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Chiang Mai chicken, Thai prawns.

Chiang Mai chicken, Thai prawns Among the simpler pleasures of Thailand's complex cuisine are grilled foods served with explosive seasoning sauces. These two barbecue picnics are good examples.

The grilled chicken originates in the norhern part of the country, near the 3,300-foot-high city of Chiang Mai. The seafood beach barbecue is from Phuket, an island resort in the south. Each barbecue features a dipping sauce made from chilies to season the main course.

You can serve these grill menus in your own garden or cook them at home and transport them to a favorite picnic spot. The few special ingredients, offered primarily in Asian markets, have readily available supermarket alternatives.

Chiang Mai chicken barbecue

In the Mae Sa Valley, northwest of Chiang Mai, locals often bring a lunch to enjoy while relaxing on big boulders at a cascading waterfall. Before hiking up to the falls, some people purchase carry-out foods from vendors at the base. A popular choice is grilled split chicken, skewered spread-eagle fashion, with a salad made from shredded green papayas. Dessert is fresh seasonal fruit.

Grilled Chicken Chiang Mai-style with Red Chili Sauce Green Papaya and Bean Salad Sticky Rice (optional) Fresh Litchis or Strawberries Juice from Young Coconut or Iced Tea

Make the seasoning paste for the chicken and skewer the chicken up to 1 day ahead. If you don't have glutinous rice to make sticky rice, season 3 cups cooked short- or medium-grain rice to taste with about 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar. Pinch into small bites to eat out of hand.

The salad can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Look for firm green papayas in stores that specialize in Southeast Asian foods; crisp green cabbage is a surprisingly good substitute. Mexican groceries and many supermarkets carry the mild dried chilies.

Grilled Chicken Chiang Mai-style

with Red Chili Sauce

1 broiler-fryer chicken (3 to 3-1/2 lb.) 6 large cloves garlic, chopped 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper 2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam) or soy sauce Red chili sauce (recipe follows)

Reserve chicken giblets and necks for another use. Rinse chicken and pat dry. With poultry shears or a knife, split chicken lengthwise through breastbone. Pull bird open and place, skin side up, on a flat surface; press firmly, cracking bones slightly, until bird lies flat.

Thread chicken on study 15- to 20-inch metal skewers, forcing 1 skewer through thigh--perpendicular to bone and just above drumstick--into the breast, and out through the middle joint of wing in extended position (see left photo on page 112). Repeat on the other side of the chicken.

With a mortar and pestle or in a blender, grind garlic, onion, ginger, coriander, pepper, and fish sauce into a coarse paste. Rub all over chicken. If made ahead, cover and chill up until the next day.

Place chicken on a grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of medium-hot coals (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Cook, turning as needed to brown evenly, until meat at thigh bone is no longer pink (cut to test), 25 to 30 minutes total. Remove chicken from skewers; cut up chicken and serve with chili sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 385 cal.; 43 g protein; 21 g fat; 3.2 g carbo.; 124 mg sodium; 132 mg chol.

Red chili sauce. Remove stems and seeds from 3 large (about 1 oz. total) dried California or New Mexico chilies and 2 or 3 small dried hot red chilies. Rinse chilies, coarsely chop, and place in a bowl. Add 3/4 cup hot water. Soak until soft, about 10 minutes. In a blender, combine chili-water mixture and 3 cloves garlic, chopped; whirl until coarsely pureed.

In a 1- to 1-1/2-quart pan, combine chili mixture, 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, and 1/3 cup sugar. Cook over high heat, stirring, until reduced to about 3/4 cup, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in salt to taste. Serve the sauce warm or cool. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 1 week. Makes 3/4 cup.

Per tablespoon: 27 cal.; 0.2 g protein; 0.2 g fat; 6.9 g carbo.; 0.l mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Green Papaya and Bean Salad

1 small (about 1 lb.) green papaya or 4 cups (about 3/4 lb.) finely shredded cabbage 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons dry shrimp (optional) 3 or 4 (about 1-1/2 oz. each) fresh jalapeno chilies, stemmed, seeded, and chopped 1/4 cup lime juice 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 pound Chinese long beans or green beans, ends trimmed 1 medium-size ripe tomato, cored and cut into thin wedges 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam) or soy sauce Leaf lettuce leaves, rinsed and crisped

Peel papaya, cut in half, and discard seeds; finely shred enough fruit to make about 4 cups. In a blender, finely grind garlic, shrimp, and chilies.

In a large bowl, combine garlic mixture, lime juice, and brown sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Thinly slice half of the beans crosswise; cut remaining beans into 3-inch lengths and set aside. Add to the bowl sliced beans, papaya, tomato, and fish sauce to taste; mix together. Spoon onto a lettuce-lined plate; garnish with reserved beans. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 hours. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 75 cal., 2.1 g protein; 0.7 g fat; 17 g carbo.; 11 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Sticky Rice

Rinse 2 cups sticky rice (also called glutinous or sweet rice) until water runs clear. Cover rice with water and soak at least 2 hours or up until the next day. Drain and place rice in a cloth-lined steamer rack or tie it loosely in a towel and set on rack. Steam on rack, covered, over at least 1 inch boiling water until tender to bite, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 342 cal.f 6.3 g protein; 0.5 g fat; 76 g carbo.; 6.5 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Naga Noi seafood grill

In southern Thailand, near Phuket, lies Naga Noi, an island noted for its South Sea pearl farm and quiet white sand beaches. En route to the island, friends gather just-caught seafood from the Andaman Sea to grill for lunch.

The seafood selection varies with the day's catch. When we were there, small live crab were the choice; since their availability in the West is limited, our menu substitutes large prawns in the shell. If you like, steam a banana leaf--wrapped fish alongside on the grill.

Phuket Grilled Shellfish with Green Chili Sauce Leaf-wrapped Grilled Fish (optional) Marinated Cucumbers Sticky Rice (optional) Fresh Pineapple, Mangoes, or Papayas Beer or Lemonade

Cook rice (see Chiang Mai picnic, preceding) ahead, or serve plain hot cooked rice. Make chili sauce up to 4 hours before serving. For a simple salad, season sliced cucumbers and red onion with vinegar, sugar, salt, and crushed dried hot red chilies to taste.

While the coals ignite, 30 to 45 minutes, devein the shrimp and wrap the fish in banana leaf or foil. Look for banana leaves in the freezer at Asian markets.

Phuket Grilled Shellfish

with Green Chili Sauce

1-1/2 pounds extra-colossal (fewer than 10 per lb.) or colossal (10 to 15 per lb.) shrimp Green chili sauce (recipe follows)

Devein unshelled shrimp by inserting a toothpick through joints in back of shell beneath vein in several places and gently pulling to remove vein. (Or, if desired, shell and devein shrimp.)

Place shrimp on a grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of medium-hot coals (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds) and cook until flesh is opaque in thickest part (cut to test), 3 to 5 minutes a side. Transfer seafood to a large platter. To eat, peel off shell and dip shrimp into green chili sauce. Serves 4 to 6.

Per serving (no sauce): 98 cal.; 19 g protein; 1.6 g fat; 0.8 g carbo.; 137 mg sodium; 140 mg chol.

Green chili sauce. In a blender, coarsely puree 4 to 6 (about 1-1/2 oz. each) fresh green jalapeno chilies, stemmed, seeded, and chopped; 3 large cloves garlic, chopped; 1/2 cup lime juice; and 1 to 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar.

Per tablespoon: 17 cal.; 0.2 g protein; 0 g fat; 4.4 g carbo.; 3.4 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Leaf-wrapped Grilled Fish

1 whole (2-1/3 to 3-1/3 lb.) fish such as rockfish, cleaned and scaled; or 2 pounds white-flesh fish fillets or steaks (1-1/2 in. thick) such as lingcod or grouper Salt and ground white pepper 1 stalk lemon grass or 3 strips (1/2 by 3 in. each, yellow part only) lemon peel 6 thin slices (each about the size of a quarter) fresh ginger 1 large (about 15- by 20-in.) banana leaf or piece of heavy foil Green chili sauce (recipe precedes)

If desired, remove and discard head from fish. Rinse fish and pat dry. Sprinkle fish cavity or pieces lightly with salt and white pepper. Remove coarse outer leaves from lemon grass and trim off top leaves. Rinse stalk well, then pound with mallet to crush slightly. Lay lemon grass and ginger inside fish cavity or on top of pieces. Lay fish about 6 inches from 1 end of banana leaf and roll up to enclose fish (or wrap and seal in foil).

Place fish on a grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid layer of medium-hot coals (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Cook, turning once, until a thermometer inserted in thickest part reaches 140[degrees], or until flesh in thickest part is opaque but still moist-looking (cut through leaf to test), 10 to 12 minutes a side for whole fish, 6 to 8 minutes a side for pieces. Unwrap fish and place on a platter. Eat chunks of fish with chili sauce added to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving (no sauce): 215 cal.; 43 g protein; 3.6 g fat; 0.3 g carbo.; 136 mg sodium; 80 mg chol.
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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Aug 1, 1990
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