IHCC: Rick Bayless Out(side) of Mexico-Going Thai~

1 09 2012


This week IHCC is cooking Rick Bayless OUT of Mexico! We’re traveling abroad with Mr. Bayless and his daughter, Lanie, to the various corners of the world…we’ll be disembarking in Southeast Asia, visiting Vietnam and Thailand. The recommended source for Rick Bayless recipes from around the world is Rick & Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventure.  It’s filled with recipes from Mexico to Spain, Asia, and France to name a few places.  The tales of their adventures are pretty fun too!

I’m sometimes amazed at how close the various cultures are culinarily.  Mexican food uses cilantro and chiles.  Thai food uses cilantro and chiles.  The chiles of the area may be different, but the end result is the same…to bring a little (or a lot of) zip to our foods!  Chinese food uses cilantro (Chinese Parsley) and chiles (Szechuan), and Indian cuisine uses chiles and the seeds of cilantro, known as coriander.   If you have a few key ingredients you can cook globally almost any time.  So, stepping off to Thailand-in-my-kitchen was faster than the flight!

My first choice was Rick and Lanie’s Street Vendor Pad Thai, as pictured above.   I had to make a couple changes…I didn’t have Thai pickled radish or Daikon to make my own, so that was left out.  Since I already have palm sugar and Thai Bird chiles in the house, I used those (to taste) instead of brown sugar and chile flakes.  And then…I have tamarind pulp in my refrigerator, so I used that instead of making my own.  Aside from all that….*giggle*  It’s the same.

I’m not quite good enough to be able to mix my sauce in the pan…I still need to cook it on the side until I get the flavors right…and I’m getting there! Practice makes perfect, and this is an incredibly quick and easy “fast food” fix after working all day. Still…this isn’t as close to Rick and Lanie’s recipe…so I’m going to submit Peanut Dipping Sauce!

I can’t even say the Salad Rolls or Spring Rolls bear more than a vague resemblance to Rick and Lanie’s. They’re both wrapped in rice paper wrappers, is that close enough? I stuck pretty darn close to the recipe for the Peanut Dipping Sauce for their Salad Rolls. You can find the recipe in an inset on page 189 accompanying the recipe for Vietnamese Rice-Paper Wrapped Salad Rolls.

I used “natural” peanut butter and Sriracha to bring up the heat a little, and we loved this. It’s very close to what I watched a co-worker who is Hmong, make at work when she brought salad rolls for a pot luck. I had no idea it was so easy! LOL! Seriously…this is really great made with the bottom 1/4 jar of a jar of peanut butter. It mixes well in the jar and you have a place to store the extra built in. Salad rolls are a seasonal favorite here. Just about any leftover meat can be finely minced and incorporated, and it’s a good use for the rest of those bean sprouts!

We’re quite delighted with this new addition to our (incredibly LARGE) cookbook library!  I confess…I’m hooked on Bayless!!