Baby Octopus, Soft-Shelled Crab, and Wild White Shrimp in Red Curry

It’s been a really long time since I last made Thai red curry at home. I wanted something quick to reheat for lunch with less fuss. The seafood for this initial dish is quite fussy but mainly because my kitchen is so small. For lunch reheats, I’m just going to cook the number of shrimp I would like to eat in the portioned curry plus some vegetables.

[Makes 2 quarts]

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For the Curry

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch ginger, sliced into thin planks
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup red curry paste
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • ½ cup dashi broth
  • Three 14 oz. cans coconut milk
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Olive oil

In a large pan, coat the bottom of it with olive oil on low-medium heat. Sweat the shallots. Then stir in the minced garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic.

Add the curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, and mix well to coat completely. Shake the cans of coconut milk before opening and pour into the pan with the dashi broth and lime juice. Increase heat to medium, and bring the curry to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning for taste. Pour through a mesh strainer and into a clean pot.

TO ASSEMBLE

Arrange whatever seafood (or protein or tofu) you want into a bowl, add in vegetables (I used bok choy and cucumber), pour the curry into the bowl, garnish with sliced jalapeño, cilantro, and Thai basil. Serve with jasmine rice.

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Quail with Glutinous Rice, Chinese Sausage, Dried Shiitake & Spiced Black Currant Ximénez Reduction

This was the second course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people. I decided to go with two quails per person again. They’re such tiny birds and one per person is just not enough because Thanksgiving is all about being gluttonous, right? Also, I was going to stuff the quail but I allowed the quails to rest too long after being seared so it was impossible to open them. Don’t make my mistake!

Serves 6.

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[100% organic]

For the Brine

  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 quarts water
  • 8 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup black peppercorns
  • 12 quails

Bring everything to a boil and cool down immediately. Using a cake tester or sharp paring knife, stab quails, then submerge quails in this brine for 6 hours in the fridge.

Once the 6 hours are up, drain and pat dry.

For the Sauce

  • 2 cups black currant juice
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 bottle of Montegrato Pedro Ximénez vinegar

Reduce all ingredients nine-tenths of the way. Take out spices. Allow to cool and place in a squeeze bottle.

For the Stuffing

  • 2 cups glutinous rice (ratio: 2½ cups water)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 Chinese sausages, cubed
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted, diced
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • Salt, as needed
  • Soy sauce, as needed
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

Cook rice in rice cooker.

Sauté garlic, ginger, and scallions with sausages and mushrooms. Add brown sugar, and season with salt. Turn off heat and add in cooked rice. Add soy sauce and taste for seasoning. Keep rice stuffing warm in rice cooker.

For the Quail

  • 12 brined quail
  • Salt, as needed
  • Oil, for searing
  • Black currant juice, reduced
  • Celery ribbons (I forgot)

Once the quails are patted dry, sear quail well on both sides for color. Stuff the quail and finish in the oven at 450°F. Glaze quails with reduced black currant juice. Peel celery ribbons in iced water and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

Squeeze sauce on plate, prop 2 stuffed quails on celery ribbons, and squeeze more sauce over quail. Garnish with micro greens.

Grilled Shrimp in Thai Curry Peanut Sauce with Cilantro and Lime

I held a rooftop party yesterday and this was one of the things on the menu. I’m amazed at how well the sauce came out. It was so good that I was drinking it.

Yields 1 quart sauce.

shrimp[100% organic, shrimp from Thailand]

For the Shrimp

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled with tail intact, deveined
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ TBS ground tumeric
  • ½ TBS fish sauce
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp dried ginger

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the shrimp and mix well. Stir the shrimp in, cover, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Grill/sauté/bake the shrimp until cooked through then skewer shrimp.

For the Peanut Sauce

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 TBS Thai red curry paste
  • ½ cup (fresh) peanut paste
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 TBS brown sugar

Heat the coconut milk in a pot over medium heat. Add the red curry and whisk thoroughly to blend the paste into the milk. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat, and let the sauce cool down to room temperature (or slightly warmer), and serve the sauce with the grilled shrimp.

For the Garnish

  • Fresh cilantro, picked
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Sprouts (not pictured)
  • Lime wedges

TO ASSEMBLE

Add the peanut sauce to the bottom of whatever you are using to serve, sprinkle and arrange the garnish ingredients. Place the shrimp skewer in the cup/glass and serve.

Roasted Quail, Crushed Peewee Potatoes, Mushrooms with Montegrato Pedro Ximénez Reduction

This was the third course to my 7-course Friendsgiving party for 8 people.

These little birds are so tiny! Two birds per person was a good idea this year!

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Serves 8.

For the Brine

  • ½ cup salt
  • 8 cups water or 2.5 bottles white wine
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 8 quails

Bring everything to a boil and cool down immediately. Using a cake tester or sharp paring knife, stab quails, then submerge quails in this brine for 6 hours in the fridge.

For the Peewee Potatoes

  • 1 bag of Peewee potatoes
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 garlic head
  • 2 TBS whole black peppercorns
  • Salt

In cheesecloth, wrap bouquet garni with twine and in cold, salted water, boil potatoes and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. Cool down in its cooking water then drain and set aside.

For the Sherry Reduction

  • 1 bottle of Montegrato Pedro Ximénez vinegar
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 TBS fresh rosemary, minced
  • Part of a orange rind

In a medium-sized saucepan, add the sherry vinegar and aromatics. Bring to a light boil then turn down to keep at a low simmer.

Be careful not to burn it or over-reduce it. When it becomes nappant (coats a spoon), it will be thick enough. When reduced more, it will thicken up considerably once cooled. You can always gently reheat and add a little water, as needed.

For the Finish

  • 8 maitake mushroom packets
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

TO ASSEMBLE

Remove quail from brine and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper on a wire rack. Sear quail skin-side down in either neutral cooking oil or butter. Sear for 2 minutes and then flip over for another minute.

Sauté mushrooms in a hot pan and season with salt and pepper. Using your thumb, crush potatoes then add in same pan as mushrooms to warm them up.

Reheat balsamic reduction.

Spoon mushrooms and potatoes on warmed plates. Arrange cut quail on plates and then drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Update: Cantonese Fried Rice with Dried Scallops & Chinese Broccoli

瑶柱蛋白炒饭

I’m still in the very glacial process of updating my posts from the earlier years of this blog. My mom sent me some dried scallops from Hong Kong and what’s my favorite thing to cook with dried scallops? Cantonese fried rice!!! It’s so delicious! It’s one of the many things I must eat during the first few days of going back to Hong Kong.

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[100% organic, dried scallops from Hong Kong]

For the Rice

  • 4 cups rice (jasmine/kokuho)
  • Salt
  • Canola oil

Cook the rice and set aside to cool, then refrigerate it. Rice must be cold when making fried rice.

For the Dried Scallops

  • 6 medium dried scallops (soaked in water for at least 8 hours)
  • 4 scallions
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • ¼ tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Reserved soaking liquid
  • Canola oil

Using your fingers, pull apart the soaked scallops and reserve the soaking water.

Finely chop the scallions and set aside. Thinly slice the ginger and set aside.

In a hot pan, add the canola oil. When oil is hot, stir-fry the dried scallops shreds. The scallops will jump out of the pan, put them back into the pan. Add in brown sugar, dark soy sauce, ginger, scallions, and a few drops of the reserved soaking liquid. Cook for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Place scallops in a sieve and drain off excess liquid. Reserve scallops, keep warm, and set aside.

For the Chinese Broccoli

  • 1 bundle Chinese broccoli
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • Salt
  • Reserved soaking liquid
  • Canola oil

Clean Chinese broccoli, remove leaves and thin stems. Using only the thick stalks/stems, slice them into thin rounds or use a mandolin. Thinly slice ginger and set aside.

In a hot pan, add a few drops of canola oil. Add ginger and stir-fry Chinese broccoli until al dente. Season lightly with salt and add some reserved soaking liquid so that the vegetables don’t burn. Remove from heat. Place Chinese broccoli stems in a sieve and drain off excess liquid. Reserve, keep warm, and set aside.

For the Egg Whites

  • 5 egg whites
  • Salt
  • Canola oil

Lightly beat the whites with a pinch of salt. In a non-stick pan, add a little of canola oil. Cook whites for 1-2 minutes then remove from pan.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a large non-stick pan on low heat, add enough canola oil to cover the base of the pan. Add in cold rice and break rice apart into loose pieces. Once slightly warm, add in dried scallops, Chinese broccoli, and egg whites. Season with salt and occasionally toss and turn. Adjust salt content to your liking and serve immediately.

Dark Chocolate Custard with Mint Chocolate Soil & Raspberry Coulis

This was the sixth course to my 6-course New Year’s Day Dinner party for 8 people.

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[100% organic]

For the Chocolates

  • ¾ cup cream
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 4 yolks
  • 4 gelatin sheets

In iced water, bloom gelatin sheets. In a non-stick pot, warm the cream and milk together. Do not boil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until light yellow. Then temper the eggs by pouring little by little of the warmed cream-milk mixture into the eggs, while whisking constantly. Pour all of the cream-milk into the bowl then using a rubber spatula, transfer egg-cream-mixture back into pot and bring to 178°F, stirring with the rubber spatula constantly.

Take pot off heat and using an immersion blender, blend in gelatin sheets and coco powder. Strain through a fine mesh strainer/chinois. Blend more and make sure to aerate it – there should be a lot of bubbles!

Pam spray the molds and pour into molds. Freeze immediately, approximately 4 hours.

Once frozen, remove from molds and place in fridge.

*Chef Jasmine Shimoda’s recipe.

For the Raspberry Coulis

  • ½ cup sugar, more or less to taste
  • 12 oz. packet frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup water

Combine sugar, frozen raspberries, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low; cook until sugar is dissolved, about 8 minutes.

Use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan. Remove from heat; cool completely. Place mixture in a blender until smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve, and discard seeds.

For the Mint Chocolate Soil

  • 1½ cups AP flour, sifted
  • ⅓ cup dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, cold
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.

With a hand mixer, cream butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Beat in egg until just combined. By hand, whisk in flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Then add in peppermint extract and blend.

Remove dough from bowl, make a ball, and then push into a large disc and wrap with plastic. Chill dough disc for 45 minutes.

Remove dough from plastic, roll dough out to an even thickness. Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Using cookie cutters, place cut dough onto a half sheet lined with SilPat or parchment paper with a 2-inch clearance around each one and the edge of sheet. Place sheet with cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 16 minutes.

Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

To make soil, food processor cookies.

For the Finish

  • Fresh raspberries
  • Mint sprigs

TO ASSEMBLE

Carefully place chocolate custard onto plate. Drizzle coulis over custard. Place 3 fresh raspberries onto custard then sprinkle with mint chocolate soil and garnish with mint sprig.

Seared Tuna over a Bed of Cucumber with Pickled Peanuts

This was the second course to my 2012 Thanksgiving dinner.

I could eat this non-stop and never get tired of it. I made the dressing and let it macerate overnight and it became very spicy actually – from ONE Thai chili pepper!!

[100% organic, wild tuna]

For the Peanut Pickle

  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup peanuts

In a pot, bring all the ingredients to a boil and take off heat. Let it steep at room temperature, until cool. Then place in refrigerator.

*Chef Jasmine Shimoda’s recipe.

For the Dressing

  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 Thai chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 Kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS baby lemongrass, finely minced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 TBS sesame oil

Mix everything together, infuse for 30 minutes, and set aside.

For the Tuna

  • ½ lb tuna
  • Salt & pepper

Season tuna with salt and pepper then sear for 10 seconds on each side.

For the Finish

  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber

Peel the cucumber and using a mandolin, slice into ⅛-inch rounds.

TO ASSEMBLE

Cut the tuna into cubes/rectangles and put them onto the cucumber slices. Drizzle some dressing over tuna, top with pickled peanuts and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.