Thai Hot and Sour Soup

Thai Hot & Sour SoupWe all love Thai food. Last year we hosted a Thai student, therefore I ventured into cooking more Thai at home.

This was a recipe I tried from Leite’s Culinaria site. Everyone absolutely loved it, though I decided to remove some of its broth aside and add the spiciness onto it, then only my husband, the Thai student and I added it back to the soup. This way the soup for the dancer and the princess was not as spicy. The Thai student felt it was not as authentic as back home,yet she still loved it and made her miss home a little less.

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Lemon chutney and paste for grilling

Lemon Chutney

My Mother taught me this absolutely amazing lemon chutney. She learned it from a Mozambican man while living in South Africa. It is extremely easy to make but usually requires hot sun. Yet living in a cold area such as Wisconsin I figured out how to make it on the stove top.

This chutney is awesome to eat it alone with a nice juicy grilled steak or creating a paste, then basting whatever food you will be grilling or broiling! And no worries it certainly is not as crazy spicy as you may think, when looking at those chili peppers, just cut them small and enjoy.

Oh, and another thing. If you are going to do it in the sun, therefore outdoors, PLEASE keep an eye for chipmunks! Believe it or not they love this chutney! Not sure it is good for them, but I ended up to throw away two jars as they opened the cheese cloth and enjoyed its contents!

Now I have no exact measurements for this recipe, so bear with me.

INGREDIENTS

Dry red hot chili peppers

Lemons cut in quarters (you can also use limes)

Coarse sea salt

empty 8-ounce glass jar with cover

cheese cloth

kitchen twine

DIRECTIONS IF COOKING IN THE HOT SUN

  1. In an empty 8-ounce glass jar create layers with each of the ingredients. 
  2. I usually start with lemon quarters, nicely snug, then cover it with a thin layer of salt, then about 20 chili peppers and so on.
  3. Make sure to always pack it well, so there is no space whatsoever.
  4. Once all the layers have reached the top, fill it with as much lemon juice as you can. Using a thin stick, such as a barbecue skewer, move things a bit around so to avoid air bubbles.
  5. Prior to covering the jar with cheese cloth and kitchen twine, make sure to fill to the brim with lemon juice not to dry up.
  6. Fold a cheese cloth two or three times to create a square, then place it over the top of the jar. Tie the twine tightly around the cheesecloth.
  7. Place it outside somewhere you know will always be under the sun, or at least have a good 6 hours of direct sun per day.
  8. Every two days, remove the cheese cloth, add more juice and keep an eye on air bubbles. Recover with the same or different cheese cloth and tighten it again with the kitchen twine.
  9. This process should take about 28 days to cook if you live in a really hot area. You will notice the ingredients starting to blend together and the lemon darkening.
  10. Once ready, bring it back inside and use the jar’s original cover. As long as there is a bit of lemon juice on the top, you do not have to refrigerate it.

DIRECTIONS IF COOKING OVER THE STOVETOP

  1. In a medium size sauce pan, create layers as described above, all the way to the top.
  2. Bring it to a low boil, then reduce the heat to gently simmer, covered for about 4 to 5 hours.
  3. Check it from time to time and stir as much as you would like. Make sure to add lemon juice if it becomes dry.
  4. The end result should look darker in color and sort of mushy.
  5. Once cooled off pour it in a glass jar, check for air bubbles and add more lemon juice.
  6. Cover it with its original cover.

CREATE A PASTE FOR GRILLING

Chopped up lemon chutney

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of lemon chutney

10 tbsp of butter

2 tbsp of minced garlic

DIRECTIONS

  1. Soften the butter and place it in a medium size bowl.
  2. Chop the chutney finely and add it to the butter.
  3. Add minced garlic to the butter and mix it all well.
  4. As you are grilling your meat or seafood, continuously keep on basting with this paste.

Lemon chutney paste for grilling

Fried Smelts

Fried SmeltsEver had these little things? I love love them and so does everyone at home. They are real cheap, usually you can find them frozen at supermarkets, fish monger or at Asian markets. I usually buy the whole fish, so head included. I scares people at first to see those tiny eyes, but they are so very fried that you barely notice them anyways.

What do they taste like? Well crunchy fried fish! They are a perfect snack and the best part is that you can do them ahead of time as they are awesome to eat cold. So once your guests arrive the house no longer smells of fried food!

INGREDIENTS

A bunch of smelts (with or without heads!)

Salt

All purpose flour (I used rice flour which is nice and thin, this way it still sticks well to the fish, but is not packed with flour)

DIRECTIONS

Princess eating smelts

  1. Run then smelts through water, then place them in a bowl with cold water and some salt for about 1 hour.
  2. Remove the water and dry them nicely.
  3. Heat your deep fryer to 375 degrees or if making on top of the stove, fill a pan with oil and bring it to the same temperature.
  4. Place the smelts in a colander then sprinkle the flour all over them in such a way they are all nicely covered but without clunks of flour.
  5. Start frying them in small batches so they do not touch each other for about 5 minutes, or until nice and golden.
  6. Place them over some paper towel, or even better re-use those brown paper bags from grocery stores.
  7. Place them on a plate and start enjoyed them!

Fried Smelts