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Posts Tagged ‘fried’

Since probably the mid 80’s, Thai cuisine has seen an explosion of popularity, likely due to a booming post-war tourism industry in Southeast Asia. As all popular things do, Thai cuisine was quickly adopted as the trendy go-to cuisine in America, built to excess, and generally ruined. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good dish of Pad Thai as much as the next person might. But a vast difference can be found from one pad thai to another. Generally, when seeking out foreign cuisines, look for recipes that aren’t written in english.

Thailand is host to a litany of amazing dishes exemplifying the core four flavors of their cuisine: sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. One thing that people don’t necessarily think about, however (maybe I can’t speak for you, but I’ve really never considered it), is what breakfast looks like in this part of the world. Rice and noodles are all well and good, but when it comes to the most important meal of the day I’ll usually reach for something a bit more familiar.

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Pa Thong Ko are a Thai version of a traditional Chinese-style cruller. Crispy on the outside, light and airy on the inside; They’re almost more similar to the fried bread dough you’d get from a dirty cart at the county fair. Served with coconut jam (which is really a custard), you can see the influence from French colonialism, much the same way that the Banh Mi came about in Vietnam.

According to Thai tradition, the traditional X shaped fritters represent two inseparable lovers, always seen together. In stark contrast, Chinese tradition recounts a tale of two evil men who were put to death in boiling oil.

Pa Thong Ko, adapted from SheSimmers
makes 10-12 fritters

  • Bread Flour*, 260g
  • Active Dry Yeast, 2g
  • Baker’s Ammonia, 2g
  • Alum Powder, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Kosher Salt, 8g
  • Granulated Sugar, 14g
  • Warm Water, 170g (3/4 cup)
  • Vegetable Oil, 1 tablespoon, plus more as needed
  • Baking Powder, 4g

Combine all ingredients except baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on medium speed for 8 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and lightly coat top of dough with oil. Cover with a towel and allow to rise 4-5 hours. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and lightly dust flour over dough. Sprinkle baking powder over dough. Fold and knead about 4 times. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut to desired shapes.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 4-5 inches of vegetable oil to 350F. Fry dough until deep brown and crispy, 1-2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil

*Yes, you can use All-Purpose flour

Sangkhaya (Coconut Jam/Custard)
makes just over 1 cup

  • Egg Yolk, large, 4 each
  • Palm Sugar, 3 tablespoons
  • Granulated Sugar, 5 tablespoons
  • Coconut Milk, full-fat, 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
  • Dried Pandan Leaf**, about 1/4 cup
  • Kosher Salt, 1/8 teaspoon

Combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk vigorously until thick and creamy. Meanwhile, heat coconut milk, pandan and salt in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. While whisking, add 1/3 of the hot coconut milk to the egg yolk mixture. Continue whisking until full incorporated. While whisking, add egg mixture to remaining coconut milk. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking very frequently, until sauce is thick, about 5-8 minutes. Once thick, immediately remove from heat, transfer sauce to a bowl or other container and refrigerate until cooled completely.

**If you can’t find pandan or don’t want to buy it, substitute 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

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Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully you’ve all recovered from your hangovers quickly, and are up an at ’em starting resolutions that you have no real intention of keeping. For myself, I’m re-re-re-re-re starting my weight loss/exercise goal, trying to read more and waste less time on the internet. That’s shouldn’t be too hard, right? Right? Putting my ridiculous goals aside, the new year of course bring the first new week of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge! We’ve been hard at work devising a new list of challenges that are sure to push cooks and foodies to new and exciting areas of their culinary world.

Eggs have long been considered a symbol of new life and new beginnings, so what better way to kick off the new year? In most of the world, when we’re talking about eggs, we’re talking about hen eggs. Fried or scrambled, boiled or baked, the uses for eggs are nearly endless. For me, eggs are synonymous with breakfast. Rather than my normal routine of a fried egg and toast, I wanted to make something a little more out of the ordinary for my first breakfast of the new year. Most egg recipes I found were basically just a fried egg on top of something, or eggs scrambled around a certain filling, and that wasn’t really what I was looking for. After a bit more searching, I recalled a dish that I first had in my final cooking class at culinary school: Scotch Eggs. If you’re unfamiliar with Scotch eggs, now is a great time to add them to your breakfast repertoire. Scotch eggs are a standby of traditional English pub fare consisting of a boiled egg that is then wrapped in sausage, breaded, and deep fried. Normally when you boil eggs, you have to worry about overcooking them. When boiled eggs are overcooked, it creates a reaction with the sulphur found in the egg which causes the green ring to form around the yolk. With Scotch eggs, you have an even smaller window for error. Since the eggs are boiled, and then cooked again after adding the sausage, they become a very temperamental product. If you’re really, really lucky, you can end up with a yolk that is still somewhat runny in the middle, like all good eggs should be.

scotch eggs

I’ll take this as a sign of good luck for the new year. Peeling eggs that are fully cooked isn’t normally very difficult. However, if the eggs are a little bit undercooked, it becomes a whole new beast. Easily taking about three times as long as a cooked-through egg, I was lucky enough to not destroy all of the eggs I cooked. Using English chef Heston Blumenthal’s method, I was able to cook the white of egg all the way while just barely cooking into the yolk. I wrapped the eggs in my own maple breakfast sausage, then let them chill in the fridge for a bit before breading and frying. Like I said before, these are really temperamental. You have to get the balance just right to where you have a crispy coating, the sausage is cooked through, and the egg isn’t overcooked. I was a little disappointed that my yolks were cooked on the outer edges, but I was mostly excited that they were still runny at all. Crispy, juicy and fatty, the Scotch eggs were pretty much everything you could want for breakfast in one neat package.

Scotch Eggs

  • Ground Pork, 1 pound
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper, 1 teaspoon
  • Maple Sugar, 1 teaspoon
  • Ground Sage, 1 teaspoon
  • Shallot, minced, 1 each
  • Garlic, minced, 1 clove
  • Eggs, as needed
  • Smoked Paprika, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cornstarch, 2 teaspoon
  • Dijon Mustard, 2 tablespoons
  • Flour, as needed
  • Eggs, beaten, 2 each
  • Whole Milk, 2 tablespoons
  • Bread Crumbs, as needed

In a large bowl, combine pork, salt, pepper, sugar, sage, garlic, and shallot. Combine evenly and allow to marinate overnight. Placed desired number of eggs into a sauce pot and fill with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring pot to a boil. As soon as the water comes to a boil, remove from heat and allow eggs to cook for 3 minutes. While eggs are cooking, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl of water. Remove eggs from pot and shock in ice water for 15 minutes. Carefully peel each egg, and set aside. Combine the marinated sausage* into the bowl of a food processor with paprika, cornstarch, mustard, and a small amount of water. Process until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. Press a small portion of sausage mixture between two sheets of plastic wrap into a large, thin circle. Place one egg onto the sausage mixture and wrap the egg completely, pressing to seal tightly. Using one of the sheets of plastic wrap, place egg into the center and twist tightly into a pouch to seal. After all eggs are wrapped, refrigerate for 20 minutes. Heat a deep fryer or heavy bottomed pot with oil to 350F. Place flour and breadcrumbs separately into bowls. In another bowl, combine beaten eggs and milk. Dredge each egg in flour, egg, then breadcrumbs. Fry at 350F for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot.

*Packaged breakfast sausage, or your favorite kind of sausage, can be substituted as long as you remove the meat from the casings before adding it to the food processor.

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Fried Dill Pickles

I’m back! After a short hiatus while moving into a new apartment, the internet is back up and it’s time to get cooking again!  I’m really psyched to have a new kitchen with a big gas range, a huge fridge to fill with the good stuff, my own pantry, and even a grill in the backyard. After a day of getting things unpacked, during which I realized that about 90% of everything I own was kitchen stuff, everything is settled in and feeling like home. I’m also right up the street from several hippy grocery stores and there’s a whole section of ethnic markets right around the corner. Hopefully I’ll be able to utilize all these great new opportunities and make some great new dishes and recipes to share with everyone. But enough about all that, let’s get to why you’re really here: FOOD.

Frying is the name of the game for the 36th week of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge! Frying, essentially, is cooking food in fat. By that definition sauteing is technically frying, although you wouldn’t normally associate the two. The most common forms of fried foods are deep-fried and pan-fried. Deep-frying consists of submerging a food entirely in hot fat, such as french fries, potato chips, or chicken wings. Alternatively, pan-frying is better suiting for thinner cuts of meat such as pork, beef or chicken, that are breaded or battered and cooked about halfway submerged in oil. Whichever method you prefer, fried foods are well known in countless cuisines for their crispy, crunchy texture and their golden brown glow. I’m sure if you made a list of some of your top comfort foods, there’s one or two fried items on there. In recent years, restaurants and state fairs across the country have jumped on the “what the hell can we fry?”
bandwagon and have concocted crazy combinations like fried Oreos, fried ice cream, candy bars, Coca-Cola, and even deep fired butter… on a stick… with frosting Any food that you can think of, somebody is already thinking of a way to fry it.

But there’s really no dancing around it: fried foods aren’t very good for you. Breading and batter bulk up on carbohydrates and submerging the whole thing in fat doesn’t help either.  Saturated fats, the kind found in animal products and hydrogenated oils, have been found to contribute to cardiovascular disease when consumed in high quantities. Chances are if you’re eating at fast-food chains multiple times a week, you’re a high consumer. Cutting out or limiting saturated and trans fats in your diet will greatly reduce your chances for cardiovascular problems as well as many other health risks.

For my own venture in fried foods, I wanted to take one on the weirder route: Fried Pickles. I was first introduced to this dish by my Dad when he returned from some military training in Arkansas. He said that he had gone out to a bar with friends from class and was told that they were the signature dish of the place and he had to try them. Popularized in the state in 1963 by Bernell “Fatman” Austin, owner of the Duchess Drive In in Atkins, the fried pickle has become a staple of the American South. Fried pickles aren’t any more complicated than they sound: a sliced dill pickle, battered or breaded, and fried until crispy. I was hesitant when I first tried them because at the time I really hated pickles. This combination, however, was unlike anything I had ever really tried before. It had the same crispy fattiness that I expected, but the briny-ness of the pickle cut through the richness and left you with the great pickle taste that wasn’t too sour, salty, or fatty. As a quick appetizer or snack, it was the perfect little bite.

fried pickles

For my fried pickles, I couldn’t just open a jar and go to town. I wanted to make my own pickles to better control the flavors I was getting in them. Since I didn’t have my own recipe, I went with Bon Appetit’s recipe for the Ultimate Straight-Up Regular Kosher Dill Pickle.  Lightly pickled with garlic, chilies, peppercorns, dill and coriander, these pickles were reminiscent of the stuff you get at the deli, but more… real tasting, if that makes sense. I did one batch sliced and then pickled, and one batch with whole cucumbers. The pre-sliced ones tasted much more of the garlic and chilies rather than dill pickles, so they were a no-go. The whole ones turned out just as I expected though. Lightly sour, garlicky, a little spice, and all-around fantastic. The only thing that I would have changed from the recipe would be the storing process. Bon Appetit calls for a 2-4 day brining while leaving the jars only covered with cheesecloth. Leaving my jars exposed to the air created some funky bacteria on the top of the brine as well as the outside of the pickles. While the pickles themselves were fine, it was kind of concerning. So next time: seal the jars. I also brined my pickles for about a week. I tasted in intervals, but after a week they got just the right flavor. In the various places I’ve had fried pickles, I’ve seen them sliced both in chips and in spears. In my opinion, chips are really the way to go. Spears skew the breading-to-pickle ratio way out of balance and are really unpleasant to eat. As far the frying, I prefer my breaded rather than battered. I used a standard breading procedure of flour, egg wash, and breading, using half bread crumbs and half cracker meal. Fried for about a minute, the pickles were perfect. Hot in the center, crispy on the outside, and plenty of that great pickle-y juice. According to my Dad, in Arkansas they served them with a spicy ranch-type sauce, so I made a small batch for dipping. While the standard jarred variety of pickle are perfectly fine for this dish, I don’t think I would make it again with the homemade pickles. Like I said before, they’re just more real tasting and it really shows in the final product.

Fried Pickles

  • Kosher Dill Pickles, sliced, about 3
  • All-Purpose Flour, about 1 cup
  • Eggs, beaten, about 4 each
  • Bread crumbs, 1 cup
  • Cracker Meal*, 1 cup
  • Vegetable oil, as needed for frying

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or deep-fryer, heat vegetable oil to 350F. Combine bread crumbs and cracker meal in a large bowl. Dredge pickle slices in flour, then coat in egg, then dredge in breading mixture. Fry pickles at 350F for about 1 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on a paper towel and serve warm.

*If you cant find cracker meal, just blend up some crackers in a food processor, or crush them with a rolling pin.

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American Craft Beer Week is upon us! Wherever you are, I urge you to go out and support your local breweries. To celebrate all that America has to offer in the way of beer, I bring to you a week of Vermont beer and recipes. First on the docket: Switchback Brewing Company.

Located in Burlington, Vermont, Switchback Brewing Company was founded in 2002 by a formally trained master brewer and his friend, the vision was to concentrate limited resources into making just a few beers to achieve the highest quality possible. The success of Switchback Ale beer has driven constant expansion for over 7 years and made the release of three Rotating Specials, Roasted Red Ale, Porter, and Slow-Fermented Brown Ale possible. As in the beginning, Switchback continues to rely on word of mouth to increase sales, which have expanded into New York, New Hampshire, and Southern Maine. Their first and most popular beer, dubbed simply “Switchback Ale” has recently become available in bottles and I knew that I had to seize the opportunity cook some great food with it.
Using only traditional ingredients, Switchback Ale is a reddish-amber ale which is particularly well-balanced, allowing for complexity of flavor coupled with an unusually smooth and refreshing character. Five different malts, select hop varieties, and their own specially cultivated yeast create an ale which leads with hop flavors and a subtle impression of fruit, followed by a palate pleasing malty finish. Switchback  uses the yeast to naturally carbonate the beer, and leave it unfiltered. The result is a satisfying brew full of flavor with a remarkably clean and smooth finish. This beer contains 5.0% alcohol by volume and 28 IBU (International Bitterness Units).

fish and chips

For a recipe utilizing this beer, I knew just where to turn. After high school, I got my first real kitchen job at a nearby hotel. To be honest, it was not a very good kitchen to start out in. When I worked, I was the only person in the kitchen and there was a single bartender who also waited tables. The menu was weird, to say the least, and the product was far below the standard to which I am no accustomed. I was overpayed and underworked, but 17-year-old me didn’t really think that was such a bad thing. The one thing I remember specifically liking on the menu was our fish and chips.  While we used frozen tilapia and cooked the hell out of it, it was the batter that really made it. Being 17, I had never really had much experience with different beers (honestly, I swear) so I was excited to hear that we were using a locally made, unfiltered, all-natural beer in our batter: Switchback Ale. In order to…. know the product I was working with, I decided that I would have to grow a taste for the beer. For science, of course. While I haven’t even been back to that hotel since I stopped working there, the recipe stuck in my mind as one of the first times that I learned to cook with beer, and I knew that it would be perfect to celebrate American Craft Beer Week.

Switchback Fish & Chips

  • Haddock, Cod, or other white fish, about 1pound
  • Flour, 1.4cups
  • Baking Soda, 1teaspoon
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Switchback, or other beer, about 12 ounces
  • Flour, as needed
  • Baking Potatoes, about 2
  • Vegetable Oil, as needed
  • Coarse Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Cut potatoes into wedges, or thick fries. Toss with oil and salt to taste. Transfer to baking sheet and bake until tender. Increase oven temperature to 450 and continue cooking until crispy.

Heat a deep fryer or deep cast iron pan with oil to high heat. Trim fish into large pieces, about 1/2 of a large filet. Sift flour and baking soda together and add black pepper. Slowly add beer to make a pancake-like consistency. Dredge fish in flour, then dip in batter allowing excess batter to drain. Fry in hot oil until deep brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve with chips and a lemon wedge.

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