While spending a day packing away dishes and scraping the last dregs of ugly wall paper off a kitchen wall, Kyle and I decided to say farewell to the old kitchen with a Thai food extravaganza. Instead of our usual Thai take-out, we picked out a couple of recipes from a cookbook I picked up from the library. It is a cookbook for Keo's Thai Cuisine, an amazing Thai/pan-Asian restaurant in Waikiki.
Several years ago, my friend Ali and I traveled to Hawaii as a part of the Japanese Community Queen Scholarship Program and were wined and dined for a week. Keo's was one of the stops on the trip, and when I found their cookbook, I was instantly transported back to the amazing dinner we had on that trip. Although my attempt was not quite up to par with the restaurant and took about 1 1/2 hours of shopping at Ranch 99 in order to find all the ingredients, it was well worth it in the end. I will post the recipes for all three dishes we tried over the next couple of weeks!
1/2 lb boneless chicken breasts
2-6 small red chile peppers
1/2 stalk fresh lemon grass
2 kaffir lime leaves (I think they are also called curry leaves, and found them in the produce section of Ranch 99)
2 TBS Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3 TBS fish sauce (amount depends on brand and personal taste--Kyle and I found a bottle of the stuff that was made in Thailand, so we thought it would have a more "authentic" taste!)
10-15 sweet basil leaves (make sure you get the Thai basil, not Italian...)
1 cup chopped cabbage (we got Napa cabbage which is a little crunchier and sexier than boring normal cabbage!)
Thinly cut chicken into 2-inch strips. I found that if you slice the chicken length-wise in thin strips and then cut those strips in half width-wise, they end up perfect for this dish. Grind together red chile peppers, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves in a food processor or pound in a motar. Heat oil to medium-high and saute pepper mixture for 3 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in fish sauce and basil. Serve on bed of chopped cabbage. I have to note that the dish ended up a bit salty, so I would reccommend going easy on the fish sauce and extra salt. You can always add salt, but unfortunately cannot take away salt once it is in the dish....