Friday, September 20, 2013

Bamboo Shoots ( repost from a few years back) but a good read.

We ( Ciejay and Me ) went up to the mountain behind our house (three hundred yards) and dug some fresg bamboo shoots and brought them home to boil, and peel and cook for dinner , plus freeze a little for later meals . I was going to write a post about it , BUT , I wrote onr 5 years ago and it would be the same , same soooo, here is the repost , and I'm happy to report that it was just as much fun and the shoots were just as good as back them , some things never change . Every season in Thailand ,brings with it a special fruit or vegetable that can be harvested during it's time, usually for a couple months.This time of the year is no exception (the rainy season) and with it comes two of my favorites.And additions, to use in cooking many Western and Thai dishes .Mushrooms and Bamboo Shoots are plentiful this time of the year , and can be found at every Tuesday and Thursday market here in our small village of Whang Pho , you can also find then for sell on roadside stands all along the highway between here and Kanchanaburi , with most of their customers coming from Bangkok, after a trip in the country ,to visit the many caves and waterfalls and the famous hot springs ,up the road from us .They love to stop on their way home and buy fresh veggies along the side of the road and from the country farmers , they just taste better than the supermarket veggies for some reason, maybe it's all in our minds. Last year Ciejay and me grabbed a bucket and a long knife and headed up to the mountain just a few hundred yards, from our house. Ott, our neighbor always goes there every few days during the rainy season and ,always comes back with a rice bag full of bamboo shoots for the meals she cooks for her family , and she always shares fresh bamboo shoots with us . But , one day last year, I wanted to give it a try for myself and also to be able to write home to my family back in the USA , that I had cut,boiled and peeled and cooked bamboo shoots fresh, right out of the jungle , what an adventure. And what a adventure it turned out to be , noone warned me about all the mosquitos, that we would encounter while cutting fresh bamboo shoots, I thought they were going to eat me alive, we got a bucket full and then got out of there . I did it one time and that's enough for me , now it's Market Day for my bamboo shoots from now on. We haven't given mushroom picking a try yet because, most of the places where they grow are closely guarded, and also a secret known only to the gathers, because mushrooms are a real money crop for lots of the Thai families in our area,lots of mushrooms grow around our mountains and jungles. Today ,while we were visting a neighbors new home being built , the workers were taking their lunch break and they were eating fresh bamboo shoots , they invited me to share (and you know me when food is offered ) so I joined in and what a wonderful tasty dish they had prepared right there on the construction site , fresh bamboo shoots and scrambled eggs with thai chilies and onions, of course. WOW, was it ever good.. When we were leaving the boss came up to me and gave me a bag of fresh bamboo shoots to take home and cook and enjoy, which I did . A bamboo shoot is the start of a young bamboo plant,if not harvested, it will grow into a tall bamboo plant.The leaves that cover the shoot are black and covered with tiny hairs. The black leaves are peeled off untill you can see the off-white meat inside.The white meat turns yellowish after it is cooked.When the shoot is cooked on the day that it is harvested it is very sweet. There are many different types and sizes of bamboo shoots depending on the plant. Big ones are usually sliced and used as an ingredient in a main course dish.The little ones (half a inch in dismeter) are cut into finger size pieces and eaten as a vegetable with sauces like nam prig gapi. In Thailand, bamboo shoots are available during the rainy season,May through October.Otherwise,they are available in cans and jars . In the US,bamboo shoots come in cans and glass jars, pickled or sour, non pickled. When I lived in America ,I never saw fresh bamboo shoots for sell ever, but then again, I was not married to my sweet Thai wife ,except the last few years we lived there .And I had never visited an Asian Market until , I married Ciejay, and even then before ,moving to Thailand ,I was not use to the spicy and smelly (sometimes)Thai dishes, or their way of cooking things .Ciejay's sister would come for a visit and bring all kind of strange stuff with her and when they started to cook , most of the time ,I would leave the house until all the smells were gone ,and I would try and eat a little of what they had cook and act like I was enjoying it , some things I did , but some things I endured, for my sweet Ciejay's sake . Now I am happy to report , that after 5 years here in the LOS , that, I not only love the Thai food (almost everything ) , but I also love all the strange and wonderful , spicey and pepper, smells that come out of the kitchen when Ciejay is cooking . One of my favorite dishes of course ( the reason for this post ) is FRESH BAMBOO SHOOTS, added to many Thai dishes and also to eat as a fresh veggie dish with various sauces that Ciejay mixes up, I love them hot ,drizzled ,with fish sauce and served over a steaming hot cup of Jasmine rice . Wow I'm making myself hungry, glad dinner is almost ready , and of course there will be several dishes made with the fresh bamboo shoots from our friends, the builders. For those of you living here in Thailand, do you like fresh bamboo shoots? and do they grow in your area and do you or your Thai family or neighbors harvest them for cooking at home or as a money crop ? Some of my info came from a site that has lots of recipes using fresh bamboo shoots , visit them sometimes if you have a chance or need a recipe for a Thai dish, you can find them at . Thanks for the read and hope you get your fill of fresh bamboo shoots before the rain stops . Malcolm

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kaffir Lime Tree ( also known as Makroot leaf tree)

These folks come a couple of times a year to harvest the leaves of the huge Kaffir lime tree that grows in our back yard , they sell the leaves to the local restuarants and also send to the market to sell , the leaves are used for lots of Thai food dishes and a must for the Thai soup call Tum Yum , one of my favorite spices for cooking a lot of stir fr
y dishes. Ciejay likes it when they come to gather the fresh young leaves , they pay her. Have you ever tried or cooked with the makroot leaves , if not give it a try you'll love the flavor it will add to your dish . Kaffir limeFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Citrus hystrix, commonly known in English as kaffir lime, is a fruit native to Indochinese and Malesian ecoregions in India, Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and adjacent countries. It is used in Southeast Asian cuisine. Contents [hide] 1 Common names 2 Description 3 Uses 3.1 Cuisine 3.2 Medicinal 3.3 Other uses 3.4 Cultivation 4 Main constituents 5 See also 6 References Common names[edit source | editbeta]English: kaffir lime; French:[2] citron combera, citron ridé; Indonesian/Malay: jeruk obat, jeruk purut, limau purut; Khmer: krô:ch saë:ch;[2] Thai magrood;[3] also known as combava, kieffer lime, makrut lime or kabuyao/cabuyao.[4] Description[edit source | editbeta]Citrus hystrix is a thorny bush, 5-10m tall, with aromatic and distinctively shaped "double" leaves. The kaffir lime is a rough, bumpy green fruit. The green lime fruit is distinguished by its bumpy exterior and its small size (approx. 4 cm (2 in) wide). Kaffir lime leaves are used in some South East Asian cuisines such as Indonesian, Lao, Cambodian, and Thailand (มะกรูด).Cuisine[edit source | editbeta]The rind of the kaffir lime is commonly used in Lao and Thai curry paste, adding an aromatic, astringent flavor.[3] The zest of the fruit is used in creole cuisine to impart flavor in "arranged" rums in the Martinique, Réunion island and Madagascar. However, it is the hourglass-shaped leaves (comprising the leaf blade plus a flattened, leaf-like leaf-stalk or petiole) that are used most often in cooking. They can be used fresh or dried, and can be stored frozen. The leaves are widely used in Thai[3] and Lao cuisine (for dishes such as tom yum), and Cambodian cuisine (for the base paste "Krueng"). Kaffir lime leaves are used in Vietnamese cuisine with chicken to add fragrance. They are also used when steaming snails to decrease the pungent odor while cooking. The leaves are also used in Indonesian cuisine (especially Balinese cuisine and Javanese cuisine), for foods such as sayur asam, and are used along with Indonesian bay leaf for chicken and fish. They are also found in Malaysian[5] and Burmese cuisines. The juice is generally regarded as too acidic to use in food preparation. In Cambodia, the entire fruit is crystallized/candied for eating.[2] Medicinal[edit source | editbeta]The juice and rinds are used in traditional Indonesian medicine; for this reason the fruit is referred to in Indonesia as jeruk obat ("medicine citrus"). The oil from the rind has strong insecticidal properties. Other uses[edit source | editbeta]The juice finds use as a cleanser for clothing and hair in Thailand and very occasionally in Cambodia. Lustral water mixed with slices of the fruit is used in religious ceremonies in Cambodia. MaxRoot gel is made of kaffir lime extract and has been used since old age in the northern parts of Thailand in a particular and secret way of preparation to maintain health and beauty of the Siam people’s shiny hair. Cultivation[edit source | editbeta]Citrus hystrix is grown worldwide in suitable climates as a garden shrub for home fruit production. It is well suited to container gardens and for large garden pots on patios, terraces, and in conservatories.