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Old 11-05-2013, 08:25 PM   #61
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I thought the hardest ingredient to get would be kaffir lime leaves. I believe that's what shown on top of the bowl of soup in the photo. I will have to substitute the leaves picked off my lemon tree in the back.

And speaking of crawfish, hey, I don't care that people badmouth them. When we were there in NO earlier this year, I got quite a few pounds for the two of us, and enjoyed them sitting outside the motorhome under the awning one afternoon.

Could have posted a photo of us with a mound of shell, but I won't.
Well, you can do it without the lime leaves if you squeeze in a bunch of lime juice at the end.

I order kaffir lime leave from importfood.com and store them in the freezer.

http://importfood.com/spws0101.html
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:25 PM   #62
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At the price they want for the leaves, I would see if I could buy a little tree at the nearby nursery.
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:14 AM   #63
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At the price they want for the leaves, I would see if I could buy a little tree at the nearby nursery.
That's an excellent way to go - IF you can find one. They sell for $$$. You won't find them at your local nursery. You'll have to hunt it down in your local Thai community. I had one in Austin for several years.

It has to be kept in a pot and brought inside for freezing weather.

They freeze well, so for me one order is a year supply.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:58 AM   #64
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When I had Thai Tom Yum soup in restaurants, I would not pay much attention to the different spices or leaves floating in the bowl and would just put them aside. It's when you try to make something yourself that you would learn more about the dish. It's another reason I like to make something myself. The problem that comes with it is that you may become fussier when a restaurant dish is not up to your now higher standard. But I digress...

I did a quick research on Kaffir lime leaves, and holy mackerel, found that it was more popular than I thought, and offers to sell it were all over the Web and eBay. My, my, my... Is everybody making Thai dishes at home now? The dried leaves come from Thailand and are not expensive, but the fresh leaves can be ordered from the States and cost more. And the flavor is not at all the same as regular lime or lemon leaves.

I also did a research on the tree itself, and found a local nursery that had it. Before I called for price, I talked to my wife. She asked if I would use enough to grow another tree, and besides she could get some from my sister-in-law. Son of a gun! This SIL has access to lots of fresh Kaffir leaves, and has been sharing it with another SIS of mine. And they are raving about it. Hah! I am always the last to know.

SIL just dropped off a Ziploc bag full of fresh leaves for me to make the soup tonight for some company. Life is good!

PS. By the way, the spicy-chili-in-oil is the droplets of hot oil floating on top as shown in the photo above. I am not going to make another run to an Oriental store for that, but think I can make my own by rendering the dried chili flakes in a bit of oil. I did remember to get some lemon grass and galangal.
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:35 AM   #65
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And for people who badmouth crawfish, I will say that my son will never touch shrimp or lobster. He says they look like coachroach. So he is missing out.
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Old 11-08-2013, 02:57 PM   #66
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When I had Thai Tom Yum soup in restaurants, I would not pay much attention to the different spices or leaves floating in the bowl and would just put them aside. It's when you try to make something yourself that you would learn more about the dish. It's another reason I like to make something myself. The problem that comes with it is that you may become fussier when a restaurant dish is not up to your now higher standard. But I digress...

I did a quick research on Kaffir lime leaves, and holy mackerel, found that it was more popular than I thought, and offers to sell it were all over the Web and eBay. My, my, my... Is everybody making Thai dishes at home now? The dried leaves come from Thailand and are not expensive, but the fresh leaves can be ordered from the States and cost more. And the flavor is not at all the same as regular lime or lemon leaves.

I also did a research on the tree itself, and found a local nursery that had it. Before I called for price, I talked to my wife. She asked if I would use enough to grow another tree, and besides she could get some from my sister-in-law. Son of a gun! This SIS has access to lots of fresh Kaffir leaves, and has been sharing it with another SIS of mine. And they are raving about it. Hah! I am always the last to know.

SIS just dropped off a Ziploc bag full of fresh leaves for me to make the soup tonight for some company. Life is good!

PS. By the way, the chili-spicy-in-oil is the droplets of hot oil floating on top as shown in the photo above. I am not going to make another run to an Oriental store for that, but think I can make my own by rendering the dried chili flakes in a bit of oil. I did remember to get some lemon grass and galangal.
And kaffir lime leaves stay perfectly fine in the freezer, so if you have left overs, that's where I would put them. (I wouldn't dry them - the flavor is pretty much gone dry...) I just love the flavor those leaves give. Thai food tastes so exotic to me. You eat different dishes from different countries, and you can tell what ingredients may be in the dishes you know, but I couldn't with Thai dishes, because I wasn't familiar with their ingredients at all.
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:44 PM   #67
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Yes, the food of many countries includes exotic spices, herbs, and other ingredients that would be hard to detect individually.

Just now, I discover that the Thai chili paste is more than just chili and oil. It's also got roasted garlic, roasted shallot, tamarind paste and dried shrimp in it. I should have remembered to get it in a jar at the Oriental store.

I will have to redo this once more with this ingredient to see the difference it makes. Arghh!

PS. Again, my wife comes to the rescue. She already bought a jar with the label "Tom Yum Paste". Now, what is that really? Is that simply equivalent to the above Thai chili paste, or does it also incorporate the lemongrass and galangal flavor in it? It's a mystery which I will try in unravel tonight.
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:38 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
When I had Thai Tom Yum soup in restaurants, I would not pay much attention to the different spices or leaves floating in the bowl and would just put them aside. It's when you try to make something yourself that you would learn more about the dish. It's another reason I like to make something myself. The problem that comes with it is that you may become fussier when a restaurant dish is not up to your now higher standard. But I digress...

I did a quick research on Kaffir lime leaves, and holy mackerel, found that it was more popular than I thought, and offers to sell it were all over the Web and eBay. My, my, my... Is everybody making Thai dishes at home now? The dried leaves come from Thailand and are not expensive, but the fresh leaves can be ordered from the States and cost more. And the flavor is not at all the same as regular lime or lemon leaves.

I also did a research on the tree itself, and found a local nursery that had it. Before I called for price, I talked to my wife. She asked if I would use enough to grow another tree, and besides she could get some from my sister-in-law. Son of a gun! This SIL has access to lots of fresh Kaffir leaves, and has been sharing it with another SIS of mine. And they are raving about it. Hah! I am always the last to know.

SIL just dropped off a Ziploc bag full of fresh leaves for me to make the soup tonight for some company. Life is good!

PS. By the way, the spicy-chili-in-oil is the droplets of hot oil floating on top as shown in the photo above. I am not going to make another run to an Oriental store for that, but think I can make my own by rendering the dried chili flakes in a bit of oil. I did remember to get some lemon grass and galangal.
Wow - great that you have access to the kaffir lime leaves - fantastic.

And galangal - yes. Another essential. Best fresh, and it freezes very well. Peel and slice before freezing for ease of use.

I have to order all this stuff - well, at least I can get fresh lemongrass.
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:39 PM   #69
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Yes, the food of many countries includes exotic spices, herbs, and other ingredients that would be hard to detect individually.

Just now, I discover that the Thai chili paste is more than just chili and oil. It's also got roasted garlic, roasted shallot, tamarind paste and dried shrimp in it. I should have remembered to get it in a jar at the Oriental store.

I will have to redo this once more with this ingredient to see the difference it makes. Arghh!

PS. Again, my wife comes to the rescue. She already bought a jar with the label "Tom Yum Paste". Now, what is that really? Is that simply equivalent to the above Thai chili paste, or does it also incorporate the lemongrass and galangal flavor in it? It's a mystery which I will try in unravel tonight.
I think Tom Yum Paste has more stuff in it and just needs broth or water added along with shrimp and mushrooms.

Here is the chili paste in soybean oil that I typically use:
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:59 AM   #70
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Your jar indeed looks like it has just ground (and roasted?) chili in oil.

About the jar of Tom Yum paste of the same size that I got, it looks similar but does have more stuff in it. When in doubt, read the instructions! This resulted in me finding out that the ingredients included lemon grass, galangal, and Kaffir lime leaves already. As I already obtained these ingredients fresh, I was going to still put in some to "kick it up multiple notches".

We decided to turn this into a one-dish meal by making it into a hot pot. A table top burner, a wide pan for easy reach by everyone, and voilą. Into a 2 qt of chicken broth went two heaping tablespoons of the paste, and the fresh spice and herb. The aroma was heavenly. And the soup was spicy from just the paste, even though I did not add any fresh chili. Thai people eat really hot stuff.

We bought lots of veggies suitable for hot pot, 1-1/2 lb of thin-sliced beef, 2 lbs of shrimp, 1 lb of scallop. For 5 people, we ended up eating only 1/2 of everything that we prepared. After dinner, my sister, her husband and my mom stayed until 10:30PM talking over a couple of dessert. Life is so good.

PS. I meant to add some lime juice to the broth, then forgot all about it. The premade paste had enough sourness, so it was OK. Besides, I read that the sourness should come from tamarind (another thing to get if one wants to make everything from scratch). The lime juice should be added only at the end for enhancement; prolonged cooking of the juice turns it bitter is what I read.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:14 PM   #71
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So now that I have this Tom Yum soup thing figured out, what dish should I be doing next? With shrimp that is, to keep to the topic of this thread.

How 'bout paella? Seafood paella, kind of like this photo from FoodTV?



The last time I made paella was a few years ago. I do not recall what rice I used, but this time, I am going to be using Bomba rice for more authenticity. Rumor has it that Whole Foods has this rice.

Life is too short to keep eating the same thing, while there's so much to try.
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