Central Plains and Bangkok Cuisine

Gaaeng Ranjuaan is spicy, sour, sweet and salty beef curry seasoned with no more than fermented shrimp paste chili sauce. It should be served steaming hot, and must possess three distinct flavors, similar to fish Tom Yam soup. These modest ingredients and an intensely-flavored curry emerge from a story about love, things lost in translation and…leftovers.

Sweet and sour fruit slices are served with a nutty, sweet-savory peanut sauce condiment that balances the fruits’ natural tartness, and decorated with coriander leaves and julienned fresh long red pepper for a sophisticated finish. The paste-like condiment is typically made from the Three Kings of Thai cuisine (coriander root, garlic and ground white pepper) fried together with chopped shallots, minced pork belly and shrimp meat, along with crushed roasted peanuts, and seasoned with fish sauce [or salt], and palm sugar.

Chef Thapakorn Lertviriyavit (Gorn) brings us a rare perfumed and colorful starter [salad] dish that was rediscovered in a cookbook written by a former governor of Nakhon Ratchasima (พระยานครราชเสนี – สหัด สิงหเสนี), which contained a recipe that called for rose petals, called ‘Yum Gularb’ or ‘Rose Petal Salad’. But I’d prefer to rename it, ‘Yum Gleep Kuppatchka’. You will soon understand why….

This ball-shaped dessert has a sweet coconut filling (gracheek), surrounded by a thin crust of pounded unripe rice crumbs, along with a tempting fragrance enriched with a Thai dessert candle or fresh flowers.

Demonstrating brilliant creativity and attention to detail, this classical Thai dessert uses only three basic ingredients. In this article, we have elected to follow the traditional recipe published in 1908 by Thanpuying Plean Passakornrawong.

Unripe rice snack – “Khao Mao Mee” (ข้าวเม่าหมี่ ) also known as “Khao Mao Song Kreuang” (ข้าวเม่าทรงเครื่อง) or by it’s royal name “Khanom Khao Mao Rang” (ขนมข้าวเม่าราง) is a delicious snack. It makes an unusual use of the unripe rice grains, which are normally used for desserts making. The following recipe describes an ancient and hard to find version of it. These days, there is a tendency to add other ingredients like peanuts or to deep fry the unripe rice grains until fluffy and crispy.

Today’s tom yum goong soup recipe is a refreshing addition to the tom yum soup repertoire. The fried SaNoh Flower Cakes sensationally enhance the shrimp’s natural sweetness, while the flower’s bittersweet aftertaste is a superb tropical match to the citrusy and aromatic hot and sour tom yum goong soup.

Lemongrass chili relish – The citrus aromatics of the lemongrass are preserved almost intact and go very well with the peppery aroma of pungent fresh chilies. It is served with a range of blanched vegetables, steamed or fried fish, sweet pork and of course, a bowl of rice – a balanced meal, full of nutrients and health.

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