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Southeast Asian Fusion Dinner

With a few guests coming over for dinner, son William and I decided to build on our January trip to Laos and Burma to create a Southeast Asian “fusion” dinner.  We agreed ahead to make a steamed fish for the main course with several salads following the Burmese tradition. For hors d’oeuvres as guests arrived, William landed on little tarts with ground lamb. Sticky rice was the starch and our friend brought a chocolate molten cake dessert. A visit to Pike Place Market to see what was fresh and in season allowed us to round out our menu:

Warm spicy lamb pastry wtih chilled lychee and mint

Warm spicy lamb pastry with chilled lychee fruit and mint

Hors D’oeuvre: Mini tarts with Asian spiced lamb, topped with mint and lychee fruit

Cook ground lamb with sweet onion, fresh hot peppers, nam pla. Bake for 20 minutes until pastry crust is brown. Top with chilled chopped lychee fruit and fresh mint. The spicy warm meat and the sweet cool lychee are wonderful together.

 

 

A trio of salads: Classic Burmese tomato salad with peanuts,  Watercress and grapefruit salad with crispy shallot, Eggplant and green bean salad with Thai red curry.

Shallots in Oil

Shallots in Oil

First make shallot-garlic oil by frying 3 shallots, lots of garlic and several fresh turmeric in 2 cups of canola oil. Save the crispy shallot and the oil.

 

 

Tomato Salad with Peanuts

Tomato Salad with Peanuts

Tomato salad: Dice and seed 4 tomatoes, finely dice 2 shallot, mix with ½ cup roasted peanuts (I got Chinese peanuts and roasted them myself), a couple tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, a couple shakes of nam pla, some ground shrimp powder and the shallot-garlic oil.

 

Grapefruit, watercress, and arugula salad with crispy shallot

Grapefruit, watercress, and arugula salad with crispy shallot

Watercress , arugula, and grapefruit:  Pomelo would be good if available. Section and seed the grapefruit or pomelo, removing all white parts. Put greens on large platter, put fruit on top, mix the shallot-garlic oil with some nam pla and lime juice. Toss all together and then garnish with the crispy shallots from the oil. If the grapefruit is very tart, add some sugar to the dressing before tossing.

 

Eggplant and green bean salad

Eggplant and green bean salad

Eggplant and green bean salad: Dice three Asian Eggplant. Cut a few handfuls of green beans into bite-sized pieces. Cook the eggplant in oil with scallion. Add a couple tablespoons of the cream of a can of coconut milk, Thai red curry paste to taste, and cook until pretty soft. Add the green beans and cook until al dente. Chill. The crispy beans mixed with the soft and spicy eggplant is very nice.

 

Black cod with vegetables in Thai-inspired corn chowder

Black cod with vegetables in Thai-inspired corn chowder

Entree: Steamed black cod and vegetables served in Thai-inspired corn chowder and garnished with Thai basil and shredded coconut.  Sticky rice on the side.

First make the broth – I used 4 ears of corn cut from the cob and the “cream” scrapped off the cob, 3 cans of coconut milk, a couple glasses of water, 2 limes, nam pla to taste, finely diced shallot, 1 lemongrass cut into strips, a few slices of galangal root and reduced to half.

For vegetables, I used carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and garlic spears.  Julienne the carrots, slice the mushrooms, and cut the garlic spears into bite size pieces. If you cannot find garlic spears, you could use some snow peas but add them at the end. Place the vegetable on the bottom of the steaming pan.

Steaming the vegetables and fish

Steaming the vegetables and fish

I used Black cod for the fish but choose any oily fish that will not dry out. Rub the fish with some canola oil, nam pla and lime and steam until the fish is cooked (15 minutes or so but depends on the type of fish and its thickness).

We placed the broth in the bowl, then added the veggies and then the fish, sprinkling Thai basil and some shredded coconut as a garnish. We served sticky rice in separate bowls on the side. We also had Jeow Bong, a spicy Lao chili sauce that people added to the main course.

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