Thai Lemongrass and Ginger Dipping Sauce

I thought it was funny the other day while driving my daughter on one of my errands, that when prompting her with the classic ‘what do you think we should have for dinner?’ question, she immediately responded with lettuce wraps and sticky rice. I find that funny because most kids here age would probably say things like pizza, or hot dogs, or burgers. Sticky rice and lettuce wraps. I’m glad my kids not only are able to experience new things that I make for them, but they appreciate and have fun interacting with things like sticky rice.

Anytime I make sticky rice, I always, always make a batch of some type of dipping sauce. Some of my favorites are the Thai shallot sauce, as well as a Thai three sauce, but one dear to my heart is a very simple sauce that is so addictive. It’s the Thai lemongrass dipping sauce.

Thai Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

This sauce is not only great with dipping your sticky rice into, but you can drizzle it on grilled meats, lettuce wraps, and everything in between.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole Thai bird chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced into a paste
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 whole lime, juiced
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar

Add everything to a small mixing bowl, and let it sit out on your table until you are ready to serve. How to make a Thai Dipping Sauce

 

You could go as simple as the chilies, garlic, lime, and fish sauce and that still makes an awesome sauce, but the addition of the lemongrass and ginger really enhance this sauce. My daughter, who is curious with various chilies, was dipping a bit of her rice into the sauce, and it’s funny when they do explore the reaction on their faces. This was a bit too hot for my youngest, but I have a feeling years from now she will be answering me when I ask what she would like to eat that it is going to be something along the lines of ‘sticky rice with that spicy dipping sauce’.

Hope you enjoy!

 

Read More

Shrimp Larb – ‘Larb Goong’

I will tell you that one of my favorite flavor combinations has to be that of the flavors of any Thai larb, or what some refer to as laap. Someone from Thailand, or from the Thai culture please chime in and let me know which it is, larb or laap. Please. I typically make pork or chicken larb as my kids totally love picking up the minced meat mixture with sticky rice, or placing it in lettuce wraps, but you can definitely go way beyond pork or chicken, and recently I decided to go with shrimp.

Shrimp Larb Recipe

I’ve had larb with raw, minced beef (which was a bit of a shock but delicious), as well as cooked beef, and I will admit, however you want your larb, trust me, they are all freaking delicious. I say this because the fresh herbs and dressing that mixes into the larb is really the star of the show. I could just eat that stuff by the spoonful, or simply drizzle onto some rice, and I would be happy.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

 

  • 8-10 medium sized shrimp, peeled, and deveined
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar, or honey
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce, (I like Red Boat, or 3 Crabs brand)
  • 2 tbsp roasted rice powder
  • 1/2 cup of shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 Thai bird chilies, diced, stems removed
  • Small wedge of green cabbage
  • 8-10 fresh green beans, trimmed
  • Roasted Peanuts
  • Sticky rice, optional
  • Water

Start by adding your shrimp to a skillet. Add in water, enough to come half way up to the shrimp. Bring the heat to a medium, and simmer the shrimp, only cooking until slightly firm, and cooked through. This should only take a few minutes. Once cooked, strain and set the shrimp to a mixing bowl.

To another bowl, make the sauce.

How to make shrimp larb

Add the lime juice, shallot, Thai chilies, palm sugar, and fish sauce. Mix well until the sugar gets dissolved. Once dissolved, taste, and adjust any seasoning if you prefer. You might want a bit more fish sauce, sugar, or lime. The goal is a sweet, sour, spicy. Once you have achieved this, add in the mint, cilantro, and toasted rice powder. Give this a good stir.

Toss in the shrimp, and get ready to plate.

To your serving dish, add the peanuts, cabbage, and green beans. Add the shrimp larb to the other side, and eat by adding a bit to your green cabbage leaves, topping with some green beans for a slight bitter flavor, and eat with the peanuts.

The end result is nothing short of amazing in flavor. It packs the perfect punch in texture, spice, and overall balance, plus it is super fresh and healthy to boot. This is a perfect dish for any party or any day of the week. Hope you enjoy!

 

Read More

Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce – Nam Jim Jaew

I am a huge fan of Thai dipping sauces. Not only Thai but also Vietnamese. There is something about the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spice that when served with sticky rice or grilled meat, well, let’s just say it is a game changer. I’ve made some pretty darn good sauces in the past such as the Thai shallot sauce, the Thai Three Sauce, or the classic Thai dipping sauce, but this sauce in particular really stands out. It’s known as nam jim jaew and what separates it is the additions of toasted rice and spring onions.

Nam Jim Jaew with Grilled Beef

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate syrup, or preferably tamarind pulp
  • 1 tbsp ground red chili
  • 1/2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tsp toasted rice
  • 2 tbsp spring onion, thinly sliced

Now typically you would use tamarind pulp for this recipe, however I was out and decided to use pomegranate syrup as it yields the same texture and sourness to the dish. Did I mention it was just as awesome? Regardless, add everything to a small mixing bowl, and with the back of a fork, mix everything together, ensuring that the palm sugar thins out.

How to make Nam Jim Jaew

Add the sauce into a small serving dish and serve alongside any grilled meat. This stuff is addicting. I was actually eating it by the spoon, and I’m not kidding about that. I probably used about 5 different spoons as it was hard to hold back. When paired with the grilled beef, well, you are just going to fall in love. Hope you enjoy!

Read More

Pickled Thai Chilies

I’ve been in a pickling mood for some time now. No clue why, but I have been. It’s most likely because I have had an abundance of chili peppers growing in the garden, and as I normally freeze them and use later, I also love doing a quick pickle and use the chilies on pizza, rice bowls, and omelets. I wouldn’t say that I am a true chili head, but I do love the spice, and the vitamin content that normally goes with them.  One of my favorite peppers has got to be the Thai bird chili pepper.  They have a great punch of hit along with some really nice citrus notes, and when used in sauces such as Nuoc Cham, well, hands down it’s a real winner.

Pickled Thai Bird Chilies

I know, big deal, these just look like regular Thai chili peppers right? Well, yes, but then again, they have been pickling for a couple of weeks in a great, and simple pickling mixture that makes these chilies pop even more.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Thai bird chilies
  • 1 1/2 inch fresh lemongrass, lightly smashed
  • 6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

That’s it. Great stuff.

Start by adding everything but the Thai chilies in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and let the sugar melt with the vinegar and water. Remove and let cool.

How to make pickled Thai Chilies

Once the mixture has cooled, add the chilies to a small, sealable container, and pour the vinegar solution into the container, making sure you have covered the chilies.

Seal, and place in the refrigerator for about two days. Then use freely.

Again, I love Thai bird chilies, but with the addition of the vinegar and sugar, and lemongrass really makes these shine even more. They are great sliced and served  (if you like that type of heat), with any type of dishes where you want to add a bit of heat. If you like chili peppers, you will most likely love these. Hope you enjoy!

Read More