Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I imagine the air is perfumed with lemongrass, chiles, jasmine and ginger. I'd love to be invited into a little hut where something tasty cooks over a wood fire. Thailand is definitely on my list of places to see before I die. I hope I will one day walk among the street vendors. Until then, I'll have to recreate those fresh, balanced flavors in my own kitchen.
Tom Kha Gai is a coconut chicken soup often served in Thailand. Here, I play with a thick creamy sauce with the same flavors, which dresses cellophane noodles, topped with wafer-thin slices of leftover lamb and hugged with butter lettuce.
Tom Kha Noodle Wraps
1 1/2 cans (about 3 cups) coconut milk - you'll need the full fat kind for this
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp Tom Yum paste (I like Tiger Tiger brand)
1 tsp garlic, crushed
1 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp lime juice
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 lb. thin cellophane (rice) noodles
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped scallions (I forgot to get these last time I shopped - hence you won't see them in the picture)
1/2 lb. leftover leg of lamb, cooked to medium rare and chilled
1 head boston or butter lettuce, washed, dried and leaves separated
Combine coconut milk, tomato paste, Tom Yum paste, garlic, ginger, sriracha, lime juice and leaves in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half and very creamy (about 10 minutes).
Bring a large stockpot full of water to a boil. Add noodles and turn off the heat. Let noodles sit in the hot water, stirring occasionally, until they've softened and become tender. Use tongs or a spaghetti spoon to transfer noodles into the saucepan with the sauce. Toss with peanuts and cilantro.
Serve lettuce, noodles and lamb separately. Let people assemble their own wraps.