|Chicken relish (rear) with fried fish|
Chicken relish (Bon Gai Nung)
Chicken relish is basically pound (cooked) chicken that is seasoned, flavoured with herbs and steamed in little parcels. Dylan tells us that you can't find this dish very often any more, even in Thailand, and that it was probably a typical farmer's lunch, as they were pre-cooked and easy to carry onto the fields.
Large roasted chillies, chopped into long-ish shards, blackened skins removed, otherwise ok to keep on
Roasted/steamed chicken, shredded
Roasted eggplant, blacken the skin and remove, leaving soft flesh, and cut into strips
Fermented fish sauce (nam pla ra)
Palm sugar (100%, see Part 1 for a picture of that glorious stuff)
Banana leaves, cleaned and softened over a low charcoal flame
|The familiar mortar|
Everything goes into the mortar, in this order:
Shallots & garlic
|What it should look like after pounding|
Between adding each ingredient, be sure to pound the contents to make sure it is sufficiently tender and mixed in.
With the last few ingredients, taste as you go to get the right balance.
|Second fold, again|
|Second and third fold in progress|
|Second and third folds|
|The finished parcel|
Egg net rolls (Po Piat Tot)
Egg nets are those nets made out of fried egg (very complicated description, hey?!) that you see wrapped around other ingredients - they act like nori for sushi - I've also seen fried rice wrapped up/covered with an egg net, not sure if that's a Thai thing or bastardised for foreign audiences! The one we made was the sushi variant, with caramelised coconut and chicken as the main fillings.
|It's supposed to be messy!|
Whisk eggs with a little salt and sesame oil, and leave them in the fridge overnight, otherwise the egg won't be smooth and stringy enough.
To make egg nets, heat a wok with a substantial amount of oil - the surface of the oil being about how big you want the egg net to be.
Keep the oil on a low simmer, otherwise there'l lbe a lot of spitting and the net will break or jig around too much.
Here's the fun part: dip fingers of one hand into the bowl of egg. Part your fingers lightly, lift your hand out of the bowl and dangle it above the wok. Move your hand forwards and backwards, like you're paddling in water, or signalling "come, come", with your wrist being the "hinge" point - only your hand needs to move. Once you've done that up and down a few times, turn and do it horizontally, so you get the crisscrosses required to form a net.
|Hello egg net!|
Don't take too long as the egg will start to go golden brown, which means it will be too brittle.
Take it out and spread it out on a paper towel, letting it cool.
Buy shredded coconut flesh from a Thai grocer. Fry it slowly with coriander root, ginger, garlic and white pepper, than add fish sauce and palm sugar and let it cook slowly, so the sugar doesn't burn and it will coats the strips of coconut, and they will also soften. It could take up to two hours (if I remember correctly).
Take caramelised coconut, as above.
|Kaffir lime leaves|
|Thai lime zest|
|Portioning the filling|
|Ready to roll|
|All lined up|
|Perfect finger food|
Dylan mentioned that you can roll anything you like into the nets, a fancy version might be to put prawn or lobster in.
The class concluded with lots of eating. Aside from the dishes we cooked, we also had this beautiful chicken salad.
I wonder how much of this I'll make again?