes.  Even after cooling, my cupcakes were so difficult to remove that I had to use a butter knife to help release them from the cups.  Am I supposed to serve the silicone cups like I would with normal paper cups? That doesn’t sound too wise, especially if you bring the cupcakes outside your home because you’ll probably end up misplacing them or finding them in the trash.

Another thing was that I noticed my cupcakes seemed to dry out on the outside and had a slightly hard crust. Although it was still very moist on the inside, I didn’t like that there a bit of a crunch when biting into the cupcakes.

So the verdict is: paper cupcake liners are still better than silicone cups. They keep the cupcakes moist, are easier to remove and are disposable.  Will I give my silicone cups another chance? Maybe, but next time, I’ll probably put paper liners also. These silicone cups are good because you can bake a little more than a dozen and not consume too much space in the oven. You can easily just add another cup on your cookie sheet and not consume that much space. They’re practical that way. I’d probably try them out with a muffin recipe and see if they still stick. And if they do, they might end up as a kitchen décor.

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Now on a more positive note. I have been wanting to make green tea cupcakes and I was finally able to do it with the help of  Elinor Klivans, the author of Cupcakes! which is a wonderful recipe book given by my sister, G.  Added with a little ingenuity and voila –  the fluffiest green tea cupcakes! I used her recipe for a basic yellow cupcake and tweaked it by adding milk with green tea. I made this by steeping three green tea bags in milk. I would have used powdered green tea but I couldn’t find any. Nevertheless, the cupcakes did have the taste of green tea that was not too over powering. This was definitely the silver lining behind today’s dark baking cloud.

green tea cupcakes with buttercream frosting

green tea cupcakes with buttercream frosting

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