Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thai Basil Please

With the festivities of over consumption of sampling new foods, and trying colourful new and no so new drinks winding down. I am now getting around to posting that dish with Thai Basil.

  I found Thai basil to have a distinctive flavour, but slightly stronger in my opinion to its cousin Italian basil. A sharper edge in taste; like tasting mild cheese, then biting into a piece of good old aged Cheddar. It comes down to preference.

This dish can be made with any choice of meat - I choose pork because the last two pieces of pork chops were sitting there and I wanted to cook it differently - enough of that boring pork chops:). A combo of brown and white basmati rice, with a blend of sesame and olive oil, garlic and ginger makes this dish pops and gives it a fresh finish with the Thai Basil.

 Diced pork marinated with dry spices
Thai Basil Pork and Veggie Fried Rice

Thai Basil Pork and Veggie Fried Rice
Dice about 2 cups of your choice of meat
Add 1 tsp each of: cumin, paprika, onion powder, cayenne or black pepper & 1/4 tsp cinnamon.
Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and mix well to coat the meat
Let sit for at least 30 min.

Dice the following Veggies: (or your choice of veggies)
1 cup red pepper
2 cups white cabbage
2 carrots
1 1/2 cup broccoli
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic minced
Half Thumb size of garlic minced

About 8-10 Thai Basil leaves

Mix together:
3 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tbsp black bean sauce, 3 tbsp fish sauce and 1tbsp brown sugar.

1.5 cups each cooked (*slightly under cook rice) white and brown rice (or 3 cups white or brown)

Warm wok and add 1 tbsp olive oil, add 1 tbsp sesame oil - stir in meat and cook on high for 3-5 min, add cooked rice and mix well, stir in veggies and add sauces.
Mix thoroughly, cover and reduced heat to medium cooking for about 5 min.

Tear Thai Basil leaves into small pieces and add to cooked rice giving it one final mix before removing from the stove.

Add any additional cayenne to increase spiciness, and salt or soy to taste.

Slightly under cooking rice will keep the texture nice and fluffy, and avoid the sticky, starchiness when mixing it into the final dish.  The rice can also be cooked one day prior and stored in fridge.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Into New Herb Terrority

A few nights back during dinner time my partner says to me "do you ever try cooking with other herbs and spices besides what you are familiar with?" Shocking! I beg your pardon are you tired of the spices and herbs I used? No way! my response was genuinely sincere "you mean like Thai, Medetarrian, Mid Eastern spices etc?" Yes!  Actually no, but now that you've presented that question I will.

I am actually glad she asked that question because it is a way for me to not just "try" but experience and discover the difference of cooking with other spices and herbs beyond my norm. It's about be creative and adventurous; some myself and others will enjoy, some not so much, but that is part of the foodies journey.
Introducing Herb - Thai Basil. It is rich in flavour, adaptable to many dishes besides its popular Thai and Asian foods. It is striking in colours of deep purple with a tinge of red, like a  glass of full bodied red. Thai basil will be added an Indian dish I plan on cooking. (Recipe will be shared at a later post).  Creamy coconut milk, pineapple chunks, bamboo shoots, tomatoes, curry and some protein which is yet to be determined will join together to create a new recipe with ingredients used by many cultures that will hopefully become a keeper and fresh new must have in our kitchen.