Friday, October 30, 2009

time to be counted...

the census is coming up in 2010 and so are the informational posters at my work! here are a couple of myths about the census for those of you that are afraid to be counted. they're followed by the "truth" or the way it really is...

ps. i did make some lap from the cook book, but i gotta get the pictures loaded online here and then i will post...!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009


i'm adding a post script to my last post cause i am worried there's people out there making curry and its turning out really really bad. so ima go a little deeper with this. first, these are the specific ingredients that i used (and that i didn't show pictures of before:)the red curry paste

fish sauce - see my previous post about why i like three crabs the best.

coconut milk

sliced bamboo

the thai egg plant

and another note on the bamboo: i usually use the whole bamboo out of the can and cut it myself. it tastes better. but the sliced one is good if you don't have a lot of time. but make sure you rinse it thoroughly, or it'll have that been-in-a-can-for-way-too-long taste to it.

also, if you live in jonesville louisiana and you can't find these items in your local grocery market, you can order them at!

also, i had one reader that commented to me privately that broccoli should not be put in red curry. "i've never seen that before," were her exact words. i encouraged her to comment on this in the comment section of the blog, but alas... well, i haven't seen it before either i guess, but it sure tastes good when i use it. i always laughed at the people that used carrots, cause i just think that that's gross, but i have definitely seen carrots more times than broccoli... just not in my curry.

feel free to weigh in on this!

Friday, October 09, 2009


so in case you don't know the background: the producers of avatar the last airbender have cast white kids in asian roles in the big screen adaptation of this "beloved" japanese cartoon. and the director is none other than m. night 6th sense. (this casting practice apparently draws a bigger crowd than if we were to watch asian kids in the big screen portrayal. in fact, you may not know this, but they almost hired an all-white cast for crouching tiger, hidden dragon.) the only asian in the film is slumdog patellionaire, and he is playing the bad guy. (and he was a late casting pick. originally, jesse mccartney was slated to play this part! and jesse is really white. in fact, if you look up "white" in the online dictionary, you'll see his picture. and for those of you that are thinking, "ha ha, you're joke isn't very original," i answer- it isn't original because it's not a joke. check out the link at
here is a website with more details about this and other examples of racebending. it's called (of course.)
they're holding a forum here locally (see below) on oct 15th at the ethnic cultural center just off the uw campus - from 4-5 pm. might be worth checking out.

thanks ben for keeping us all aware.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

red curry

i picked this recipe because i've made it the most. i began making red curry years ago, but i've made major adjustments over the years. i first learned from a woman in porterville, california, but i lost that original recipe- so when i got this Lao cookbook, this was the first recipe i tried - and now i pretty much have it memorized.

but i make adjustments from the cookbook as well: penn makes her red curry with green beans, bamboo, and purple eggplant. i chose thai eggplant, green, red and yellow peppers, and broccoli - i like how broccoli soaks up the curry. but really you can put anything; i've seen pumpkin and pineapple, potatoes and carrots, peas and squash. in the picture to the right you can see the lemon grass stalks and the basil (looking kinda lazy and tired).

but for sure you need:
curry paste
fish sauce
lime leaves, (bai khiihout)
galanga (kha) - see picture to the right
lemon grass (houa sing khai)
green onions
basil (boua lapha)

here's the basics of what i do:
i cook about 2/3 of the curry paste (i buy maesri, the small can) in the pan with 4-5 tablespoons of oil until it starts getting brown and gives off that strong mace-like smell that stings your eyes and throat; this gets rid of that weird taste of the curry. penn asks for olive oil in all her recipes, but that's just weird. i go for something a little less healthy (and a better taste - like vegetable or canola oil. i would use lard if i had easy access.) and if your paste starts getting dry, just add more oil. more is more.

then add the chicken - cut in strips, however much you want. cook for a bit and then add two cans of coconut milk. i don't like it too thick, so i always add a can or two of water. penn says nothing about this, but whatever, it's a free country. mae sou (the woman that taught me how to make curry so many years ago) told me to cook the coconut milk for a while until the oil starts to come out... but i've never known what she was talking about, so i gave up this step in november of 2002, but she said it was really important so i mention it here.

then i add in the lime leaves (penn says 3, i say more, cause the owner of the local Lao store told me more is more,) lemon grass (couple of stalks chopped in long stems so nobody accidentally tries to eat them - if you're cooking for whiteys that don't know better) and galanga - 3-4 slices (same thing about cutting 'em big; although my former roommate liked to chew on a sliver every so often.) but if you don't have all this, don't worry about it... its for flavoring and its all included in the curry paste anyway, so its not a necessity; i think the lime leaves (see insert) is the most significant addition, and its usually found in the freezer of the asian store. just ask the friendly cashier at your local market.

then put in the fish sauce, salt and sugar. this is the key. gotta get this right... i say about 4 tablespoons of fish sauce, and 1 tablespoon of salt, 3 tbs of sugar, and a teaspoon or so of msg. but really you just need to taste it. you want it saltier than what you may normally prefer because you're gonna serve it on rice and it'll dilute the flavor. and if you don't like fish sauce, you can substitute salt... but if you don't like fish sauce, go to some other blog, you're wasting your time here.

then cook in all your additions - and turn off the heat and stir in the green onion (several stalks cut in 1 inch pieces) and basil (the leaves removed from the stem - about half cup? whatever you want.)

then serve over jasmine rice.

i made this with a group of friends at fhe, so this ain't my kitchen. my kitchen ain't this nice... so i had some help gettin things cut up and put in the pan. also, sorry for the ugly washed-out photos; i used my cell phone camera. and i usually like a "redder" curry - but i didn't put that much paste in cause some people couldn't eat spicy. the other problem is that i made more than normal, so i struggled to get the flavor right. you'd think that after all these years i could make a perfect curry, but there is something genetic about this... and in the end, i am still white.
i would rate this recipe for yall... but because i made so many changes, i can't. maybe when i start getting into new territory.