Archive for the ‘Peanuts’ Category

* Som Tum – Green Papaya Salad

Posted on April 24th, 2010 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Cilantro, Cuisine, Peanuts, Salads, Thai.

I haven’t spent as much time eating/standing/awake in Bangkok as I would like to — during my many trips there when I worked in corporate in Asia, I was either stuck in a conference room, or if there were any free hours, getting heavenly massages at the many wonderful spas there!  My company put us up at the Westin Banyan Tree which has an amazing spa and a wonderful buffet dinner spread (yeah, buffets are pretty popular higher end dining in Asia) and I loved walking into the buffet lounge lobby smelling the lemongrass incense and hearing the soft pounding sound of Som Tum being prepared.  The green papaya station is always my first stop at the buffet.  Ah, Sawadee!

Chef’s tip:  Green papayas are essentially unriped papayas.  You can get them at Asian food stores.  They often times wrap it in newspaper to prevent it from ripening.  Other finer points: “Som Tum Thai” has peanuts and dried shrimp mixed in, “Som Tum Bu” has small pickled crabs pounded in, or “Som Tum Lao Sai Pla Ra” has fermented mud fish mixed in it.


4 Tablespoons fish sauce
4 Tablespoons palm sugar/ brown sugar
4 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon tamarind concentrate


1 green papaya, peeled – yields 4 cups shredded
2 roma tomatoes – yields 1 cup of sliced roma tomatoes or 1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 handful Chinese string/long beans (or baby haricot vert) – yields 1 cup
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2-4 small Thai red chilies, deseeded, finely sliced – number depending on heat level
2 Tablespoons dried shrimp – presoaked in water
1 shallot, peeled, sliced
½ cup peanuts, roasted

1 cup cilantro leaves

To prepare the dressing
1. Mix together dressing ingredients.  Taste.  Adjust if needed. Set aside.

To prepare the vegetables:
2. Using a food processor (medium grate) or grater, shred the green papaya flesh
3. Deseed the tomato and cut into long slivers (or if using cherry tomatoes, half them)
4. Cut the beans into 1 ½ inch lengths.  Blanch in hot water for 3 minutes or until bright green and quickly plunge into cold water.  Drain.

Assembling – make per serving.  Divide ingredients into 6 parts.
5. In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, chili and dried shrimp into a paste
6. Add the sliced shallots and pound slightly to bruise the shallots
7. Add the long beans and pound to bruise the beans.
8. Add the peanuts and lightly pound again to crush the nuts
9. Add the shredded papayas and lightly pound until it is limp and soft
10. Add sliced tomatoes and press gently to blend
11. Add dressing and toss to combine.  Garnish with cilantro.
12. Serve immediately.  Repeat per serving.

Serves: 8

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* Rojak

Posted on October 30th, 2008 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Belachan, Cucumber, Cuisine, Hei ko Prawn Paste, Jicama, Malaysian, Mango, Mung bean sprouts, Peanuts, Pineapple, Salads, Singaporean.

This is a Chinese Malaysian version of the Rojak, a popular Malaysian street food.  It has a sweet, sour and savory sauce with some crunch from both the juicy fruits and the added “croutons”.  Some folks use a shrimp cracker “kerupuk”, I like the crucnh and chewiness of a Chinese doughnut aka “Yow Char Kwai”.  If you can’t find either, add a handful of cornflakes.  Rojak essentially means a mixed of vegetables and fruits, although the word has evolved to mean a random mix of stuff.

Chef’s tip: To peel a whole pineapple, chop off the crown, about an inch from the base of the crown, and also an inch off the base.  Now you have a cylindrycal part of the fruit.  Letting it stand on its base, with a sharp knife, cut off the skin with top to bottom motions.  Next, lay it on its side, and made diagonal slits around both sides of a diagonal row of eyes.  Remove the eyes.  Continue till you have removed all the eyes.  Cut the fruit into two lenghtwise, then cut each half into 6 pieces lengthwise.  If you wish, nip off the center core.

3 Tablespoons prawn paste (hei ko)
1 Tablespoon roasted belachan
6 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons Sri Racha sauce, to taste
9 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons tamarind concentrate

1 small jicama
1 English cucumber
2 Granny Smith apple
1 green mango
1 star fruit / carambola (optional)
1/2 pineapple
1 cup mung bean sprouts
2 Chinese donut (deep fried dough) or 1/2 cup cornflakes

½ cup sesame seeds, roasted
1 ½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed, reserve 2 Tablespoons

To prepare the vegetables:
1.    Roll cut jicama, cucumber, apple, mango and star fruit into irregular shapes – slice diagonally, then rotate the fruit before slicing again for an uneven shape.  Place all cut fruits and vegetables in a large salad bowl.
2.    Slice the pineapples into wedges.  Add to the salad bowl.
3.    Slice the Chinese doughnut into ½ inch slices.  Add to the salad bowl.
4.    Mung beans sprouts are left raw.  Remove roots if applicable. .  Add to the salad bowl.
To make the dressing:
5.    In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients, reserving 2 Tablespoons peanuts.
Assembling the salad:
6.    Pour the dressing into the salad bowl, toss to mix.   If using cornflakes, add now.  Sprinkle with reserve peanuts.

Serves: 8

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* Nasi Ulam – Herbed Rice

Posted on October 11th, 2008 by Linda. Filed under Basil, Chinese, Cilantro, Coconut, Cuisine, Dim Sum, Dried Shrimp, Galangal, Ginger, ginger flower, Kaffir lime leaves, Lemongrass, Malaysian, Mint, Parsley, Peanuts, Rau Ram, Sides.

This week, I got a big box of spices from my friend, Karina, from Singapore.  She sent me a kilogram of dried “bunga telang” – blue pea flower, a type of tropical morning glory. It’s an edible flower and we use its brilliant indigo blue pigment as a natural food dye.  See the pictures below for a view of the brilliant blue color!   You can’t imagine how excited I was.  Even when I lived in Malaysia, bunga telang is hard to come by.  If we see it on vines by the roadside, we would stop the car to pick some.

So what do you do with these blue flowers?  Nasi Ulam or in the East Coast of Malaysia, sometimes refered to as Nasi Kerabu.  “Ulam” means a medley of herbs.  The rice salad is tossed with, yes, a medley of Asian herbs, dried coconut and dried fish flakes.  If you want to keep it vegetarian or serving the rice to less adventurous palates, just skip the dried seafood part.  It tastes just as yummy.

Chef’s tip: Toasting coconut is just as easy on the stove top as in the oven.  Coconut burns really fast, so remove it from the heat source a tinge below your desired color, and it will continue cooking on its own.

3 Tablespoons dried bunga telang, soaked in 1½ cup water
1 cup Jasmine rice
1 cup Jasmine rice + 1½ cup water

2 oz salt cod, soaked 10 minutes, drained, optional
¼ cup dried shrimp, soaked, drained, optional

1 cup shredded, unsweetened desiccated coconut

Herb mix
½ cup mint leaves, chiffonade
½ cup Thai basil leaves, chiffonade
½ cup Rau Ram leaves, chiffonade
½ cup cilantro leaves, chiffonade
¼ cup perilla/shiso leaves. chiffonade
½ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
¼ cup sorrel leaves, finely chiffonade
2 tablespoon kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade
½ cup shallots from 2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 inch fresh tumeric, thin juliennes
1 inch galangal, thin juliennes
1 lemon grass, white only, finely sliced
1 ginger flower, finely sliced
Note: You can use any fragrant herb, if you cannot find all the herbs listed, or try new ones

½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1 Tablespoon roasted belachan, optional

Preparing the 2 types of rice:
1. Rinse 1 cup of  rice until the water runs clear.  Then soak rice in 1½ cup water with the blue flowers (in a tea ball or wrapped with cheesecloth) for at least 1 hour.  Remove flowers just before cooking.
2. In a small pot, bring the soaked rice and blue soaking liquid to boil. When it comes to a boil, cover the pot, turn to low simmer, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it sit, still covered for 10 minutes.
3. Rinse the other 1 cup of rice till the water runs clear.  In another small pot, bring the white rice and 1½ cups of water to boil. When it comes to a boil, cover the pot, turn to low simmer, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it sit, still covered for 10 minutes.
4. Fluff the rice and toss together into a large bowl to cool.
Preparing the coconut and seafood, if using:
5. Toast the coconut till golden brown. Add to the big bowl of rice.
6. Soak and drain salt cod and dried shrimp.  Place salt cod in food processor and grind coarsely.  Set aside.  Repeat with dried shrimp.
7. Heat a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon of canola oil and fry the salt cod till fragrant.  Add to the rice.
8. Toast the dried shrimp till fragrant.  Add to the rice.
Preparing the herbs
9. Finely chiffonade all herbs.
10. Toss all ingredients – salt cod, dried shrimp, coconut, herbs – together with the cooled rice.
11. Sprinkle with chopped roasted peanuts and roasted belachan.  Serve at room temperature.

Serves: 8

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