Tag Archives: asian

Madame Shawn – Bistrot Thai…. great place to go for lunch

28 May

As my parents drove me back to Paris last week-end, we took the opportunity to go to Madame Shawn – Bistrot Thai, a Thai Restaurant located close to the Carreaux du Temple, 18 rue Cafarelli. I used to go there when I was still living in Paris 5 years ago and I wanted to share the address with my parents.

As it was freezing, we were not especially looking for a place on a terrace nor for fresh salad and cold drinks…. Jasmine Tea, rice and spices were just what we needed!

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Seated at very simple square bistrot tables decorated with a tiny flower bouquet we ordered our “lunch menu formule”. For 15 euros, you have a broad choice of starters, main and sides as well as drinks. Unfortunately, we were not hungry anymore to try the deserts even if the Tiramisu looked really great when I saw them being served on a table close to ours! Next time maybe?

In the meantime, let me share with you our pick of the day….

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Starters:

Kai Ping: Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce, the chicken was moist inside and crispy outside, the sauce had a real flavor of peanut and was slightly spicy.

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Pho Pia: Fried Chicken Rolls with a Sweet and Sour Sauce, smaller than the rolls you buy in any Asian take-away or cheap restaurant, those rolls are very fresh and release a lot of flavor. They are not too greasy but just crispy enough. Really great to share as a starter!

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Som Tam: Spicy Green Papaya Salad, yummy and fresh…. Just the way I like it. The dressing is not too spicy and there is just enough peanuts crumbs on top. The carrots and green papaya are still crunchy and the portion is just what’s needed for a starter.

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Mains:

Madame Shawn Bobun…. one of the restaurant specialties: usually, a Bo Bun is a whole meal in itself…. you don’t need anything else to go with it. You have thinly sliced beef, fresh crispy vegetables and rice noodles covered with crunchy peanuts, fresh herbs and sliced spring rolls. Usually it comes with a tasty nuoc-man sauce to bring all the flavor together. At Madame Shawn, the Bo-Bun is almost served as a soup but still verty tasty. Not my favorite though.

For the best Bo Bun in Paris, here is a review: Best Bo Bun in Paris.

Among them is the restaurant Le Cambodge, 10 avenue Richerand in the 10th, by the Canal St Martin. I used to go there a lot and I promise you will love it for its freshness and great taste.

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Pla Pad Prik Keng: Wok Fish Filet with a Red Chili Sauce and Vegetables. The fish was tender, the sauce well balanced, neither too thick, nor too heavy. Just the right amount of red chilli paste. The vegetables were crispy enough and the fresh herbs brought a lot of flavor in addition to the sauce.

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As a side, my Dad had Pad Mi (Rice Noodles fried with vegetables) but he ended-up picking in my rice to finish the sauce of his fish…. Anyway, the rice noodles were really tasty too. Nicely sauteed with soy sauce and fresh vegetables and covered with finely chopped spring onions and herbs. Fresh and fulfilling at the same time.

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Kai Pad Mamuang Himmapan: Chicken Filets with Cashew Nuts When I am craving for Asian food, that’s one of my favorite dish…. with the Green Curry! The problem is that in many places, the chicken is often dry or not well prepared and has lots of nerves that are not a good surprise when you take a bite. As you may guess, I was pleased this time…. first there was lots of cashew nuts maybe even too much but not for me! The sauce was light and tasty and really kept the chicken moist and tender. It was not loaded with onions either.

I had my chicken with Khao Hom Mali (Perfumed Rice), which is the perfect side to keep on enjoying the nice flavor of the sauce when you have finished the chicken!

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Now you may understand why we were not anymore hungry for dessert….

I have to say that Madame Shawn offers a really good bargain for lunch. I know it is more expensive at night but still worth it as the atmosphere is all different. And you can also go in the other locations they have in Paris were the atmosphere is not “Bistrot like” but more refined and sophisticated.

Madame Shawn – Bistrot Thai

18 Rue Caffarelli
75003 Paris
Ph: +33 (0)1 42 72 36 06
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Knife Skills – The Fruits

14 Jan

Cutting Fruits

Fruits is part of our everyday meals. Some are easy to handle, bananas and apples for example. Other are trickier : mango, pineapple, papaya….

Here are a few tips to make your life easier.

First of all, learn to choose your fruits. If you want to use them the same days, they have to be just ripe. Neither too hard nor too soft. Especially in the summer or when the weather is stormy. They can collapse within an hour! If you buy them for later during the week, buy them greener and harder but neither too green or too hard, they might never mature if they have been picked way too early.

Also, try as much as you can to buy your fruits when they are seasonal. No red fruits during the winter obviously….

And last but not least, buy them in shops well-known for the quality of their fruits and veg selection.

Kiwi

Kiwi

The kiwi is a very tasty fruits but it has to be just ripe otherwise it is sour as lemon juice and when it is too ripe, the flesh gets a green dark color and is almost melting.

Your kiwi is ripe when you feel only a little resistance of the flesh when you slightly press the skin with your fingers.

Usually, you just need to cut the kiwi into 2 and scoop the inside with a spoon.

If you cut the kiwi for a desert decoration or a fruit salad, cut both ends and using a peeler or a sharp knife, cut stripes of skin 2-3 cm wide. Once the kiwi is peeled, either slice it or cut it into squares.

Suggestions: Sliced kiwi looks really great on fruit tarts but they also match with litchi, orange or strawberries in a fruit salad.

Mango

Mango

For a long time, I thought the only way to prepare mango was the Chinese restaurant way. Cut into 2, skin on, cut inside the skin and inner side pulled out to make it look like a porcupine. The problem is that you still have to get rid of the skin if you want to use the mango for something else!

Here is an alternative: peel the mango carefully then cut it lengthways into two large pieces. To do that, cut it along the stone of the mango, then cut the small part that remains around the stone if it is not too mushy.

Cut the mango parts into 1 cm wide stripes then into cubes. Reserve them in a bowl.

Suggestions: for breakfast once again with the papaya and other exotic fruits or in Asian salad with a lime and chilli dressing. Cut into large stripes and quickly caramelized, the mango is amazing with pancakes and ice-cream or vanilla cheesecake.

Orange

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Like bananas and apples, oranges are one of these fruits that we all had as a healthy snack or desert when we were kids. We have all been getting our hands dirty while peeling them and we’ve also been fighting with the white membrane of the segments.

Later, we’ve also been served orange salad with orange slices that were not really appealing as the membrane was too thick to be pleasant.

Finally, we were lucky to enjoy once in a good place a truly pleasant orange salad with no membrane to be found anywhere….

First of all, you need to choose your fruits carefully. Ask for tasty, juicy oranges without pips. You can also use a mix of citrus such as grapefruit and blood orange, the result will be all the more appealing.

Start by cutting the ends off the orange just far enough to expose the flesh. Then place the orange cut end down. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut away as little of the peel as possible by following the line of the orange’s flesh. Cut away what remains of the peel.

If your orange is very juicy, do the next step on top of a bowl. With your sharp knife, cut along the inside of the membranes that separate the orange segments. Slice only down to the center of the orange. Continue around the entire orange cutting out each section, leaving the membrane.

Suggestions: for a fruit salad with mint leaves and a hint of orange blossom water, to decorate the top of orange pie (based on the technique of the lemon pie), for mixed salad, with beetroot, almonds and mixed leaves and also great with duck breasts. The famous “Canard à l’orange”.

Papaya

Papaye

Papaya is used green for Asian salad and is really good but as a fruit, it’s better to use ripped ones. The skin is very thin and the flesh quickly goes from hard to mushy when it gets ripe. Which means you have to catch the right time to use it!

Simply peel the whole fruit and cut it lengthways. Using a spoon, scoop the seeds out of the center and cut each halves into stripes then into sticks then into cubes.

Suggestions: when traveling abroad, papaya is served on its own or with mango, pineapple and other exotic fruits for breakfast. You can also add lime juice and cane sugar on top if you want.

Pineapple

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The pineapple is not an easy fruit to handle, it is pretty big and the skin is not easy to get rid of. Anyway, before starting, I just wanted to share a tip I learned from a visit to one of our suppliers in Miami. If your pineapple is not mature and you want to keep it a few days. Keep it upside down as all the sugar gather at the bottom of the fruit. That way, the whole pineapple will have a good balance of sugar as the sugar will be equally distributed by the juice running down to the bottom of the pineapple.

Now, let’s cut the pineapple. First, use a large board and a long serrated knife. You will have a better grip. Remove the stalk and cut the top (at least 2 cm) of the fruit then the bottom (also 2 cm at least).

Stand the pineapple on its side and cut the skin off of the sides in strips. It does not matter if you have a great amount of those dark “eyes” left. You’ll get rid of them at the second round.

Continue cutting strips around the pineapple until you have cut all of the skin off of it then start the second round and cut only what needs to be cut. Doing it into 2 rounds gets you to avoid wasting too much pineapple flesh and also have a nice shape especially if you want to slice the pineapple.

Depending on what you want to use it for, either slice it whole then remove the center with a pastry-cutter or cut it into 4 wedges, cut off the center and slice the wedges into 1 cm bites.

Suggestions: Pineapple is great with a great amount of recipes from all over the world, it is used cooked in curry, fresh with fish, in Asian salad, flambed with rum, caramelized in upside-down cakes, in carpaccio, thinly cut into brunoise and mixed with other raw vegetables and spices to serve with grilled meats…

Pomegranate

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As pomegranate are really juicy, choose a board big enough to prevent the juice from dripping on your kitchen counter.

Cut the pomegranate into 2 and on top of a large bowl, knock the pomegranate skin with a wooden spoon. It will help releasing most of the seeds.

You will collect lots of juice and seeds but still you will have to finish picking the remaining seeds one by one. To make it easier, push gently the top of your half pomegranate toward the bottom to reverse it. You will have a better view of what’s remaining and it will be easier to get rid of the white membrane.

Once you have finish, get rid of the last parcels of white membrane and separate the seeds from the juice as they will get soft if kept in a liquid.

Suggestions: pomegranates decorate salads or meats. They are also great for breakfast, served with yogurt and granola or sprinkled on whipped cream with a slice of dark chocolate cake….

Strawberries

Strawberries

As most of the red fruits, strawberries are very delicate. Many people will tell you that you must not wash strawberries. That’s true but it does not mean you can’t rinse them!

It’s just that if you leave strawberries for a long time in the water, they will loose all their flavor and texture.

Place them in a large colander and rinse them under cold running water to get rid of any dirt.

Gently rub them in a tea towel and serve them whole or cut them to make a nice salad.

Using a very sharp knife, hull the strawberries and depending on the size of the fruit, keep them whole or cut them into 2, 4 or 6 wedges. You can also slice them but your strawberries have to be firm otherwise it will get very mushy.

Suggestions: Strawberries are naturally very sweet and don’t need anything usually but they are often served with caster sugar.

As a salad, you can add lemon juice, thinly sliced mint and icing sugar or a flavor such as orange blossom water or rose water. You can dip them in chocolate sauce as well or drizzle balsamic glaze on top for decoration.

Lime & Coriander Shrimps Skewers

1 Dec

In my last post about the Mango and Avocado Salsa, I was telling you about that light Asian dinner that I prepared for some friends. In case you wanted to replicate the menu…. here is the shrimps skewers recipe. The Pilaf rice cake will come soon. Just wait for the next post and if you really want to cook it straight away, just serve them with casual rice….

 

Shrimps Result

 

Ingredients for 6 people:

  • a bunch of bamboo skewers about 20cm long
  • 36 to 48 raw shrimps
  • 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil / sesame oil
  • a handful of coriander
  • 1,5 tbsp of light brown sugar / palm sugar
  • salt and pepper / fish sauce and chilli sauce
  • sesame seeds (optional)

Ingredients

 

Method

In a bowl, marinade the shrimps with lime juice, salt and pepper (or fish sauce and chilli sauce if you want to give it an Asian hint). Add the sugar and oil of your choice and sprinkle freshly chopped coriander on top.

Let it marinade for at least an hour.

In the meantime, place your bamboo skewer in a jug of hot water to soften the wood and avoid splinters.

Once marinated, stick one shrimp after another on the bamboo skewer. About 4 per skewer.

Keep the juice of the marinade for later.

Place a large frying pan on medium heat and drizzle with a little oil. When hot, quickly fry the shrimps skewer by bunch of 4 to 6 depending on the size of your pan. About 20-30 seconds on each side. Reserve on a tray or bowl and do the same with the other skewers.

Cover with foil until it’s almost time to serve them. 5-10 minutes before serving, place them back into the pan and pour half the marinade on top of them to keep them moist. Cover with a lid and bring back to medium heat to get them fully cooked.

Shrimp Marinade & Cooking

Present the shrimps skewers on a serving dish and spread some freshly chopped coriander on top.

Once ready, deglaze the pan with the rest of the marinade, add freshly chopped coriander and toasted sesame seeds if you want and pour the sauce in a side jug.

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Serve the shrimps hot with the sauce, a nice pilaf rice cake and a mango and avocado salsa.

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Mango Avocado Salsa, a fresh side worth trying!

1 Dec

Yesterday, I was preparing a light Asian dinner for some friends coming over and while looking at my lime and coriander shrimps next to my rice cake, I was thinking that it desperately lacked color….

That’s how I ended up with the idea of the mango & avocado salsa….. the green of the avocado and the deep yellow of the mango were a perfect choice to make the whole dinner look amazing!

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Ingredients

  • a ripe avocado still firm
  • a ripe mango still firm
  • a lime
  • a handful of coriander
  • salt & pepper

Method

Peel the mango then cut lengthways into two large pieces. To do that, cut it along the stone of the mango, then cut the small part that remains around the stone if it is not too mushy.

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Cut the mango parts into 1 cm wide stripes then into cubes. Reserve them in a bowl.

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Cut the avocado lengthways and remove the stone delicately.

Using a large spoon, remove the flesh from the skin. As the spoon is curved, it will easily separate the avocado flesh from its skin without damaging it. You will end-up with a two nice halves of avocado.

Cut them into 1 cm wide stripes then into cubes. Pour them with the mango.

Squeeze 1 to 2 lime juices on top of the preparation. If your lime is hard as a stone, roll it and press it at the same time on the working surface before cutting it. It will help to release the juice. It is important to squeeze the juice on top of the avocado as it will prevent it from getting dark (because of oxidation).

Roughly chop the coriander and spread it on top of the avocado and mango mix.

Season with salt and pepper or fish sauce and chili if you want to make it more Asian. Taste and adjust.

Serve it straight away with fish, shrimps, white meat or as an appetizer with corn chips.

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An Asian Feast

29 Jan

For the last dinners I have organized at home I tried new ideas and new techniques. I tried the wild flavor of the Hot Smoked Paprika from Spain then I felt like a Magician playing with a crazy amount of spices to cook Indian food. Yesterday, I was in an Asian Mood…. I had tried one of Nigel Slater‘s pork recipe from is book Real Food and it was really yummy! That’s why I decided to do it again with a few other easy Asian dishes. Here is the menu… and the recipes!

Menu: serves about 6 people

Mango and Sugar Snap Peas Salad with a Ginger and Lime Dressing

Molded Pilaf Rice with Grilled Coconut

Pork with Cashews, Lime and Mint from Nigel Slater Cookbook


Mango and Sugar Snap Peas Salad with a Lime and Ginger Dressing

Ingredients

  • 500g of sugar snap peas
  • 1 mango firm not ripe in order to cut nice squares
  • 2-3 spring onions
  • coriander and/or mint, chervil
  • 1/4 cup of cashew nuts
  • Sesame oil
  • kecap mani sauce (sweet soy sauce)

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 2 limes juice and zest finely grated
  • 2-3 cm of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/2 red chili seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of palm sugar or honey if you don’t have it

Method

First prepare your ingredients.

Wash the sugar snap peas and cut them into 2-3 stripes with an angle to give them a nice shape.

Peel the mango and cut 2 thick slices along the stones then cut the slices into 2-3 cm squares.

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Wash the spring onions and finely slice them with the same diagonal angle.

Wash the herbs and chop or slice them finely. If you are using them later, put a wet piece of kitchen towel on top of it to prevent them from getting dark.

In a wok or large frying pan, toast the cashew nuts until golden brown. Because the nuts are oily, you need to toast them to release the flavor.

Add 1-2 tsp of kecap mani sauce or honey on top of it and stir them until well coated. The sauce will caramelize around the cashew nuts. Pour the cashew nuts on a silicon mat or a piece of parchment paper.

In the same pan while it’s still hot, add a little sesame oil and pour the sugar snap peas in the wok. Fry them quickly as they need to remain crunchy. The leftover of kecap mani will caramelize the edges of the peas.

After 2-3 minutes, pour them in a container and let them cool down.

Then add a little sesame oil in the wok and quickly fry the mango cubes. Because the mango is not ripe, the cubes will not tear apart and they will keep their shape.

Set aside and let them cool down.

While that time, prepare the sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and depending on your taste, add more palm sugar for the sweetness or lime to make it more sour.

Just before serving, mix together the sugar snap peas, mango, spring onions, herbs, cashew nuts and the sauce, place them in a nice serving dish and decorate with a few remaining chopped herbs.

Molded Pilaf Rice with Grilled Coconut

Ingredients for the Pilaf Rice

  • 2 cups of Basmati Rice
  • 5 cups of hot water
  • 1 chicken/veg stock cube dissolved in the hot water
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped or crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • groundnut oil
  • grilled coconut

Method for the Pilaf Rice*

In a deep medium frying pan, pour a little oil and start to gently fry the onions then add the garlic and keep on frying until golden brown.

Add the rice and cook it until it becomes translucent. Stir it to avoid it sticks to the pan.

Then add the stock on top of it, some salt and pepper and stir it just one time. Bring it to a gentle boil. Cover it and let it cook for at least 20 minutes.

When the rice is cooked, (just taste it to check, it has to be tender) either put the pan in the oven if it is oven proof or keep on cooking on a very gentle heat.

It will slowly create a nice crust of rice at the bottom of the pan.

Just before serving, you can add some grilled coconut on top of the rice to have it at the bottom and as for a cake, turn the pan upside down on a serving plate. The rice should come out easily and keep the shape of the pan.

Add some grilled coconut on top and serve it.

* You can have a lot of fun with the pilaf rice and give it the taste that you want. For example, you can add some spices to the onions such as curry, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and make it more Indian like.

You can also replace half of the stock with coconut milk or infuse Jasmine Tea instead of stock cube.

You can add fresh herbs, toasted nuts, chopped vegetables.

Indeed, this recipe is just a base that you can adapt to the main dish you are cooking.

Pork with Cashews, Lime and Mint

from Nigel Slater Cookbook

Ingredients 

  • 800g-1kg of pork fillet
  • 60ml of groundnut oil
  • 2 handful of cashew nuts or peanuts
  • a bunch of spring onions finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic or 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 8cm of ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 red chillies seeded and finely sliced or chopped
  • 60ml of nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • a bunch of mint leaves finely chopped
  • a bunch of basil finely chopped

Method 

Start by preparing all your ingredients. Chop the onions, ginger, chillies and cashew and set aside for later. Chop the herbs and keep them in a wet kitchen towel so that it does not get dark.

In a large wok or frying pan heat 1 tbsp of oil and seal the whole pork fillet until it gets golden brown. Turn the fillet upside down to get the other side the same golden brown color. If the fillets are thick, do the same for the sides that are still raw or barely cooked.

Once it’s done, set the meat and its juice aside. Cut the meat into thin strips about 7-8mm and keep the juice that comes out when you are cutting it.

Return the unwashed wok to the heat, add 2 tbsp of oil in it and as soon as it is hot, add the spring onions, garlic, ginger and chillies. Fry the whole mix and stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Just before serving, reheat the unwashed wok and pour 1 tbsp of oil in it and when it’s hot, quickly fry the slices of pork and pour the mix on top, stir it then add the nuts, the meat juices, the lime juice and the fish sauce. Stir it for about 2 minutes then stir in the herbs.

Serve immediately.

The asian touch….. the Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce….!

24 Sep

This recipe is for Zaza, a friend of us also living and enjoying London lifestyle! Have a look at her blog!

http://zazainlondon.blogspot.com/

I made that recipe for a karaoke party at her home in July and still did not take the time to give it to her….

As it’s not the first time I forget to forward that recipe, I think it’s time to do it through that blog.

I got that recipe from my sister who used to live in Singapore and came back with lots of delicious ideas!

Before starting…. be careful, I became addicted to that chicken satay especially its sauce!

For 16 skewers (the wooden ones, about 15cm)

Chicken marinade

  • 16 tbsp of sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 4 chicken breasts

Cut the chicken lengthwise into 4 to 6 depending on the weight.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and let the chicken marinate in it at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

While that time, start to prepare the peanut sauce:

Peanut Sauce

  • 180 ml of coconut milk
  • 2 tsp of red curry paste
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp of caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp of peanut butter
  • salt

In a pan bring to a simmer the coconut milk, add the curry paste and mix it well.

Then add the turmeric, sugar & peanut butter.  Keep on whisking and season to your taste.

Keep it in a hot place and quickly bring it to a boil before serving to keep a nice creamy texture.

For the chicken

One by one, put the chicken pieces in a slight S shape on the skewers.

I first heat oil in a frying pan and give the chicken a nice coloration on both sides for 2 minutes then I put them in a dish and finish cooking them in the oven (170-180°).

This way, the chicken does not get dry and if you make a lot of them, you can prepare them in advance and finish them all together.

Present them nicely on a plate with a small cup of peanut sauce in the center.