Father’s Day in Thailand: Sun Pyote for Breakfast

It’s been a long time since I wrote here last, over one year!

I’ve been cooking a lot in our new home in Chiang Mai.  We moved to our 4th place in August and you can read more about it here I included pictures. We love our new place, away from the city, but I like being able to see the fields and the mountains around us.

In our new place, I love that we have a spacious kitchen and I have been cooking almost everyday!

Today is the King’s birthday in Thailand so naturally, we made a special breakfast for Jack. Emma was my little helper. See?

M helpng 2

M helpng

What did we make?  We made Sun Pyote, that’s rice soup in Burmese.  Last night I made some lemongrass tea with kaffir lime peels and ginger.  I added the boiled lemongrass water which adds geat aroma and taste to the soup.

lemongrass teaHere’s how I made mine. I’m sure there are many versions out there,  but this is my version.  And again, I don’t cook with particular measurements. I just cook with a dash of that and a sprinkle of this. Sorry. I”ll do my best to give some kind of measurements.

Left over rice which I think was about a cup, and enough water to cover the rice over medium heat. I placed rice and water to be boiled in a pot until the rice became a bit mushy!   You may need to keep adding water if it gets too thick (maybe 1/2 cup). You can add any veggies you’d like really but I had a whole lot of carrots so I added cubed carrots about 10 minutes after I started boiling the rice.  Carrots are sweet and add great color to Sun Pyote. I boiled some more for approximately 10 more minutes or until the carrots are ready, and making sure the soup doesn’t stick to the bottom and have enough water in it. Instead of adding water when it was getting a bit dryer, I added the lemongrass water so to add more flavor and aroma to the dish. I added maybe about 1/3 cup.  Sorry I really don’t measure when I am cooking.

I also added 3 large cloves of diced garlic and diced 1/2 small onion a few minutes before I turn off the fire on the stove.

Add salt to taste.  If preferred, add soy sauce.

rice soupToppings.

  • Sprinkled black sesame seeds
  • Chopped green onions
  • Fresh thinly sliced ginger
  • Thinly sliced carrots
  • Pickled leeks or anything pickled like kim chee is good to give it some crunchy and sour taste
  • Pickled ginger
  • Dash of sesame oil
  • Fried garlic and or fried onions
  • Shredded fish (i brought back from Burma)
  • Boiled egg  if preferred

breakfastM n DaddyBreakfast included Sun Pyoute (rice soup), lemongrass hot tea, mini oranges also known as cuties, and carrot beet and lemongrass juice.

Happy Father’s Day to Jack!  It’s great to celebrate US, Thailand and Taiwan’s Father’s Days! We are lucky and grateful everyday!

Happy Father’s Day to all the Father’s out there!  Cheers from Chiang Mai!

 

 

Garlic Ginger Rosemary Salmon

I love garlic.  I eat it raw. I add it in my food to most, if not all of my cooking.  I eat it pickled.  I eat it all the time.

When we used to live in Texas, before moving to Thailand, I cooked fish more often. After moving to Thailand and no real kitchen for more than 18 months, I usually order salmon when we go to our favorite Japanese place in Chiang Mai.

Here’s a very fast and easy way to get your Omega3 and have a delicious healthy dish in about 30 minutes.

Continue reading

Cellophane Noodles and Bamboo Strips Recipe

We frequent several vegetarian restaurants here in Chaing Mai.  Chiang Mai is a vegetarian’s heaven since there are so many cafes and restaurants from which to choose.

Often when I go to the Taiwanese vegetarian restaurant near Chiang Mai gate, I order this dish (when they have it).  Since I like it so much, I decided to make my own version at home.

Note about cellophane noodles- also known as bean thread noodles, crystal noodles, or glass noodles.

One bunch of dry cellophane noodles (small bag) costs about 8b = 27 cents or buy a large bag of 10 for a lot less like 60b or $2.  I can get about .35 kilo of stripped bamboo shoots for about 10b = 33 cents.  (Bamboo shoot strips can be found in cans in the US). This is why food is sooo cheap here in Thailand.  When I cook at home it’s even cheaper.  Although that’s not the only reason I cook at home. I cook at home for several reasons.  I suppose I need another post for those reasons! :-)

Ingredients

3 bags of the noodles

2 cups of bamboo shoots

1 large onion, thinly sliced

a few pieces of garlic, diced or mashed or how ever way you like it

2-3 T of oil (grape seed is my choice, but extremely expensive here in Thailand)

Pinches of salt and black pepper

Fish sauce (if you like)

1-2 eggs (if you wish)

Obviously, you can customize it with your own favorite veggies and even tofu.  My recommendation is to cut the veggies in strips or string like thin slices. Carrots or red bell peppers would be nice because that will give nice coloring in the dish and tasty too!  :-)  I like shiitake mushrooms in this dish but I didn’t put any in the pictured dish.  Didn’t have any at the time.

Saute the garlic first in oil.  Then add the onions and cook on medium heat until golden brown. Now add the bamboo shoots or other veggies. Don’t over cook the veggies unless you like them that way!

Boil the cellophane noodles in a different pot but don’t drain them.  You need to time it so that when the noodles are ready,  transfer them straight from the pot to the frying pan.  Or you could let the noodles soak in some hot water so that the noodles are not fully cooked. Once the noodles become glass-like, you can transfer to the frying pan.  You’ll have to add a bit of water because you are now continuing to cook the noodles and the veggies together in the frying pan.

The noodles tend to cluster.  Since we are not using a LOT of oil, to keep noodles from clustering, this dish is best eaten immediately after it is cooked.  That’s what I do.  I serve it right away and I don’t cook it until close to eating time.  Other wise, lots of oil to keep the noodles NOT cluster so much.

Well there you have it. It’s a good alternative vegetarian dish and quite tasty.

Here’s the finished dish.  I ate it with nge-pea-kyaw and srirachi type sauce.  Nge-pea-kyaw is a combination of grounded dried shrimp, dried chili pepper flakes, fish sauce, onions and fried onions.

This dish will go well with my sidekick salad.

I hope you’ll give this a try. Go ahead, experiment!  Come back and leave me a comment here and tell me what you think.

Pizza Bagel Recipe

When we are feeling lazy and out of energy we do simple recipes.  This is one of them and my daughter especially loves this one.  She enjoys helping us make these and devour them afterward!  :-)

Moms, you can have your child participate in the making of the pizza bagels.  How fun is that?

Ingredients:

Bagels cut in halves (we used wheat onion bagels)

Slices of cheese

Butter (optional)

Cherry tomatoes cut in halves

Sliced onion strips

Fresh basil leaves if you have any

Garlic powder or sliced fresh garlic

Spread the butter on the sliced bagel.  We didn’t add butter but I think it will be tasty!

Place the basil leaves, cheese, onions, tomato slices and garlic on the bagel. Throw them in the toaster oven for a few minutes to make sure the cheese melts.  I think it is a good idea to place the cheese on top of the veggies!

There you have it.  Easiest pizza ever!

Experiment and enjoy!

 

No Escape Needed

In the last two posts, I wrote about how we’ve been escaping the heat by going to different cafes here in Chiang Mai.  Lucky for us we’ve had rain in the recent days and the weather has been quite tolerable.

So today, instead of going to a cafe, after a market visit to Maung Mai (one of my favorite markets), we came home, made our own smoothies and shared a London cheesecake from De Cheeso right here in the comfort of our living room.

As for the homemade smoothies, we found organic strawberries so we included those, yogurt, bananas, mangoes, a splash of sugarcane juice and water. YUM!

Happy Birthday, MOM!

I’m sorry it’s been a long while since I’ve written on this blog. Today is a special day since my Mother is here and is celebrating her birthday with us.

We took my Mom to Pun Pun, one of her favorite (and ours) vegetarian restaurants here in Chiang Mai.  We first discovered Pun Pun in 2009 when we met up with a friend during our summer holiday.  We’ve enjoyed returning there ever since. We often go to Wat Suan Dok while living in Chiang Mai so it’s easy for us to stop in and have a bite there.  I love that they use organic ingredients whenever possible and from all the places we’ve eaten here in Chiang Mai, I believe it is one of the healthier choices for us as a family.  There are many vegetarian restaurants here and if you are a vegetarian, it’s easy to continue to be one here!  Promise. :-)

Though my daughter, M, only wanted to order brown rice and a fried egg, both my mom and I suggested that she order something we cannot whip up in 5 minutes at home.  So she decided to have the veggie spaghetti and she did really enjoy it.  Here’s a picture of M with her dish and iced Roselle tea (this tea is quite sour by the way, in case you are wondering what it tastes like.  You do get some light syrup that you can add to your drink so it helps dilute the sour taste!)

My mom just wanted something simple and fast to prepare as she needed to eat before noon.  She ordered morning-glory, mushrooms and tofu stir fry dish and a tom yum soup.  While the stir fried dish had simple crunchy tastes of a good stir fry, the tom yum kong (no picture!) had all the mouth-watering explosive flavors from the limes, lemongrass and Keifer lime leaves.  Yummy!  And yes, I added my own additional kick to it!  It needed it! :-)

For my husband J, he decided to order a salad because he usually orders curry there and he wanted something different and light.   It’s a good-looking salad, isn’t it? It tasted as good as it looked. That’s the long-bean, tofu and sesame seeds salad with light and creamy pumpkin dressing.

For me, I decided to have the Indian curry which was accompanied by two roti’s.  It was sooo yummy that I had to order a brown rice (in addition to the roti’s) to finish all the curry.  It was creamy in texture mixed in lots of crunchy small bite-sized pieces of veggies with a kick, though I added my own additional kicks to the dish!  Of course, I did. My mom thought it was super tasty as well. Don’t let this picture fool you.  It was one of my favorite dishes I’ve had there so far at Pun Pun.

We usually order herbal iced tea while we are there and I normally go for the ginger tea. Lightly spiced refreshing tea usually does not let me down with my flavorful dishes there.

For everything we ate and drank there today, a party of four, we spent a total of 300b or $10.   Yep that is all! It’s my Mom’s birthday after all! :-)

It was a peaceful morning feeling the nice breezes on our faces within the walls of Wat Suan Dok just a short distance away from the monks who were chanting after eating their lunch right before noon.

And believe it or not, every time we are there, we run into someone we’ve not seen in a long while (an expat) and we did today as well. Small town and many expats (and locals) love to eat at Pun Pun.

Here’s a picture of us being silly after lunch on my Mom’s birthday.  In two days I’ll be celebrating my birthday.  What a lovely picture of the three generation of ladies in my family– a nine year-old, a forty-five year-old and a sixty-nine year-old.

We ended our early afternoon with a visit to Wat Lok Marlee and came home.

Thanks so much to my Mother for being here in Chiang Mai, for helping us around the house, and being supportive to us while I’ve been ill. It’s been a rough couple of months, but I’m glad I’m getting better everyday!

Happy Birthday,  Mom!  Here’s to another healthy year!!

Tomato Rice or Potato, Pumpkin, Tomato Rice

I made this last night  because M loves this dish and it is super easy to make. If you’re a vegetarian you’ll love this dish as well.

Here’s how I made it for 3 people. Again, I don’t use exact measurements so what I am giving you is a guesstimate.  This recipe like many of my recipes are– tweakable to your liking  or preference. You can add more tomatoes, more garlic, onions etc. to your liking.

6 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 pearl onions or one medium onion, chopped

3 large cloves of garlic

2 cups of cooked rice

chopped cilantro (a few strands)

fish sauce or salt

sprinkles of turmeric and paprika

fish or dried shrimp (optional)

a bit of oil (I used veggie oil)

On medium heat, in a pan, after drizzling a bit of oil, add the onions and garlic to brown slightly. Sprinkle the turmeric and paprika and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes to the mix.  Stir often so the mix does not burn.  Once the tomatoes are wilted and softened, add some water (about 1/3 c). Let the mixture cook well like a spaghetti sauce with some tiny chunks. Add some fish sauce or salt whichever you prefer.  Cook it long enough so that there’s very little water left.  I had to cook a bit a longer after I took this picture below.

Now add the fresh cooked rice gently into the tomato sauce.  Normally, the mixture will be mixed into the rice and we use our hands to do the mixing.  I didn’t do that.  I just mixed the rice and the tomato sauce together in the pot on the stove.

NOTE: in Burma, sometimes soft boiled potatoes are added to for the starchy consistency and flavor.  If you wish to do this, please feel free.  It does take a bit longer as the potatoes need to be boiled separately.  Again, in Burma, we also add flavored, seasoned boiled fish to this mix.  This is super yummy as well with fresh fish. I’ve also seen it served with peanuts.

I had no fresh fish yesterday, so instead I added some fried fish flakes I brought back from Burma.  I added the fish to the tomato mix and topped before serving. If you have dried shrimp, it would work also. I also topped it with fried onions and garlic before serving.  If you have cilantro chopped in small pieces, it will add a nice flavor to the dish as well.

Personally, I would take it a step further and make a salad out of this.  I would add sliced onions, cucumbers, tamarind sauce or lime, sometimes both, chili peppers, fresh garlic, thinly sliced lime leaves, and fried onions.  I’m drooling already writing about this.  I’m making more this weekend!  Yum.

Update:  May 2012

This time I added one medium potato and some pumpkin with brown rice.

Cube the potato and pumpkin and drop them into the boiling water.  Let it cook until it is soft.  Add them to the tomato mixture and mix everything into a thick paste.

Add the cooked brown rice to the thick paste.  I just guesstimated how much rice to add.  I made enough for the three of us plus school lunch for my daughter.

I also added grounded fried fish and fried onions to the mix.  Then I sprinkled some on top of the rice also.

Really enjoyed it.  It was tasty!

 

Hope you’ll have a chance to try this very easy recipe at home. Let me know if you have any problems making it or if you have any questions.  Tell me how it turned out.

Enjoy!

 

 

What In The World Is ‘Khao Ku Kapeet’?

Hint: It’s edible and it’s yummy!

When I came to Chiang Mai with my mother in 2008, the monks at Wat Si Moon (a Burmese temple) near Chiang Mai gate told us to go eat at a nearby small restaurant, a few doors down from the temple. The monks told us that Burmese boys work there and that we could even order in Burmese.

Since then we’ve gone back there when we were here in 2009 and now that we live here, we like to go there for breakfast/lunch once a week! :-)

What do we order there each time? We order Khao Ku Kapeet (t is silent). One of the many dishes I love here in Thailand. I have a picture for you here so you can drool on your computer.. hee heee!

 

Doesn’t that look good?

What’s all in this beautiful looking tasty dish you wondered!?

It is a rice dish. The rice is mixed with shrimp paste and has a nice savory flavor to it. The Thais call this shrimp/fish paste Kapeet and we Burmese call it Ngapeet- ‘OK close enough’ I say!

Don’t let the fish paste description fool you into NOT trying it. It’s quite yummy!

Other ingredients that make this Thai dish so good are:

  • thinly sliced fried eggs
  • thinly sliced mangoes
  • thinly sliced onions
  • sliced chili peppers
  • cilantro
  • lime
  • sliced cucumbers
  • fried dried shrimp
  • pork cooked with tasty gravy

You’d want to mix it all together like a salad. You could also add a tangy, sweet tamarind sauce to the mix (recommended).  And Voila!

It is 30B = $1.00

We eat here at least once a week after we drop off M at school and after we go to one of my favorite markets.

Where: Located near Chiang Mai gate to the west of Wat Si Moon, this tiny restaurant is sandwiched between a children’s store (look for a large sign with “Welcome” greetings in many languages) and a mechanic shop (look for Mischelin man auto shop) with a tree right in the center of the opening of the restaurant.  They have many other dishes as well so give them a try!

This post was originally written on 29th September 2010 at Got Passport™.Org.  It now finds a new home on this blog, where it belongs.

Until the next yummy foodie post, cheers from Chiang Mai, Thailand.

M Begs for Sushi (Entitled by M)

It’s been a week since M (my daughter) and I returned to Chiang Mai, Thailand.  I’ve been saying I wanted to go back to the tiny Sushi restaurant minutes away from our place.  Yesterday was the day.  After taking M to play at one of her favorite places in Chiang Mai, we walked back towards our apartment.  Conveniently, the restaurant was waiting for us on our way home.

M and I sat towards the back to get away from the smokers relentlessly polluting, not only their own lungs, but everyone else’s around them. (No, I’m not a big fan!)

The young lady who took our order was super nice and patient with us.  She was so apologetic because she started speaking Thai really fast to us (uh, well, not that I would understand it if she spoke any slower)!

Together, M and I deliberated on what to order.  Like mother like daughter as the saying goes, M loves food as much as I do. There are a few exception, like spices, tofu and mushrooms, but she mostly eat everything we eat. Still a work in progress at 8 years-of-age.

Here’s what we ordered:

Teriyaki Salmon - the two large pieces of grilled salmon was cooked just right, swimming in sweet soy sauce accompanied by cabbage salad with a yummy creamy salad dressing.  You won’t believe it.  I couldn’t believe my eyes either.  We’ve been to this Japanese restaurant before.  Every time we are there, we’re amazed of the prices (unlike Korean food that is!)  Which is why I ate so much of it before coming back to Chiang Mai.  That’s another story for another time.  Thankful we have a Korean neighbor, M’s BFF.  Weee Lucky Us!  Hee Hee!  :-)  Oh yea, back to the price. It was only, are you ready? 99b.  That’s only $3.30.  For a dish like that we’d pay at least $10 easy in Texas.

And NO.  I did not take any pictures.  I was too busy eating and I didn’t have a camera with me.  GASP!

Spider Roll – which is an invention of the west (not found in Japan) made with fried softshell crab, cucumber and seaweed in triangle-shaped rolls.  They were crisp on the outside of the roll as well.  This is one of our all time favorite. 79b or $2.63.

We like eel (Unagi) but they were completely out.  Gasp again!  Whaaaaaa?  It’s only a walking distance away.  I’m pretty sure we’re going back as soon as J gets back to Chiang Mai!

Pizza Sushi – this is fascinating.  We’ve had this before about three months ago before we left for the US because we knew how expensive Japanese food will be in the US. And this is actually very different.  J didn’t care for it too much I don’t think, but we liked it and ordered it again last night. Also 79b or $2.63.

And this, I have a picture of because we had leftovers. It was delicious we couldn’t leave it there. The young lady packed up the pizza sushi, even included soy sauce and wasabi for us. We brought it home and had it for lunch today.

Basically the pizza is built on a sheet of seaweed (Nori) layered with Sushi rice, topped with a mix of fish eggs, crab and tiny pieces of cumber and carrots (maybe Japanese mayo?). This was actually quite delicious.

We placed the grilled salmon on top of the pizza sushi and that was a great combo.  M ate so much when she got home she said “Mommy, that sushi was sooo good and I’m sooo full!”  :-)  That’s my girl.

Our bill?

$8.56.

I won’t complain.  Besides, I write this post with feeling a cool breeze brushed over my face from the balcony at 1pm in the afternoon.   It’s rainy season here.  NOT everyday in rainy season feels this way.  It does today, and I’m enjoying it.

Until the next foodie report, cheers from Chiang Mai, Thailand.

 

To the Markets in Chiang Mai, Thailand: Visit # 135

I love going to the markets.  I have no idea how many times we’ve been to the markets and groceries stores. I had to come up with a number for this series.  My calculation is estimated at 15 times a mo. x 9 mo = 135.  I’m actually thinking more than that because we walk to Tops Market often as well. I will stick with 135 to get us started. Hint: I’ve already gone to the markets like 6 times, to 4 different markets, since I got back to Chiang Mai, and it’s only been 6 days!

I realize there’s so much ready-made food all around Chiang Mai and I’ve loved every bite I’ve had. But the cook in me can’t help but want to– COOK!  I feel the need to cook and create in my semi-kitchen.

So this morning, M and I went for a ride (yes, on my bicycle!), to Talat Tannin market, on the northwest side of town, only a few minutes from Akha Ama Coffee where we stopped-in later to say hi after the market.

We were quite hopeful to find sugar cane juice, but unfortunately the vendor wasn’t there.  I’m patient!  I’ll just go back there later. When we couldn’t find sugar cane, we moved on and came home with these instead.  Let’s see what we got today!

Thin rice noodles were only 10b or .33 cents.  Also known as mote phat (Burmese) or similar to Somen, except in Burma and here in Thailand, these noodles are made fresh from rice. The noodles are used in the famous Mote-hin-ghar or fish soup. I made a salad with this today.  Recipe, coming! :-)

Leaf lettuce for 5b or 17cents, green beans 10b or 33cents, and cucumbers for 10b or 33 cents.  I used these ingredients in my rice noodles salad.

Onions for 10b or 33 cents and cherry tomatoes for 5b or 17 cents

Fried garlic for 10b or 33cents

Fried fish is 20b or .67 cents.  This is like eating chips.  Crunchy and delicious with sticky rice and the paste I made from roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic

Banana in sweetened coconut milk for 13b .43 cents. This is yummy.  Eat it while it’s hot! Could be eaten as snack, dessert or breakfast (great w/ sticky rice too).  There are many food items that remind me of homeland (Burma) and among the many, this is one of them! M  loves this.  She insisted that I buy this at the market today!  :-)

How shall I describe this one.  It’s made of rice powder (possibly a mix of regular rice powder and sticky-rice powder).  In Burma, this dessert is brownish because we use palm-sugar.  But here in Thailand, it’s clear they used a lot of food coloring.  I normally stay away from items with, obviously, a lot of food coloring.  But then, I just got back to Thailand so I had to get some of this goodness. It is eaten with young fresh coconut shaving.  It has a texture of a firm custard or maybe similar to tofu a bit.  I love it because it’s not super sweet. M loves this too! The price:  14b or 47cents.

Oh and see the little green package on the left bottom corner?  That’s Burmese Masala – it’s great for curry dishes.  I paid 5b or 17cents for 5 packages.

We spent less than 150b or $5 dollars for everything we bought today.  I won’t complain. Not at all!

If you want to know what we bought the last time we went to the markets you can read more here and here.

In my next post, I’ll share a recipe on how to make the noodle salad with the ingredients I bought today.  It’s my own recipe from experimenting over the years.  You don’t have to be in Thailand or in Burma to make this dish.  I think you can make it too, if you have the basic ingredients.  Come experiment with me and discover new dishes!

Until the next  post, cheers from Chiang Mai, Thailand.