I love this straightforward grilled Thai fish curry in banana leaves because it packs a punch with its aromatic curry mixture that embrace the white and tender fish meat with great flavors. It is a great addition for any Thai meal and very easy to prepare.
Snakehead fish, traditionally caught from irrigation ditches or flooded rice fields, benefits from the aromatic curry paste because it helps to eliminate unpleasant odors which wild caught fishes might acquire from their muddy habitat. Nowadays though, it is commercially farmed and one can safely cook it in various ways with no risk of those undesirable odors.
This recipe would probably change your perception about the term “salad”, maybe because its dressing has a multi layered, curry-like personality, rather than the common sour vinaigrette-like dressing, or maybe because it takes some good few hours to prepare, somewhat longer than simply opening a bag of hydroponic greens.
This salad is the fruit of the dedication of court ladies from aristocratic households, that for centuries perfected and elaborated on the art of cooking through detailed and calculated process, to create sophisticated dishes that are not only delicious but also very healthy and visually pleasing.
These ladies made a very large commitment for small things, and they attended all their time and efforts to make minor things better and getting the small things just right.
This dish (Khao Soi Recipe) takes us back in time to the mid-19th century. The trade caravans were trailing the jungles of northern Thailand along the ancient routes between India and China. Those long caravans were carrying wealth of exotic goods, leaving rich aroma of spices and the sweet scent of opium as they passed.
The men on this long line of between fifty and one hundred mules would be Yunnanese Muslim Chinese, who dominated the trade routes and began to settle in Chiang Mai and the main towns of north Thailand at that time.
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.
This recipe comes all the way from India through the northern Burmese border. The masala spice mix is still sold in small packages with retro looking prints that seem to forever exist.
There is no way in a recipe to communicate what’s going on in here; a thick red chili paste marinate, that bursts in orange turmeric color, provides the perfect seen to the tender, almost falling apart, pork meat.
Curry shops are for the busy businessman and the hungry traveler a real must. They offer a selection of the most attractive and appetizing food you can think of. This is the Thai version of fast food, even faster than in the west.
So here is a wonderful little lunchtime dish that goes well with yet another bowl of steamy hot rice, that comes of directly from the curry shops common repertoire.
I know it is easy to reach to the supermarket shelves and grab a pack of Thai curry paste. I hope that you will consider making your own and I think you should. Things often get lost in translation, and even worse if they are commercially pre-packed for five years of use. Thai cooking is based on freshness and if you are serious about Thai cooking, you will be amazed how with just a bit of an effort your food rises into new levels.