Chicken and Prawn Pad Thai Noodles for your New Years Resolution

chicken and prawn pad thai noodles
If making Pad Thai was your New Years resolution then this is a story for you… read on my friend, read on.

It’s time to say goodbye to 2015; the old suit, last years fashion and the out of date milk… or maybe just plain old out of date, and hello to 2016; the new puppy dog, the fresh threads, the shiny new car and the virgin princess.

That’s right, the New Year has welcomed it’s own self into our lives like a cheeky little gypsy squatter. Yep, 2016 is here and it is here to stay. Now is probably also a good time to bring to point out that it’s not just for Christmas, it’s for life… or at least the next 365 days…

I know it is customary in these times we live in, to make a resolution of some description. You probably want to better yourself and just make yourself a nicer person to be around and I think that is kinda reasonable because let’s face it, you are a bit of a dick but I’m sure with a good positive attitude and the help of the New Years Resolution Gods you can overcome this little hurdle and push on to become a more bearable human being.

Me on the other hand, I’m not really bothered with that whole resolution thing. Too worried about failing at this shit one more year so just staying well away from the whole thing… Well, maybe that’s a bit of a lie (bare with me here). Not more than two weeks ago my brother Matt did send my a pic of a classic Thai noodle dish called Pad Thai that he had made for his dinner. The pic made me want Pad Thai… I could taste it and I knew that with my self judged pro rank at making this aforementioned dish, it was something that I would need to cook for myself (and possibly 14 other people because, like it’s Italian cousin the pasta, this is one of those dishes that I always cook a heap too much of… the neighbours don’t seem to mind though).

Right there and then I decided that I would make Pad Thai on New Years Day. That was my New Years resolution and I was going to try my darndest to stick to it and it was indeed a resolution that was swiftly and efficiently fulfilled.

New Years Day dinner equaled a big fat wok full of prawn and chicken Pad Thai with chilli jam, some soy and garlic greens and Thai-esque coleslaw. I am fucking ruling at 2016 already. Bring on the rest of the year!

Prawn and chicken-y goodness
Prawn and chicken-y goodness

Those garlic and soy greens
Those garlic and soy greens
That Thai style 'slaw
That Thai style ‘slaw
Those Pad Thai noodles
Those Pad Thai noodles

And a close up of those same noodles
And a close up of those same noodles

PAD THAI (serves at least 6 as part of a banquette)

Some dried flat rice noodles (however many you reckon because let’s face it; it really doesn’t effing matter how much you soak because it’s always going to be enough to feed a medium to large Thai village anyways), soaked in warm water until just cooked but still a little firm in the middle AKA al dente. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have some fresh rice noodles with-in your grasp, you go ahead and use them
10 large king prawns or possibly lobster (if the extra cash in your pockets is weighing your pants down and you’re starting to look a little too much like a 90s homeboy) peeled, de-veined and chopped into 2-3 pieces
300-400g chicken thigh (for me) or breast (for other people), chopped into small bite sized pieces. It is also totally feasible to use the left over roast chicken from last night, which is what I did actually do
2 tablespoons each salted radish (chopped) and dried shrimp
4 eggs
1 bunch garlic chives, chopped into 1 inch pieces
Pad Thai sauce (recipe below)
Bean shoots, coriander, crisp eshallots and roasted peanuts
Lime, fish sauce and chilli jam (a recipe will follow in the coming days/weeks) to serve

• Get your wok hot. I mean hot. Like the super model crisping up in the midday sun sans Evian hot. Add a splash of oil and then crack the eggs in and scramble them really fast. Once they are cooked put them on a plate and set aside
• Add a little more oil and let the wok heat up again. Add the prawns, chicken, salted radish and shrimp and fry for 1 minute
• Add the noodles and egg and stir fry for another minute
• Now add most of the Pad Thai sauce (reserve a little to adjust seasoning at the end if necessary), a handful of coriander and bean shoots, and a few garlic chives, crisp eshallots and peanuts. Toss
• It is now one minute later and your Pad Thai is ready
• Check seasoning and adjust with reserved Pad Thai sauce if necessary
• Serve garnished with extra garlic chives, bean shoots, coriander, eshallots, peanuts and heaps of lime for squeezy tang
• Good work

Pad Thai Sauce

¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup tamarind puree
½ cup grated light palm sugar
• Whack it all in a jar and shake it up until the palm sugar is dissolved

That’s it; Pad Thai like a boss. Stay tuned for our foodisthebestshitever Easter food ideas real soon… only three months ahead of time – just like the supermarkets!
chicken and prawn pad thai noodles

Jennee’s Sunday Spread… Thai feast a la David Thompson and her own brain

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Jennee’s Thai spread, if you will. Now please remove your filthy little minds from the gutter and your hands from the top button of your pants as this is not the type of Thai spread that will be hitting fat Australian business men in the face with ping pong balls. This is a Thai spread of even more awesome-ness than that my friends…

Read on.

Jennee is the type of girl that would have a sweet pony saddled up and waiting for me when I arrive home from work so I may trot into the hills and ride away my woes. That is not code for anything, but by Jeeves it could be!

This girl knows how to save a man from the perils of a big week at work like the homeless man knows how to rescue the stray dog… not how to feed or shelter it though, but one out of three aint bad.

At the end of lunch service at work yesterday I did declare to my co-workers and kitchen brethren that I would not be eating dinner tonight unless it was mother effing nachos. I was hell bent that I was going to finish my working week (I know. A little bit different to yours, but that’s OK yeah?) by piling a fat load of shit into my mouth hole. Not actual shit of course, that’s only at the parties the Johnston’s have on the third Friday of every month… but that’s a hell of a story for another time… or not at all. Anyway, needless to say nachos were not to be the end to this working (and actual) week. I was about to flip the fuck out and then Jennee laid this upon our table. I instantaneously realised that all would be OK… I’ll have the effing nachos tomorrow!

For this dinner Jennee drew inspiration from David Thompson’s book, “Thai Street Food”, and her own brain to boot.

A Thai spread for 4.

That rice. Top left
That rice. Top

STICKY RICE WITH GOLDEN DRESSING AND MUSHROOM TOPPING
• Cook 2 cups of sticky rice just like you would normally cook sticky rice. If sticky rice is in the too hard basket, try cooking jasmine rice instead
• Once rice is cooked stir trough golden dressing (recipe follows), cover and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes
• Serve the rice covered with mushroom topping (recipe follows)

Golden dressing
½ cup coconut cream
¼ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sliced tumeric
• Combine the coconut cream with sugar and salt
• Add the tumeric and leave to infuse for 30 minutes
• Douse the hot rice with that and smell the glory

Mushroom topping
150g mushrooms, chopped finely
1 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 30 minuntes, strained
5 coriander roots, washed and chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup finely grated coconut
2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
2 tablespoon white sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded. Really finely shredded
1 small handful picked coriander
• Using a mini food processer or mortar and pestle, make a fine paste out of the shrimp, coriander root, salt and pepper. Heat oil and fry paste over a medium heat until aromatic – 3-4 minutes – stirring contantly to prevent it from catching
• Add mushrooms and fry for another 3-4 minutes until cooked
• Add coconut and fry for another 3-4 minutes and then add sugars. Keep cooking until sugars are dissolved and then absorbed until almost dry
• Cool
• Check seasoning – it may need a little more salt and/or pepper
• Serve on top of golden rice, garnished with shredded kaffir leaf and coriander. Just quietly, this is well worth the effort

That beef
That beef

BEEF & CHOY SUM WITH LEMONGRASS & COCONUT
500g ribeye or rump steak, sliced into 5mm strips for stir frying
1 bunch of choy sum or gai lan or bok choy, or even broccoli if none of the other options appeal to you, cut into 4-5cm pieces
1 brown onion, diced
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, chopped
1 long red chilli, chopped
5 coriander root, washed and chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped
Zest of 2 kaffir limes

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
• Blitz all except beef, choy sum and oyster sauce, to form a rough paste. Marinade beef in said paste for a few hours
• In a very hot wok/pan, add a splash of oil and stirfry beef for one minute. Set aside
• In the same pan add choy sum and oyster sauce and simmer for 5 minutes
• Add beef and any resting juices back to the pan and simmer for another minute
• Get it on the table

That salad
That salad

CUCUMBER, TOMATO AND SPROUT SALAD
1 continental/telegraph cucumber, chopped or cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandoline
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes (or a big handful of cherry toms straight from the garden if you’re lucky enough to have some), halved
200g bean sprouts
2 spring onions, sliced
1 handful each mint and coriander, leaves picked
½ cup black rice, shallow fried in vegetable oil until starting to puff and pop (this is some tasty shit right here and brings a bit of a tasty crunchy party to the salad, as every good Thai salad needs)
½ cup nam jim dressing (recipe right here) or a similar sweet, sour, salty, hot dressing
• Yo yo yo… Toss it all together and put it on the table

Jungle curry goat

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Jungle curry goat…

Good enough to make me gloat

Hot enough to take you by the throat

Definitely worth more than a single groat

(Is this what my life has become?) And that shall be the jingle for my new goat curry café. Or maybe it won’t be. In any case I’d need to get a goat curry café to warrant making up a jingle and I don’t see that happening any time soon. Granted I am not Nostradamus but still, it just doesn’t appear on the horizon for me.

Something that is quite literally on the horizon at the moment is a cracking afternoon sky. I’m basking in the warm glow of my first glass of really old grape juice (doesn’t sound so sexy now, eh) and preparing the evening meal.

This is holiday life for me. Hash tag that shit!

After the cracking lunch we had at Spirit House a couple of days back Jennee really wanted “something spicy, Thai and exotic”. Now, for Jennee to say that to me was a pretty brave move, and I do feel I really should’ve taken it a lot further then I did, but you know what? Sometimes I am just a genuinely nice guy, so jungle curry of goat it was!

The paste
The paste
Mmmm, jungle curry
Mmmm, jungle curry
Still mmmmm
Still mmmmm
The kitchen in the cottage/house/place to be on holidays in
The kitchen in the cottage/house/place to be on holidays in

JUNGLE CURRY OF GOAT

1-1.5kg piece of goat leg or shoulder, bone in for extra flavour, cut into 4-5 pieces on the bandsaw (your butcher will do this for you unless he is an absolute prick, in which case why the hell are you still using him???)

250g green beans or snake beans if you can get them, prepped into edible sized pieces

2 tomatoes, cut into wedges

2 tablespoons sugar. Castor will do if you don’t have palm sugar

2 cups stock

2 tablespoon tamarind pulp

1 tablespoon fish sauce, plus a little more if needed

4 kaffir lime leaf

1 lime for that final pornographic flourish

Red onion, pickled cucumber and steamed rice to serve

  • Cook off the goat with the curry paste in a pot or large pan over a medium heat
  • Once it starts to smell lovely and aromatic (like your best friends mums undies) add sugar and cook for a minute or two until it starts to caramelise. Add stock, tamarind, fish sauce and kaffir leaf and cover. Simmer over low heat for probs 2 hours, maybe a little more if it’s not doing its thing. Give it a stir every 20 minutes. If it starts to thicken up too much add a splash of water, we’re going to sort this baby out at the end
  • After two hours check if the meat is tender. You can do this by poking it with your finger or a stick. If it is ready it will yield quite easily
  • Remove the lid and simmer down until almost at desired consistency (I suggest a slightly thick gravy), add beans and tomatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes
  • Get that puppy on the table, top with some thinly sliced red onion and have the other garnishes on the side
  • Write a poem about how much you like to gloat when you cook goat because it really floats your boat… or probably don’t

 

PASTE

1 brown onion, diced

3 long green chilli, sliced

3 dried long red chilli

1 tablespoon grated ginger

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 stalk lemongrass, sliced, white part only

1 bunch coriander, roots and stems washed and chopped for paste. Leaves reserved for garnish

1 teaspoon white peppercorns, pounded in a mortar

A splash of oil to get the party started… Friday night styles… in the back garage… hmmm

  • Blitz everything for the paste until it is a paste like consistency

Spirit House Restaurant and Cooking School, Yandina, Qld

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Now that we have our sea side adventures out of the way, it’s time for us to try a little mountain life. Like top o’ the range, can see for fifty kilometers to the Pacific Ocean (good to keep an eye out for sea born invasion), king of the hills type business. Git right up into them thar hills and do what any holiday going family in our situation would do; Try out local fare, the local fair and local fair maidens… cos that’s just how you gotta roll when you’re on holidays! Well that’s how I gotta roll. The boys on the other hand… The boys have been hell bent on skating every skate park in a 50km radius, and doing it at least twice, more like thrice, a day. Which in turn means I am re-acquainting myself with my skateboard too. I used to be able to work a wheelie board with a certain amount of prowess, but to say my skills are now a little rusty would be a rather incredible understatement. I’d say my skills have corroded so far back they were reforming into heavy metals on the elemental table. “But what does this have to do with Spirit House Restaurant my friend?” I hear you ask. “Absolutely nothing,” would be my reply. And then I would throw down a smoke bomb and amazingly vanish before your very eyes, only to be spoken of from time to time when you tell your grand kids of that strange guy you once knew. They’ll never believe you though, and eventually you’ll be too senile to stop yourself from repeating the story so they’ll have you admitted to a home where you will spend the rest of your days telling staff about the guy who once vanished before your very eyes… put your hand up if you think this story has gone too far. Now put your hand down… was anyone watching you? You may find yourself in that home earlier then expected…

Seba really wanted the seared scallop on sticky rice cake with pigs ear salad (as did I. Actually I think I want anything that has a pigs ear salad) and Obi was set on the pork belly with citrus caramel, so I went ahead and ordered both of these plus stir fried prawns with snake beans, baby corn and puffed rice, cuttlefish with chilli jam, and Hainese chicken. It was really good. I have not been so satisfied by an Asian meal in many years. The satisfaction I have received from many an Asian prostitute is a different story but that, my friends, is a story for another time… another time. I would defo like to go back there a couple more times to give the whole menu I right going over (dirty old pirate styles. Roughly from behind…), mostly because I overheard our waitress telling another table about the beef tartare on lotus chips and also something about a duck sausage (these dishes do exist. I just checked the website). AM I SERIOUSLY THAT FUCKING BLIND? Honestly, I am going to start wearing my glasses (in actual fact I probably will not start wearing my glasses as they are the same glasses I have owned for the last twenty something years and they have probably left their case less times then you’ve masturbated… hold up. Bad analogy. Maybe they have left their case less times then you have made an actual woman reach orgasm. Yeah, that works)

Crisp pork belly with citrus caramel $14
Crisp pork belly with citrus caramel $14
Seared scallop, sticky rice  pork cake, pig ear salad and green nahm jim $14
Seared scallop, sticky rice pork cake, pig ear salad and green nahm jim $14

The pork and scallops were everything I love about Thai-esque cooking; textures, a fresh herb hit, and balanced flavours. Seriously good.

Stir fried prawns in sweet jungle paste, snake beans. baby corn, puffed rice $26
Stir fried prawns in sweet jungle paste, snake beans. baby corn, puffed rice $26

The prawns were magic. I would eat them again and again.

The broth, the chicken, the rice, THE siricha
Hainanese chicken. The broth, the chicken, the rice, THE siricha $34
The combo was good
The combo was good

The Hainanese chicken. This was good. It wasn’t outrageous and it’s not the dish I’d keep coming back for but it was good. On the other hand the siricha sauce that came out with it was bloody outrageous. Slightly smokey and definitely a recipe I would like to go back late at night and steal from the vault…

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Fried chilli jam cuttlefish, wild ginger, red nahm jim dressing $29
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It was all about the cuttlefish

The cuttlefish. Aaaah the cuttlefish. It’s not something you see heaps on restaurant menus but I’m not sure why… it’s available by the cuttlefish scoop load where I’m from, but that may not be the case in other towns, like Mount Isa. Maybe people are scared of eating it or chefs scared of cooking it. Whatever. I love it and this was a fine cuttlefish dish indeed. Damn fine. Really, really fine. I FUCKING LOVED IT. Crisp cuttlefish, chilli jam, papaya, ginger, other awesome bits… this is my kind of Asian food. This and young Thai lady boys, but I guess they may not be absolutely correctly described as food…

A statue in the garden
A statue in the garden
Another statue. I think the other one was my favourite
Another statue. I think the other one was my favourite

There is a pond, bamboo garden and other pretty things for you to look at while you eat, or you can close your eyes and imagine you’re waiting in line for your turn at a massage parlor in your favourite Thai province.

As for the cooking school I have no effing idea about that, simply because I was just there to eat. I’m sure it’s good though, and I base my findings on nothing. Absolutely nothing.

So, in summation I say go to Spirit House for a great Thai-esque meal, I damn fine surroundings, served by really effing nice staff!

Stay tuned to keep up to date on what we eat while we’re up in the hills. No more scary statue photos, I promise… well, maybe just one… but it’s a cracker.

The Many Lands Challenge for Sammy… Part 3

PAUL’S CAUL… TYPOS AND ALL

Thailand is our destination of choice… aromatic duck curry is a well worthy dish on any menu.

But don’t let years of shit curries make you think that a curry doesn’t belong on a five course mini dego, because quite simply that is bollocks!

All curries can be refined and made into a banging dish suitable of any fine dining restaurant, all it takes is for the meat or veg component to be treated little nicer, leave your meat on the bone and try to keep veg true to itself… what does that mean? It means allow them to look like themselves, they don’t all have to chopped into perfect cubes, so when you’re eating said curry you have next to no fucking idea what you’re putting in your mouth.

This pretty much goes for all you weird kids out there that think you’re different and feel like swimming up stream, when in fact you have managed to do nothing except become a clone of every other emo/goth/hipster that has ever walked this earth. So celebrate what you like and by all means if you like looking like a twat then embrace it, just don’t go on about how original you are.

Graz is an excellent example of someone that is truly himself, fuck knows what that is exactly but for the time being its working and lets face it has been working for 20 years (not sure what was going on before that) and then their is me, I’m going for a certain look… don’t know what society calls it, not even sure if it has a name, I like to think if it did have a name it would be called AWESOME…

So lets face it voting for me isn’t just about recipes & food tips and its not always about comical anecdotes about the shire and Fleetwood mac…

What it is always about is issues, and remarkably bad formed sentences that quite simply hurt you’re head to read…. You’re welcome.

Aromatic duck curry paste

8 dried red chillies, deseeded & chopped
4 red shallots, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
½ tablespoon galangal, chopped
1 tablespoon coriander root, scrapped & chopped
½ tablespoon lime zest
1 teaspoon white peppercorn
1 teaspoon coriander seed, roasted
3 cloves, roasted
3 blades mace, roasted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon shrimp paste, roasted

To make paste blend chillies and all fresh ingredients together, grind all dry ingredients and then mix with puree.

Aromatic duck curry method

250ml coconut cream
3 tablespoons curry paste
30ml fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar
325ml coconut milk
½ roast duck, boned & left in big chunks
2 fresh long red chillies, deseeded & halved
4 kaffir lime leafs, shredded
1 eggplant, chop it how ever you want
½ zucchini, you know the drill
20 Thai basil leaves

In a medium pan boil the coconut cream till it separates then add paste and cook till fragrant. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Now add the coconut milk and bring to the boil, add all remaining ingredients and simmer for a few minutes for all flavours to combine.

VOTE 1 PAULY…..

green papaya salad with nam jim

There’s been a couple of factors, or forces of evil, or small gypsy hobbits working together in a gallant effort to stymie my ability to fulfill my obligations as a pro blogger at the moment.

Firstly. As will often happen in the land of head chef-dom, the beast has dictated that I work extra hard to please the fire breathing dragon or it shall scorch all of my lands to a cinder.

Also I had a sous chef, but one day the beast within him dictated he should go to a far away land, and never come back.

So now I do the work of two men and one small troll.

Secondly, the fact that I could actually ice skate through my house most mornings is not really conducive to a “sit at the computer writing heaps amusing stories and kickass recipes” type lifestyle.

I mean I have blankets but, well, it’s like eating or drinking (stay with me here), they just have no place at the computer desk.

But I have whipped this muther effer into submission. Like Australia post, I will deliver. Wait a minute, I said I will deliver.

With plenty of heart warming braises and stews, smart brains, a strong will to survive, a large stock whip and plenty of sex… points 1-4 are definite… I shall survive. Or at least I’ll be ready when they decide to make a sexy time “survivor” series. Join the dots on that one.

So from the warmth of my bed, typing on my I-phone, I bring you another enthralling installment of Grazza’s soapbox, with Grazza… that’s me. Actually I’m pretty much done here. Move along now. That’s right, move along.

my favourite home for the green papaya salad is next to it’s good friend, salt and pepper calamari

Green papaya salad with nam jim

nam jim looks like this

There’s a recipe for nam jim two posts back and I mentioned that it does go jolly well on the old green papaya salad. So now here’s the green papaya salad recipe so your nam jim doesn’t have to sit there all alone and scared by itself…

The biggest favour you could do yourself right now, or maybe the second biggest actually, is to go to a kitchenware shop and buy yourself a papaya shredder (it looks just like a veg peeler except, instead of a flat blade it has corrugations)

my papaya tree

1 green papaya (my tree grows them in the shape of animals penises. I am truly a lucky man)
1 continental cucumber, deseeded* and sliced
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, slice in half
2 eshallots (baby red onions), or half a red onion, sliced finely
a handful of coriander, mint and Thai basil, put your knife through the lot three or four times
Crisp eshallots (go to the Asian super market for these. And pick up a couple of other random things while you’re there)
Nam jim to dress

your papaya salad should look at least a little bit like this

• Peel the thick skin off your papaya with a honky dory vegetable peeler.
• Shred your papaya and if you, like me, are lucky enough a have a papaya tree that grows this buxom fruit like elephants dongs, chuckle to yourself as you go…
• Now combine the shredded papaya with everything except the crisp eshallots.
• Put it in a bowl if it’s part of a Thai feast, or divide it onto plates as a garnish for seafood or whatever, and sprinkle with crisp eshallots.
• You should be pretty impressed with yourself right now. Unless you have a self-esteem problem in which case you’ll just go on hating and self-depreciating and you won’t ever be allowed to come to my place for dinner.
• Once again all I have left to say is DERICIOUS. Nom, nom, nom.

*To deseed your cucumber, slice it in half lengthways and then scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Crazy talk, I know.