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Cooking For Fun

Thai Side Dishes

Eggplant with Tofu
Shared by Monique

3/4 lb Japanese eggplant (about 3 cups sliced)
1/4 lb tofu
6 T oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 5 red chili peppers, seeded and chopped
10 to 15 sweet basil leaves
1 to 3 T yellow bean sauce (yellow bean sauce from Thailand is saltier than sauce from Hong Kong or China, so season to taste)

Slice unpeeled eggplant crosswise into slices 1/8-inch thick. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat oil in skillet; add garlic and stir-fry until light brown (don't burn!). Add eggplant and tofu and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; mix gently. Serve immediately, since eggplant and basil turn dark if dish sits after cooking.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Thai Vegetarian Noodles

8 servings
10 oz Pad Thai noodles
1/4 c Olive oil
2 ts Minced garlic
1 c Broccoli florets
3/4 c Sliced onions
2/3 c Sliced snow peas
1/2 c Diced celery
1/4 c Julienned carrots
1/4 c Diced red bell pepper
1/4 c Diced mushrooms
3 tb Crushed unsalted peanuts
2 tb Thai fish sauce
2 tb Thai sweet black bean sauce
1 tb Rice vinegar
2 ts Soy sauce
1 ts White pepper
2 tb Chopped mint leaves, plus 1 sprig mint
1 c Fresh bean sprouts
2 tb Thinly sliced leeks

Soak noodles in 8 cups cold water for 45 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and saute, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add broccoli, onions, snow peas, celery, carrots, bell pepper & mushrooms, and stirfry for 1 minute. Add peanuts, fish sauce, black bean sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, white pepper & noodles, and cook, stirring continuously, until heated through and well mixed, about 2 minutes. Stir in chopped mint. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with bean sprout & leeks and garnish with mint sprig.

Rice Paper-Wrapped Salad Rolls (Pham)
Mai Pham's The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking

1/3 Pound Pork Shoulder
12 Medium Raw Shrimp With Shells
8 Round (12-Inch) Rice Papers -- Plus Spares
1 Small Head Red Leaf Lettuce -- Leaves Separated And Washed
1/4 Pound Rice Vermicelli -- Cooked
1 Cup Bean Sprouts
1/2 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves
1 Cup Hoisin-Peanut Sauce
1/4 Cup Chopped Roasted Peanuts -- For Garnish
2 Tablespoons Ground Chile Paste -- For Garnish

Cook rice vermicelli in boiling water four to five minutes; rinse and drain.

1. Cook the pork in boiling salted water until just tender, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool and then slice into 1 x 2-1/2-inch pieces. Cook the shrimp in boiling salted water until just done, about three minutes. Shell, devein, and cut in half lengthwise. Refresh in cold water and set aside.

2. Just before making the rolls, set up a salad roll "station." Fill in a large mixing bowl with hot water. If necessary, keep some boiling water handy to add to the bowl if the temperature drops below 110 degrees. Choose an open area on the counter and arrange the following items in the order used: the rice paper, the hot water, a damp cheesecloth and a platter holding all the stuffing ingredients.

3. Working only with two rice paper sheets at a time, dip one sheet, edge first, in the hot water and turn it to wet completely, about 10 seconds. Lay the sheet down on the cheesecloth and stretch the sheet slightly to remove any wrinkles. Wet the other rice paper the same way and place it alongside the first.

4. Line the bottom third of the wet pliable rice sheet with three shrimp halves, cut side up, and top with two slices of pork. Make sure the ingredients are neatly placed in a straight row. Fold a piece of lettuce into a thin rectangle about five inches long and place it on top. (You may need o use only half of a leaf.) Next, top with about one tablespoon of vermicelli, one tablespoon bean sprouts, and four to five mint leaves. Make sure the ingredients are not clumped together in the center, but evenly distributed from one end to the other. Using your second, third and fourth fingers, press down on the ingredients while you use the other hand to fold over both sides of the rice paper. (Pressing down on the ingredients is particularly important because it tightens the roll.) With fingers still pressing down, use two thumbs to fold the bottom edge over the filling and roll into a cylinder about an inch and a half wide by five inches long. Finish making all the remaining rolls.

5. To serve, cut the rolls into two or four equal pieces and place the cut rolls upright on an appetizer plate. Serve with hoisin-peanut sauce or Vietnamese dipping sauce on the side. Top sauce of choice with chopped peanuts and chili paste. If you like, garnish the rolls with mint or cilantro sprigs.

6. These rolls can be made a couple hours in advance and stored at room temperature in an airtight container lined with damp cheesecloth. Do not refrigerate salad rolls, as the rice paper will toughen.

Notes: No single dish better represents the delicateness of Vietnamese cuisine than this one. Traditionally filled with juicy shrimp and pork, they can also be stuffed with grilled chicken, salmon, or just about anything, such as leftover turkey from Thanksgiving.



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