Saturday, April 04, 2009

What's cooking ?

Dear foodies,

Tea spiced with lemon grass stalks
All of last week I was looking for local stores where I could buy some of the essential ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, thai chillies, etc....to make thai curry pastes at home. I've been partially successful at it. I've also been bookmarking many recipes online, going through books borrowed from the library and, for a change using a pen and paper to keep track of the recipes & ingredients. My handwriting is definitely not the best and I don't want to loose touch and make it completely illegible! [now you know why the writing is completely blurred out in the pic :D]

Today, all I've been doing is prepping for the curry pastes. Here's what kept me busy the last few hours...

chopping, and more chopping...
Chopping bulk amt of lemon grass, galangal, shallots, coriander stems, garlic, and everything else to try out 3-4 recipes.

smacking the poor garlic out of its skin :D
All these ingredients are very aromatic and they fill your kitchen with fragrance. But well, your hands are not spared either. If soap does not help in getting rid of the smell, don't invest on any of this fancy stuff, instead just rub your hands against the stainless steel kitchen sink, or a stainless steel spoon/bowl. There is no hard scientific evidence for if/how it works, but many find that it reduces the odor, give it a try :) And a useful tip from my aunt - after handling chillies, massage your hands with some buttermilk for a couple of minutes, followed by a soap rinse.

Have you decided on a dish to cook for IAVW - Thai ?

19 thoughts:

indosungod said...

I bought some galangal to make Thai soup and have been using that in place of ginger in a lot of Indian recipes. A much milder taste and I just love the fragrance.

Looking forward to the dish you are going to cook up with the paste.

Priya said...


ISG, Soup sounds good. My local organic store used to stock it until late last year. But they've stopped, due to reduced demand I guess. found frozen ones at the Asian store.

Pavani said...

I recently bought "Buddha's Table" cookbook. Will try a recipe or two for IVAW. I have never seen galangal in any of my local groceries. Will keep an eye out for that. Have a nice Sunday Priya.

Suparna said...

hi priya,
lkng fwd to what u r going to cook :> nice handy tips there, snaps are superb. All the best.
Happy sunday.
TC

Soma said...

Love the new look! the pic in the header looks fabulous! I like today's pics too!! That smoke from the cup!

I went Thai curry paste ingredient hunting yesterday!! got "most" ( no galangal.. guess have to jsut use ginger) of the things, & I have kinda decided on what I am going to make. Fortunately I found some green small Thai Eggplants too! I have never used them before, but really curious to find out how they will taste.

looking to seeing your creations too.

Shree said...

Great clicks :) Looking forward to see what will come out of your kitchen.

Sandeepa said...

Would love to get some fresh lemongrass, got a dried one but it doesn't seem to add any flavor to anything :(
Your kitchen must be a delight to be in now

Vaishali said...

Ah, I can just smell all those beautifully fragrant curry pastes you are cooking up, Priya! I have the perfect dish in mind, and I'll be cooking it up soon to send it your way.

A_and_N said...

I'd love to be in your kitchen now :)

We are thinking. We should send in something soon!

Priya said...


Pavani, oooh, I've seen it mentioned by J&B and also some other websites on the net. Must be a great resource for veggie Thai. You must be able to find galangal at the Asian grocery store Pavani. If not fresh they will have them in the frozen section. In the store I went to, it was near the frozen fish, and I had to ask the store owner to find it for me, cos I would never have thought to look for it there :D

Suparna, thank you :) After making the pastes y'day, I was in no mood to make the curries, may be over the week :)

Soma, yaa, I loved how I could capture the steam, I took soo many pics to capture the patterns it made. :D
Ginger and some lime zest can be used for galangal. I've seen those eggplants being used in thai cooking, not a huge fan of the veggie myself though. I know, I am weird!

Priya said...


Shree, I can't wait to try the recipes too :)

Sandeepa, the dried powder must have lost its potency really fast no, hmmm. I got the frozen ones, along with frozen galangal, at the nearby Asian grocery store. May be you call and see if they sell them that way near your place. I heard it is sold in a paste form too.

Vaishali, ooooh, a game of suspense hmmm, I'm not complaining though :D

A & N, yes yes, please do,you guys will surely come up with something fun :)

Vani said...

LOVE the pictures, Priya! Especilly the tea one with smoke wift from the cup-I can almost smell the fragrance of the tea! :) Did not know about the Thai event. Will definitely try to participat.

sunita said...

Beautiful pictures Priya...you must be giddy with all those wonderful aromas :-)

Nirmala said...

Wow Priya, I could imagine the wonderful aromas in our kitchen and why shud u wnat to get rid of them :) So send me packet of all pastes u make. Living in chennai I wonder what can I do to get them all !

Superchef said...

love making thia curry pastes from scratch!! the kitchen smells soo wonderful with all the lemongrass and lime leaves and galangal!!

the pics are just awesome!!

bee said...

we make huge batches and freeze. i have tons of pastes in my freezer from last year. three hours or making the pastes and it's totally worth it. i have something in my draft. will post it next week.

bee said...

another thing. kaffir lime leaves and ground galangal (also chopped lemongrass) freeze well.

Priya said...


Vani, I am glad you saw this post and got to know about the event :) I am mostly a coffee fan, but can never say know to a cup of good chai, so had to make one using the lemongrass.

Sunita, yes, the smells were really good. But I got so tired chopping all day :D

Nirmala, when I was thinking about the event announcement I was worried about the availability of ingredients too. I have been going through some cookbooks and saw recipes that did not need any of the hard to find stuff. Will send you an email :)

Superchef, this is the first time making them for me, and its not that tough once you get the pastes done and stored for future use naa? Waiting for your recipes :)

Bee, it was mostly your recipes that I was following :) I reduced the amts a bit though, cos I had limited amount of lemongrass and wanted to try 2-3 pastes. I could not find kaffir lime leaves, and used lime zest instead. Can't wait to make the curries now.

Laavanya said...

Wow.. i've missed quite a few of your posts and it was such a delight to catch up - loved the pictures. I particularly liked the first one in this post.. the steaming cup of tea and the entire setup looks stunning. Hope to contribute something to the thai event :)

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