Breaking news: The oldest Thai cookbook, as well as history’s first-ever recorded recipe for Phanaeng curry, are revealed for the first time on Thaifoodmaster.com – A 126-year-old cookbook written by one of Siam’s most revered singers, Maawm Sohm Jeen (Raa Chaa Noopraphan) (หม่อมซ่มจีน, ราชานุประพันธุ์), has been rediscovered, offering a unique glimpse into the culinary repertoire of 19th-century Siam. In this chapter we examine the different forms of phanaeng curry from the 1800s to the present day, as we reconstruct the 19th-century version and craft step-by-step a traditional beef phanaeng curry.
Boiled, Stewed, Braised, Sautéd and Poached
For the khanohm jeen saao naam version that we present today, we turn again to the writing of Thanpuying (Lady) Gleep Mahithaawn for her unique take on the dish. Her version is quite similar to the common recipe encountered nowadays, but Lady Gleep enhances it with more ingredients, elevating the dish yet another notch to the level of a majestic masterpiece.
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.
Khao mao bueang and khao Mao Mee (ข้าวเม่าหมี่) are the only two known savory dishes from antiquity made from pounded unripe rice grains (ข้าวเม่า; khao mao). While khao mao mee (ข้าวเม่าหมี่) is still a well-known and widely available dish, very few people remember khao mao bueang. Therefore, we are pleased to reintroduce into the Thai culinary repertoire the delicious khao mao bueang.
Sweet Pounded Unripe Rice Flakes Cereal – Rice harvesting takes place only once a year, and there are only two weeks where the ripening grains are suitable for producing Khao Mao. Khao Mao doesn’t age well, it gets dry and tough quickly. The-once-vivid beautiful green color that portrayed the essence of its immaturity and the beginning of the rice harvesting season, slowly fades away, along with its bread like scent.
Gai dtai naam, which means “under water chicken” in Thai, consists of braised chicken in a coarse, aromatic paste made from lemongrass, galangal, garlic, chilies, kaffir lime leaves, holy basil, coriander and spring onions. In the home-cooked dish popular among the Thai working class, the entire chicken – including the bones – is chopped into bite-size pieces, and served with a bottle of rice wine accompanied by local country-style music (luktung) at high volume.
A marvelous Luang Prabang style fish salad recipe (Koi Pla), which is very easy to prepare and even though it looks simple, its flavors are complex and clever.
Fresh fish fillet is sliced into thin strips which are quick blanched in lemongrass infused boiling water – a cooking method that presenting it’s natural flavors with an uplifting citrusy notes. The white fish slices are then mixed with, deep golden brown caramelized mix of fried garlic, shallots and lemongrass, which are not just visually pleasing but also add a unique sweetness and richness to the dish.