Thai Green Chilli Paste {Nam Prik Noom}

Since I have been in Chiang Mai {Thailand}, I have been seeing and eating
this green chilli dip on a regular basis. 
In the market, near my home, there are a lot of vendors who sell it and I have had it with fried chicken, pork and/or with green boiled vegetables and of course, with sticky rice or Khao Niaow, in Thai.
It is delicious so, when I arranged a class with Fon,
 I asked her to teach me how to make this Northern Thai treat!

 She was talking and smiling from the minute I knocked on her door at 4h30 am, which happens to be the same door I walked by the other night and saw this lovely woman pouring her heart out
in front of a karaoke machine surrounded by some friends, drinking whisky and singing.
It was a Monday night. 7 pm. I thought of how lovely they were to ask me to join in by raising their glasses and making hand gestures for me to sit with them,
but I had to meet a friend, so I declined.

The next day, I walked by again and instead of karaoke, I found a noodle soup stand and had a fabulous meal. I asked her to teach me a few dishes but did not realized she was the singing lady until the end of our class when she began to sing along when this song came on the radio.
It mentioned Nam Prick Noom as you can see by her hand movements.

I wanna share this recipe with you and let Fon take the stage.

To hear Fon's fabulous rendition of a Thai classic, please click here}

You will need:

6 big green chillies
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
8 shallots or 1 small red onion {trim the ends but leave the skin on}
 1 bulb of garlic or a hand full of the little thai ones
2/3 cup of water
1 heap teaspoon shrimp paste
2 tablespoons of fish sauce {nam pla}

Wash and top the green chillies

Heat a wok with the oil and add the chillies 
and fry them in low heat for about 2 minutes 

Add the shallots and the garlic stir and add the water and bring to boil

Cook until the water is dried {medium heat} stirring every 30 seconds

When the water has dried, remove the shallots and garlic and reserve

Keep cooking the chillies until they look like this and are cooked through and soft

Peel and chop the chillies but do not remove the seeds unless you want it to be less hot
Discard the skins and reserve the flesh

Add the cooked ingredients to a pestle and mortar and pound until you get the desired texture
{if you want a smoother texture pound the shallots and garlic for about one minute before adding the chillies}

Add the shrimp paste and the fish sauce

Pound a little more to blend all the flavours and this is your final result!

So easy, delicious and keeps in the fridge for about 4 days or more depending 
on its temperature and sealing conditions.

You can make it ahead and use it with just about everything you want to eat!
let me know how it goes!!!


Tom Yum Goong {Thai Hot and Sour Prawn Soup}

You already know I am in Thailand and that I find Chiang Mai magical and 
I wanna be here for a reaaaaally long time.
One of the reasons for this is the food, of course, the friends I made here and the beauty I see around whenever I go anywhere, not to mention cooking for the monks, 
which makes my heart sing.
So I won't bore you with the long blurb and will show you one of my friends shop, where she made this soup for me to enjoy!

The place is full of character, gorgeous items and a deliciously peaceful atmosphere. Ma's is lovely and her place is gorgeous and it made the experience extra pleasant.

Oh, yes, the recipe for her Tom Yam is below !!!! 


Mah's  Yummy Tom Yum Recipe 

You will need:
{serves 2}

700ml water
1 inch of fresh galangal
2 stalks lemongrass
1/2 inch of fresh turmeric {optional}
4 birds eye chillies
6 button or oyster mushrooms
4 kaffir lime leaves
200g tiger prawns
Lime Juice
Fish sauce {nam pla}
Nam Prik Pao {Sweet Chilli Jam}
Coconut milk {optional}

As with all cooking, specially Asian food, prepare all ingredients before 
beginning the cooking process.
Chop the mushrooms in 4 pieces lengthwise.
Bash a couple of times with a rolling pin or a pestle the galangal, turmeric and lemongrass to release the oils and aroma and chop them roughly.
Remove the mid vein of the kaffir lime leave {so it does not make your food bitter} and tear it apart also roughly as it shows on picture above.

Peel the head of the prawns and remove the eyes and the shell 
leaving the tail so it looks pretty and you can hold 
the prawn AND retain certain charm at the table if eating with guests.
If not, do as you please. I leave the shells and eat with my hands, sucking the head as it is full of flavour, specially if the prawn is massive... yum}.

You can, if you want to cut the 'back' of the prawn and remove the vein, like Mah is doing 
for you to see, but we only did one for the picture. 
I, personally, never do. It never tasted off, I never got poisoned and I always enjoyed it a LOT.

Bring the water to boil {any pan is ok, but we used a wok that was handy} and put in galangal, turmeric {if using}, lemongrass, boil again and add the mushrooms. Bring to boil once more and add the prawns. After it boils, add the kaffir lime leaves and stir.

After the prawns change to a pink colour {which means they are now cooked}, it is time to switch off the fire and season the soup.
NOW: Delicate moment as it is very personal.
You squeeze the lime and splash some nam pla, nam prik pao and coconut milk {if using}.

It was a pleasure to buy fresh sweet chilli jam fresh from the market {seen in the plastic bag} but Mah thought it was too oily and had a jar of it opened already, so we used that, which is probably what you will also find in your local asian shops.

Keep tasting until you find the balance between 
sour, salty and chilli to your own taste.
Serve the soup with all the stuff inside.
I have had as many tom yums here as you can imagine. Clear broth, with coconut milk, with tomatoes {but I dislike them in this soup}, with holy basil and many other herbs, with noodles and many other ways. So as I say often to all recipes, have fun cooking
and let me know if you have any doubts.
If you do not have any particular ingredient, don't be put off making this recipe.
Just use anything you have handy as it is your own soup.
Enjoy cooking!!! And, of course, eating it!


Feast For Your Eyes

 I am back in Chiang Mai and it this weekend is very special.
There is a Flower Show and the most beautiful float will get a prize at
Suan Buak Hat Park. 
The festival opened with a Flower Parade, the whole town stopped.
There is food everywhere, stalls of every kind spread and people are dressing up.
I caught a glimpse of a gorgeous fresh flower float and made a quick video of it.
Please click here to see it!
Here are some other clicks I captured too...
I hope you enjoy them!