My column on Chinese New Year sent one reader to her files for more Asian recipes to share with fellow readers.
Lynette Faul of Gulfport, Mississippi, a frequent contributor to this column, sent me a copy of an old Cook’s Exchange in which she and the late R.L. “Bob” Whitmyer shared their favorite Thai dishes.
As readers know, Thai, Mexican and Greek are my three favorite international foods. Thai food is really fun to cook. The ingredients are so fresh, and I love shopping at the Asian markets in Biloxi.
Of course, I can’t leave one of those markets without a bag of fortune cookies, my granddaughter’s favorite.
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Since the Mississippi Coast has in my opinion has several good Mexican restaurants now, I don’t cook that food as much at home anymore. Thai restaurants are still in short supply.
I thought I would share a few of these past recipes.
“Thanks to being a military wife, I got to collect a lot of recipes,” said Faul, who hails from Australia originally.
Since the weather has been cold, warm and rainy, soup fits the bill. Now, this isn’t chicken soup, but a sour shrimp soup called Tom Yam Gung, which is as famous in Asia as gazpacho, borsch, bouillabaisse and gumbo are in the Western world.
Another favorite of Faul’s and mine is Thai garlic shrimp. This requires bottles of fish sauce and rice wine vinegar, both can be found in Coast supermarkets, but are less expensive at Asian markets. As I wrote in last Sunday’s column, some supermarkets have had good prices on shrimp.
TOM YAM GUNG
(Sour Shrimp Soup)
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander or crushed coriander seeds
1 clove garlic
2 lemon slices
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Dash of cayenne
Salt to taste
1 pound cleaned, shelled, uncooked shrimp
Chopped green onions
Put all ingredients except last two in saucepan, bring to boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add shrimp and simmer 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serve in bowls with a sprinkling of chopped green onions.
– Submitted by Lynette Faul
THAI GARLIC SHRIMP
1 bunch of cilantro, washed and patted dry
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound medium shrimp, clean and pat dry
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrow root, dissolved in 3 teaspoons water
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups hot, cooked rice
Thin slices cucumber, optional
Stem the cilantro. Combine cilantro leaves and garlic in a food processor and process into a paste.
In large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cilantro paste and stir 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and stir until coated with the paste mixture, about 1 minute. Add the water, fish sauce, sugar and vinegar. Simmer until the shrimp are pink, curled and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon.
Bring the sauce to a boil and add the dissolved cornstarch. Cook and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Put the shrimp back into the pan, heat through. Add the pepper to taste.
Spoon the garlic shrimp over the rice and garnish with cucumber slices, if desired.
– Submitted by Lynette Faul
Time for king cakes
King cakes have been at Coast supermarkets, pharmacies and bakeries since the end of December. Every year, I get requests for an easy King cake to make at home.
Since some cooks do not want to wait for the dough to rise, an easy version uses canned crescent rolls. It is tasty, but softer in texture than store-bought ones. I make mine with cream cheese and fruit filling. A can of crescent rolls, a can or jar of pie filling or all-fruit jam and a dash of cinnamon is all it takes.
If you do not want a heavy icing, you can add sugar or sugar-substitute to a closed top plastic bag along with food coloring to make the traditional gold, green and purple sugar sprinkles. My family prefers the sugar sprinkles.
QUICK KING CAKE
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 to 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, depending on sweetness desired
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2 cans (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 can pie filling, your choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks and extract together until smooth. Remove rolls from cans and arrange pieces around cookie sheet with points toward the center. Push the dough together, leaving center open.
Spread cream cheese mixture on dough. Top with pie filling. Fold dough over mixture and seal. Brush with beaten egg whites. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle with glaze and sprinkle with colored sugar. Glaze is made with powdered sugar, water and a teaspoon of vanilla.