the next time you go to a pho restaurant, look for this hidden gem on the menu. it’s probably past #20 of all the potential meat combos you can get in your pho. compared to pho, bo kho has a deeper umami taste, due to the tomatoes and fish sauce in the broth. it’s almost like the vietnamese version of beef bourguignon, but this time served on rice noodles! you can either cook this low and slow, sans agression (thanks ludo lefebvre for the best way to describe gentle cooking), or the process can be expedited with a pressure cooker or instant pot.
your mind will be blown the first time you make fresh curry paste. pounding each ingredient in the mortar and pestle and smelling the wafting perfumes that are released is absolutely intoxicating. even if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, the satisfaction of making fresh curry paste from your food processor, blender, whatever it may be, is well worth the effort. your curry will turn out more fragrant, flavourful, and luscious, plus, you can freeze portions of it for a quick weeknight meal! this does require some ingredient hunting, but most of it can be found at your local asian market. if you’re okay with store bought paste, skip to part 2 of the recipe for instructions. serve with steamed white rice, or try our coconut rice for some extra richness.
Massaman curry is one of my personal favourites. It's a go-to recipe when I host private dinners for larger groups, or have a free Sunday to spend cooking. It is rich, complex, and packed with SO much flavour, and I get giddy when I smell the paste frying. The aroma that fills the room is INCREDIBLE. After leaving it for a while to bathe and bubble in its own deliciousness, you're left with a magical, golden curry with beautifully tender chicken or beef. Damn, I'm mouthwatering again. This recipe definitely takes time 'sans aggression', but trust me, it is well worth it.
We’re always looking for new ways to integrate vegetarian meals into our diets, and as much as we love tofu we’re eager to explore some more imaginative alternate proteins. Lately, that has meant pulse-patties, from black bean burgers to falafels. We love falafels for transforming relatively-boring-but-packed-with-nutrients chickpeas into crisp-on-the-outside-moist-on-the-inside flavour bombs that add substance to rice bowls and keep us full for hours after a meal. They’re traditionally spiced with cumin, coriander, mint and cilantro, but we wondered if they could be done using the same blend of aromatics as our favourite Thai sausage, Sai Ua. The answer is a resounding yes. Full of lemongrass, turmeric, chilies, kaffir lime leaves and galangal, these Thai inspired falafels have a bold flavour that keeps you going back for more. For strict vegetarians, we use powdered dry mushrooms for umami, but if you’re more lenient we recommend a healthy dose of fish sauce.
This is one of the courses that we served when we hosted a supperclub at Toronto's Depanneur recently. It's inspired by a dish we tried on an island in Malaysia a couple of years ago. This island had absolutely awful food. Every restaurant had the exact same menu and none of the options were great. But! Every day, this family of women from a neighbouring island would boat over with a few giant tupperwares of home cooked food that they'd sell on the beach. One of the recurring dishes was called kecap beef (pronounced "ketchup"), named after the kecap manis, or sweet soy, that was in the dish. This recipe is our best attempt at recreating their kecap beef. It's sweet, savoury, a bit spicy and incredibly rich. To balance the richness and to complement the soft texture, we recommend serving it with a side of either pickled vegetables or a vinegar-based slaw as well as topped with something crispy - fried shallots, fried potato, peanuts, whatever you want.
This sausage from Northern Thailand is insane. It's spicy, rich, herbaceous and fragrant. There's a long list of ingredients that go into it, and it takes some commitment to stuff the sausages at home, but the end result is well worth it. If you don't have a sausage stuffer, not a problem. You can use a funnel and manually stuff the casings, or you can simply make patties out of the meat and fry them up in a pan. If you don't have a meat grinder (and realistically, how many people have a meat grinder at home?) simply substitute 2 lbs of ground pork for the belly and shoulder. We use long red chilies instead of bird's eyes simply because they're easier to calibrate - if you'd rather use bird's eyes, that's fine too.