Sticky Rice 1.0

6 04 2022

Sometimes you just need sticky rice to accompany your food. I followed general information from Sherri (Thai Foodie), and she starts out by saying sticky rice is somewhat temperamental. First, you need a specific “kind” of rice…in this case “Sweet Rice” or glutinous rice. I’m blessed to have a lovely Asian market nearby and I see them every few days! I was able to pick up a 5 lb. bag of Sweet Rice with no problem. Then…you need to soak the glutinous rice not less than 3 hours, Sherri recommends 4 hours to overnight. I soaked my rice overnight. Next, you need a rice steaming device…”contraption” as she put it… I used a 3 qt. saucepan that was only about 7 inches across, my spatterguard-steamer screen and a stainless steel mixing bowl over the top as a “lid,” and that made me make a thick layer of raw, soaked rice. It took forever to cook, but it did cook (easily 90 minutes) and came out reasonably well for a white girl who didn’t grow up with sticky rice. The rice was sticky, and done all the way through….actually, I think it finished cooking and steaming in the plastic bag while it waited for dinner. Looking back at her recipe, she uses a wide skillet with another skillet over the top to steam her rice. Next time. Next time…

There has to be a next time, because we rediscovered yellow curry. That wonderfully, warm-spiced, thick and rich yellow curry. Usually, 1 Tbsp of curry is more than enough for this gentle palate… Lol… The flavors of the yellow curry (Mae Ploy brand, if you want to know what I used) – yellow chilies, lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, and spices, including cinnamon, cumin, and coriander – the flavors spoke, and the heat wasn’t intense….so I mixed a 2nd Tbsp of curry paste into a little of the hot coconut milk in the pot. We were waiting for the vegetables to soften…and ultimately we went with 3 Tbsp of the yellow curry paste and it was pretty tasty!

The upshot…try this again with fewer potatoes (I used Yukon gold, peeled and cut into quarters or 1/2 inch hunks), cook the carrots a little longer (I used Dantes carrots I got from the Asian Market). We think strips of red bell pepper would be a nice addition…they’d be pretty and they’d cook quickly. Additionally, one of us thinks we should use shrimp in this dish. Is there a rule that says I can’t? Lol… The idea of trying sticky rice again with a slightly different cooking arrangement sounds reasonable too.

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Let’s talk Coconut milk…

6 04 2022

When it comes to coconut milk…let’s just say not all products have the same outcome… According to Master Chef, coconut milk is created by blending water with unsweetened coconut – either fresh or packaged, then strained. While that sounds simple enough, looking at the fat content will tell you a lot about what the outcome of your dish is likely to be.

Starting at the “low fat” end…Pacific Foods Organic Unsweetened Coconut milk contains 4 gr of fat per serving (size 1 cup). The same for So Delicious brand. Vita Coco Coconut milk is lighter even yet at 3 gr. fat per 8 oz. serving. However…move from the Alternate Milk aisle to the Oriental Foods aisle and coconut milk looks a little different. Taste of Thai has the lowest fat content at 11 gr per 1/3 cup. Trader Joe’s brand has 11 gr. of fat per 2 oz. serving. Thai Kitchen brand weighs in at 12 gr fat per serving and the serving has changed to 5 1/3 Tablespoons (1/3 cup). Incidentally, the Thai Kitchen Keto-friendly coconut milk is 14 gr fat per 1/3 cup. Four Elephants has 14 gr. per 1/3 cup. Goya Foods…they admit to 10 gr. fat per 1/4 cup. Chaokoh Coconut milk comes in at 15 gr. per 1/3 cup. Aroy-D is consistently 17 gr fat per serving, no matter how it’s packaged, however…the serving size is now 1/2 cup.

Then, there’s Coconut Cream… TAS Coconut Cream has 12 gr fat per 2 oz serving; Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream has 6 gr. fat per 2 oz serving.

I know that the boxed coconut milk in the alternative milk aisle is fine for replacing cow’s milk, however… Thai food and Indian food require the fat in the coconut milk their style, to help develop aromas and flavors. I remember the first few restaurants that offered “Thai” food. I found the flavors weak, but firey. Then, a new family took it over… The soups had depth of flavors, the sauces were rich and unctuous… One night I asked why her Tom Kha Gai was the best I’d ever eaten. She told me that the broth had to be flavorful and not to skimp on the rich coconut milk. Don’t water it down! That made sense.