One of the best things about where we’re living now is that we can drive up to see my family. We don’t have to fly, we can be there in under 4 hours if we want to, and they can come see us too.
Even better, when we go up there we can stock up at the Asian grocery store.
Thai eggplant, pak choi, long beans, banana flower, shallots, chillies, wonton wrappers, egg tofu, fish sauce, coconut milk, curry paste, and spices.
Praise the lord and pass the ammunition!
Where I’m living now, I can’t get any of this stuff. That shopping trip was like Christmas. So I put it all in the car with a couple of ice packs, brought it back here, and today I got down to business.
I made panang curry with egg tofu (easy because the curry paste came out of a can) and banana flower salad. Here’s how I did it:
Banana Flower Salad
This is something I ate in Burma but had no idea how it was prepared. When I saw the banana flowers at the store I had to get one. Thanks to the power of the internet I found this great recipe from Delhi Belle, which is Thai rather than Burmese. It turned out just great!
banana flower salad
The banana flower is the great big red teardrop-shaped thing in the groceries picture above. You eat the tender petals in the center and not the tough outer red petals, so there is a lot of peeling to be done.
banana flower with one petal removed. you remove those little blossoms too.
the edible part, chopped up and soaking in lemon water.
Never one to follow a recipe, I didn’t have any chilli paste so I pounded a few chillies in my mortar and pestle. I ended up serving the salad in the mortar (it’s really big). The rest of the dressing is lime juice, soy sauce, coconut milk, and sugar.
I cut up half a tomato and a scallion, then fried up some shallots.
This all got tossed together with the dressing and served!
Panang with Egg Tofu
panang with egg tofu*
Egg tofu is … um … tofu made with egg. And it tastes … um … different from ordinary tofu. This completely unhelpful explanation has been brought to you by ginger and lime.
Along with the tofu (which is the stuff in the tubes), I used curry paste and coconut milk from cans, hot peppers, kaffir lime leaves, Thai eggplant, and basil.
This is pretty easy to make since I don’t make the curry paste myself.
You stir fry the curry paste in a little bit of oil, then add the coconut milk and stir till it’s well blended. When it’s boiling, toss in the eggplant, cut into wedges.
Cover this and let it simmer. In the meantime, slice the egg tofu into discs and pan fry it on both sides.
Roll the kaffir lime leaves up into a cylinder, then slice very thin. Slice the chillies on the diagonal. Add both to the curry and simmer a few more minutes.
Here’s what my kitchen looked like at this point:
note the glass of wine: cook's prerogative.
Add the basil and the fried tofu and heat until the basil is wilted; serve with rice.
curry, salad, and rice
* Yeah, baby.