Saturday, 14 June 2008

WHB - Thai Style Rice Pilaf

This week's Weekend Herb Blogging is hosted by Astrid from Paulchen's Food Blog. I have moved away from my own garden herbs for a change this week and have a Thai Style Rice Pilaf to offer.

We have a new Asian market that opened up a couple of towns over so now I have the luxury of cooking with fresh lemongrass and lime leaves rather than dried.

I made this dish in the late evening last night just as a thunderstorm began. We ate it in small bowls under the cover of our deck in full thunder, lightening, rain and wind. These are the kind of moments I live for.

Thai Style Rice Pilaf - serves 4 as a side

3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, bruised with the back of a knife and cut into 2” pieces
6 Kaffir lime leaves
1 cup jasmine rice
½ red pepper, diced
3 green onions, sliced
2 Thai bird chillies split lengthwise
1 can coconut milk & enough water to make 2 cups
Juice of 1 lime & 1 lime cut into 8 wedges for serving
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 tbsp dried shrimps - optional - they make a nice chewy, salty umami element.
½ cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil, garlic, lemon grass, lime leaves, rice, red peppers, onions, and chilli halves in large pan until sizzling on medium/high.
Stir-fry 2 minutes.
Add coconut milk and water, lime juice, soy sauce, curry paste, shrimp .
Stir and cover, reducing to low simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove cover, take out lemongrass, lime leaves, and chillies.
Fluff with fork and add in cilantro.
Cover and let sit away from heat for 5 minutes. Serve garnished with lime wedges.

Fun facts - lemongrass has a calming effect on humans as well as being a deterrent for mosquitoes.

According to Wikipedia - The Oxford Companion to Food (ISBN 0-19-211579-0) recommends that the name kaffir lime should be avoided in favor of makrud lime because kaffir is an offensive term in some cultures, and also has no clear reason for being attached to this plant. (For this reason, some South Africans refer to the fruit as K-lime.) However, kaffir lime appears to be much more common.

*Hmmm, the things you learn on Wikipedia. If you know why this is so, please let me know as this is it's common name in North America.