Tag Archives: cooking

Brown Rice/Organic Bistro – cookbook nearing completion…

Things are getting up a head of steam at the Brown Rice/Organic Bistro as we near completion of the Recipe Gathering stage of Operation Cookbook.

I’ve put a gallery below of some of our latest dishes and today we will be cooking up a lot of specials and having a small party to finish up the job… then it’s just a matter of writing it up and all the rest..!

1 Comment

Filed under Cookbook

More Progress at Brown Rice/Organic Bistro

Big progress is being made at Brown Rice – both in terms of the book and the restaurant.
There are pictures above of some of the dishes we have been cooking and some of the new additions at the restaurant such as the Citron Honey Soda which is made from special lime-like fruit that has been delivered from Bangkok – not available anywhere else in Chiang Mai right now…

We made Pumpkin stuffed with Thai custard – appropriate for halloween along with a number of other Pumpkin dishes – Fries with Red Curry Sauce and Stir Fried Pumpkin with egg and sweet basil.

Other favourites were the Gluai Khaek – or Deep Fried Banana and the “Son-In-Law Egg” Boiled and deep fried eggs topped with fried shallots and dried chili and drizzled with Tamarind sauce. So called because cooking an egg in Thailand, as most places in the world is considered the bottom line in cooking ability and this variation on a simple dish represents the Son-in-Law trying to impress by doing something a bit different. It’s very popular amongst children in Thailand.

1 Comment

Filed under Cookbook

Behind the scenes – Gac Fruit juice for Compass magazine

Duang writes a monthly column for Compass magazine where he introduces various vegetarian dishes and new ideas to the Chiang Mai city audience in both Thai and English. With his new restaurant under renovation he invited me over to see his photoshoot for the new issue and see him making some delicious juice from one of the most nutritious fruits available.

I had never heard of the Gac fruit but it is quite popular in Vietnam in particular where it is often eaten as part of festivities such as the Tet New Year celebrations. When I looked into the facts Gac contains some pretty impressive health benefits, over 70 times the amount of Lycopene found in tomatoes and around 10 times the amount of Beta Carotene in carrots.

It is kind of flavourless though and Duang suggested that drinking it unmixed would not be very tasty so we were going to try juice with Orange, pineapple and starfruit.
First the photographers and I prodded and poked the strange looking fruit, showing that this is even uncommon for Thai people, and then slicing one in half the photoshoot commenced.

After some nice shots had been taken Duang scooped out the fleshy insides of the fruit which contain a lot of large seeds. These seeds are black and white, male and female, but it is the pulp around the seeds that we needed to make the juice and it needs to be concentrated. First using a strainer Duang pours water onto the seeds and using his hands scrapes the flesh off into a bowl, this process is repeated 4 or 5 times until the seeds are clean and there is a bowl full of watery Gac fruit flesh. He used around 1 litre of water for 3 Gac fruit.

This liquid is then brought to the boil with a pinch of salt and the resulting concentrate will keep for a long time in the fridge.
We then freshly juiced some oranges and used his “Champion” juicer to juice 2 pineapples and several starfruit. It’s a pretty cool juicer, the juice comes out the bottom and the pulp out of the end… simple.

The Gac fruit may not have a strong taste but it does have a strong colouration and so because of this it would be difficult to distinguish which juice was which. The solution is obvious, as Duang’s food stylist nature comes out and a beautiful garnish is applied to each glass.

After another photoshoot with the finished juices we got to try the pineapple and starfruit (which turned out to be the sour variety so Duang added some honey). Generally these will be served without any added sugar or water though. The Pineapple was especially delicious as was the mix of all three that we had at the end, hopefully this will be a successful seller at the new restaurant.

Speaking of which, it is coming along nicely. I helped with some moving the other day, riding around the city on the back of an overloaded pickup truck, which was fun. The guys had the really hard work though, sawing the edge off a table which we really struggled to get into the kitchen..

It’s coming together now though, Duang has a new sign up and the plan is to open for the soft launch next week..

Leave a comment

Filed under Cookbook

I’m writing a cookbook…!

I stumbled across Brown Rice/Organic Bistro while wandering the streets of Chiang Mai and was drawn in by the picture of the Tom Yum drink that advertised the establishment. I went to have a look at the menu which was led by such an unusual idea and was impressed to see an array of delicious looking and fabulously presented dishes.

We went back and had a feast of Banana Blossom Curry Cakes, Thai Herb Salad and Spicy Tofu with Basil leaves (a vegetarian take on Thai standard Pad Krapow)

The food was amazing although the setting was incongruous being in the front of the Green Oasis guesthouse. Its a nice enough place with some fun people but not really the right setting for chef Duang’s excellent food when Tony, the dreadlocked manager comes out dressed only in a towel.

We chatted with Duang about his story as the author of several Thai cookbooks and his work as a “food stylist” for various magazines and restaurants.  Impressed by his love of food and his enthusiasm for new and innovative vegetarian dishes we decided to sign up for a one day private cooking class the following week.


Here he taught us his take on the classic Pad Thai fried noodle dish – with the addition of a very beautiful “egg net” and how to make Tamarind Sauce, which he uses in many of his dishes.  We learnt his take on satay, using tofu and mushrooms and the traditional soups Tom Yum and Tom Kha which are very similar.  Tom Kha has the addition of coconut milk rather than the spicy and sour taste of clear Tom Yum.

During our cooking class we got talking about the prospect of an English cookbook and he seemed interested in working with me after I mentioned my food blogging past. We actually went back several times in the next week because one of his assistants didn’t turn up and he appreciated our help in the kitchen. It was during this time that the cookbook plan came into fruition.

I spent some time on Ko Phangan, which I’ll write about soon, and then came back to meet Duang just before he moves to his new restaurant near the beautiful Wat Phra Singh.

We have been working together for the last week and have already accumulated 7 recipes for the book starting with Mee Gati, thin rice noodles with coconut cream sauce.

I then learnt Curry Soy Cakes which is a variation on his Banana Blossom recipe but with tofu since that is more accessible for a western audience. These are just like Thai fish cakes but suitable for vegetarians and served with quickly deep fried crispy Thai Basil leaves for an aromatic crunch.

Pineapple Fried Rice is a fruity dish in its own right and his crispy tofu with spicy green Mango salad is just unbelievably good.  Yesterday we took part in a free cooking class he gives on the last Saturday of every month as part of a Government initiative to help small businesses. We learnt his take on potato samosas and Salad Khaek or Indian salad, a Thai “fusion” dish which is unlike any salad I have had in India or elsewhere but with a delicious dressing.

I’ll be in Chiang Mai for the next month or so working with Duang and compiling a set of recipes for us to include while learning some fantastic Thai cooking and I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on my progress.

4 Comments

Filed under Cookbook

Lhamo’s Kitchen – Tibetan Cooking Class Pt 1

Lhamo’s Kitchen

So after having tried Tibetan food on a few occasions I decided that doing a cooking course would be a good way to spend my morning. Lhamo’s Kitchen offers 2 hour classes in different types of Tibetan cuisine, pretty much in his front room, and the first one we attended was to see how to make the Momo dumplings that I may have gone on about. We discovered that “Mo” in Tibetan means “tasty” so the dumplings are literally “Tasty Tasty.”

We made three different types of Momo which were: Vegetable, Cheese & Spinach and a sweet with a sugar and sesame seed filling.

Here are all the lovely ingredients:

The first thing we did was make the fillings. For the Vegetable Momo this consisted of:

1/2 cabbage, chopped

1 Large Carrot, peeled and grated

2 Medium sized onions, finely chopped

1/2 tsp salt

3tbsp oil (you can use any kind of oil)

1tbsp minced garlic

1tbsp finely chopped Spring onion (green part only)

1tbsp finely chopped capsicum

1tbsp finely chopped coriander

1/4 tsp crushed black pepper

Mix together thusly:

Spinach and cheese ingredients were similar : You can use any type of cheese, we used “Cow cheese” apparently.

Finally we made the filling for the sweet Momos which consisted pretty much of sugar and sesame seeds lightly fried:

The last job was to make the dough, the recipe for 6 people:

1/2 kilo of flour (any kind of flour is fine apparently, Lhamo makes his own by getting the wheat and grinding it down since he doesn’t trust Indian flour which might be dirty and have hairs in it…!)

2tsp Baking powder

300ml of Water (room temperature)

Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl and mix well, slowly adding the water as you go.

Roll out the dough:

Using magical powers fold up the Momo dough with the filling so that they look like this:

Put them in the steamer.  Steam for 15 minutes (10 for the sweet ones) and eat. (you can also fry them for a minute each side after steaming if you like. 

That night I went to the LIT centre where they were showing the moving documentary “Murder in the Snow” and serving Tibetan Pizza to raise funds for their activities.

The film shows the first footage of Chinese border police shooting Tibetans as they try to escape across the mountains into Nepal. Shot by a group of mountaineers who were at a base camp and saw the refugees trying to cross before a 17 year old nun was shot dead. The Chinese government responded by saying the actions of the soldiers was “normal border procedure” which begs the question how many others have been killed attempting to gain their freedom.

You can watch it here

On a lighter note, the Pizza, I suspect, is Tibetan because it is cooked by Tibetans rather than being a traditional dish. With a thickish base and a spinach filling inside and tomato and cheese on top, it was interesting without being fantastic, although it was served with mash potato, which was nice.

1 Comment

Filed under India