Category Archives: Rural Thailand

Thailand…Down on the Farm…Cannon Ball fruit,Lemongrass Salad and Tea…

Welcome to this edition of Down on the farm…

Today I am bringing to you some more of the fruits I am lucky to get here…This huge fruit which looks exactly like a cannonball is one which is growing at my local temple…quite why unless it is for the shade of the tree I don’t know because if one of those landed on your head you would almost certainly be knocked out…

 

Completely spherical with a woody shell and a reach diameter of up to 25 centimetres (10 inches), which give the species the common name “cannonball tree”.

The fruit although edible has a terrible smell unlike the fragrant flowers of the tree hence it is used as animal feed…The pigs and chickens love it!

It really is not a surprise to hear that the tree belongs to the Brazil nut family and although not palatable to us..the flowers are absolutely beautiful and the fruit has many medicinal uses…

Bats and bees are responsible for the pollination to take place. The flowers are mostly visited by wasps, bumblebees, flower bees and carpenter bees.

Some of the traditional uses for this tree and its fruit:

  • The plant extract is used to treat stomach aches and colds.
  • The juice extracted from the leaves is used to treat skin diseases.
  • In South America, the Shamans used tree parts to treat malaria.
  • The pulp is used to disinfect wounds.
  • Young leaves are used to provide relief from toothache.
  • The bark is used to cure colds.
  • The extracts of the tree parts are used to cure pain, hypertension, tumours and inflammation.
  • The fruit pulp is rubbed on sick dogs to cure them of mange.
  • The juice extracted from leaves is used to cure skin ailments.
  • In Ayurveda, the juice of the fruit is used as expectorant for bronchitis and chronic cough.

Lots of fruit and vegetables are in season now and lemongrass is very prolific I have a huge bunch so tomorrow Tom Yum Gai made from scratch will be on the dinner menu…Some are in the freezer both the stems and some I have finely cut…I also have made some lemongrass paste…I am madly thinking of what I can make with Lemongrass…some I have shared with neighbours and made a salad…

Thai Lemongrass Salad…Yum Takrai

Thai Lemongrass Salad with tamarind dip

I personally love this salad it is so fresh and vibrant, you could leave out the dried shrimp if you really eat no meat or fish products, slightly different taste but still good as if I don’t have any to hand then I leave them out.

Yum Takrai (Spicy Lemongrass Salad)

  • 15 stalks fresh lemongrass.
  • 14 cup finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp. toasted cashews
  • 2 tbsp. whole dried shrimp
  • 12 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 12 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2-1 12 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. whole dried shrimp, finely ground
  • 4-6 red Thai chillies stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 raw stemmed long beans, cut into 4″ pieces for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Trim and slice the lemongrass very finely. Transfer lemongrass slices to a medium bowl, separate rings with your fingers. Add ginger, cashews, shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, ground shrimp, Thai chiles, and shallots, and toss well. Garnish with long beans. Serve on Banana Leaf or Betel Leaf as in my picture.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice or cauliflower rice if eating Gluten-free.
We also serve with a tamarind sauce made by combing 3 tbsp tamarind pulp with cup water in a small pan, bring to boil and simmer 5 mins.
Remove from heat and stand 15 mins you can help break tamarind down with a spoon, strain through sieve extracting as much liquid as possible.
Add 2cm peeled finely chopped ginger and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, 1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar,2 tsp fish sauce,1 tbsp chilli/garlic sauce and 1 tsp soy sauce to tamarind liquid.
Bring to boil, simmer 5 mins.
Whisk 1 tbsp cornflour/arrowroot powder with little water whisk into sauce cook 1 min or until thickens.
Taste and adjust seasoning add more sugar if required.
Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
I hope you enjoy this little salad.
lemongrass-1713240_1280
How to make lemongrass tea which is a nice, refreshing citrusy drink which can be sipped hot or add ice cubes and it is a nice refreshing cold drink.
  • cut the stalks into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • boil a cup of water
  • pour the boiling water over the lemongrass stalks to steep
  • leave the stalks in the water for at least 5 minutes
  • strain the liquid from the stalks and pour into a teacup

Enjoy!

That’s all from me for today…I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the Thai fruits we grow or buy here …Can you get any of these where you live?

And don’t forget any unusual fruits or veg send me a picture and I will see what I can find out…

Thank you for reading I do hope you are all staying well and safe…It seems like the whole world is on lockdown…scary times…xx… I haven’t been going out unless it is a necessity… only shops selling food are open now and we are just waiting for the next phase…I have my stock of rice from the farm to last me a few months…It might also prompt me to have a go at making pasta…I am not worried about fruit and veg and have some larder to fall back on…we also have a bum gun so tissue isn’t a problem…My family brought us some rice and meat plus lots of limes and eggplants from the farm which I have shared around the neighbours as there were just too many for us so it will be eggplant dip and green curry this week for us …

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.

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!

Thank you for reading and please stay safe and well…xxxx

Thailand…Down on The farm… Snake Gourd,Cassava…

 

Good morning after a week of rain it is now steaming hot…the upside of a tropical climate is everything is lush and green…

Last week I introduced you to a very local Thia potato this week it is one which is more widely grown and well known…Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Palang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food and also for starch and Tapioca flour.

It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sam palang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the world’s largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed, it is high in proteins and contains tannins and is valued as a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next season’s crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.

Other uses for the root  are:

  • To make starch for clothing.
  • To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.
  • Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from tapioca flour. Thai pancakes
  • It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.
  • Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

 

Khanom man sam palang is a cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

Ingredients:

  • 2   cups of grated Cassava
  • 6 tbsp of tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp of mung bean starch
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut.
  • Food colouring

Let’s Cook!

Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake before serving. If you spread it over the top of the cake then it is lovely toasted before spreading it over the cake.

Enjoy!

It was also time to plant some more banana trees as the land has been built up and there are lots of bananas for frying and making Somtam…A Thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.

Everything in the garden is coming up roses as the saying goes it looks like we will have fruit and vegetables galore.

Some of the fruit and vegetables I am familiar with as you can get them almost everywhere.

Others are very new to me and I am having to do a little research as sometimes there isn’t an English pronunciation for the Thai word.

This one looks quite creepy I was quite expecting to see a snake so I was going along quite gingerly watching where I trod.

Then it was back to the drawing board to find out a little more about this creepy looking gourd…

I was then on the hunt for some baby ones as those big boys are not for cooking…This is what I discovered…A recipe for…

Snake Gourd Riata.

  • 2 cups of natural yoghurt.
  • 2 small snake gourds diced.

The snake gourd has a naturally occurring waxy white surface so rub some salt on the surface before cooking or using to remove.

  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 2tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • 10-15 shallots finely chopped.
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp urad dal powder/paste
  • A handful of coriander leaves chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil as required.

Let’s Cook!

Heat some oil on a medium flame and fry the mustard seeds and urad dal for 20 seconds.

Add green chillies and chopped shallots saute for 2 minutes, add diced snake gourd cook 1-2 minutes and add grated coconut and mix well.

Remove from the heat allow to cool slightly, stir in yoghurt and add salt to taste.

Garnish with coriander and serve.

Here are some more facts about the fascinating Snake gourd.

The snake gourd or Buap nguu, serpent gourd, chichinga or Padwal are some of the other names it is known under.

Native to south-east Asia it is a vine which grows around a tree or trellis and then unfurls its large white frayed flowers. Then fruits which grow straight down towards the ground.

It can grow up to 5 feet in length sometimes a stone is tied to the small gourd to help it grow straight down as it can grow into all sorts of shapes.

Also because of its length, it is used to make the traditional didgeridoo in Australia.

It turns orange when it is fully ripe but this is when it is very bitter so it is usually used in curries and raitas before it ripens fully. When ripened the flesh is sometimes used as a replacement for tomatoes.

The leaves, tendrils and other leafy parts are used as vegetable greens lightly steamed or raw.

It’s strange names and appearance have often caused it to be overlooked for its health benefits. It is proven to be very effective at improving the strength of the body’s immune system, reducing fevers and treating diabetes. Currently there much medical research into other health benefits of the Snake Gourd.

There are so many fruits and vegetables with health benefits which to me is quite amazing…I personally think it should be on the school curriculums and children should be taught about what they are eating and why…maybe that would help curb obesity if kids were more aware. Just my thoughts.

Thank you for reading about my life and discoveries in Thailand I do hope you enjoy it 🙂

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!

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

 

Thailand…Down on the farm…. making charcoal…

Every day is BBQ day here…In fact, an open fire is how many people here still cook… When you pick up a bag or two of charcoal when you do your weekly or monthly shop? Do you know how charcoal is made? or maybe you don’t even use charcoal you have an electric or gas BBQ.

Come with me and I will show you how charcoal is made in the villages here…

A mud charcoal making house.

This is the mud charcoal house where the charcoal is made primarily for fuel to cook…no mod cons here at all. Well not yet pretty much everything is done how it has always been done through the generations. The skills passed down and that is what I like here so much tradition still and in the main so much happiness.

But the lifestyle is hard there are some concessions to this and progress is slowly coming but much is still done the old way and by getting your hands dirty.

Making charcoal is an art…me I just said do you just throw the wood in and light it?…. The look this crazy English lady got was a look of I suppose bemusement.

Of course, you don’t, for a start, the charcoal house cannot be built on or close to the water table or where the drainage is poor.

The wood must be properly stacked so that when it is burning the air can circulate correctly but the beauty of it being on your land is that you can stack over a period time as you come across the wood. The wood must, of course, be dry and the time needed to complete the burn does depend on the moisture content of the wood and also the evenness of the stacking of the wood so this is all very important.

SAM_8713

WOOD DRYING PRIOR TO BEING STACKED.

Once it is correctly stacked it must be stacked vertically into the charcoal house then a fire is started or burning coals are put through the air vent at the top of the charcoal house once this has taken then the door must be sealed effectively to ensure proper air circulation.

The initial smoke which comes out through the top air vent and the air holes around the base is dense white smoke which after a few days turns to a blueish colour finally it becomes practically clear smoke.

Once the burn is complete then the opening at the top of the charcoal house is sealed as are the bottom vents.

This then takes 2-3 days to cool down, when the earth kiln is cool it can be opened but there must be a supply of water available in case there are any red fires still burning as they need to be extinguished.

carbon-592598_1920 charcoal

Once the charcoal is completely cold then it is bagged or put in baskets for home use or sale.

A typical fire for cooking on.

SAM_8461

Cooking the steak

This is a time-consuming and backbreaking task no one has an easy life here as I am finding out but kudos to them I am often just amazed and it has made me realise what an easy life I have had. With my running water, gas, electric all the mod cons … it has changed me and I hope for the better. When the house is built here yes there will be some luxuries but you know what I am not so bothered anymore.

The last time I was here I ate the softest tenderest piece of steak with the hottest chilli sauce(ever) I declined the Mek Hong it was too early for me ..although it is known as Thai Whisky it is actually a spiced rum…Still very potent and too many and you wouldn’t be standing you would be Mau(drunk)

Back to BBQ, I won’t be cooking over a small charcoal fire unless it is a proper BBQ but lots of things I used to have no longer hold the same allure for me it is definitely an eye-opener and maybe not the life for everyone. Just for this crazy, whimsical English lady, it is the life I have adopted and I love it!

Thank you for reading about my life in Thailand I do hope you enjoy it 🙂

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!

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

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: 

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

 

Life on The farm… Thai Potatoes, Rice and Banana leaf wrapped desserts…

Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Farang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food and also for starch and Tapioca flour.

SAM_8849

It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.

The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sampalang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the world’s largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

cassava-285033_1920 root

It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed, it is high in proteins and contains tannins and is valued as a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next season’s crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.

SAM_8852

Other uses for the root  are:

To make starch for clothing.

To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.

Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from Tapioca flour. Thai pancakes

It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.

Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

dessert-1549271_1920 steamed

Khanom man sampalang is a cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

You will need:

  • 2   cups of grated Cassava
  • 6 tbsp of tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp of mung bean starch
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut.
  • Food colouring

Let’s Cook!

 

Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake. before serving. If you spread over the top then it is lovely when toasted before spreading over the top of the cake.

Enjoy!

It was also time to plant some more banana trees bananas we also have trees with bananas for frying and making Somtam…A Thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.

The rice crop is growing well but it is hard work when it is farmed the traditional way …Weeding has to be done as if you don’t then your crop will not be as bountiful but it is backbreaking we also harvest it the old way and not by machine as again you don’t get as much rice…But it is all done with a smile and it is a real community event…

         Harvest time- Rice- rural Thailand

Sticky rice and banana parcels made by Tik’s mum…we couldn’t get a smile out of her still…But? I was allowed to take photos for my blog…These banana leaf-wrapped parcels are hand made and sold almost everywhere…Always check the filling though as it varies somewhat…

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Everything is ready to make these lovely sticky rice and banana parcels

Bananas cut into halves, uncooked sticky rice ( Khao niao), sugar pot, banana leaves cut into rectangles and bamboo strips to tie the parcels. These are then cooked in hot water for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

The halved bananas are rolled in the sticky rice..which is uncooked with a little sugar added.

They are then wrapped in the banana leaves and made into a neat little parcel tied together with the bamboo.

The parcels are then stood upright in a pot of hot water and covered with some bamboo and cooked for 2 to 2/12 hours until the rice is cooked.

sticky rice and banana

When ready you have these lovely parcels of sticky rice …These type of sweet snacks are very popular here …

These ones are what we were given yesterday by one of our Thai neighbours…It is one of the things I love about living here as when I go out walking I see chillies, mushrooms, fish or meat drying in the sun…Like these little parcels below the coconut was hand grated from the drupe, the bean curd mixed in a bowl by hand and grandma was sitting in the shade cutting the squares from the banana leaves always a proper family affair…They are then steamed as the ones above were…Such a lovely pace of family life…

The brown you can see through the yellow outer is coconut mixed with tamarind the yellow is a type of bean curd which is slightly chewy…

I do hope that you enjoy my tales of life on the farm and can see how many things are still made and harvested the traditional way…

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot …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.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 xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand… Travel and Tradition… Handmade Thai pancakes..Khao Gle-at.

Today I will be taking you to the village where many old traditions are still observed and passed down the generations …Much is still hand made using homemade implements and utensils.

Making these pancakes the traditional way is still done in the Thai villages and I am very lucky to be able to witness these traditions which are passed down through the generations. The working of the wooden presses is a sight to behold again these are family heirlooms and passed down.

Also, it is something which all the family participates in and learn how to make, the oldest passes on her knowledge and the young ones start at the bottom and learn but if you look at the smiling faces everyone is enjoying it. There is a real feeling of family and community in the villages…Thais also look down on anyone who does not care for the elderly my daughter in law carries on most alarmingly if she sees an old person begging on the streets…I am sure she puts a hex on their absent families…

coconut mix

If you look closely when the old lady is pounding the flesh from the coconuts the children are working it by jumping up and down at the opposite end it is just like a see-saw and as much fun.

pounding the coconut

These pancakes are made from the flesh of the older coconuts and mixed with palm sugar, sticky rice which is ground into a flour and sesame seeds. There are many variations on this some are mixed with eggs.

Once the mixture is made it is shaped into pancake shapes with a wooden press. See below.

Flattening the pancake mix

Pancakes drying

They are then left to dry for about 3 days and then toasted over the open flames of a Thai BBQ rotated by hand between two wooden fans like paddles to ensure even cooking.

It is fascinating to watch and you can both see and feel the unity when cooking…I am sure that little lad in the final image is wondering when they will be ready to eat…

I have seen these sold on the roadsides and now know how they are made in the homes. It certainly is a family affair as from the youngest to the oldest they all have a part to play.

I hope you enjoyed this little visit into these Thai families homes….It is just one of many which I hope to share with you…x

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 xx

Travel and Traditions…The Land of Smiles.

Retired No One Told Me! (6)

When you travel to Thailand be ready to be truly amazed the minute you step off the plane.

One of the first places we visited on our travel and explorations around Phuket was Big Buddha one of the most famous landmarks on the island of Phuket.

Big Buddha

Big Buddha, I have lost count of how many times we have travelled up the mountain to Big Buddha and it is always a place we take our visitors… While work is still ongoing there is always something different and new to see… My favourite sight though will always be that huge Big Buddha sat atop the Nakkerd hills sparkling in the sunlight, made of white jade he just shimmers as the sunlight catches that beautiful white jade… An awesome sight… Remember to keep covered up no bare arms and legs. Then on the way down you can stop at one of the restaurants and enjoy some lovely Thai food and of course the spectacular views around the bay.

If you travel to Phuket then you must go and visit Big Buddha.

There are many beautiful beaches in Thailand, my favourites are the ones which are not so crowded…The lesser visited beaches which are so beautiful… How to pick a favourite? Click this link and you will see why I can’t make that choice they all have their own charm. All you need is a beach towel and a camera and don’t forget the sunscreen.

beach and chairs nice pic

You have of course got the very touristy beaches like Patong, in Phuket but if you visit some of the others you can see or do some silk printing, have your portrait painted or just relax at a reggae bar and watch the waves or if you are feeling particularly sporty there is paddle boarding for which you need a fair amount of balance and it is not as easy as it looks… But you can’t travel to Thailand and not do at least one of these.

Sea gipsy villages are so very beautiful…They have a life of their own..self contained and self-sufficient, some have a school and one even has its own floating football pitch. Very fresh seafood, some amazing Thai food can be tasted it is all authentic flavours no holds barred when it comes to chillies … Just browse the little stalls set up in front of homes selling anything from dried fish, honeyed nuts, local goods made of silk or bags made by the hill tribes from the North and of course the normal bits and bobs to take home as mementoes of your travels.

houses on stilts Koh Panyee

I just love Krabi...Taking a long-boat to visit all the little islands is a marvellous day out just be ready to get wet and having to wade out to sea a little to get onto the boat but so much better than the speedboats for me anyway…You see far more and the boatmen know the schedules of the big boats so you can see the islands and miss the crowds.

A Thai massage on the beach or some lovely wraps and wall hangings which the beach vendors will be trying to sell to you…Lovely handmade wooden goods … purses and key rings …all sorts for sale and remember Thais love to barter…

If you are hungry the food is fresh from the boats and cooked to order…

You can get the most wonderful Thai massage on the beach while laying and looking out to sea and letting your thoughts just wander and take you where they may …

I will tell you a funny story when we went to one of the small islands massages were not permitted on some of the beaches but you could see the police boat coming as obviously boat was the only form of  access so if the boat appeared everyone upped sticks and we sat and sipped our drinks  as if nothing was going on and when they went on their merry way massage continued it was quite funny really and made me wonder whether the police really knew anyway…

My masseur happened to be male as all the ladies were busy … My lucky day…apparently, I had that look on my face( according) to hubby…I think it is called a blissful look …That masseuse had the best hands…The rest I will leave to your very fertile imaginations..ladies…” smirk”

Temples or wats there are SO many here they range from the very old to the very new. From highly ornate to ones which need some TLC and to the quirky temples like this one which is made entirely out of Heineken and Chang bottles.Recycling at its best 🙂

Called Wat Pa Maha Kaew or the Temple of a Million Bottles it is a Buddhist temple in the Khun Han district of Sisaket province, Thailand. Made from over 1.5 million bottles it took two years to build the main temple.

Can you just imagine a temple built completely from bottles and beer bottles?

Wat Bang Riang

This one is Wat Bang Riang a little drive from Phuket but well worth the trip …

I can’t go without mentioning briefly the food of which there is so much to love…Those Thai flavours are so amazing…

My Favourite Khao Soi a yellow curry with crispy noodles which packs a fiery punch as well.

You can’t visit Thailand and not visit a market…They are many and varied from the huge markets which sell everything to the little local market with 10-15 stalls which sell the essentials and the fresh fruit and vegetables are so very fresh..just picked that morning… Not forgetting, of course, the floating markets.

 

That’s all for this post  I do hope you have enjoyed it. I am looking forward to your comments and if you also hit the share buttons I would love that ….Thanks, Carol xxx

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 xx

 

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