We’re delighted to have Chef Chat Mingkwan back with us at Vegfest giving cooking demos this year. As a special treat, he shared three of his delicious recipes with us. Come to Vegfest to learn more from Chat about Thai and Vietnamese cooking.
Green Beans with Peanut Dressing
3 cups green beans, trimmed, cut to 1½ inch length
2 cups julienne color bell peppers (your choice of serving fresh or cooked.)
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Parboil the green beans for 1-2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of iced water for 2 minutes more. Drain and blot dry. Keep chilled.
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts + more for garnish
1 tablespoon roasted black and white sesame seeds + more for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped Thai chilies, more or less to taste
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 lime, juiced, more to taste
salt to taste
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the peanuts and sesame seeds lightly first and then blend in the rest of ingredients. Stir until well mixed and add water if necessary to make a salad dressing.
Just before serving, transfer the beans and bell peppers to a bowl and fold in the dressing a little at a time until the beans are evenly coated. Serve in small bowls and lightly sprinkle with more peanuts and sesame seeds.
Yellow Curry (Gaeng Garee Puk)
This mild curry has obvious Indian origins, not only from the coriander and cumin, but also the yellow curry powder. It is very rich and creamy, as both coconut milk and cream are used. It often requires Cucumber Salad Ajad as an accompaniment to help clear the palate after a few bites.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup Yellow Curry Paste, more to taste
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup peeled and diced potatoes, ¼ -inch cubes
1 cup peeled and diced taro, ¼ -inch cubes
1 cup peeled and diced kabocha squash or pumpkin, ¼ -inch cubes
2 cups fried spongy tofu (4 ounces)
1 cup julienne red bell peppers
½ cup julienne onions
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ cup light soy sauce, or more to taste
3 tablespoons palm sugar, or more to taste
1 cup coconut cream
½ cup Thai sweet basil (bai horapah), leaves only, for garnish
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the curry paste and cook 3-5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, potatoes, taro, squash, and tofu and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender. Add the red peppers, onions, light soy sauce, curry powder, and sugar, and simmer for a few minutes longer or until the vegetables are done.
Adjust the flavor with more soy sauce and sugar to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut cream. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the basil leaves just before serving.
Sticky Rice and Mangoes (Khao Neaw Mamoung)
Thai people invent a cylindrical bamboo steamer to cook this particular kind of long-grain rice, which comes in many names in the US market, sweet rice, sticky rice, or glutinous rice. The bamboo steamer is sitting tight-fitted on a narrow-neck pot of boiling water.
After halfway through steaming, rice grains are stuck together making their mass easy to turn upside down. A regular steamer could also be used with a little adjustment by lining its steam tray with cheesecloth so the rice grains won’t fall through the steaming holes.
1½ cups sweet, sticky, glutinous long-grain rice
1 cup granulated sugar, more to taste
½ teaspoon pandan, jasmine, or vanilla extract (optional)
1¾ cups coconut milk or cream (or mix)
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 ripe mangoes
2 tablespoons roasted black sesame seeds or roasted yellow beans for garnish
Soak the rice in 5 cups of cold water overnight or at least 2 hours.
In a steamer over high heat, drain the rice and place in a steam tray. Steam the rice for 15 minutes and then turn top to bottom. Continue steaming for another 10 minutes until tender. Or cook the rice in a rice cooker with water at a 1:1 ratio.
While the rice is steaming, in a small-size bowl, combine the sugar, extract, coconut milk, and salt. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside for later mixing with the rice.
When the rice is ready, transfer to a bowl and grade its surface to level with a wet wooden spoon. Do not pack the rice. While the rice is still hot, pour 3/4 of the coconut mixture all over the rice and set aside, covering with a lid or saran wrap, for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and fold the rice with the wet wooden spoon from top to bottom to get an even texture. Cover and set aside.
To serve, peel the mangoes and slice into bite-size pieces. Arrange the rice and mango on a serving platter and top with the remaining coconut mixture. Sprinkle with the roasted sesame seeds or yellow beans before serving.