About the Author

Naomi Duguid

Naomi Duguid is a writer, photographer, teacher, cook, and world traveler. Her most recent cookbook, Burma, brought news of a long-forgotten part of the world and was winner of the 2013 IACP Cookbook Award for Culinary Travel and the Taste Canada Food Writing Award. Her previous award-winning titles, co-authored with Jeffrey Alford, include Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas, their first book, which won a James Beard Award for Cookbook of the Year; Seductions of Rice; Hot Sour Salty Sweet, also a James Beard Cookbook of the Year; Mangoes & Curry Leaves; and Beyond the Great Wall.

Duguid’s articles and photographs appear regularly in Lucky Peach, Food & Wine, and other publications. She is a frequent guest speaker and presenter at food conferences. She is the host of Toronto’s Food on Film series and has a strong online presence (Twitter and Facebook). Her stock photo agency, Asia Access, is based in Toronto, where she lives when she is not on the road.

Books by this Author
Beyond the Great Wall

Beyond the Great Wall

Recipes and Travels in the Other China
edition:Hardcover
also available: Hardcover
tagged : chinese
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Green Tea Shortbread with Poppy Seeds

Cookies of various kinds have long been available in China, and packages of cookies find their way to remote corners beyond the Great Wall. Our dear friend Dawn-the-baker, an intrepid cook and traveler, came across shortbread with poppy seeds when she was in Yunnan in the spring of 2000. We asked her to figure out a version of it for this chapter, and here it is, delectable and attractive shortbread, flavoured with ingredients local to southern Yunnan: poppy seeds and green tea.

The recipe calls for butter, but in Yunnan lard is the more available and local shortening; substitute lard for the butter if you wish. Use any green tea you like, and grind it to a powder in a food processor or spice grinder, or using a mortar and pestle. The tea gives the rich sweet shortbread an enticing bitter edge.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, well softened and cut into small chunks
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
Generous 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon rice flour
2 tablespoons finely ground green tea (see headnote)
1/4 cup poppy seeds

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F.

Using a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter, the 1/2 cup sugar, and the salt until pale and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the all-purpose flour, rice flour, tea, and poppy seeds. The dough should start to come together like moist pie pastry and form into clumps. Alternatively, if using a wooden spoon, cream the butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the flours, tea, and poppy seeds, beating well after each addition, until the dough is well blended and forming clumps.

Press the dough into a 9-inch square baking pan, removing any air pockets. Prick with a fork, pricking right through to the pan, making rows of marks spaced 1/2 inch apart. Then cut into fingers 1 1/2 inches by 1/2 inch or into 1-inch squares.

Bake until the edges of the shortbread pull away from the sides of the pan and the top is touched with brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

Cut the shortbread again while still in the pan. Sprinkle on the 2 tablespoons sugar, then carefully lift the shortbread out and place on a rack to cool.

Makes about 100 shortbread fingers or about 80 small squares
Dai Carrot Salad

There is so much good cooking in the small city of Jinghong in southern Yunnan province that it would take a long time to feel well acquainted with all that is there. Restaurant-hopping in the warm tropical evenings of Jinghong is lots of fun, but even better are the morning and afternoon markets, where there is an incredible variety of prepared foods to choose from. This carrot salad is one such dish: colourful and full of flavour.

1 pound large carrots
About 2 tablespoons Pickled Red Chiles (page 34) or store-bought pickled chiles, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 scallions, smashed and sliced into 1/2-inch lengths
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons coriander leaves, coarsely chopped

Peel the carrots. Using a cleaver or chef's knife, slice them very thin (1/8 inch thick if possible) on a 45-degree angle. You should have 3 cups.

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Toss in the carrot slices and stir to separate them. Cook just until slightly softened and no longer raw, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Transfer the carrots to a bowl and let cool slightly, then add the chiles and scallion ribbons and toss to mix.

Whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Pour over the salad while the carrots are still warm. Stir or toss gently to distribute the dressing, then turn the salad out onto a serving plate or into a wide shallow bowl.

Serve the salad warm or room temperature. Just before serving, sprinkle on the salt and toss gently, then sprinkle on the coriander and toss again.

Serves 4 as a salad or appetizer

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HomeBaking

HomeBaking

The Artful Mix of Flour and Traditions from Around the World
edition:Hardcover
also available: Hardcover
tagged : baking
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Hot Sour Salty Sweet

Hot Sour Salty Sweet

A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

Quick and Tasty Yunnanese Potatoes

Jiaxiang Tudou--Yunnan

This is slightly chile-hot and very, very good, either hot from the wok or at room temperature. Serve as part of a rice meal with grilled or stir-fried meat, some lightly flavored Chinese greens, and a soup. It also makes great leftovers, cold or reheated. We like the leftovers topped by lightly stir-fried greens and a fried egg. No extra seasoning needed.

2 pounds potatoes (see Note)

3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

5 Thai dried red chiles

1 cup finely chopped scallions or a mixture of scallions and chives or garlic shoots

1 teaspoon salt

Wash the potatoes well but do not peel unless the skins are very old and tough. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until just cooked. Drain and put back in the hot pot to dry. When cool enough to handle, slide off the skins if you wish. Coarsely chop the potatoes or break them into large bite-sized pieces.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan, then toss in the chiles. Stir-fry briefly until they puff, about 30 seconds, then add the potatoes and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, pressing the potatoes against the hot sides of the wok to sear them. Add the chopped scallions or greens and salt and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6 as part of a rice meal

Note: You can use leftover boiled potatoes for this dish. The proportions above are for about 6 cups cut-up potatoes. If you begin with less, reduce the amount of greens and chiles proportionately. And your potatoes may already be salted, so be cautious as you add salt to taste.

 

Baked Bass with Spicy Rub

Pa Pao--Laos, Northeast Thailand

In Laos and northeast Thailand, fish and curries are often cooked in banana leaf wrappers over a small fire. Wrapping keeps in moisture and flavor, so it lends itself perfectly to fish prepared with a marinade or with aromatics.

You don't have to have banana leaves for this dish, just aluminum foil, but if you do come across banana leaves fresh or in the freezer section at a Southeast Asian grocery store, buy a package and keep it in your freezer. Banana leaves give a pleasant scent to the food as it cooks and they're easy and fun to work with.

Two 1- to 1 1/2 pound gutted and scaled whole firm-fleshed fish (striped bass or lake trout, for example, or a saltwater fish such as snapper)

2 tablespoons Peppercorn-Coriander Root Flavor Paste (recipe follows)

2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, smashed flat with the side of a cleaver, and cut into 1-inch lengths

2 limes, cut into wedges

Salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, or light a grill to produce a medium heat.

Wash the fish inside and out and wipe dry. Make three shallow diagonal slashes on each side of each fish. Put some flavor paste in each slit and then smear the rest over the outside and a little on the inside of the fish. Put the chopped lemongrass inside the fish.

Place two 18-inch square pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil side by side on your work surface. If you have fresh or frozen banana leaves, use them: Lay one or more overlapping pieces of banana leaf (strip out the central rib of the leaf first) on top of each. Lay one fish on each set of wrappings, diagonally or whichever way allows a complete wrap. Wrap each fish firmly in the banana leaf, if using, and then in foil, tucking in the ends as you roll it up to seal it well.

Bake on a baking sheet in the center of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or grill on a grill rack 5 to 6 inches from the flame for 15 to 20 minutes a side. The fish should be moist and tender. Remove from the heat and place on one or two platters. Serve in the banana leaf wrapping or turned out onto the platter(s), as you please. Accompany with lime wedges and, if you wish, salt and pepper.

Serves 4 as part of a rice meal

 

Peppercorn-Coriander Root Flavor Paste

Here the essential flavors of the Thai repertoire all come together: black pepper (prik thai), coriander roots, and garlic, salted with a little Thai fish sauce. Use this paste as a marinade for fish, grilled chicken (see Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce, page 199), or pork.

Because the paste is so versatile, it's handy to have a stash of coriander roots in the freezer. Whenever you have a bunch of coriander, after you have used the leaves, chop off the roots, wash, and store them in a plastic bag in the freezer. You don't need to defrost them before using, as they can be chopped and pounded still frozen.

This recipe makes a small quantity of flavor paste, just over 2 tablespoons; double the quantities if you'd like to make more.

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

5 to 6 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped coriander roots

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce

Place the peppercorns in a mortar with the garlic and pound to a paste. Add the coriander roots and salt and pound to a paste. This will take 5 to 10 minutes; if you have a small blender or other food grinder that can produce a smooth paste, use it instead. Stir in the fish sauce.

Store in a well-sealed glass jar; this keeps for 4 days.

Makes 2 to 3 tablespoons paste

 

Aromatic Lemongrass Patties

Mak Paen--Laos

There's a small evening market in Luang Prabang, just between the post office and the river. Tiny candles light the tables where vendors sit selling grilled fish, dark red salsas, sticky rice, grilled chicken, spicy curries, and piles of fresh and plain-cooked vegetables to eat with whatever foods you buy.

One of our favorite local specialties in the market is mak paen, small aromatic grilled meat patties. Luckily, we've discovered that they are almost as easy to make at home as they were to pick up at the evening market (though minus a considerable element of atmosphere . . .).

Serve these hot, or set aside on a plate to cool, then wrap well and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Use, thinly sliced, as a topping for Vietnamese Savory Crepes (page 280), or for noodles, or as an ingredient in Saigon Subs (page 287).

1/2 pound boneless reasonably lean pork (shoulder or butt, trimmed of most fat)

1/4 cup sliced shallots

1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Thinly slice the pork. Transfer to a food processor, add the shallots, lemongrass, salt, and pepper and process for about 30 seconds or until the mixture forms an even-textured ball. Turn out into a bowl. Alternatively, use a cleaver to finely chop the pork, first in one direction and then in the other, then fold the meat over on itself and chop again until smooth, discarding any fat or connective tissue. Add the shallots and lemongrass and continue mincing until the mixture is smooth, then transfer to a bowl.

Set out several plates. Working with wet hands, pick up a scant 2 tablespoons of the pork mixture and shape it into a flat patty 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Place on a plate and repeat with the remaining mixture; do not stack the patties. You'll have 7 or 8 patties.

Heat a large heavy skillet (or two smaller heavy skillets) over medium-high heat. Rub lightly with an oiled paper towel and add the patties. Lower the heat to medium and cook until golden on the first side, then turn over and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until golden and cooked through. As the patties cook, use a spatula to flatten them against the hot surface. (You can also grill or broil the patties until golden and cooked through, turning them over partway through cooking.)

Serve hot, with rice, a vegetable dish, and a salsa.

Makes 7 or 8 patties; serves 4 as part of a rice meal

Notes: A close relative of these patties, called cha heo, is made in markets in the Mekong Delta. The minced flavored meat is shaped into fairly thin strips about 2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide, then threaded onto

skewers and cooked over a grill. As the meat cooks, it's brushed with a little sweetened coconut milk, making it very succulent. To try it, before you begin grilling, warm some coconut milk and dissolve some palm sugar and a little fish sauce in it.

To make a thai-lao salad (a yam) with this aromatic flavored pork, slice the cooked patties into thin strips and place in a bowl with an equal volume of thinly sliced shallots, along with some finely chopped fresh mint and/or coarsely torn coriander leaves. If you have some leftover cooked sausages (see Index) or Vietnamese Baked Cinnamon PrtYª (page 259), or Vietnamese Grilled Pork Balls (page 252), cut them into bite-sized pieces and add to the salad. Dress with a lime juice and fish sauce dressing such as the one used for Turkey with Mint and Hot Chiles (page 202). Don't be shy about using hot chiles in the dressing, and use plenty of Aromatic Roasted Rice Powder (page 309) if you have any handy. Serve with sticky rice or jasmine rice.

 

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Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet

Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet

A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia
edition:Hardcover
tagged :
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The fabric of it all: At home, we have an old cherry wood dresser where we keep treasures from the Mekong. In it there are Hmong baby carriers painstakingly embroidered in reverse applique. There are Mien cross-stitch women's pants, and Akha bodices, shoulder bags, and leg wraps, all in the rich earthy colours so distinctive to the Akha. There are indigo children's shirts and vests made by the Tai Dam, hand spun, handwoven, and bleached by wear and many a river washing. There are elegant silk sarongs, Lao phaa nung, as fine in our fingers as a string of seed pearls. Every once in a while we open a drawer of the dresser and simply browse, transported by a wonderful faraway smell of wood fires and kerosene lanterns, of clothing made by hand, of memories of a way of life very different from our own.

Food and textiles are for us equally full of meaning. Both are art disguised as domesticity, personal expression woven into necessity, care and nurturing transformed into colour, taste, and feel. We get the same tingly goose bumps watching an Akha family arrive in the Muang Sing market, dressed for the occasion, as we do being taught a new recipe by Mae in Menghan. There is a sense of a tradition kept alive, and there is also incredible beauty.

When we are out on the road traveling in Laos, or in Yunnan, or in northern Thailand, often at night we'll sit in our hotel room, or out on a porch somewhere, and simply marvel at a piece of embroidery we were able to purchase in a local market. Or we'll work at repairing an old handwoven bag, or a pair of falling-apart indigo pants made from hemp. It's so satisfying to feel the fabric, to decipher how the embroidery is stitched, to study the coarse weave of the cloth.

On several trips, we have taken with us a patchwork quilt in a state of semicompleteness, a quilt we can work on in the evening or when waiting for a bus to come. It covers our bed at night, it gives a simple two-dollar-a-day hotel room a sense of home, and it is fun to have something to share with women who are always curious and appreciative (even though our skills are so crude by comparison).

When we walk into a Mien or Hmong village, someone is always embroidering: a young woman, an old woman, a group of women. A mother will be standing in a doorway, keeping an eye on toddlers playing outside, and in her hands will be a needle and thread, working away at a piece of embroidery. When we look closely at the fineness of the work, a minuscule Mien cross-stitch or Hmong reverse applique that demands the tiniest piece of cloth being turned over and stitched down, it is unimaginable to us how someone simply stands there casually and sews so meticulously.

And if we walk into an Akha village, or a Tai Dam village, or into practically any village in the region and look around, sooner or later we will find someone weaving or spinning. And when we watch Dominic and Tashi watch a woman as she spins or weaves, studying her feet and hands as she manipulates the wonderfully mysterious and complicated process, and out comes cloth, we realize we are just like them. We're in awe.

* * * * *
Coconut Milk Sticky Rice with Mangoes

Many people first encounter sticky rice in this classic Thai-Lao sweet. Most are astonished and delighted and immediately want to know how to make it at home. The recipe is very simple. As with most of the sweets in Southeast Asia, you can eat Coconut Milk Sticky Rice as a snack or serve it as a dessert.

3 cups sticky rice, soaked overnight in water or thin coconut milk and drained.
2 cups canned or fresh coconut milk
3/4 cup palm sugar, or substitute brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 ripe mangoes, or substitute ripe peaches or papayas
OPTIONAL GARNISH: Mint or Asian basil sprigs

Steam the sticky rice until tender [Soak sticky rice for 12 hours beforehand, or follow instructions on package].

Meanwhile, place the coconut milk in a heavy pot and heat over medium heat until hot. Do not boil. Add the sugar and salt and stir to dissolve completely.

When the sticky rice is tender, turn it out into a bowl and pour 1 cup of the hot coconut milk over; reserve the rest. Stir to mix the liquid into the rice, then let stand for 20 minutes to an hour to allow the flavors to blend.

Meanwhile, peel the mangoes. The mango pit is flat and you want to slice the mango flesh off the pit as cleanly as possible. One at a time, lay the mangoes on a narrow side on a cutting board and slice lengthwise about 1/2 inch from the center--your knife should cut just along the flat side of the pit; if it strikes the pit, shift over a fraction of an inch more until you can slice downward. Repeat on the other side of the pit, giving you two hemispherical pieces of mango. (The cook gets to snack on the stray bits of mango still clinging to the pit.) Lay each mango half flat and slice thinly crosswise.

To serve individually, place an oval mound of sticky rice on each dessert plate and place a sliced half-mango decoratively beside it. top with a sprig of mint or basil if you wish. Or, place the mango slices on a platter and pass it around, together with a serving bowl containing the rice, allowing guests to serve themselves. Stir the remaining sweetened coconut milk thoroughly, transfer to a small serving bowl or crute, and pass it separately, with a spoon, so guests can spoon on extra as they wish.
SERVES 8
NOTES: You can substitute black Thai sticky rice for half the white rice. Soak the two rices together; the white rice will turn a beautiful purple as it takes on color from the black rice. Cooking will take 10 minutes longer.

Unlike plain sticky rice, Coconut Milk Sticky Rice has enough moisture and oils in it that it keeps well for 24 hours, in a covered container in the refrigerator, without drying it out. Rewarm it the next day by steaming or in a microwave.

Quick and Tasty Yunnanese Potatoes
[jiaxiang tudou—yunnan]

This is slightly chile-hot and very, very good, either hot from the wok or at room temperature. Serve as part of a rice meal with grilled or stir-fried meat, some lightly flavoured Chinese greens, and a soup. It also makes great leftovers, cold or reheated. We like the leftovers topped by lightly stir-fried greens and a fried egg. No extra seasoning needed.

2 pounds potatoes (see Note)
3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
5 Thai dried red chiles
1 cup finely chopped scallions or a mixture of scallions and chives or garlic shoots
1 teaspoon salt

Wash the potatoes well but do not peel unless the skins are very old and tough. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until just cooked. Drain and put back in the hot pot to dry. When cool enough to handle, slide off the skins if you wish. Coarsely chop the potatoes or break them into large bite-sized pieces.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan, then toss in the chiles. Stir-fry briefly until they puff, about 30 seconds, then add the potatoes and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, pressing the potatoes against the hot sides of the wok to sear them. Add the chopped scallions or greens and salt and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6 as part of a rice meal.

Note: You can use leftover boiled potatoes for this dish. The proportions above are for about 6 cups cut-up potatoes. If you begin with less, reduce the amount of greens and chiles proportionately. And your potatoes may already be salted, so be cautious as you add salt to taste.

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Mangoes and Curry Leaves

Mangoes and Curry Leaves

Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
edition:Hardcover
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There's a shared sensibility in the Subcontinent when it comes to matters of eating. People almost always eat using one hand (the right hand), and they very seldom use utensils. This may not sound like a big deal, but we think it is. Time after time we watch foreigners come to the Subcontinent and have a very difficult time at first, eating without utensils and using only one hand. But interestingly, almost everyone breaks through, and when they do, they are entirely converted. Eating by hand influences how food tastes and how we relate to it. It's so sensual, so direct. But when we go back home, no matter how hard we try to resist, out come the utensils. Eating is a very culture-bound tradition.

One of the great pleasures of eating in the Subcontinent is that styles of eating by hand differ from place to place. When northerners eat rice, they pick it up with the tips of their fingers and then use their thumb to push the small amount of rice into their mouth. In southern regions, people eat rice using the entire hand, forming a ball of rice (approximately the size of a golf ball) by gathering the rice into their palm, flicking the wrist sideways to shape it into a mass, and finally tossing the entire ball into their mouth.

As a foreigner, it's fun to watch and learn, to try to imitate (though a style doesn't come quickly). After a while, when you think you've got it down, the style itself feels somehow crucial to the food, as if that particular food has to be eaten in that particular way. And if you eat by hand, when you're finished with your meal, you still have tasty little bits on your fingers, and then later, even after you've washed your hands, there's a delicious aroma that lingers. As foreigners we find all this wonderfully addictive, and so we can only imagine how important it would feel if we'd been eating this same food in this same way all our lives, and how unsatisfying it would feel to eat with utensils.

Recipe: Sweet Yogurt Sundae with Saffron and Pistachios

Yogurt makes a simple and attractive sweet course or cooling snack-treat. This version of sweetened yogurt from Bengal is called mishti doi, doi being Bengali for "yogurt." The yogurt drains for an hour to lose its bitter whey and to thicken a little, then it is blended with jaggery (palm or crude sugar) and flavorings. Use good whole-milk yogurt, preferably organic. Serve in small bowls or tall sundae glasses and top with pistachios, or with pomegranate seeds or chopped toasted almonds.
• Line a large sieve or colander with cheesecloth or coarse cotton.
• Wet the cloth with water, then place the sieve or colander over a bowl. Place the yogurt in the sieve to drain for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
• Turn the yogurt into a bowl and set aside. Use the whey for another purpose (it makes a refreshing drink and can also be used in place of lemon juice to curdle milk for making chhana and paneer), or discard.
• If using the saffron, lightly toast the strands in a small dry skillet over medium heat, until brittle. Add the milk and cardamom or nutmeg, or if not using saffron, heat the milk and cardamom in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer, and simmer briefly, until the cardamom releases its scent (and the optional saffron gives off its color). Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar or honey until dissolved.
• Whisk the mixture into the yogurt. Use a ladle to pour the yogurt into glasses or bowls. Top with a sprinkling of nuts or pomegranate seeds, and with a little more sugar if you wish.
• Serves 8

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Seductions of Rice
Excerpt

Marinated Chicken Kebabs

Makes 12 to 15 kebabs; serves 6 to 8 with rice

Persian Chelo Rice is often eaten with grilled lamb or chicken kebabs. These savory chicken kebabs are marinated in a blend of yogurt, garlic, saffron, and dried mint before being grilled over charcoal or broiled. Easy and delicious. Serve these with a plate of fresh herbs (basil, tarragon, flat-leaf parsley) and Special Everyday Persian Rice, or any cooked long-grain rice. You might want to offer Oasis Salad as an accompaniment.

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts or a combination

Marinade:

1 cup plain yogurt (whole milk or 2%)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, dry-toasted, crushed to a powder, and dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon crushed dried mints (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut the chicken into small pieces, 1/2-inch cubes or smaller, discarding discarding any fat or tough connective tissue.

2. Combine the yogurt with the remaining marinade ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Place the chicken pieces in a shallow bowl, pour the marinade over, and stir to ensure that all of the chicken is well-coated. Let stand, refrigerated, for at least 3 hours or as long as 24 hours.

3. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill or a broiler.

4. Thread chicken pieces onto metal skewers. Place only a few pieces of chicken on each skewer, and don't cram the pieces together tightly. (If they are packed together, rather than just lightly touching, they will not cook evenly.)

5. Grill or broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat, turning the skewers after 3 minutes, for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

Grilled Beef Salad (yam neua)

Serves 6 as part of a jasmine- or sticky rice-based meal, or as an appetizer.

When we're not at home, beef is not something we prepare all that often. But if we are making food for a party, or for a summer potluck, this grilled beef yam is one of our all-time favorite recipes. We'll even splurge and get a very good cut of meat, such as the tenderloin called for in this recipe.

In Thailand, there are probably as many different versions of yam neua as there are cooks, with everyone having a different idea about how to find that perfect balance of hot, sour, sweet, and salty. So before serving, be sure to taste for yourself and to adjust the chile, lime, and fish sauce as you see fit.

1 pound beef tenderloin, at room temperature

About 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla) or more to taste

5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste

2 to 3 bird chiles or serrano chiles, minced

1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots

4 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch lengths

1/2 cup packed fresh coriander leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

1 English cucumber, scored lengthwise with a fork and thinly sliced

1. Preheat a broiler or a grill. Slice the tenderloin lengthwise. Rub both sides of the meat with freshly ground black pepper, rubbing with some force to rub the pepper into the meat.

2. To broil, place the meat on a broiling rack so that the meat is 3 to 5 inches from the broiling element. Broil for 6 or 7 minutes on one side, then turn and broil for 6 to 7 minutes on the other side, or until medium-rare.

OR 2. To grill, place on the grill and cook until medium-rare, 5 to 8 minutes on each side.

3. Let the meat cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour, so that it is easy to slice. (The cooled meat can be put into the refrigerator covered and then sliced several hours later, if more convenient .)

4. Slice the meat as thin as possible with a sharp chef's knife or cleaver, cutting across the grain.

5. In a large bowl, mix the fish sauce, lime juice, and chiles. Toss in the meat, shallots, and scallions and mix to blend all the different tastes. Mix in the coriander leaves and mint. Taste the salad for a good balance between the salty fish sauce, the sour lime sauce, and the hot chiles, and adjust according to your taste.

6. Arrange the slices of cucumber around the edge of a decorative plate or platter, then arrange the salad in a mound in the center. Garnish with coriander sprigs and serve.

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Taste of Persia

Taste of Persia

A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan
edition:Hardcover
tagged : central, essays
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