This dish brings yet another angle to celebrate the essence of Thai cuisine. The Thais dare pairing ingredients, which at first seem to be unmatchable, strong players with opposite characteristics, white turmeric and salted prawns, and guess what? It works beautifully!
The pairing actually has the intention to enhance the differences in flavor and texture, creating a playful dish, both in taste and in presentation. The delicate thin cut white turmeric juliennes with its crunchy-apple like texture matched well with the just made salted prawns chunks which still maintain some of their intrinsic sweetness.
White turmeric is the underground stem (rhizome) of the tropical plant Curcuma zedoaria in the ginger family. About 80 species of Curcuma have been identified, including the better-known culinary member of the family, the turmeric, with its deep yellow pigment.
Quite rare in the west, white turmeric is used in Thai, Indonesian and Indian cuisines. It possess quite a long list of herbal remedies; maybe because its high levels of antioxidants.
It will not be an overstatement to say that banana trees accompany Thai people from their birth to the afterlife. Starting with the decorative objects made out of banana leaves newborns receive to invite protective spirits, and continues their entire life with the endless uses for banana leaves, trunks and fruits; finally ending with the female spirit ghost, maae praai taanee (แม่พรายตานี), who resides in banana trees and Thai beliefs.
If you are looking for a quick and tasty snack try this one. Like a beautiful jewel studded with gems, the yellow corn kernels are peeking through the golden crust… a festive choice for a party, afternoon brunch, or for a buffet table. The sweetness of the corn is beautifully enhanced by the aromatic seasoning; it is truly irresistible that warrants this caveat: double the recipe.
Many recipes call for coriander root, garlic, and white peppercorns paste. While I have seen commercial preparations available, there is really no excuse not to use freshly made paste when needed. Successful cooking has a lot to do with the attention one gives to the flavor base and these three kings of Thai cooking should be taken very seriously.
Ajat is extremely simple yet elegant, and when you include it side to deep-fry or oily dishes, it is a knockout. Ajat is commonly served alongside Satay, Murtabak, Fish cakes and other deep fried snacks. Its sweet and sour syrup helps to mellow down the oily richness. You can prepare the syrup ahead of time and assemble it just before serving.
In the Thai language, lon (lohn; หลน) means to simmer. In this ancient style dip, minced pork and fermented shrimp paste, along with smoked-charred dry fish, chilies and other aromatics, are slowly simmered in rich coconut cream to create a deep, multi-layered – yet subtle and silky – dip; a dip which is then lightly seasoned with just palm sugar and fish sauce. The dip is served with an array of fresh and fried vegetables, tempura-like cakes, crispy small fishes or tiny transparent salt-water shrimp. For a dish with so many subtle flavors, there is surprisingly little fuss.
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