Weekly Girlfriends Cooking Night #3

This week, Lady Luck and I visited Thailand! Although our version of Thai seemed to involve a lot of coconut. Not that that’s a bad thing, as I’m a huge fan of the fruit.

On the menu tonight: Swimming Rama, Coconut Rice with Mango, and Coconut Jasmine Tea. For dessert, Coconut Sorbet.

So Swimming Rama has the potential to be ridiculously spicy if you want to make it that way, but for what we like, mild is good. The sauce is essentially a peanut butter reduction, and I love it – seeing how peanut butter almost trumps cheese on my list of favorite foods. The chicken is cut into little strips and put into a pot of boiling water that is then covered and removed from the heat for 5 minutes. Apparently, it’s like when cooking rice on the stove. DO NOT uncover it or it won’t work. It’s magic. A method I’ve never tried that worked amazingly well.

The peanut sauce is a mixture of onion, garlic, peanut butter, fish sauce, paprika, red pepper, coconut milk, cornstarch, water and lime juice. Is it just me or does that sound like the absolute strangest combination in the world? Maybe it’s my previous inexperience with cooking Asian themed foods…but I was blown away by the delicious-ness. The recipe is here, and the cookbook I got it from is here.

Once the chicken is mixed with the sauce, it’s served over spinach. The recipe says steamed spinach, I prefer sauteed spinach, basically just wilted.

Lady Luck made this amazing coconut rice and she topped it with mangoes! I asked her for the details and she said that she has a little bit of an unconventional way of making it. Instead of measuring out the one part rice to two parts liquid, she eyeballs it and then adds more if it’s not the consistency she wants. It’s a cooks trick that you can get away with that kind of stuff when you’ve been making the same dish for a while. She uses coconut milk and coconut juice – which she says looks like lard coming out of the can, but only because it’s pureed coconut meat and much more hearty. By the way, this rice will be turned into rice pudding this weekend because it was that good.

Our drink of the night (after the shot of pear sake! That stuff is POTENT) was a jasmine coconut tea. I improvised a little bit, not being a big fan of straight flowery teas. I brewed together a couple of bags of jasmine tea and a couple of bags of green tea, and then chilled it until we were ready for this drink. Then you pop open a can of coconut milk (which you can see on the right in the picture) and pour a cup into each glass. A tablespoon of sugar is mixed into the milk and then the tea is poured over top. I’m apparently not a mixologist because pouring tea over the back of a spoon didn’t work for me to get it to pool over the milk and create the prettiness that’s in my cookbook. But once it was all stirred together, it was super tasty! I plan on keeping these teas and milk on hand just for this drink!

On the menu next week? Sushi! I got this cool little contraption for Christmas that you load the innards of the sushi into and then it pushes it all out nice and compact on to the seaweed paper and this is my excuse to try it.

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