So my early attempts at pictures for this blog often consisted of a few snapshots taken when it would not intrude mightily on either of the above two factors. Hence, these largely unhelpful and uninteresting photos of the ingredients I had purchased for a Thai dinner I made.
Well, they might have been interesting if I had bothered to take pictures of the final dishes, but of course, I didn't. See that lemongrass, that's from the Bangkok Center Grocery in Chinatown. The lemongrass is Thai lemongrass, which is slimmer and more flavorful than its American-grown counterpart. The powdery package wedged behind the limes and the dried shrimp (for the green papaya salad) is powedered kaffir lime rind, which apparently is a key ingredient in curry, which I had no idea about. I picked up many helpful tips while bombarding the poor clerk at the Thai grocery store.
Among them was the recommentation to Chao Thai and the tip that Sripraphai is no longer the place to go to for local Thais. Oh, another tip that I have for you I didn't pick up from the kid behind the counter. It is my own legitimate tip. Coriander root is a key ingredient in making your own curry, which I pound with a pestle in a large stone mortar I purchased especially for this purpose. It is mighty difficult to get coriander root around here. I even tried begging the Chinese market men to give me their reject roots because they sell cilantro with the roots sliced off. I was informed that the cilantro ships with the roots removed. Well lucky lucky you, you're reading this blog, and I can tell you that the Fairway on Broadway and 74th sells cilantro with the roots! Now don't you feel so much more knowledgeable in the ways of a the wiley chef?
This? This is just Thai eggplant. Oh yeah, what was all of this stuff for? Green curry with seafood and Thai eggplant; Red curry with Peking duck (my one cheat, I purchased from Chinatown premade) and pineapple; fish cakes; miang kam (sort of like make your own Thai burritos, where you can choose amongst peanut sized pieces of lime, dried shrimp, toasted coconut, peanuts, sliced mouse shit chilis, pickled garlic, pickled shallot, fried shallot, fried garlic, cilantro, and a coconut/peanut/shrimp sauce, wrap it up in a salad leaf and shove in mouth); green papaya salad; squid in an herb salad of mint, cilantro and basil.