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 GOURMET RECIPES

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Thai to Die For (November 6, 2001)

Debbie Diament is a fabulous cook! She's bubbly, enthusiastic and seriously understands great cuisines, and better . . . teaches them in hands on cooking classes! You name the country, cuisine or theme, and more than likely, Debbie has a class on the subject. Want to learn how to do Thai, Sushi, Moroccan, Presto Italian, Cajun, High Flavour and Healthy Eating, Hors d'Oeuvres and Holiday Baking? Call Debbie, she'll show you how you, too, can conquer the world's cuisines!

We knew our ship had come in when Debbie invited us to a home cooked Thai dinner with friends. We've always loved the gentle, beautiful country of Thailand for so many reasons – one is, of course, its extraordinary cuisine. You simply cannot eat badly in Thailand, no matter the price or location. But translating those dishes to our Canadian kitchen was a wonderful challenge.

We had a fabulous evening all round, made all the better with copies of her recipes so we could try making our own Thai meals. And try we have, again and again. These recipes are easy to follow, and best of all, work perfectly!

On the menu today:


Pad Thai

Thailand's national dish, and our hands down favourite. It takes a talented cook in the kitchen to make a really splendid version, and we're happy to say that Debbie Diament's recipe is the best we've ever had! This recipe captures all the rich flavours of Pad Thai, yet is lighter, and better, lower in fat! We added more shrimp and chicken to ours; it's a very forgiving recipe as well as delicious.

Makes 6-8 servings

1 pound Thai rice noodles, fettuccine width 500 grams

Sauce
½ cup Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla) (125 mL)
½ cup crushed canned tomatoes (125 mL)
½ cup sugar (125 mL)
¼ cup lime juice (50 mL)
1–2 Tbsp hot red pepper flakes (15–25 mL)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil (25 mL)
4 cloves garlic
2/3 pound extra-firm tofu, cut in cubes (350 grams)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (or add as many as you like!)
½ pound chicken,* cubed or sliced, optional (250 grams)
4 cups bean sprouts, drained (1 L)
4 green onions, sliced in ½-inch (1 cm) pieces
¼ coarsely chopped roasted peanuts (50 mL)
½ cup commercial peanut sauce (125 mL) or homemade, recipe follows

Garnish
½ cup chopped fresh coriander (125 mL)
¼ cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts (50 mL)
1 1emon, sliced
½ English cucumber, thinly sliced

In large bowl, soak rice noodles in warm water for 30–45 minutes, until soft. Drain well.

In small bowl, combine fish sauce, crushed tomatoes, sugar, lime juice and hot red pepper flakes. Reserve.

In large wok over high heat, heat oil. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tofu and sauté 1 minute. Add shrimp and eggs and stir-fry until shrimp are no longer pink.

Add drained noodles and fish sauce mixture, alternately, a bit at a time, to wok. Toss well with tongs. Stir-fry for 3 minutes.

Accompanying wine?
Tony Recommends...

an aromatic off-dry white wine – German Riesling Spätlese or off-dry Ontario Riesling, or dry Muscat or Gewurztraminer.

Add peanuts, bean sprouts, green onion, and mix well. Stir in peanut sauce. Stir-fry for 2 more minutes.

Serve from wok or turn Pad Thai onto serving platter.

Garnish with coriander, peanuts, lemon and cucumber.

Serve immediately.

*If you wish to add chicken, use boneless pieces; stir-fry with the tofu until cooked.


Peanut Sauce

What a fabulous sauce; you're going to serve it with everything from shrimp chips and Thai rice paper rolls to grilled pork or chicken. Make a double batch; it's an easy recipe and freezes well!

¼ cup each of finely chopped ginger, garlic and shallots (50 mL each)
2 Tbsp canola oil (25 mL)
1 Tbsp red curry paste (15 mL)
1 can light coconut milk (398 mL)
½ cup crunchy peanut butter (125 mL)
2 Tbsp sesame oil (25 mL)
honey, to taste
zest of 1 orange
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (15 mL)
soy sauce, to taste
chopped coriander, for garnish

Finely chop ginger, garlic and shallots in food processor or by hand.

Sauté ginger, garlic and shallots on low in oil until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, except coriander.

Cook thoroughly so flavours blend.

Taste and make adjustments, adding red curry paste, honey, soy sauce or peanut butter as desired.

Cover and refrigerate overnight for best results.

Heat slightly in microwave before serving to thin out consistency and garnish with chopped coriander.


Cold Rice Paper Rolls

When you see how easy and fun this is, you'll want to make these tasty rolls often. Use chicken or tofu instead of shrimp, or red pepper, cucumber and carrots slices for vegetarian rolls. Use your imagination and experiment! Serve with Sweet Red Chili Sauce available in Asian markets. These rolls pack beautifully and make an exquisite little low-calorie lunch on the run. Yum.

Makes 6 servings

60 grams thin rice vermicelli
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar 30mL
16 - 8-inch (20 cm) rice paper wrappers
16 leaves green leaf lettuce
16 uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
16 sprigs fresh basil
16 sprigs fresh mint
32 sprigs fresh coriander

To prepare shrimp, bring pot of water to a boil. Boil shrimp for 1 minute, until pink. Drain. Slice lengthwise and reserve.

Prepare a medium-sized bowl of very hot or boiling water. Soak rice vermicelli noodles in the hot water for 15 minutes. Drain well.

Toss rice vermicelli with seasoned rice vinegar. Reserve.

Prepare a large bowl of very warm water.

Dip a rice paper in the hot water for 10 seconds. Lay on a damp towel.

Place 1 lettuce leaf, 2 pieces of shrimp, and a heaping Tbsp rice vermicelli in a compact pile at one end of rice paper.

Top with a sprig each of basil, mint and coriander.

Accompanying wine?
Tony Recommends...

a dry white unoaked wine with good acidity – Chablis, Muscadet, Brut champagne.

Roll up tightly to make a sausage.

Serve with Sweet Red Chili Sauce.

These rolls can be made up to 2 hours in advance. Cover well in plastic wrap until serving.


Mango Salad

What a gorgeous accompaniment to any spicy meal. It's cool and refreshing, sweet and sour all at the same time. Ripe mangoes perfectly counter the pungent seasonings for a magical combination. We use any excuse to make this salad for ourselves, it goes with ribs, grilled meats, oriental food, try it in place of coleslaw at your next BBQ!

Serves 4 to 6

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small Thai chili, minced, or ¼ tsp chili flakes (1 mL)
1 Tbsp canola oil (15 mL)
1 Tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar (15 mL)
Juice of ½ lime
2 Tbsp sugar (25 mL)
1 tsp Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla) (5 mL)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint (45 mL)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander (15 mL)
¼ cup chopped unsalted peanuts or cashews (50 mL)

Peel mango and slice into thin pieces.

In a medium bowl, combine mango and remaining ingredients and toss until well blended.

Accompanying wine?
Tony Recommends...

an off-dry white wine or white Zinfandel – Viognier, off-dry Vouvray or white Zin.

You can make this salad in advance, but leave the peanuts or cashews out, and sprinkle them on just before serving. This salad will keep for a couple of hours in the fridge.

Photographs by Dan Taylor

Recipes by
Debbie Diament
My Place For Dinner
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 465-7112
mpfd@idirect.com
www.myplacefordinner.com

Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

 

 

 

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