Tip of the Day: Make an Exotic Fruit Salad!

Posted in APPETIZER, Cooking, DESSERT, PA NHIA'S COOKING DICTIONARY, RECIPES on May 8, 2010 by Meals of Asia

This healthy and exotic Thai fruit salad will be the hit of your party – especially when served in a pineapple “boat” (a carved out pineapple). Create your own assortment of tropical and local fruit – whatever is fresh and in season. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or on its own for a fresh fruit feast. Makes a terrific addition to a potluck, BBQ, or dinner party!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh, ripe pineapple (for more on buying and preparing fresh pineapple, see below)
  • An assortment of fruit, such as pineapple, papaya, lychee, star fruit, watermelon, dragon fruit, mango, etc…
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • Optional: a few leaves of fresh basil as a garnish

Preparation:

If you wish to serve this fruit salad in a carved-out pineapple, go to: How to Create a Pineapple “Boat”

For great tips on how to buy and prepare exotic tropical fruits such as pineapple, dragon fruit, star fruit, mango, etc., see: Thai Tropical Fruit How-to Guide.

  1. To make the fruit salad, peel and cut up the fruit you have chosen into bite-size pieces. (If you have carved a pineapple, add chunks of the carved out fruit to the mix.) Place fruit together in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a cup, mix together the coconut milk, sugar, and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Pour this mixture over the fruit and gently mix the salad. Do a taste-test, adding a little more sugar if not sweet enough for your taste. Tip: the brown sugar may be a little granular at first, but the natural acids of the fruit will soon break it down.
  4. If serving in a carved-out pineapple, spoon or scoop the fruit into the pineapple (reserve as much of the liquid as possible, since the extra may leak through the bottom of the pineapple. When serving the fruit salad, you can spoon the reserved liquid over each portion). Garnish with a few leaves of fresh basil, if desired. Tip: be sure to place a plate or bowl under the carved-out pineapple, as it may leak.
  5. Serve this fruit salad on its own, or with yogurt, ice cream or whipped cream, and enjoy!
  6. Leftovers will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. This salad is perfect for breakfast (with yogurt and a little granola sprinkled over), for a snack, or for dessert.

Thank you for sharing, Darlene!

Tip of the Day: How to cut a Pineapple!

Posted in ASIAN COOKING 101, Fruit & Veggie Selections, Peeling on May 7, 2010 by Meals of Asia

  • Start with a ripe pineapple. When purchasing, look for nice color both in the leaves and the skin. Check for ripeness by lifting the pineapple by a single leaf (choose a leaf toward the top). If the leaf comes out, it’s ripe.
  • Try this test several times on the same pineapple. Avoid buying pineapples whose skin is easily indented, which may mean they are overripe. Also, the pineapple should have only a very light scent. A heavy scent is also a sign of overripeness.
  • Now lay your pineapple on a counter or table. If you are planning to carve the pineapple into a “boat”, turn it to find the most attractive and stable way for it to lay (will it lays flat, without tumbling over?). Also, choose the side with the best looking leaves.
  • Rotate the pineapple slightly. Using a serrated knife, begin to make a slice (no more than 1/4 of the pineapple) down along the side to remove the skin. Note: Do not cut the leaves.

Thank for sharing, Darlene!

Tip of the Day: How to cook Sticky Rice in 6 minutes!

Posted in Cooking, MUST KNOW TIPS & TECHNIQUES! on May 6, 2010 by Meals of Asia

  1. Wash and rinse sticky rice 2-3 times or until water runs clearer.
  2.  Soak sticky rice for at least 10 minutes in warm water in a bowl. Soaking the rice is very important because it allows the rice to absorb enough water to cook properly later on. If you don’t soak the rice long enough, it will be undercooked. The water level should be just above the rice, which comes out to be 1 cup of rice and one cup of water.
  3. Use a non-plastic bowl to microwave the rice in (Corelle bowls are great) because you may melt the plastic in the microwave. Cover the bowl with a dish (a Corelle plate or a microwaveable lid) and cook in microwave on high power for 3 minutes. Stir the rice around to move the rice from the top to the bottom. You will notice that some of the rice is translucent or cooked while some still have white center or an uncooked portion. 
  4. Heat rice up again for another 3 minutes. Check and see if it is done. When cooked, all the rice should be translucent.  

BE CAREFUL, DON’T BURN YOURSELF WHEN REMOVING LID TO CHECK RICE!

Sticky rice is frequently eaten with any type of Thai laab or papaya salad

Sticky Rice with Mango

Posted in DESSERT on May 5, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 9th!

Remind mom how special she is by finishing her dinner off with a delicious Sticky Rice with Mango dessert!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups glutinous (sweet) rice
  • 1 1/3 cups well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds, toasted lightly
  • 1 large mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into slices

Directions: 

  1. In a bowl wash rice well in several changes of cold water until water is clear. Soak rice in cold water to cover overnight.
  2. Drain rice well in a sieve. Set sieve over a large deep saucepan of simmering water (sieve should not touch water) and steam rice, covered with a kitchen towel and a lid, 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender (check water level in pan occasionally, adding more water if necessary).
  3. While rice is cooking, in a small saucepan bring 1 cup coconut milk to a boil with 1/3 cup sugar and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and remove from heat. Keep mixture warm.
  4. Transfer cooked rice to a bowl and stir in coconut-milk mixture. Let rice stand, covered, 30 minutes, or until coconut milk mixture is absorbed. Rice may be prepared up to this point 2 hours ahead and kept covered at room temperature.
  5. While rice is standing, in cleaned small pan slowly boil remaining 1/3 cup coconut milk with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Transfer sauce to a small bowl and chill until cool and thickened slightly.
  6. To serve, mold 1/4 cup servings of sticky rice on dessert plates. Drizzle desserts with sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Divide mango slices among plates.  

Thank you for sharing, Epicurious.com!

How to Pick & Peel Mangoes!

Posted in ASIAN COOKING 101, PA NHIA'S COOKING DICTIONARY on May 5, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Step 1: Mangoes certainly come in a lot of shapes and varieties, but one thing I always look for when picking out a mango is that it should be oblong shaped, like a football, and should be firm and not mushy to the touch. The color should be similar to that of a ripe peach, rather than a light green.

Step 2: Smell your mango! It should not have an alcohol scent to it, or it may have already gone bad. Mangos have a lot of sugar in them, so they tend to start smelling fermented if they are on their way out.

Step 3: Most mangoes that you will buy in the store require some time to ripen before eating. Leave your mango out in a cool area of your kitchen for a few days to ripen it. When the mango is ripe, it will have a lovely fruity aroma and be slightly soft to the touch. The stem should also be round and firm, not dried out. A few small brown specks on the skin are also an indication that the fruit is ripe. You can refrigerate a mango for about 3-4 days after you have ripened it.

Step 4: Peeling: Remove a thin piece of the fruit from one end, so that you can stand the mango upright on a cutting board. Hold the mango, cut side down, and with a paring knife, remove the skin in thin strips working from top to bottom.

Step 5: Pitting: Once the skin is removed, cut off the top and the bottom of the mango, leaving a pit surrounded by fruit. Slice lengthwise down the fruit, and remove the flesh from the pit in a circular motion. One the flesh is removed, discard the pit and slice the fruit as needed.

For more tips & tricks, watch these video tutorials on how to cut and peel your mangoes perfect!

Thank you, eHow!

Tip of the Day: Mango Facts!

Posted in Fruit & Veggie Selections, MUST KNOW TIPS & TECHNIQUES!, PA NHIA'S COOKING DICTIONARY on May 5, 2010 by Meals of Asia

There more than 1,000 different varieties of mangos throughout the world. Mangos are grown in tropical and subtropical lowlands throughout the world. In Florida, mangos are grown commercially in Dade, Lee, and Palm Beach Counties. Mangoes are also grown as yard trees in warm locations along the southeastern and southwestern coastal areas.

The most popular variety of mango grown in the United States is the Hayden. The Hayden mango is produced in Florida.

Mango Nutrition

One medium sized mango provides about:

Storing Mangos

Mangos can be stored at room temperature to ripen. If the mango is unripe and is stored at room temperature, it takes about a week to ripen.

When fully ripened, mangoes will give easily to gentle pressure. Store ripe mangoes in the refrigerator. Ripe mangos will keep well keep well in the refrigerator for up to three days. If a mango feels too spongy to the touch, it is definitely overripe and very possibly spoiled. Color is not necessarily an indication of ripeness in a mango. Some varieties remain green even when they are ripe, while others turn golden or bright red or a combination.

If you need to speed up the ripening process, place the mango in a paper bag at room temperature for a few days. Test daily for ripeness.

Thank you for sharing, Mama’s Health!

Evil Jungle Chicken Curry

Posted in COURSES/ENTREES on May 4, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 9th!

Remind mom how special she is by cooking her a delicious Thai curry dish!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of Yellow Curry Paste
  • 1 cup sliced chicken breast
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ yellow pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli, sliced into bite pieces
  • 6-8 kaffir lime leaves, each leaf torn in two
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Thai chili peppers, sliced (optional)
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 cans (5.6 oz each can) coconut milk
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a wok, heat the oil and fry the curry paste for one minute.
  2. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  3. Add chicken, bell peppers, onion, broccoli, and kaffir lime leaves.
  4. Season with fish sauce and sugar.
  5. Keep on medium heat until chicken is cooked, then add basil and chili peppers. Serve with freshly steamed Thai jasmine rice.