We are having a reunion with the friends we went to Thailand with a few months ago. It’s a Thai dinner night and everyone gets to cook one of their favorite Thai dishes from the trip. I was going to make fish cakes, because we had them on Koh Phangan in a bar called Plaas in the Than Sadet region and they were delicious. Not like the usual firm/rubbery type usually found in Thailand (which I love BTW). They were cross between Western and Thai ones – absolutely delicious, crispy on the outside, but soft and loose on the inside. Imagine the best of both worlds in Fish cakes and you are getting close to these puppies. The view from the bar isn’t to be sneezed at either – here’s a picture.
Anyway, one of the other crew put their hand up for the fish cakes first, so I decided on a green chicken curry parcel, similar to the ones we had at Cafe 69 in Bophut. I’ve been to Thailand twice and went out of my way to make sure our friends got to sample the food at Cafe 69. The owner Vivian makes his with Filo Pastry I think. Here is a somewhat blurry photo of the ones we had in April. I blame the heat for the photo quality, nothing to do with the beer and cocktails consumed throughout the day.
I wanted to try Gyoza style, as I’ve never cooked Gyoza before, and always though they looked extremely tasty. I also wanted to make the green curry paste from scratch, and choose this recipe http://www.ladyandpups.com/2013/12/02/andy-wrecker-green-curry-meatballs-eng/ adapted from Andy Wrecker’s Pok Pok cookbook (which I’m now going to buy). This paste is a rich and has quite a hit of chilli that doesn’t mask the other ingredients. In fact the green curry sauce IS the recipe. Just add chicken Mince, chopped coriander, wrap and cook.
I made these ahead of time and froze them because I am a well prepared host. Once defrosted they only take a few minutes to cook.
How did they go you ask? I think I eventually cooked these at midnight, Paul had consumed a couple of beers and the better part of a bottle and half of wine. The Pina Coladas were particularly strong, and had taken a toll on Mrs X who was already in bed, Mike was awake but in a beer induced coma on the couch, and the rest of us had eaten so much, if you tried to temp us with a wafer thin after dinner mint we may have told you to “fuckoff”.
They were served, but not eaten, and then put in the fridge with all of the other leftover goodies. On the plus side, I now had the rare opportunity to photograph these in daylight, while sober…
Following are a couple photos taken on the night so you can see the effect beer has on my already useless food styling skills.
Exibit a. Sam’s Steamed Dumplings (sideways)
Exhibit b. Mick’s deep fried Prawns
At least my Gyoza made the table. Paul had spent a good part of his day preparing his Satay chicken with homemade Satay Sauce. He called me to see if he could cook them at our place on the BBQ – Sure I said, then promptly set about cleaning the BBQ only to discover it had less gas in the bottle than a cats fart. Off to the Petrol Station to fill her up, right about the time the other guests were set to arrive.
Paul arrived late, and everybody was starving by the time he got here.
My Pok Pok Chicken wings were served in a rush because they were already cooked and hot and waiting in the oven for the next step, which they didn’t get. The final treatment of a flash fry in a wok with the fish sauce and chilli paste went down the drain . I’m not pointing the finger here, but Paul’s tardyness put everything back a bit so much so we had the soup as a third course (delicious thanks Carl). Rhi fried up the fish cakes straight after the Pok Pok chicken wings. This was one also of the rare occasions when remembered to take a photo – so here are the Fish cakes (delicious also Rhi).
The All Blacks were also playing the South African’s and with kick off at 7:30. Starting the food at 7 but the drinking at 5:45 means the delivery of each of the following courses is becoming less snappy than you would hope for, somewhere between tardy and not bothered. I think it was 11 or 11:30 when Paul’s Rice paper rolls hit the table, I didn’t have one – I was in the Mr Creosote stage by then and at the time I was also cooking the Gyoza that didn’t get eaten on the night.
When I did get to eat a couple of my Pot stickers, they were really good…. but not as good as the ones we had in Thailand. I think this is because the ones in Thailand had a liquid green curry sauce, where these are by necessity a dry mix. I’m not discouraging you from making these because they are actually very tasty, but I will try a Filo version with a liquid the green curry sauce found in the recipe below next time.
Recipe follows – copy and pasted from Lady and Pups. http://www.ladyandpups.com/2013/12/02/andy-wrecker-green-curry-meatballs-eng/
- 2 tsp of ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp of ground cumin
- 15 small, or 8 large (100 grams/3.5 oz) Asian green chilis, stems removed and chopped
- 2 medium stalks (65 grams/2.3 oz) of lemongrass, finely sliced
- 3″ chunk (45 grams/1.6 oz) of galangal, finely diced
- 8 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 3 medium shallots, diced
- Zest of 1 small lime
- 8 whole black peppercorn (or equivalent amount of ground black pepper)
- 2 tsp ofThai shrimp paste (Tra Chang brand if possible)
- 2 tsp offish sauce
- 1 tsp of finely minced kaffir lime leaf (about 2 leaves)
- 1 tsp of yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup of coconut milk
Most recipes suggest food-processor for pureeing any type of curry pastes, but over the years I found my food-processor of various brands, unable to break down the tough fibers of lemongrass and galangal to the consistency that I wanted. If your have faith in the power of your food-processor, by all means use it (but reduce the amount of coconut milk to 1/4 cup). Otherwise, I would suggest using a blender. Blender needs more liquid to process, which is why I increased the amount of coconut milk from 1/4 cup in the original recipe, to 1/2 cup. It didn’t really make much difference in my opinion, as the excess moisture will evaporate during cooking.
End of recipe
We don’t have a lot of dinner parties at our flat – it’s small and other people have better party houses than us. I’d forgotten about the cleaning and prep that needed to be done . The last minute rush to the store to get BBQ gas (thanks Paul), or Massaman curry paste for you wife who was making Massaman Curry and “ASSUMMED” we had Massaman curry paste, but couldn’t find it at 5pm on the day of the Dinner Party. Nevertheless we all survived, the place wasn’t trashed, the Cops didn’t come, and the neighbors haven’t knocked on the door complaining – yet.
I’d forgotten about the most important thing that is gained by hosting a dinner party. The company of friends…. and leftover Beer (heaps of it). Cheers Dinner Party friends!
Apart from the food, Mike and Fergus bonded like you would expect a shitty cat and an annoying stranger to bond. Here is a picture.
Fergus loves Mike – I can’t believe how happy the cat is!