Clay's Kitchen : Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes) ตำราอาหารไทย

Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes) ตำราอาหารไทย

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <clay@panix.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Yam Pla Kapong (A No Cook Fish "salad") ยำปลากะพง

Recipe from: Colonel I.F. Khuntilanont-Philpott

This is a recipe for cooking a dish which in fact requires no cooking.

The title can be translated to "tossed dish [salad] of canned fish"

A little background is in order. Yesterday was the Queen of Thailand's birthday, and a national holiday. As the people of Thailand revere and honour Queen Sirikit as the Mother of the Nation, it is also considered to be Thailand's "Mother's Day". As such my wife's nephew (who coincidentally is a student at the university I work at), intended to spend some time at home with his mother, then pay his respects to his grandmother, and then spend the rest of the day with his girlfriend and her mother. We hadn't realised things were so serious :-) indeed he must be involved in discussing the gift to be given to his girlfriend's mother as a "bride price" (in Thailand the groom gives the dowry to the girl's family, and her mother holds it in trust in case the marriage fails or they need funds to raise the children...)

Anyway as he was staying for dinner he wanted to take a gift of food. The silly boy wanted to be honest, and say that the food had been prepared by his own fair hands (proving he could look after his intended), and also it had to be something that could be eaten cold, as he would have to prepare it in advance.

The result was that my wife and her sisters showed the lad the following simple recipe. As actually prepared we could have followed the variant at the end, but the first version was used because fresh fish wasn't available in the market this weekend. (As part of honouring the Queen, no meat is slaughtered in Thailand for 4 days over the holiday, hence there had been a run on fish at the market).

The tins of mackerel in tomato sauce we used contain 185 grammes of fish and sauce.

2 tins of mackerel in tomato sauce

3 tablespoons of shallots, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of hot chili sauce (preferably not vinegar based)
1 tablespoon of prikthai (black pepper), freshly ground
1 tablespoon of prik phom (ground dried red chilis)
1 tablespoon of lemon grass, sliced paper thin
1 tablespoon of spring onions/green onions/scallions, sliced

1 Tablespoon of khao kua
1 Tablespoon of cilantro leaves, chopped (as garnish).

Remove the fish from the sauce, and cut open and remove the bones, then break the fish into conveniently bite sized pieces.

Put two tablespoons of the tomato sauce in a mixing bowl, and add the other ingredients (the pepper, chili and chili sauce may be considered "to taste", and less or more may be used at your discretion), except the kho kua and the garnish.

Mix, and taste, and adjust the condiments if necesary (if too hot, add a little more of the tomato sauce). When the sauce is to your liking, return the fish.

The dish may be served immediately, or left to marinade for up to 24 hours before serving.

Immediately before serving stir in the khao kua, and sprinkle the cilantro leaves on the top.

Variation:
Use 4-6 fresh mackerel, remove the heads, tails and fins, and split the fish, discarding the bones and internal organs, then either steam, microwave (which amounts to steaming), or pan fry the fish until just cooked.

Prepare a tomato sauce by placing 2 or 3 tomatoes in boiling water for 1-2 minutes then dropping them in ice water to stop the cooking process and then core and peel them, quarter them, discard the seed pulp, and chop the fruit flesh to form a coarse "relish". This process is known in classical French cuisine I believe as a concasse.

Combine the ingredients as above. In this case the dish must marinade for at least 3 hours before serving.

If the dish is made with steamed fish it is now known as yum pla too, and if the fish is fried as yum pla too tohd.


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