Yesterday a couple of friends and I took a cooking class at Thai Fresh, a local (both in the sense of “near my house” and “supporting local farmers”) “Thai deli”. Now I realize that many of you are not from around here, so you won’t be able to do as I did, but Jam, the owner/chef/instructor, told me that I was welcome to share the recipes we made with you.
The best thing I learned, or at least the thing that I think will be the most versatile in my kitchen, was how to make “sticky” rice. I love this stuff. I can eat sticky rice with mango until I go cross-eyed, and one of my favorite things at a dim-sum sit down is the sticky rice that gets mixed with sausage and other goodies then packed in a leaf and steamed. Mmmm…
Anyway, the thing about sticky rice (aka “sweet” rice) is that making it is actually more like making beans. This rice you soak, so it does require forethought. I mean, with standard long grain rice you can just boil it or you can make some sort of pilaf, or you can use arborio rice and make a million kinds of risotto, you can make jasmine or brown or short grain rice or even sushi rice and it is all good, but this is a completely different sort of rice to add to one’s arsenal.We made the sticky rice (as Jam had already soaked it for us) and enjoyed it with a sauce to accompany grilled chicken. The original recipe called for pork, you could use tofu, whatever suits you. One thing that was stressed in class and that you should know if you have been cooking for more than, say, a week, is that substitutions are perfectly acceptable! So…
In the morning, put the rice in a bowl well covered with cold (or at least cool) water. Let soak for at least 4 hours. Make the marinade for your chicken or pork as below, mix and let it do it’s happy thing for at least 4 hours as well. If you have a grill, you can do the meat/tofu that way. If you don’t you can broil it, or pan stir fry it but it sure was good grilled!
Serve the meat over the rice and dress with some of the “spicy sauce”. Now if you have been reading this blog for a while or if you know me (or both) you know I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to hot peppers. I went light on the “roasted chili flakes” but I did add a bit and it was warm but not too hot for me. Mmmm…
All in all we made grilled pork (chicken) with sticky rice and sauce, raw green papaya salad, Pad Thai, and fried bananas. Mmmm… But I am going to save the other dishes for another day and just give you a few teaser photos. Yes, it’s true, I’m mean…
But, for today here is the scoop on grilled pork and sticky rice:
Moo Ping (Grilled Pork on a Stick)
1 pound pork, sliced or cubed for grilling
bamboo skewers (soaked) for grilling
4 T Thai* soy sauce
1 T sugar
1 tsp salt
2 T vegetable oil
1 T cilantro stems** chopped fine
several crushed black peppercorns
4 cloves minced garlic
Combine all in a glass or other non-reactive bowl, add meat and marinate at least 4 hours.
6 T fresh lime juice
4 T fish sauce
pinch of sugar
generous pinch of roasted chili flakes (to taste)
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 tsp chopped cilantro
In a small bowl or even a glass jar with a lid, mix all, taste, and set aside. I believe it will get hotter the longer it sits… danger danger!
2 C sticky (sweet) rice, soaked for at least 4 hours
Drain then steam the soaked rice over simmering water or in a steamer of your preference for 20 minutes or until translucent.
Grill, broil, or otherwise prepare the meat, serve over cooked sticky rice and top with sauce.
Now, about the Thai soy sauce. There are two varieties (at least). If you cannot find Thai soy sauce you can sub in “regular” or even Japanese soy sauce but it will have a slightly different taste.
And, about the cilantro stems. Jam told us that in Thailand they use the root for the marinade as it has a very strong flavor. If you happen to grow cilantro, try using a bit of the (well-scrubbed, of course) root! Otherwise, Jam says the ends of the stems that are closest to the root have a good strong flavor as well, so try that. Mmmm in any event.
I am hoping to sign up for another class soon. It was great fun, very “interactive”, and my friends and I learned some mad skills! Now I have to go refill my hummingbird feeders – I was having much too much fun yesterday and totally ignored my yard. Enjoy the spring!!