the “Thai” difference

What makes Thai taste Thai?  How can you do it quickly and easily at home?  Here are a few ingredients/substitutions for you folks “woking up a stir-fry” in the chinese style at home with your soy sauce and garlic…

Fish Sauce is to Thai what Soy Sauce is to Chinese.  It is now easily found at the grocery – either in condiments or the chinese aisle.  Lime Juice is used in conjunction with Fish Sauce either 1/2 1/2 for puriests,  or 1/3 Fish Sauce to 2/3 Lime Juice for those of you who can’t or don’t want to take the sodium.  Thai cooking always balances heat with sweet, and palm sugar is their go to sweetener, but these days they use white sugar equally, and it’s much easier for us to find, so go for it!   Always add onion in some form or other, be it shallot or green or whatever.   Round out whatever you’re stir-frying with some fresh chopped cilantro and mint, and blissfully float to the shores of exotic Thailand! – Lula 

White Pepper

Let’s talk about white pepper.  White pepper is black pepper that is harvested at a riper stage, with the hulls removed.  The hull is black.  The hulls contain some of the heat, so when you remove them, away goes some of the heat (white pepper is milder – duh!).  When the particular heat component of the hull is removed, a milder,  somewhat citrusy flavor is left to describe white pepper.  I never buy white peppercorns – I just buy the smallest quantity I can in ground form, and get rid of it when the fragrance has left the container.  I just don’t use enough of it to warrant a special grinder.  It is a lovely ingredient to pale foods where you don’t want the flecks of black – creamy mashed potatoes perhaps, or other mild starches – like parsnip puree, or, if you use it as I do sometimes, in DESSERT!!!  If you’ve ever tasted one of my homemade desserts, and thought, “hmmm – what IS that flavor?!?” – it could be white pepper!  – Lula