Day 4 - Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 4 of our World Cuisine Bootcamp was "Asia". Cooking methods in Asian countries include pan frying, deep frying, grilling, steaming, simmering, steaming, roasting and one-pot cooking. They use bamboo steamers, bamboo skewers, Chinese cleavers, chopsticks, rice cookers and sushi mats for making sushi (always wrap your mat in plastic wrap). Peanut oil is their base oil. They use a lot of soy sauce, fish sauce and shrimp paste. A classic Asian combo is ginger, garlic and scallions, often referred to as the "Chinese Trinity".

  Rice Paper-Wrapped Salad Rolls with Nuoc Cham

 Pad Tai by LS
This is a dish I would definitely like to try at home!
I've included the recipe below, as well as little notes I wrote in the margins.

6 Tbsp Tamarind puree (can buy as a puree or blocks of seedless tamarind)
4 Tbsp Palm sugar, chopped until soft and crumbly, packed (can't substitute with anything else - buy at an Asian market)
3 Tbsp fish sauce (or to taste) - your fish sauce should not have 1,000 ingredients
2 limes, juiced
1 1/2 tsp ground dried chile pepper
Ground white pepper to taste - be careful - very impactful flavor

1 lb dried rice stick noodles, 1/4 inch wide
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbs minced shallots
1 1/2 Tbsp minced daikon
1 cup firm, tofu, julienned
3 eggs
12 shrimp (26/30 count, peeled and deveined)
3 fl oz chicken stock or water
4 green onions, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
5 wt. oz. bean sprouts
1 cup peanuts, roasted, chopped
2 limes cut into wedges to garnish

1. To make the sauce combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir well.  Set aside.

2.  Soak the rice noodles in warm water for 15 minutes and drain.  (Don't over soak, they should 
still feel raw, this just prepares the noodles).

3. Separate the ingredients into two batches.

4. For each batch, heat the oil in a wok or large pan over high heat.  When the wok is very hot, add the garlic, shallots, daikon, and tofu and toss gently.  Crack the eggs into the wok.  Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, stir until set, about 20 seconds.  

5. Add the noodles and shrimp and stir together briefly with the other ingredients.

6. Add the chicken stock and cook until the noodles begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.

7. Drizzle in the sauce and toss to evenly coat the noodles.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the noodles absorb most of the sauce and become dry, 5 to 6 minutes.

8. Stir in the green onions, bean sprouts, and half of the chopped peanuts.  Toss a few times to combine.  Serve on a heated platter, garnished with the remaining peanuts and accompanied by the lime wedges. 

Tai Beef Curry in Sweet Peanut Sauce
by Lynley

Both the Pad Tai and the Tai Beef Curry were cooked in the woks. Below is some video footage of LS and Lynley working the woks!
  Sticky Rice with Coconut Sauce and Fresh Mangos

This was honestly like dessert it was so good! One thing I believe we unanimously agreed on (not including Michael but most especially including Kirk) was to OMIT THE MUNG BEANS!!

Sticky Rice
 3 cups sticky rice
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cups sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt
3 pandanus leaves, tied in a knot (frozen section, but can be hard to find, can use kumbu leaves, which are easier to find)

Coconut Topping
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 1/4 tsp sugar
1/3 tsp salt
2 1/3 tsp rice flour
1 1/2 tsp mung beans, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
3 Mangos, thinly sliced, or as needed

1. For the sticky rice, drain the soaked rice and place in a steamer lined with cheesecloth.  Steam untl the grains are soft, about 20 minutes.

2. When the rice is steaming, combine the coconut milk, sugar, salt and pandanus leaves in a small saucepan.  Bring to a bare simmer for 2 minutes to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Strain and reserve the mixture.

3. When the sticky rice is done, transfer to a mixing bowl.  While the rice is still hot, add the coconut milk mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, gently stir to coat the grains quickly and evenly.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the rice to absorb the sauce.

4. For the coconut topping,  combine the coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.

5. In a bowl, blend the rice flour with 1 tablespoon of water and mix well to dissolve the rice flour.  While the coconut sauce is simmering, slowly drizzle in the rice flour slurry, stirring constantly.  Return to a boil, immediately remove from the heat, and set aside. 

6. Drain and pat dry the mung beans.  Toast in a nonstick saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they are light brown and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Set aside.

7. When ready to serve, place a small amount of the sticky rice onto a plate with the mango slices arranged on the side.  Pour 3 Tbs of the coconut topping over the sticky rice and sprinkle with the toasted mung beans.

Naan with Spinach and Mung Dal

 Deep-Fried Potato Balls with Cilantro and Cashew Chutney
by Bridget & Kirk
Tandoori Chicken by Jodi

 At the end of our cooking day, Michael did a sushi demonstration for us.  See video footage below.

That afternoon, once class was over, we headed across the street to the Aveda Institute for various spa appointments. LS is taking in the tranquil atmosphere.

And later that evening, we all enjoyed a fantastic dinner on the riverwalk, where our waiter made fresh guacamole right at our table.

 The San Antonio riverwalk

We had a wonderful meal together and were so sad 
this was our last night in San Antonio!

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