TONYLEUNG.INFO
Discuss Tony Leung with fellow fans!
 
Welcome to the Discussion Board

 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist    ProfileProfile    Log inLog in   RegisterRegister 
  Log in to check your private messages Log in to check your private messages   
Click here to go to Archival Tony Board (2003-2012)

Around the World in 23 Curries

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    www.tonyleung.info Forum Index -> Tony Leung Articles
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Sandy
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Dec 2002
Posts: 1429

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:28 pm    Post subject: Around the World in 23 Curries Reply with quote

Around the World in 23 Curries: The Best From New York to New Delhi
We asked top chefs where they go when they want the real thing, and they didn’t disappoint.

Bloomberg | Richard Vines

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/around-the-world-in-23-curries-the-best-from-new-york-to-new-delhi

Order a curry in southern India and the waiter might just stare at you for a bit.

The dishes we know and love as curry—fish, meat or vegetables flavored with glorious spices—have individual names back home on the Indian subcontinent. But the idea of curry has conquered the globe and is an international favorite.

The word “curry” might derive from the Tamil word kari for a side dish with rice, or it might be based on the old English word cury, referring to a stew. An English cookbook, The Forme of Cury, was published in the 1390s. All hot food was called “cury” from the French word cuire, meaning to cook, according to the BBC.

Where to find the best curry, or other Indian foods? We asked leading chefs to name some of their local favorites. We shamelessly expanded the definition of curry to encompass snacks, kebabs, biryanis, and whatever else they fancied, along with the saucy creations that Anglophones lump together under the term curry.

Here are their picks.

China

Uncle Cafe, Guangzhou
Chef Andrew Wong of A Wong restaurant in London is a fan of this informal restaurant in the Hensheng Commercial Centre. “I ordered the mutton curry and enjoyed it a lot,” he says. “It’s Pakistani-style, with robust spicing.”

Dubai

Indego by Vineet
Vineet Bhatia is one of the world’s most respected Indian chefs, and this beautiful restaurant at the Grosvenor House hotel can hardly be described as a hidden gem. You can dine on a terrace overlooking the Dubai Marina. U.K.-based chef Romy Gill, of Romy’s Kitchen, can’t resist going back for his starter of 3 Chaats vegetarian nibbles. “These snacks were a very important part of growing up in India,” she says. “The flavors dance in your mouth, and the dish is beautifully presented.”

Student Biryani
This Pakistani fast-food chain, which was founded in 1969, has three outlets in Dubai. The meal deals and garish decor might put you off, but the food is very good. “The Bihari Kebab is the star of the show,” says Chef Vivek Singh of Cinnamon Club in London. “They use chicken on the bone, marinated in a paste of fried onions, garlic, ginger, papaya and chili for hours, then cooked over low charcoal embers. It’s one of the finest kebabs I have ever eaten.”

India

Aaheli, Kolkata
This smart Bengali restaurant is housed in the Peerless Inn, a luxury hotel in the heart of the city. It’s the pick of Chef Abdul Yaseen of Darbaar restaurant in London. He enjoys the bhapa ilish, steamed fish like salmon, in yogurt and spices. “It’s a classic Bengali dish and this is as authentic as it gets,” he says. “It’s fresh fish from the Bay of Bengal with fresh ingredients. You will fall in love with it.”

Arsalan (Circus Avenue branch), Kolkata
This popular mini-chain of eight restaurants serves Mughal food from north India. It’s bright, it’s brash and it’s been popular since the first branch opened in 2002.

Bademiya, Mumbai
This is a legendary late-night food stall near the Taj Hotel. “People order their kebabs & breads and enjoy them while standing on the street or using their car bonnet as a table,” chef Vineet Bhatia says. “My favorites are lamb brain & liver masala with roomali roti (handkerchief bread), finished off with a shahi tukda (Indian bread pudding) which is light and divine.” London-based chef Atul Kochhar of Benares restaurant in London is another fan. He goes for the chicken reshmi tikka.
Screenshot_2020-01-30 This Is Where to Find the World's Best Curries.jpg

Bhel Puri at Juhu Beach, Mumbai
This beachside seafood stand is a destination for food lovers in Mumbai, including Bhatia, who grew up in Juhu. His favorite dish is bhel puri puffed rice tossed with green chili, coriander, onion and fine sev (gram flour) vermicelli. “It’s an experience to eat this at the beach as the wind blows and the seawater tides clash and the water sprays on you,” he says.

Bukhara, New Delhi
This is a very posh Indian restaurant in the luxurious ITC Maurya hotel. It’s about as far from being a hidden gem as the Koh-i-Noor diamond, and Bill Clinton is among the many world leaders who have dined there. (Just don’t call it a curry house.) You don an apron and eat with your hands. The meaty barrah kebab is the pick of chef Karam Sethi, of Gymkhana, in London. Chunks of leg of lamb and chops are marinated in yogurt, malt vinegar and other spices before being char-grilled. “They are the best lamb chops in the world,” he says. Gunpowder’s Harneet Baweja is another fan. He goes for the dal, a blend of black lentil, tomatoes, ginger and garlic, simmered overnight and finished with cream. “It is decadent and could easily be my last meal,” Baweja says.

Dum Pukht, New Delhi
This is the other posh restaurant at the ITC Maurya hotel in New Delhi. It specializes in the historic royal cuisine of the rulers of Awadh, in north India. Dum phukt is a method of slow cooking in sealed containers for deep flavors. This richly decorated room is Kochhar’s pick. “Their lamb biryanis are to die for,” he says. “It’s the best place in the world to have biryani.”

Kabab-e-Bahar, Hyderabad
Kochhar also likes this lakeside restaurant in the Taj Banjara hotel. The lamb shikampuri kebabs, with patties of finely minced lamb with roast gram flour, “are very moreish,” he says. “Hyderabad is the city where they specialize in creamed paneer stuffed kebabs. They are delicious.”

Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Darbar (Dongri branch), Mumbai
This brightly lit and inexpensive mini-chain is a favorite of Gunpowder restaurant’s Baweja. He likes to order dabba ghosht, which features cubes of mutton in a mild gravy, garnished with egg and salt. “It’s melt-in-your-mouth,” he says. “The restaurant is an old-school joint with regulars that have been coming for years.”

New Kulfi Centre, Mumbai
This Indian ice-cream shop near Marine Drive has been popular for decades. “They serve the best kulfis I have ever had,” Bhatia says of the Indian dessert. “My favorite is the paan kulfi: betel leaf filled with coconut, dates, betel nut, fennel—basically a mouth freshener. People specially drive down and wait in cars while the staff come over to take your orders and serve you.”

Oh! Calcutta, Pune
This award-winning restaurant is styled on the colonial clubs of old Calcutta, serving traditional Bengali cuisine. It’s the pick of Darbaar’s Yaseen, whose favorite dishes include bhapa ilish fish, marinated with fermented mustard paste and fresh green chillis, then wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. “The flavors take me to the river banks and the fish market from where my aya (house maid) used to bring freshly caught fish to be prepared at home,” he says.

Tunday Kababi, Lucknow
This famous and lively cafe traces its history to 1905.

Israel

Munnar, Tel Aviv
Indian food isn’t big in Israel, but London-based chef Eyal Jagermann from the Barbary reckons it’s worth seeking out Munnar, a popular vegetarian restaurant. Jagermann says. “Everything was served with spiced yogurt, and it was fantastic.”
Japan

Jiyuken, Osaka
Osaka’s oldest Western restaurant is famous for its curries. It’s the pick of London-based chef Yoshinori Ishii, who holds two Michelin stars at Umu. His favorite dish is the meibutsu (specialty) curry, which contains beef, onion, spices and vegetables, stewed down and then mixed with white rice. It is served with a raw egg on top. “Whenever I am in Osaka, I visit this small place, which brings back childhood memories,” he says. “It is very much home-style cooking with simple, subtle flavors. If I am hungry, I order a side of beef and potato croquettes or curried beef cutlets.”

Shiseido Parlour, Tokyo
This Ginza dining room, owned by the cosmetics company, specializes in yoshoku Japanese-style Western cuisine. It’s a Tokyo institution, where you might order meat croquette and macaroni gratin. Or curry rice, a distinctively mild dish that appeals to the local palate. The rich sauce features onion, garlic, ginger and curry powder. Ken Yamada, of Anzu restaurant in London, came here as a child with his parents. “I love Japanese curry, and Shiseido Parlour’s curry is as old school as it gets,” he says. “I went back recently and it was exactly the same.”
Singapore

Banana Leaf Apolo
This casual restaurant on Race Course Road serves its curries on a banana leaf, rather than a plate. It’s a favorite of British chef Alun Sperring of the Chilli Pickle restaurant in Brighton, who enjoys the fish head curry. “This dish has become famous since the ’60s when a South Indian restaurant owner offered it to entice the local Chinese clientele,” he says. “The gravy features lots of tamarind, chili, onions, garlic, tomatoes, coriander, cumin, turmeric and fenugreek powder served with okra and aubergine and a side of steamed rice. It’s delicious and as you work through the large bowl of thin gravy expect a nice burn to build from within.”

Spain

Curry Masala, Madrid
French chef Arnaud Bignon, who holds two Michelin stars at the Greenhouse restaurant in London, came across this restaurant in the center of Madrid. He particularly enjoyed palak paneer, a dish of fresh spinach with paneer cheese. “It had a perfect balance of richness and acidity,” he says. “The paneer was soft both in texture and in flavor but the spices really stood out in the spinach.”

U.K.

Gunpowder, London
This tiny restaurant near Spitalfields market is always packed with diners drawn by its big flavors and modest prices. The spicy venison and vermicelli donut is a favorite of Romy Gill of Romy’s Kitchen. The snack features venison slow-cooked for 4 to 6 hours, flavored with curry leaves, ginger, chili and other spices. “Venison can dry out, and it’s difficult to get the spicing right,” Gill says. “Here, it is perfectly balanced: The flavors are subtle and the heat isn’t overpowering.”

Mirch Masala, Tooting, London
This casual restaurant in suburban Tooting has a large menu focused on spicy karahi dishes cooked in a deep pan like a wok. Cinnamon Club’s Singh is a regular and likes to order the Karela gosht mutton curry on the bone with bitter melons. “For gutsy, spicy, rustic cooking from the Punjab, this is as good as it comes,” he says.

U.S.

Indian Accent, New York
Will Bowlby of Kricket, in London, is a fan of this modern Indian restaurant in Le Parker Meridien in Midtown. It’s an import from New Delhi, where this fine-dining establishment is the best Indian restaurant in the world, according to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. “The standout dish was the pulled jackfruit phulka,” Bowlby says. This soft bread is more normally served with pork, which is also available. “The consistency and flavor of the jackfruit emphasized again the fact that veg is often the way forward, especially when it comes to Indian food.”

Junoon, New York
This Michelin-starred Midtown restaurant is a favorite of Gill. The lal mirch ka paneer is a starter of house-made cheese, tandoori pepper coulis and confit peppers. “Paneer can be tasteless and rubbery,” she says. “This is beautifully made and prepared. It melts in your mouth and the spicing is just right.”

Richard Vines is the chief food critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.

This article was originally published on October 18, 2017, by Bloomberg.
Back to top
View user's profile
Sandy
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Dec 2002
Posts: 1429

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Inquiring Chef

The Ultimate Guide to Thai Curries

https://inquiringchef.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-thai-curries/

Published: Feb 27, 2020 · Modified: Sep 8, 2020 · by Jess Smith

Thai Curry Infographic

Ever wondered what the difference is between Thai curries – Green, Red, Yellow, Panang, and Massaman? The Ultimate Guide to Thai Curries is for you!

It’s been a week filled with Thai Curries here (Green Curry, Red Curry, and Massaman Curry all made an appearance), but we’re rounding out the week with an overview of this delicious category of Thai cuisine.

And while I’m calling this the “ultimate” guide to Thai curries, it’s really a guide to the most well-known Thai curries. There are as many types of Thai curry, and variations on those types as there are palm trees in Thailand. Curry is a rich and diverse food and this really only begins to scratch the surface. Every family has their own unique twist, but the basics are pretty consistent. And if you’re wanting to learn more, this is a great place to start!

So let’s jump right in and talk curry!

What are the flavors of Thai curry?

As you can see in the image above, most Thai curries start out with a similar flavor base consisting of lemongrass, galangal, shrimp paste, and other aromatics pounded into a smooth paste. Layered on top of those ingredients are the flavors that make each curry unique.

Red Curry is bright and heavily spiced with dried red chilis.
Green Curry uses fresh green chilis and is bright and herby from fresh cilantro root and kaffir lime leaves.
Massaman Curry is mild in heat and loaded with spices found in Indian cuisine like cinnamon and cardamom.
Yellow Curry draws on turmeric and dried curry for a rich, savory flavor and yellow color.
Panang Curry has the nutty, mellow flavor and texture of roasted peanuts ground right into the curry paste.

How to Make Thai Curry Paste

The steps for making Thai Curry Paste are:

Soak dried red chili peppers (if using)
Roast Shrimp Paste
Toast dry spices in a skillet or wok
Grind dry spices in a mortar and pestle
Grind all ingredients together until a smooth paste forms

Mortar and Pestle, Food Processor, or Blender

If you’ve decided to make homemade Thai curry paste, you’ve already decided to take on a bit of a project by tracking down and preparing your ingredients, so don’t stress over the method you use to make it. The traditional method for making Thai curry paste is to pound everything together using a mortar and pestle, but more modern tools can certainly be used to make a very good version.

A food processor will finely chop the ingredients, leaving the paste with some texture. A high powered blender will usually result in a much more smooth paste than a food processor. Either way, it’s a good idea to first grind the dried spices with a spice grinder so that they can easily incorporate with the rest of the ingredients. The other difference if using a food processor or blender is that you often need to add liquid to the machine so that the ingredients reach the blades. If needed, add water a bit at a time to help the paste form. (The water will cook off during cooking, leaving just the paste behind.)

(The batches of curry paste shown below were made in the food processor with 2-3 Tablespoons of water added to each batch.)

How to Store Curry Paste

The storage time for curry paste varies slightly depending on the ingredients. Green curry, for example, uses fresh green chilis and will start to discolor and lose some flavor as it sits in the fridge. However, most homemade curries can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a week and in the freezer for 6 months to a year. I like to store mine in 8-oz jars with tight-fitting lits.

Mason jars of curries -- green, massaman, red, panang and yellow

Shrimp Paste in Thai Curry

Shrimp paste gives Thai curry pastes a distinctive, authentically Thai flavor. It’s also a source of “umami” that adds depth to the curries the paste is used in. It should always be roasted for a few minutes before being added to the curry paste. The easiest way to roast the shrimp paste is to wrap it in foil and fully enclose it. Then place the packet of shrimp paste on a hot skillet and cook on both sides until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. This helps to release the flavors.

Vegetarian / Vegan Thai Curry

If you want to make a vegetarian or vegan curry paste, all you have to do is skip the shrimp paste. You can always add other sources of umami flavor to the curry later – some soy sauce is a good option. (Don’t add soy sauce to the curry paste itself.)
Back to top
View user's profile
Sandy
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Dec 2002
Posts: 1429

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thai Red Curry with Chicken

Published: Feb 26, 2020 · Modified: Aug 1, 2020 · by Jess Smith

https://inquiringchef.com/thai-red-curry-with-chicken/

Thai Red Curry is a spicy, savory, coconut-based curry made with lemongrass, galangal, and dried red chili peppers. This easy one-pan recipe includes the option to make your own curry paste from scratch or use store-bought for an easy weeknight meal.

Yesterday we talked green curry, so today it’s all about red curry. Curry paste forms the foundation of flavor in all Thai curries, and Thai Red Curry is a total classic. It’s also the easiest curry paste to make from scratch, if you’re feeling ambitious. Store-bought curry paste is widely available as well and makes for a quick and easy meal.

One of the best things about Thai Red Curry is that it is so versatile. The recipe below uses chicken breast and squash. The squash adds a natural sweetness that balances the heat of the chili paste, so I love that combination. If that combination doesn’t interest you, this can be easily customized using any proteins or vegetables. No matter what you include in the curry, it’s great served over Jasmine rice.

Ingredients in Thai Red Curry

Coconut Milk – Use regular (not light) coconut milk. You’ll use some of the coconut milk to cook the curry paste in at the beginning and some will be added later to simmer all of the ingredients together.
Thai Red Curry Paste – This firm red paste gives the curry all the flavor it needs. You can use store-bought or homemade curry paste (see below for details).
Chicken – Boneless, skinless chicken breast stays tender as it simmers in the flavorful coconut broth. There are lots of other options you can use instead of chicken breast, so keep reading if you’d like to use a substitute.
Squash – The naturally sweet flavor of squash is a great fit for Thai Red Curry. You can use any type of squash here – kabocha, acorn, or butternut. Look for fresh, pre-cubed butternut squash to save time.
Palm Sugar – This is a lightly sweet, subtly citrus sugar that comes from coconut palm or sugar palm trees. It is sold in small dried cakes. It is easiest to measure if it is grated or soaked in a small amount of warm water for about 10 minutes until soft. Light brown sugar will work as a substitute in this curry.
Fish Sauce – Fish sauce provides the authentic flavor of a true Thai Red Curry. It adds a savory umami richness that rounds out the dish. If making a vegetarian version, soy sauce can be used as a substitute.
Thai Basil Leaves – Be sure to add these leaves at the very end of cooking. They will wilt into the finished curry and add a bright, fresh flavor. Thai Basil is a different variety than the Italian-style basil sold at most grocery stores in the West. Do NOT use Italian basil in a Thai curry. It’s better to just skip this ingredient if you can’t find Thai Basil.

fish sauce, red curry paste, coconut milk, herbs, thai basil, palm sugar

How to Make Thai Red Curry Paste

The steps for making Thai red curry paste are:

Soak dried red chili peppers
Roast Shrimp Paste
Combine chilis, aromatics, and shrimp paste in a mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor and blend until smooth

Note: The easiest way to roast the shrimp paste is to wrap it in foil and fully enclose it. Then place the packet of shrimp paste on a hot skillet and cook on both sides until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. This helps to release the flavors.

Ingredients for Thai Red Curry Paste

The ingredients for Thai Red Curry Paste are:

Dried Red Chili Peppers
Shrimp Paste
Lemongrass
Galangal
Cilantro Roots
Shallots
Garlic
White Peppercorns (or ground white pepper)
Salt

If shopping outside of Thailand, lemongrass stalks are available at well-stocked or specialty grocery stores. Galangal and cilantro roots (you’re looking for the actual root of the herb, but can use the stems if needed; do not use cilantro leaves) are often sold frozen at Asian or international grocery stores. The frozen versions work very well if fresh are not available.

Generally speaking, the smaller the dried chili peppers, the more spicy they are. To make your own red curry paste, use dried chili peppers that are about 6 to 8 inches in length. These are easy to work with and are more mild than the very small Thai Bird’s Eye Chilis. The nice thing about starting with more mild chili peppers is that you can always use red pepper flakes to add more spice to the curry paste. Outside of Thailand, the larger chilis that you want to use are typically from North America and are labeled “California Chilis”, “Southwestern Chilis”, or “New Mexico Chilis”. I actually get them from a Mexican grocery store.

For more information on all of the ingredients needed for Thai Curry Paste, check out the Guide to Essential Thai Ingredients.

Store-Bought vs. Homemade Thai Curry Paste

While it can be rewarding and delicious to make your own red curry paste, if you’re just starting to explore Thai red curry, store-bought curry paste makes the process a breeze. Many commercial versions of Thai curry paste are very good and will give you an excellent curry. Here are the two types of store-bought curry paste I use most often.

Thai Kitchen – Walk down the international aisle at any well-stocked grocery store and you’ll likely find Thai Kitchen Curry Paste in small 4-oz jars. It’s super affordable and these small jars are great if you just plan to make a batch or two of curry over the next few months. American-made versions of Thai curry paste like this one are significantly less spicy than their Thai-made counterparts, so this is a great brand to start with if you’re hesitant about spice. I find this brand of red curry paste to be fairly spicy and to have a clean, fairly straightforward red curry flavor.

Mae Ploy – This is the tried-and-true Thai brand of curry paste that I used when I lived in Bangkok and have reliably found at Asian / international grocery stores. It comes in larger 14-oz tubs, so if you plan to make a lot of curry, it’s worth tracking down. Because this is a Thai brand, it is significantly more spicy than Thai Kitchen mentioned above. The flavor has more of the shrimp / seafood elements and more aromatic flavor from lemongrass and galangal than Thai Kitchen.

“Breaking” Coconut Milk for Thai Curry

Every authentic recipe for Thai curry starts with “breaking” the coconut milk. This step separates out the natural oils in the coconut milk and is the reason that many Thai curries have a layer of oil on the top. This surface oil is usually a sign that the curry has been prepared correctly. To break the coconut milk, add small amount of coconut milk to a hot pan. Cook the coconut milk until the natural oils in the coconut milk start to separate out, 3 to 4 minutes.

The curry paste is then added to this oily coconut mixture. It’s the same idea as sautéing aromatics in oil for Western-style recipes.

Below is what the coconut milk starts to look like as it is breaking. If you are making Thai curry and the coconut milk does not break within the first 5 minutes of cooking, don’t worry! Just proceed with the recipe as written. You’ll still get a delicious curry.

Variations on Thai Red Curry

Vegetarian – Easily make a vegetarian version of Thai Red Curry by using tofu or mushrooms and adding even more vegetables if you’d like. The curry includes fish sauce, but for a vegetarian version soy sauce can be used as a substitute. You’ll also need to track down a curry paste that does not include shrimp paste (or make your own red curry paste and omit the shrimp paste).
Change Vegetables – This version of red curry uses squash. Feel free to use any other vegetables you’d like – bell peppers, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, potatoes, or snow peas would all be great.
Change Protein – Instead of chicken breast, try this with chicken thighs, pork, beef, fish, or tofu.

Thai red curry in a wok

Some other Thai recipes:

Thai Pomelo Salad (Yam Som O)
Thai Noodle Mason Jars with Peanut Dressing
Thai Curry Noodle Soup with Chicken
Instant Pot Chickpea Curry

Favorite Tools

High-Walled Pot for Cooking – Curry can be easily made in any pot with tall sides. A Dutch oven, wok, or saute pan will work well.

If you are going to make curry paste from scratch, using the recipe below, you’ll need these tools:

Mortar and Pestle or Spice Grinder – You’ll need one of these tools if you will be grinding up whole white peppercorns. The whole peppercorns have the most flavor, but you can use pre-ground white pepper as a substitute.

High Power Blender, Food Processor, or Mortar and Pestle – You’ll need one of these tools to blend the curry paste. A blender or food processor are, of course, not traditional but they are very fast. A blender will produce the most smooth curry paste while a food processor typically produces a curry paste that is even but has a rougher texture. A mortar and pestle like the one linked above is a more traditional method and is a great investment if you make a lot of Thai food from scratch.

Thai red curry in a white bowl with rice

Thai Red Curry is a spicy, savory, coconut-based curry made with lemongrass, galangal, and dried red chili peppers. This recipe includes the option to make your own curry paste from scratch or use store-bought for an easy weeknight meal.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup Coconut Milk, divided
3 Tbsp Thai Red Curry Paste (see note)
1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, cubed
2 cups Chicken Stock
12 oz Squash, cubed or thinly sliced (see note)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Palm Sugar (see note)
1 1/2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 cup Thai Basil leaves
Thai Jasmine Rice, for serving

Instructions

Heat a Dutch oven, wok, or saute pan over medium heat. Add ¾ cup coconut milk (if using canned coconut milk that has separated, use the top, thicker portion of the milk) to the pan. Simmer coconut milk, stirring constantly, until it has reduced by half and you can see oil separating from the milk, 5 to 6 minutes. (Note: This step to “break” the coconut milk is part of the traditional process, but don’t worry if your coconut milk doesn’t show signs of separating after this initial cook time - just proceed with the recipe.)
Add curry paste and saute until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add chicken breast and stir to coat in the curry paste.
Pour chicken stock and 1 cup coconut milk over chicken.
Stir in squash, bell pepper, palm sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and let curry simmer gently until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. (Reduce heat as needed to prevent the curry from reaching a hard boil.)
Taste the curry and adjust the flavor, adding more sugar or fish sauce if needed.
Remove curry from heat and stir in Thai Basil leaves.
Serve curry over rice.

Notes

Thai Red Curry Paste - Feel free to adjust the amount of curry paste, increasing for more spice and decreasing for less spice. American-made curry paste like Thai Kitchen (which is widely available in the international aisle of regular grocery stores), tends to be much less spicy than Thai brands which can be found at international or Asian grocery stores. If you prefer to make your own Thai Red Curry Paste see below for the recipe.
Squash - Any type of squash will work in this recipe. I like kabocha, butternut, or acorn squash. Acorn squash is used in the photos shown here - it is easy to prepare because you can leave the skin on (it gets very tender when cooked).

Palm Sugar - Grate the palm sugar for the most accurate measurement. You can substitute light brown sugar, but reduce to 2 tsp.

Ingredients

8 large Dried Red Chili Peppers (preferably New Mexico or California dried peppers)
1 tsp Shrimp Paste (see note)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp White Peppercorns (sub pre-ground white pepper)
2 Tbsp very thinly sliced Lemongrass
1 Tbsp diced Galangal
1/4 cup Diced Shallots
3 Tbsp thinly sliced Garlic
1 tsp diced Cilantro Root (sub finely chopped cilantro stem if cilantro root is not available)

Instructions

Use kitchen shears to chop chili peppers into large pieces (about 4 pieces per pepper). Shake the seeds out of the peppers (the more seeds you remove the less spicy the curry paste will be). Soak peppers in warm water for 10 minutes to soften.
While peppers soak, place shrimp paste on a small piece of foil and then fold the foil up to form a packet that completely encloses the shrimp paste.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Place shrimp paste packet onto heated skillet and toast for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until fragrant. Set aside.
Return to dried peppers and drain off as much water as possible.
If using white peppercorns, grind them to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. (You can skip this step if you are using pre-ground white pepper.)

If using a mortar and pestle:
Combine soaked chili peppers and salt in a mortar and pestle and grind until smooth.
Add lemongrass, galangal, shallots, garlic, and cilantro root. Grind again until smooth.
Add shrimp paste and ground white peppercorn. Continue to grind / mix everything together until even.
If using a blender or food processor:
In a blender or food processor, combine soaked chili peppers, salt, ground white peppercorn, lemongrass, galangal, shallots, garlic, and cilantro root. Blend until the mixture forms a paste that still has a small amount of texture, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed. (Note: if the mixture does not blend easily, add water a bit at a time, as needed, to help it blend.)
Taste curry paste and season with some additional salt, if needed.
Curry paste can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week or frozen for up to a year.

Notes

Shrimp paste (typically labeled as “kapi” or “gapi”) can be found at an Asian / international grocery store. It is most often sold in a jar with a good amount of oil. It can sometimes be found in firm blocks that might need to be slightly hydrated before using. Jarred or tinned anchovies are the Western equivalent and could be used as a substitute to give the curry paste the same rich, seafood, umami flavors. To make Thai curries, the shrimp paste is always roasted before cooking to release its flavor. For simplicity, we wrap the paste in foil and just toast it in a skillet before using it.

Want to make a vegan or vegetarian curry? Just skip the shrimp paste.
Back to top
View user's profile
Sandy
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Dec 2002
Posts: 1429

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thai Massaman Curry with Beef

Published: Feb 27, 2020 · Modified: Aug 1, 2020 · by Jess Smith

https://inquiringchef.com/thai-massaman-curry-with-beef/

Thai Massaman Curry has its roots in India so in addition to the usual Thai suspects like coconut milk, lemongrass, and galangal, it is fragrant with cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. This curry is rich in flavor, mild in spice, and loaded with tender cubes of beef. It’s a one pan, easy weeknight meal.

My first taste of Massaman curry was a revelation. Sure, many people outside of Thailand have tried Green Thai Curry or Red Thai Curry, but Thai Massaman Curry has its own unique thing going. This curry has a creamy coconut milk base but it is packed with dried spices that give it a savory-sweet combination of flavors.

A few years back, CNN Travel named Massaman Curry the most delicious food in the world. What more reason could you need to run out and make this tonight?

Let’s make this delicious dish!

Ingredients in Thai Massaman Curry

Coconut Milk – Use regular (not light) coconut milk. You’ll use some of the coconut milk to cook the curry paste in at the beginning and some will be added later to simmer all of the ingredients together.
Thai Massaman Curry Paste – This firm, dark reddish-brown paste gives the curry all the flavor it needs. You can use store-bought or homemade curry paste (see below for details).
Beef – Boneless beef chuck roast works well in this curry. The flavor of the beef stands up well to the rich flavor of the curry. Look for chuck roast that has some lines of fat running through it as this fattier meat will be the most tender. Beef stew meat is an inexpensive and easy substitute, but be very careful not to let the curry boil as this will cause the meat to turn tough.
Potatoes – Potatoes are a classic addition to Massaman Curry. As they simmer in the rich broth, they soak up all of its flavor. If you can find white sweet potatoes, these are a great fit, but Yukon gold potatoes go well here too.
Tamarind Concentrate (or Tamarind Paste) – This sweet and sour liquid is pressed from the tamarind fruit and should contain no other ingredients besides tamarind. You can find it at the international or Asian grocery store (it’s common in many cuisines – Mexican, Indian, and Thai). You can also make your own tamarind paste.
Palm Sugar – This is a lightly sweet, subtly citrus sugar that comes from coconut palm or sugar palm trees. It is sold in small dried cakes. It is easiest to measure if it is grated or soaked in a small amount of warm water for about 10 minutes until soft. Light brown sugar will work as a substitute in this curry.
Fish Sauce – Fish sauce provides the authentic flavor of a true Thai Massaman Curry. It adds a savory umami richness that rounds out the dish. If you’re making a vegetarian version, soy sauce can be used as a substitute.

How to Make Thai Massaman Curry Paste

The steps for making Thai Massaman Curry Paste are:

Soak dried red chili peppers
Roast shrimp paste
Toast dry spices in a skillet or wok
Grind dry spices in a mortar and pestle
Combine chilis, dry spices, and shrimp paste in a mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor and blend until smooth

Note: The easiest way to roast the shrimp paste is to wrap it in foil and fully enclose it. Then place the packet of shrimp paste on a hot skillet and cook on both sides until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. This helps to release the flavors.

The ingredients for Thai Massaman Curry Paste are:

Dried Red Chili Peppers
Shrimp Paste
Coriander Seeds
Cumin Seeds
White Peppercorns
Lemongrass
Galangal
Shallots
Garlic
Cilantro Root
Ground Cinnamon
Ground Cloves
Ground Cardamom
Salt

If shopping outside of Thailand, lemongrass stalks are available at well-stocked or specialty grocery stores. Galangal and cilantro roots (you’re looking for the actual root of the herb, but can use the stems if needed; do not use cilantro leaves) are often sold frozen at Asian or international grocery stores. The frozen versions work very well if fresh are not available.

Generally speaking, the smaller the dried chili peppers, the more spicy they are. To make your own Massaman Curry Paste, use dried chili peppers that are about 6 to 8 inches in length. These are easy to work with and are more mild than the very small Thai Bird’s Eye Chilis. The nice thing about starting with more mild chili peppers is that you can always use red pepper flakes to add more spice to the curry paste. Outside of Thailand, the larger chilis that you want to use are typically from North America and are labeled “California Chilis”, “Southwestern Chilis”, or “New Mexico Chilis”. I actually get them from a Mexican grocery store.

For more information on all of the ingredients needed for Thai Curry Paste, check out the Guide to Essential Thai Ingredients.

Store-Bought vs. Homemade Massaman Curry Paste

While it can be rewarding and delicious to make your own Massaman Curry Paste, if you’re just starting to explore Thai curry, store-bought curry paste makes the process a breeze. Many commercial versions of Thai curry paste are very good and will give you an excellent curry. The most common variety of Massaman Curry Paste I use is Mae Ploy. It has a vibrant flavor and a rich, thick texture. It’s worth buying this 14-oz tub which can be stored in the fridge for several weeks and is also great in Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce.

I do make my own Massaman Curry Paste occasionally and love the vibrant flavor. Mine usually has a slightly lighter color than store-bought which is a deep reddish-brown.

What is the Oil on top of Thai Curry?

People visiting Thailand often comment that the curries look oily or greasy. However, beads of oil on the surface of a curry are a sign that what you are about to eat is legit. Every authentic recipe for Thai curry starts with “breaking” the coconut milk. This step of simmering coconut milk in a dry, hot pan separates out the natural oils in the coconut milk and provides a base for cooking the curry paste that will maximize its natural flavor.

Below is what the coconut milk starts to look like as it is breaking. If you are making Thai curry and the coconut milk does not break within the first 5 minutes of cooking, don’t worry! Just proceed with the recipe as written. You’ll still get a delicious curry.

Other Thai Recipes You May Enjoy:

Thai Minced Chicken Salad (Laab / Larb Gai)
Instant Pot Thai Panang Curry
Thai Chicken Satay
Thai Cashew Chicken
Thai Crispy Rice

Favorite Tools

High-Walled Pot for Cooking – Curry can be easily made in any pot with tall sides. A Dutch oven, wok, or saute pan will work well.

If you are going to make curry paste from scratch, using the recipe below, you’ll need these tools:

Mortar and Pestle or Spice Grinder – You’ll need one of these tools to most easily grind up the spices used in the curry paste. If you use a spice grinder, be sure that you have a dedicated one for spices. (Don’t use your coffee grinder or your coffee will taste like Thai food!)

High Power Blender, Food Processor, or Mortar and Pestle – You’ll need one of these tools to blend the curry paste. A blender or food processor are, of course, not traditional but they are very fast. A blender will produce the most smooth curry paste while a food processor typically produces a curry paste that is even but has a rougher texture. A mortar and pestle like the one linked above is a more traditional method and is a great investment if you make a lot of Thai food from scratch.

Thai Massaman Curry

Thai Massaman Curry has its roots in India so in addition to the usual Thai suspects like coconut milk, lemongrass, and galangal, it is fragrant with cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. This curry is rich in flavor, mild in spice, and loaded with tender cubes of beef. It’s a one pan, easy weeknight meal.

Want to adjust the servings in this recipe to make more or less? Just click on the number next to “servings” and you can easily scale the recipe.

Equipment

Dutch oven, wok or saute pan

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup Coconut Milk, divided
4 Tbsp Thai Massaman Curry Paste (see note)
1 lb Boneless Beef Chuck Roast, cubed
2 cups Water
1 lb Potatoes, cubed (I use white sweet potato or Yukon gold potatoes)
2 Tbsp Tamarind Concentrate or Paste
1 1/2 Tbsp Palm Sugar (see note)
1 1/2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1/4 cup Roasted Peanuts
Thai Jasmine Rice, for serving
Thinly sliced Red Jalapeños, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Heat a Dutch oven, wok, or saute pan over medium heat. Add ¾ cup coconut milk (if using canned coconut milk that has separated, use the top, thicker portion of the milk) to the pan. Simmer coconut milk, stirring constantly, until it has reduced by half and you can see oil separating from the milk, 5 to 6 minutes. (Note: This step to “break” the coconut milk is part of the traditional process, but don’t worry if your coconut milk doesn’t show signs of separating after this initial cook time - just proceed with the recipe.)
Add curry paste and saute until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add beef and stir to coat in the curry paste.
Pour water and 1 cup coconut milk over beef.
Stir in potatoes, tamarind concentrate, palm sugar, and fish sauce.
Bring to a simmer and let curry simmer gently until beef is cooked through and potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (Reduce heat as needed to prevent the curry from reaching a hard boil.)
Taste the curry and adjust the flavor, adding more sugar, tamarind, or fish sauce if needed.
Serve curry over rice with peanuts and sliced jalapenos (if using) on top.

Notes

Thai Massaman Curry Paste - Feel free to adjust the amount of curry paste, increasing it if you’d like a more intense flavor. If you prefer to make your own Thai Massaman Curry Paste, see below for the recipe.
Palm Sugar - Grate the palm sugar for the most accurate measurement. You can substitute light brown sugar, but reduce to 2 tsp.

Thai Massaman Curry

Thai Massaman Curry Paste is a mild, flavorful curry paste that combines classic Thai flavors like dried chili peppers, lemongrass, and galangal with sweeter dried spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.
This makes about 1 cup of curry paste.

Want to adjust the servings in this recipe to make more or less? Just click on the number next to “servings” and you can easily scale the recipe.

Equipment

Skillet
High Powered Blender or Food Processor
Mortar and Pestle or Spice Grinder

Ingredients

8 large Dried Red Chili Peppers (preferably New Mexico or California dried peppers)
1 tsp Shrimp Paste (see note)
2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp White Peppercorns
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp very thinly sliced Lemongrass
1 Tbsp diced Galangal
1/4 cup diced Shallots
3 Tbsp thinly sliced Garlic
1 tsp diced Cilantro Root (sub finely chopped cilantro stem if cilantro root is not available)
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Ground Cardamom

Instructions

Use kitchen shears to chop chili peppers into large pieces (about 4 pieces per pepper). Shake the seeds out of the peppers (the more seeds you remove the less spicy the curry paste will be). Soak peppers in warm water for 10 minutes to soften.
While peppers soak, place shrimp paste on a small piece of foil and then fold the foil up to form a packet that completely encloses the shrimp paste.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Place shrimp paste packet onto heated skillet and toast for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until fragrant. Set aside.
Return skillet to medium-high heat and add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and white peppercorns. Toast spices, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.
Grind coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and white peppercorn using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until they form a fine powder. Set ground spices aside. (Note: if you don’t have a mortar and pestle or a dedicated spice grinder, you can also pulse the dried spices in the blender or food processor, but it may take up to 10 minutes of blending / pulsing until a fine powder forms.)
Return to dried peppers and drain off as much water as possible.
If using a mortar and pestle:
Combine soaked chili peppers and salt in a mortar and pestle and grind until smooth.
Add lemongrass, galangal, shallots, garlic, and cilantro root. Grind again until smooth.
Add shrimp paste and dried spices. Continue to grind / mix everything together until even.
If using a blender or food processor:
In a blender or food processor, combine chili peppers, lemongrass, galangal, shallots, garlic, cilantro root, and shrimp paste. Blend until the mixture forms a paste that still has a small amount of texture, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed. (Note: if the mixture does not blend easily, add water a bit at a time, as needed, to help it blend.)
Add dried spices and salt and blend just until the spices are fully mixed in.
Taste curry paste and season with some additional salt, if needed.
Curry paste can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week or frozen for up to a year.

Notes

Shrimp paste (typically labeled as “kapi” or “gapi”) can be found at an Asian / international grocery store. It is most often sold in a jar with a good amount of oil. It can sometimes be found in firm blocks that might need to be slightly hydrated before using. Jarred or tinned anchovies are the Western equivalent and could be used as a substitute to give the curry paste the same rich, seafood, umami flavors. To make Thai curries, the shrimp paste is always roasted before cooking to release its flavor. For simplicity, we wrap the paste in foil and just toast it in a skillet before using it.

Want to make a vegan or vegetarian curry? Just skip the shrimp paste.
Back to top
View user's profile
Info



Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Posts: 2103
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ingredient Guides Cuisine Guides Tea

Why Tea Addicts Go Crazy for Pu-Erh

Max Falkowitz

Published: August 20, 2015 Last Updated: October 31, 2019

https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/08/what-is-puerh-tea-where-to-buy.html

In the war on rot, aging food is a tactical retreat. We can't beat nature at its own game, so we join it, and let microbes have their way with meat or cheese in the hopes of developing deeper, more complex flavors than the fresh versions can offer.

There's less rot involved when we age drinks like wine, beer, and whiskey, but it's still a testy alliance with nature—giving up the fresh, fiery tastes of youth for something deeper, layered, and more mature. Age, though it manifests in many forms, has a character all its own. You know it when you taste it; you're drinking time.

The Western world's long been keen on aging all kinds of drinks, but up until the last couple decades or so, the idea of applying the same principles to tea was largely unknown. Head over to China, though, and you quickly see that aged tea is as much a part of life as 21-year-old whiskey and prized vintages of Champagne.

Why age tea at all? Most tea doesn't so much age as turn stale and dead. But with the right environment, and the right tea, you get something utterly unique: a drink that slinks down your throat and hugs your belly, relaxes your muscles and calms your mind. The best aged tea is medicine you want to gulp, full of bitter chocolate or stonefruit or wet, sweet soil. And for the complexity of what you're drinking, it can cost way, way less per serving than that bottle of old Scotch.

While you can age many kinds of tea (I'm sitting on some lovely oolong almost as old as my parents), none is more lusted after than the pride of Yunnan Province, a tea hundreds—if not thousands—of years in the making: pu-erh.

Pu-erh, which is processed in a special way to encourage microbial fermentation after the leaves are dried, ages more dynamically than any tea out there. It does not have fans. It has junkies who buy kilos of the stuff at a time to bliss out on days-long brewing sessions, only dropping out of their highs long enough to argue over the best pu-erh blends, growing regions, and storage methods. There are grasping amateurs who buy, gift, and drink the tea to gain social status among Chinese elite. And there are pu-erh investors, too, gambling on a particular tea's aging potential, who build booming futures markets and, in the case of a major bust in 2007, crash them.

Over in the West, pu-erh is a niche market within a niche market. But its devotees are growing. And if there's a tea that's ready for the big time outside Asia, this is it.

A Tea Like No Other

For a tea to be called pu-erh, it must be made from the large-leaf subspecies Camellia sinensis var. assamica and grown in Yunnan Province in China's southwest, where Han Chinese as well as many ethnic minorities share borders with Burma and Laos. It's one of the few teas to be designated a protected origin product by the Chinese government, a rarity in an industry run wild with loose, unregulated terms and limited oversight.*

* Not that these regulations are all that effective; knock-off pu-erh is an enormous problem, just like in other famous tea-growing regions.

Those factors restrict the tea's general character and terroir to a set of parameters, but the real trick to pu-erh is what happens after it's picked. Fresh leaves get tossed by hand in giant woks long enough to halt the tea's oxidation, but not so long as to drive off all moisture and kill natural bacteria. The tea is then left to dry in the sun, but the bacteria live on, and over years and decades, they'll help completely transform the tea from a fresh, bitter green into something more dark, mellow, and rich.

Most tea farmers sell their dried tea directly to vendors or wholesalers, but with pu-erh there's usually a middle step. Farmers sell their finished loose leaves (called maocha) to processors who often blend leaves from several sources, steam them, then compress them under heavy weights into a variety of shapes, such as frisbee-like cakes, square bricks, and small concave nests. This Ming Dynasty-era practice was originally developed to make tea easier to transport over long distances, but these days is reserved for teas designed for aging; the compressed form makes for a more stable and portable aging environment as time does its thing.

A cake of pu-erh is in a constant state of change, and as you chip away leaves to drink over the months and years, no two brews will taste the same. Some pu-erh is delicious to drink when fresh: it's vegetal and fragrant with gentle bitterness and a tickling sun-dried pungency. Other pu-erh needs years of aging for profound bitterness or harsh, smoky flavors to mellow out into something smooth, sweet, and dignified. Half the fun of drinking the stuff is watching your tea grow and change as you do.

Drinking Time

Though pu-erh is one style of tea from one province, it's tricky to make generalizations about how it tastes. Regional variations in terroir, processing styles, and age all come into play, and the world of pu-erh is maddeningly complex, even by fine tea standards. As Jinghong Zhang puts it in her excellent Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic, an elucidating academic treatment of the tea's socio-political-economic history, "Pu-erh tea has been packaged by multiple actors into a fashionable drink with multiple authenticities." But to paint with the broadest of all possible brushes, here's a very rough breakdown of the three major pu-erh categories:

Young 'Raw': This looks like green tea more than anything else, and it's either brand new or not old enough (under, say, two to three years) to develop any of the aged characteristics of more mature pu-erh. It can be floral and sweet or as bitter as amaro, but there's an undeniable youth and grassy freshness to the brew. Some pu-erh people hate the taste of bitter young sheng, but others specifically seek it out for those bitter qualities. And some of the best young sheng out there should be drank fast, like green tea; not all pu-erh ages well, and time can just flatten out its snappy, vegetal flavor without adding anything new.

Aged 'Raw': There are many schools on how to age pu-erh, but all involve controlled heat and humidity to smooth out the tea's rough edges and make for a darker, deeper brew that tends to register lower in your throat and body. Aged pu-erh raw usually has some woodsy, earthy qualities and camphor or dark fruit notes, but rather than specific flavors, the important thing here is the depth and body the tea develops. There's enormous range in how that character manifests; a seven-year-old pu-erh likely won't be as murky and moody as a 30-year-old one. So the only way to get a sense of how aging affects pu-erh is to drink a lot of it.

'Ripe': The deep, dark, basementy pu-erh favored by the likes of Hong Kong drinkers takes decades to mature, which is why in the 1970s, tea processors developed a shortcut: shou ('ripe,' as opposed to 'raw' sheng) pu-erh, in which dried pu-erh leaves are piled in rooms and left to effectively compost for months in the heat and humidity from their own biomass. The process cuts maturation time down from decades to months, though shou pu-erh usually winds up tasting less complex than good aged sheng, and it's typically made with lower grade leaves. But a good shou pu-erh can be thick and luscious as a latte with a rich, mushroomy sweetness that sinks to your belly, and it's usually cheaper than comparable quality aged sheng pu-erh. Note that you can age shou pu-erh just like sheng, but since it's already been 'pre-aged' in processing, its character will evolve far less over time.

Fortunately, no matter what kind of pu-erh you have, brewing it is relatively straightforward. Like other fine Chinese teas, it benefits from using a lot of leaf in small pots, brewing for short times (15 to 60 seconds) over a series of as many as two dozen infusions with boiling or near-boiling water, adjusting as you go. (More on this kind of brewing right this way.) More than most tea, pu-erh is built for change, not just over months and years, but over a single brew session.

You can use a scale to weigh out your leaves to the gram, but I usually break off a six- to 10-gram chunk with a butter knife for a 100-milliliter gaiwan or clay teapot.* Even relatively simple fresh, young sheng pu-erh will develop in your pot as you keep re-steeping, and more mature aged teas can travel from dank and mushroomy to spicy-sweet to grapey-floral.

Buy it With Care

Buying quality tea is always tricky business, but this is especially the case with pu-erh. The most challenging part of buying good pu-erh is knowing who to trust. Since it's such a trendy tea in tea circles, and vendors typically buy from other sellers or middlemen processors and factories rather than farmers directly (remember, those processors are the ones who press the tea into its final form), there's a lot of opportunity for someone to lie along the way and either upsell their goods or completely misrepresent what they're selling.

Do a little reading about pu-erh and you'll see some vaunted names come up again, such as famous teas like Menghai Factory's 7542 cakes or lusted-after antique 88 qingbings, or noteworthy growing regions like Yiwu and Laobanzhang. All justly celebrated, but without much regulation, there's no guarantee that the $300 aged cake you just bought is actually the tea being advertised. Even pu-erh experts can get fooled by fakes, a rampant problem in the industry.

Pu-erh can get expensive. Since the tea is formed into a compressed shape, you have to buy it in fixed amounts. Small nest-shaped tuo forms are usually 100 or 250 grams, and cakes, the most common form, are over three quarters of a pound. While many vendors offer smaller samples of their pu-erhs, those samples come with a substantial markup. Oh, and those big name teas? Some of them can command astronomical prices: four or five figures for less than a pound of tea.

The good news, though, is that quality pu-erh costs less per-gram than many other quality teas that a) can't age well, so you have to drink them fast, and b) don't last nearly as many re-steeps as pu-erh, so while you may pay a higher upfront cost, even pricey pu-erh can come out cheaper per cup than some other celebrated tea styles.

So it's worth buying your pu-erh with care, which is why I typically do so from vendors who specialize in it and who either press their own cakes or have long-established relationships that have a proven track record of quality. To get you started, here are five reliable sources to seek out. If you're brand new to pu-erh, don't get too hung up on the terminologies and labels you'll find as you start shopping. Instead, set a budget, order some samples and maybe a couple cheap cakes to start, and drink with an open mind. The addiction comes later.

Pu-Erh Sources to Seek Out

Crimson Lotus: Reasonably priced quality aged and fresh raw pu-erh as well as some good affordable ripe styles. The 2005 Changtai Top of the Clouds is a solid introduction to the complexities of aged pu-erh, as is the 2008 Bulang for deep, sweet ripe. Crimson Lotus also presses their own raw pu-erh for aging or drinking right now; the 2015 Hidden Song is a tasty fresh tea that will appeal to green tea fans, while the already enticing 2015 Slumbering Dragon will only get better with time.

White2Tea: Another boutique shop with a wide (but carefully selected) range of pu-erh: just-pressed and decades old, raw and ripe, budget-friendly and "second mortgage on the house" pricey. Many of the house pressings are great (the 2015 Tuhao as Fuck in particular; White2Tea also has the best pu-erh names in the business), and most interesting for pu-erh beginners will be the company's four-cake starter set, which at $40 for 400 grams of tea is an especially affordable way to get a sense of how picking season, age, and leaf grade all affect a tea.

Chawangshop: Wide, wide selection and some very friendly prices mean it's easy to go overboard at this China-based vendor, which also carries a good selection of other fermented aged tea to try beyond pu-erh. Not all the offerings are equally good—there's a $4 brick of tea that unsurprisingly brews up like horse food—but the house Chawangpu pressings are rather nice budget offerings to swig on a daily basis, such as the 2015 Hekai Gushu or the 2005 Bulang.

Yunnan Sourcing: With literally hundreds of pu-erhs available, Yunnan Sourcing sells more pu-erh than just about any Western-facing vendor. This is a good place to get a sense of just how varied the world of pu-erh is, from big factory pressings by Menghai and Xiaguan to more obscure regions to the company's own label. Learning about pu-erh means paying some tuition, and a comprehensive site like Yunnan Sourcing can help you see what's out there.

Tea Classico: On the more high-end side, with some 1980s and '90s pu-erh that's aged into remarkable maturity (and worth ordering samples of for a couple brews of deep tea education). The budget offerings, such as the 2013 Zhangjia, are worth looking into as well, good reminders that a pu-erh doesn't have to be expensive to be delicious.
Back to top
View user's profile Send e-mail
Info



Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Posts: 2103
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spices:

—Chili powder: ancho chile, paprika, cumin, and Mexican oregano

—Za'atar: thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac

—Herbs de provence: rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano, sage, and tarragon

—Garam masala: chinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, mace, peppercorns, coriander, turmeric, and cumin

—Ras el hanout: cardamom, clove, cinnamon, paprika, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorn, and turmeric

—Curry powder: turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, and red pepper

—Cajun seasoning: black pepper, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, and thyme

—Chinese five spice: cassia, clove, fennel, star anise, Szechuan peppercorns

Onions:

Sweet onions are best for frying. Use for: onion rings, gratins, and roasted veggies.

Red onions are best for eating raw. Use for: guacamole, pickled onions, salads, and sandwiches.

White onions are crunchiest and have the sharpest zing. Use for: salsas, chutneys, and stir fries.

Yellow onions are the best all-around cooking onion. Use for: meat roasts, braised meat dishes, sauces, soups, and stews.

Shallots are milder and more subtle. Use for: vinaigrettes, egg casseroles, and garnishes.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/maitlandquitmeyer/cooking-basics-everyone-should-know
Back to top
View user's profile Send e-mail
Info



Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Posts: 2103
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Laughing Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    www.tonyleung.info Forum Index -> Tony Leung Articles All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group