A while back I had the chance to go to Thailand, Australia and New Zealand in one fell swoop. I don’t recommend trying to do all three in one trip unless you love to be on the move. When I planned it I thought to myself, well while I’m down under, I might as well keep going. I mean it didn’t look that far on the map. The eating was primo in Australia and New Zealand, but it was Thailand that captivated my taste buds and my heart. My niece is living there for a few years and one of her main missions is to try all the best foods so she was delighted to see me and show me her favorite haunts.
We ate at a great restaurant right near the historical site of the River Kwai Bridge and had some dishes that I will cover later, but here is a few pics to give you an idea..
My niece hooked me up with Chef Nee, the proprietress of Zanadu 2008 Resort about 2 hours outside of Bangkok where she agreed to give me a lesson on making authentic vegetable egg rolls. Her kitchen was small and spotless. She introduced me to my new favorite gadget- the kiwi peeler. I am not sure why they name it that, but it shreds carrots and other hard vegetables into thin strips. You can now find them in the US in almost all Asian grocery stores, but if you want to buy one on line here’s the place. It’s the Temple of Thai website that sells all things Thai.
Make sure you place the vegetable mixture near the bottom of the wrapper. The wrappers here are somewhat more square, so you can cut an inch off to make it more rectangular or use the square ones. They both work.
The secret to non-greasy egg rolls is hot oil. 375F is best. Invest in a thermometer if you are going to be a frying fool..
When I got back I searched high and low for this mortar and pestle just like the one Chef Nee used. I found it at United Noodles in Minneapolis. It is the best vessel to make peanut sauce in. It’s like an old school Thai food processor that works culinary miracles.
Who wouldn’t love to get their lips around this?
To Print Recipe, click here
Fried Egg Rolls with True Thai Peanut Sauce
This recipe comes from Chef Nee of Xanadu 2008 Resort in Thailand
Yields 6 portions (12 Rolls)
12 Egg roll pastry wrappers
1 cup red and white cabbage, shredded
2 cups rice vermicelli, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained
1 cup carrots cut with Kiwi Slicer
Â½ cup dry shitake mushrooms, soaked 10 minutes in hot water to soften
3 green onions, sliced thin
1 cup peanut sauce (recipe to follow)
Set up a Egg Roll rolling â€œstationâ€ with all your chopped ingredients at hand. Place a egg roll wrapper on a cutting board.
Line the wrapper with vegetables and rice noodles. Roll the mixture in the wrapper, tucking it tight as you roll. When you get half way, start tucking the sides towards the middle and roll burrito style.
Roll until the end of the wrapper. Glue with water and let the rolls sit 10 minutes before frying.
Fry Rolls at 350-375F in Peanut or canola oil. They will be cooked when they start to turn brown. Drain on paper towels and cut in half before serving.
Chef Nee always rolled and cooked hers to order, she never made any up ahead of time. They were so light and crunchy, I was in heaven….It made me smile and my taste buds sang!
True Thai Peanut Sauce
Makes 1 Â½ cups
1 cup unsalted peanuts
Â½ cup sweet chili sauce
Â¼ teaspoon ground Thai chili powder or Southwestern chili powder
2 Tablespoons slice green onions
1 Tablespoon lime juice
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Â¼ cup hot water
1 Tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
In a large mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind nuts until small, until the size of ice cream topping. Add green onions, and mash or process until falling apart.Â Add sweet chili sauce, chili powder, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Add hot water to thin out to the consistency of sauce. Tear mint leaves in pieces and add to mixture. Stir and serve withÂ fried egg rolls. It’s also delicious as a dipping sauce for chicken and fresh spring rolls.
Want more Thai recipes? Check this book out just out as Lynn Rossetto Kasper’s pick of 2010 favorite books from the Splendid Table Store.
Get swept away to the busy streets of Thailand with gorgeous location photos and authentic recipes for unique food that is amazingly complex, spicy, and humble.” â€” Bon Appetit