An Authentic Thai Dish – Lap Moo

Posted on: 31 July 2010 6 comments

Caprice – she’s got a face like a four star pizza. Yet she’s judging a fashion design show on TV3 telling contestants to be more natural. This is a woman who’s been under the knife more than a Limerick stabbing victim. And have you seen Jordan lately? I think she just had her chin done again, so overly chiseled, like a troglodyte cavewoman.

I recently watched an outstanding documentary about Hank Williams, a man who could bare his heart and soul so poignantly in his incredible work of songs. One of his band members, now in his late 70’s, spoke about a time when he asked Hank about what inspired him to write so openly and passionately. Hank replied, “Man, if you wanna make it, ya can’t fake it.” I thought that was so brilliantly simple. And that’s why over 50 years after his death, his music and lyrics are as striking today as they were when he originally wrote them. After watching the documentary, I was left feeling that authenticity and emotional honesty must have a serious importance in our lives. Otherwise we are indeed, empty vessels.

Yet, flicking through channels afterwards, any inspiration I took from Hank was quickly poisoned. I watched the plastically altered monstrosities Caprice and Jordan take prime time viewing and saw a few urban/r n b videos on MTV.  The music was particularly vexing.  It dawned on me that every modern r n b song has a lead vocal in the chorus that has been doctored by a vocoder, in the style of Cher’s “Life After Love”.

Modern life is rapidly becoming more phony. Guys take steroids and protein pills, to buff themselves up. Girls lash on fake tan every time they go to a wedding. And most number 1 songs have robot voices.

That’s why one must always seek the real deal.  So you can compare and contrast the genuine article to the fake shit. Thankfully, authenticity can still be found in food. And it rarely gets better than this, an absolutely amazing Thai Dish called Lap Moo. And because all the ingredients are  dry fried or boiled through, it also happens to be a very healthy option. My old pal, Bilbo Bangkok gave me the recipe and showed me in person how to make it. Sadly, I have yet to see it appear on any Thai restaurant menu. I suppose that probably makes it more authentic. Please give this a go, it is so fucking tasty.

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LAP MOO – AN AUTHENTIC THAI DISH

INGREDIENTS: ANY OF THE ASIAN INGREDIENTS LISTED CAN BE BOUGHT IN EITHER OF THE ASIAN FOOD MARKETS ON GEORGE’S ST OR DRURY ST


-  400 grams of ground pork.

- A good handful of plain jasmine rice

- A Handful of torn mint leaves

- 8 shallots finely chopped (set aside 3 for the lemongrass paste)

- 3 spring onions finely chopped

-  2 finely chopped Kaffir lime leaves

- 1 finger sized chili deseeded and finely chopped

- 2 large cloves of garlic finely chopped

- 4 coin-size slices of galangal

-  3 tablespoons of fish sauce

-  1 long stalk of lemongrass finely chopped

-  3 limes

METHOD:

In a wok, using no oil, dry fry/toast the jasmine rice for about 5 minutes on a low heat. Make sure the heat is low or it will burn and pop like popcorn. When the rice is nicely toasted, transfer to a pestle and mortar and pound the shit out of it. Set aside when finished.

Now for the paste. In the same wok dry fry/roast the lemongrass, garlic, 2 shallots, and the 2 finely chopped kaffir-lime leaves until toasted. Transfer to pestle and mortar and pound the shit out of it like the rice.

Cut up your limes into quarter segments and arrange on a plate along with the remaining shallots, torn mint leaves, chopped chili, and spring onion. Arrange them as decoratively as you can.  These are mixed with the pork after it is cooked by the boiling water and lime.

Empty the ground pork into a fine sieve. And pour 1 -2 cups of boiling water through it. Make sure the meat is all white and cooked properly by the water. Catch the run-off in a container as this is a basic stock to wet the dish with later. The pork should start to turn white. Transfer to a mixing container. Now it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients.

First squeeze in the limes, constantly mixing with your hands. Then throw in the lemongrass paste, mix for 10 seconds, half of the ground rice powder, mix for 10 seconds, Shallots, 10 seconds, fish sauce, 10 seconds, half a teaspoon of sugar and the remaining rice powder, 15 seconds, and then finally all the mint and spring onion. If you prefer it wetter, lash in a few tablespoons of the stock. Garnish with Mint and whole chilies.

SERVE WITH:

Some cucumber segments sliced lengthways, and boiled or steamed jasmine rice. And ideally, loads of Singha Thai beer.

The Surprise Curry

Posted on: 22 July 2010 1 comment

People can be so heartless. Not long ago, I found myself on my way into work, about to cross over the Barge bridge by The Grand Canal. There was a massive traffic jam and a huge amount of noise brought on by the honking of many horns. It was only upon closer inspection did I realize the cause of all this road rage. A mother duck who was trying to walk her 12 little ducklings across the busy intersection.

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Everyone could see what was going down, but nobody bothered their holes to help the little buggers out. Their mammy already made good headway and was a few feet onto the road. Yet shockingly, nobody came to their assistance.  I threw down me bike, walked into the middle of the road and went to assist the wee birdies by stopping the oncoming cars. Once I nudged one or two of them off the path, the rest followed suit.

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After some dirty looks and impolite hand gestures from yours truly,  the drivers around us had discontinued their aggressive bleeting.  I held up the mother’s march from the rear, making sure they had a safe passage across the hectic street, snapping away on my mobile to capture the moment.

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Success! The mother and all 12 of her lovely little ducklings got across without any issues!

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It was at that point that all her offspring started jumping into the water. Mission fully accomplished. Her newborn could embrace the wild and wonderful world around them, but in the more natural habitat of the Grand Canal.

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I felt satisfied that they had achieved satisfactory safety, so I reached into the murky waters, grabbed the mother duck by the beak and quickly strangled her.  With a nice, fat warm duck on my shoulders  I rushed home to pluck the beast’s feathers and prepare dinner. That night we feasted on:

THE SURPRISE CURRY

INGREDIENTS:

  • Get a  roasted duck from an Asian Food Store. Get it de-boned and cut it into 1 inch strips
  • 2 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • Juice of half  a lime
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup of chopped aubergine
  • 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn roughly
  • 2 tablespoons of Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp of red curry paste Coriander leaves to garnish
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut oil
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

METHOD

-  Put vegetable oil into wok over medium heat and fry up the curry paste.

- Add 3/4 cups coconut milk and stir to mix thoroughly and then throw in the duck.

- Lash in the remaining coconut milk, water,  aubergine, tomatoes, pineapple, kaffir lime leaves, salt, sugar and fish sauce.  Bring to a boil and remove quickly from the heat. Serve it with some boiled or steamed jasmine rice and garnish with some coriander leaves.

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Uncle Brian’s Raspberry Ménage A Trois

Posted on: 16 July 2010 2 comments

These exact recipes come from my father’s twin brother, Uncle Brian Davis. A top geezer and fellow Jersey City Urban Degenerate. When I were a wee lad, a friend of our family by the name of Joe Seruda used to grow raspberries in his back yard on Condict Street, Jersey City. To this day, I am baffled that he could grow anything in a town that is often called the armpit of America.

I can recall many a hot summer evening  running amok over in Joe’s backyard on a picking frenzy, devouring 2 or 3 berries for every 1 that I managed to drop in the bag. Whatever I had left over, I’d finish off out on the stoop with ice cream, watching fireflies work their magic and listening to my old man talking total shite about boxing, basketball and local politics with Joe, my Godfather Wayne and my Uncle Brian.

In later years, I found out that I wasn’t the only greedy little bollix consuming all of Joe Seruda’s raspberries. The Uncle was at it too. But he had the wisdom to use them more wisely – by lashing into them gargoyle and making a puree and some vinegar.

This time of the year fresh raspberries are in full flight, but a bag of frozen ones has an average price of about €3. With that one single purchase you can energize any salad, make thrifty desserts look dead posh and put instant class into the mankiest of Vodkas. Here’s how.

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RASPBERRY PUREE

  • Get a bag of frozen raspberries (most supermarkets do them, try Lidl) and blend them at high speed in a food processor. The seeds will not be ground up.
  • Force the puree through a sieve fine enough to catch the seeds but don’t throw them away.
  • Stick the puree in a jar and serve it on something like an ice cream dessert by drizzling it on with a spoon.

RASPBERRY VODKA

  • Take the seeds from the recipe above and place them in a bowl. Do not wash the sieve yet.
  • Pour a litre of Vodka through the sieve and stir well into the bowl. Taste for strength, that part is up to you. If you’re a wuss, mix some Cranberry juice in.
  • When sober, strain the Vodka through the same sieve but again, don’t throw away those seeds.
  • Bottle the vodka and leave for at least 24 hours, so do this a day in advance if you’re keen to get your gargle on.

RASPBERRY VINEGAR

  • Take the boozy seeds from recipe above and put them in a pot.
  • Pour a pint of white vinegar on them and stir it up with half a teaspoon of sugar. Heat it until it just starts to boil, then let it cool.
  • Strain for the last time. Bottle the vinegar in a fancy container. You can make a meal with this by frying 2 chicken fillets, wait for them to cool, slice them up and serve on a bed of fresh baby spinach, half a sliced cucumber, a few fresh or thawed out frozen raspberries, some crumbled feta cheese and some sunflower seeds. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of vinegar on top and mix it all up in a bowl. If you want to make it in advance don’t put the oil and vinegar on until you are ready to serve.

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