Category Archives: Issan Thailand

Travel and Traditions…Go Bananas…

Bananas grow everywhere here…In gardens, by the roadside and on plantations…

Its scientific name is Musa Sapientum which roughly translated  means  Fruit of wise  men

Here it is called Kluay pronounced glue eye.

Seasons vary slightly around the regions and it is a tree-like perennial and officially classed as a herb, the world’s largest herb as it can reach 25 feet in height. The fruit is also classed as a berry. Did you know that?

Here in Thailand leaves are used to serve food on or wrap food in like these little parcels of tri-coloured sticky rice topped with shredded pork floss.

Tri Cloured sticky rice with pulled pork

The saying that you eat with your eyes certainly applies here as so much of the food is just so beautifully served and such lovely colours like this rice isn’t it pretty and all wrapped in a banana leaf.

Banana flowers are, as the name suggests, the blossoms from a banana tree. Left on the tree, considered as a vegetable.  It’s a very good source of fibre and has many medicinal values.

Banana flower

Banana flowers are the purplish-red flowers growing at the end of the long banana stem. The mature flower often has hard husks on the outside. When the husks have been peeled away, the leaves in the middle can be used to cook. It is also used to make a salad in some countries as well. If you are about to buy some for cooking, you should make sure to choose the fresh ones which are tight and undamaged. The outer husks should be closely overlapped each other for freshness purposes.

The flower can be eaten steamed with a spicy dip or made into a salad…For banana, recipes see this post…

We also have Plantain…

The plantain is a member of the banana family but unless it is very ripe should not be eaten raw…Boiled it is similar to the potato…Raw they have a bitter taste but ripe they are full of flavour …

A good source of fibre and Vitamins A and C with most of its calories coming from carbohydrates.

Not so sweet as a banana the plantain is a staple food in tropical countries a non-seasonal crop it is available year-round.

Plantains can be simmered in soup or turned into mash, but their subtle taste is maximised by roasting or frying. They act as a foil to rich flavours such as spicy meat or bean stews. Salted fried plantain chips are a popular snack in the Caribbean.

Spoiler Alert: These recipes are quite calorific but as a very occasional treat…Very nice…

Very popular in West African baked with eggs and peppers they make a lovely breakfast frittata. Fried the onions and pepper before adding it to the egg mixture to give it added flavour. Together with garlic, scotch bonnet pepper or hot sauce, smoked paprika, and thyme.  You may add other additional spices to make it more flavorful. Also lovely with some added sausage or bacon.

If you have some really ripe plantains then blitz one or two in your food processor and add to your pancake batter it will take the humble pancake to another level.

Serve with a Coconut sauce and you will never want to eat pancakes any other way… To make the sauce take a can or 14 fl ounces of coconut milk add a cup of brown sugar bring it to a slow rolling boil then stirring cook until the mixture thickens and had reduced by half you know have a beautiful coconut sauce which is lovely over the pancakes or any other sweet dessert.

This lovely dry spice mix goes well with the plantain.

  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tbsp ground cloves

Measure and mix the spices together and store in a small container with a lid.

Spiced Plantain chips…

  • 1 heaped tbsp of the spice mix
  • 1 sm red onion, grated
  • 2 in a piece of fresh ginger grated
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4-6 plantains peeled and sliced
  • A handful of roasted peanuts, crushed.

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl add the plantain and mix gently to coat ( hands are good) and marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Heat the oil to 180 degrees and fry the plantain chips in batches. When golden and they have floated to the surface remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Serve sprinkled with the crushed nuts.

As well as Thailand being a great source of the Banana...How about a trip to  Banana Beach here in Phuket?

A small beach which can only be accessed by climbing down …Just as well I had Aston to help me and take my hand he is such a good boy to his Nannie…

Track to banana beach (2)

It was a little way down and a bit slippery in places…But finally, we were on the beach…

It was well worth the climb apart from somewhere to buy a soft drink and a snack, a few boats offering trips to neighbouring islands just lovely sand and blue sea…

We spent a lovely few hours there just relaxing it was beautiful…

Nam Pboon Sai…A red banana dessert…

How was it made…The translation from my daughter in law was it is lime powder…from limes? Apparently not…It is a red powder she said…Ok…

Where does my red Lime powder fit in well it is sold here and apparently some of the powder is rubbed under the top gum of the mouth…I was warned( not) that I had any intention of doing that …To be careful it may burn!!!!!!!!

I was also getting a lot of surprised looks and smiles which translated I think meant what is this lady doing buying that… just as well I had Tik with me to translate that I wasn’t intending to smoke or rub it under my gums but cook…They still looked slightly bemused but I am used to that now.

I just wanted to know and see what made this Banana dessert red…..

To make red lime, powdered turmeric is added to the mixture. Instead of turning yellow like turmeric, this pasty mixture turns bright red. Nam Pboon Sai or limewater is made when more water is added to the mixture. When the lime settles, the clear, pinkish water above is used in cooking.

Limewater is used in Thai cooking to keep fruit used in long cooking like a banana in syrup or breadfruit in syrup. The fruit is peeled and cut and let soak in the lime water.

The grandmother here stores her red lime paste in a jar filled with water. The heavier lime sinks to the bottom while the clear limewater floats above.  When she needs the limewater, it’s ready. She would pour the clear pinkish water out from the jar. She just tops up the limewater by adding more water to the jar. There is also no need to refrigerate limewater or lime paste.

Just a word of warning…

sweet radish croneck squah and red lime powder

The powder I bought was available in red or white but apparently also comes as a red paste. It is pictured here with the pretty eggplants I found…

If you get pickling lime from hardware stores, which often have canning materials available, make sure you get the food-grade quality. The lime building material may contain a metal such as lead.

This is where I began to get quite scared as I know that there are some who just mix whatever they have to sell with no regard for the consequences.

The bananas in this desert look bright and shiny and sweet but are not as sweet as they look… I have found a recipe and now need to find the right bananas…So that is for another day…

That is all for today...I am still on my girlie jolly so please if I don’t answer your comments I will catch up when I return…Sophia and Roxy are in town…xx

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead xx

 

Thailand… Travel and Traditions…8 popular Issan dishes…from Northern Thailand with recipes

Most late afternoons I venture down to my local market…I leave it so late one because it is cooling down a little and two because all the street food vendors are setting up and selling their wares…It is busy and high on the agenda for most Thais who are either sitting and eating or collecting their food to take home…

 

sausages - fish balls

It is bustling and the smells …Anyone who experiences this for the first is just overawed we took my daughters partner out one night and he was just awestruck he didn’t know where to look or what to try first…

Found almost everywhere and a dish which anyone who visits for the first time goes away wanting to eat this often…

Khao Krapow Moo Kai Dao (rice with pork in basil leaves and fried egg) would indeed top the list. This dish encapsulates everything that is Thailand and Issan( Northern Thailand)

The grittiness, the heat, the speed, and most importantly, the potpourri of smells and flavours that make up the dish will blow your mind. Add to that the mouthwatering fragrance of garlic, chilli and basil stir-fried with chicken (or any meat) in a burning hot wok and you have a dish most Thais would swear by. Served over a plate of steaming hot rice topped with a crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside fried egg, it’s the perfect meal.

Khao Krapow Moo Kai Dao

 

Khao Kha Moo (braised pork knuckle and rice) is a weight watcher’s guilty pleasure which hours of pilates cannot make up for, it’s definitely worth breaking your diet for just one day. You’ll swoon over the succulent pork knuckle, braised for several hours in a thick, five-spices gravy, it comes out off-the-bone tender. Sometimes though the leg of pork will be used but slow-cooked just the same. Enjoy this with a boiled egg, some kale and top it off with some preserved cabbages and a sweet and sour dipping sauce and officially declare that day National Pig-Out Day and that you are in culinary heaven…

THAI SLOW PORK

Walking through the market stalls more often than not you are greeted with that familiar smell of star anise and cinnamon which is synonymous with Thai slowed Braised Pork it is to be found in huge pots and there will generally be a queue and it just epitomises the essence of street food….One which holds almost iconic status.

It will either be served in a bowl-like above or on a plate with rice, pickled cabbage and miso soup like this one…Both equally delicious…

Thai slow cooked pork and miso soup

Most everyone knows Som Tam but any Thai ( and me) would swear by the marriage of Gai yang(grilled chicken) or BBQ fish(pla pao) with the world-famous Thai papaya salad. Be prepared for a sensory overload as your taste buds do a dance and go wild.

While som tam pla ra is an acquired taste, som tam Thai is much more accessible and has become more popular, especially in central Thailand. In contrast to the salty, spicy and pungent som tam pla rasom tum Thai has a more sweet and sour taste, with the use of palm sugar and lime, balanced with the saltiness from the fish sauce and dried shrimps. Instead of the green seeds from white popinac, you’ll get to enjoy the crunch from roasted peanuts. This is the one I prefer as although I have eaten Payaya salad with Pla( fermented fish) or crab I prefer my Papaya salad without.

Other variations of som tam include tum sua (mixed with rice noodles), tum Kao pode (with corn instead of green papaya), tum tang (with cucumber instead of green papaya), tum ponlamai (with fruits), and many more. Som tum is usually enjoyed with steamed sticky rice or rice noodles on the side. I have also eaten one made with shredded green banana which was quite nice…

How to eat: Take a small helping of sticky rice with clean fingers, tear off a piece of grilled chicken and roll it onto the sticky rice as if making sushi, then add a spoonful of some spicy Som Tam on top of your food. Now open wide and prepare to be amazed by every bite.

Another typical Isaan dish, larb is made with minced meat, cooked or uncooked, mixed with ground toasted rice, shallots, spring onions, mint leaves and seasoned with chilli, lime juice and either fish sauce or pla ra. The preferred meat used in the dish usually includes pork, duck, beef or chicken.

larb Moo

In some areas, you can also find larb luead, where fresh blood is mixed in and other variation of meats depending on local finds. Like most Isaan dishes, larb is usually eaten with steamed sticky rice. Some places also offer a contemporary version of larb tord with similar ingredients as larb but shaped into meatballs and deep-fried which are very nice…

Sausages Tessaban

Another tasty dish is sausage…Isaan people make their sausages with a short fermentation period that’s enough to give them a slight tang. Locally known as sai Krog Isaan, the sausage is made from pork meat and pork fat. Cooked rice is added to the mixture to kickstart the fermentation process which normally only lasts two to three days. Isaan sausages are already seasoned with garlic and salt, making it a handy snack to be enjoyed with fresh chilli, ginger and cabbages. Some of the sausages also have noodles added to the filling…

Here in Issan Noodle Soups are very popular and they come in many different ways some using parts of the animal that I personally would prefer not to eat as nose to tail eating is observed very much here…

 

Another popular Issan dish called Mok pla siw which means various small fish. they are cooked on a BBQ wrapped in a banana leaf with chilli, Thai basil and spring onion…Then eaten with sticky rice either on its own or as an accompaniment to other dishes…

fish-chilli-pla-basil-banana-leaf

Street markets are always bustling and busy here …One-stop shopping..food, clothes, household items, bedding, electrical goods, a puppy or a kitten… Fresh fish, dried fish, still alive and wriggling fish, frogs which here in the North are a staple, rats…yes, rats…tasty I am told by the stallholders and they feed on rice they say, so clean not like the sewer rats …But they have them here in the city where I live..where do they come from I wonder…I will not be enquiring or be eating…This I draw the line at…A big black line..nada, No, I am not even going there…

Another Issan favourite is Ant eggs...Which I have to admit do make a nice salad..they have a lemony taste which is quite pleasant…

ant egg salad

Since living here in Issan I have been surprised and pleased at the variety of foods…Coconut milk is not used as much here in Issan…But the curries and stir-fries are tasty without it …very many different herbs and mushrooms are used alongside foraged and hunted insects and other meats that I never imaged I  would ever see cooked and eaten…Life is full of surprises…

Please note I have included the recipes so you can enjoy them at home for the dishes I have made in my own home…Enjoy!

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  mewe.com/i/caroltaylor3 

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead and enjoy the recipes xx

Salt Farming in Northern Thailand.

I thought I would repost this as it has been 2 years and I am still loving it here in the North of Thailand and discovering traditions which are still being passed down through the generations…I hope to visit the salt farming area again very soon and take advantage of the massages they offer ….I also hope to find some more traditions which are being passed down which I can share with you …Enjoy!

Retired? No one told me!

SAM_9065

Driving to Nong Khai towards the Mekong we suddenly started to see lots of roadside stalls selling salt and then I remembered nothing grew here because the land was so salty …No rice…Nothing!

Proud of their salt producing heritage there is now a 3 day Salt Festival with talks, educational displays and the most beautiful sculptures crafted from salt.

Before I show and tell you about the salt I will show you how I use salt …Which produces the most succulent fish you have ever tasted and eaten with Som Tam Green Papaya) Salad and Sticky Rice ( Kow Neow) is one of the most amazing meals you could wish to eat.

Salt-fish-Thai BBQ Salt Fish

Just take 3/4 stems of lemongrass and tie in a knot, stuff it in the cavity of the fish and then roll the fish in sea salt do not descale the fish as it…

View original post 626 more words