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Thursday, March 03, 2005

The frogs, the frogs..

Oh no, no, I wasn't talking about the French. And certainly not about French boys, I am so done with French boys.

I was talking about the frog curry I cooked last night for my dinner party. I'd never cooked with frogs before, though I certainly love eating them. While at the Chinese market acquiring live Monterey Spot Prawns for the party, I saw some good looking frogs so I thought I would experiment with them.

The dinner, I must admit, was something of a harried affair that hovered ever so close to the edge of disaster. I had a sudden inspiration to cook dinner for 6 friends, you see. Never mind that it was a work day, and certainly never mind that I ran out of crucial supplies like chilli Paste (Nam-prik Pao) and Curry Paste -which, of course, all needed to be made.

So, after laboring for hours to slice and fry and cook about a kilo of garlic and shallots, and ended up with seven yummy little jars -oh and not to mention peeling, chopping, roasting, and pounding various things and fashioning them into a Panang Curry Paste- the time was 8, and my dinner guests began to arrive. They were all promptly put to work -what sweet friends I have- and finally, by 10, we sat down to eat.

The menu was this:
Tom Yum Goong
Sreng-wah, Pla foo (Herb Salad with Monterey Bay Spot Prawns and Crispy Catfish)
Spot Prawns Pad Prik Pao (Spot Prawns stir-fried in aformentioned chilli paste)
Pad Ped Gob (frog legs curry with crispy basil leaves)
Khao-niew Mamuang (sticky rice and mango)

The frog leg curry was delicious, if I may say so myself. In Thailand there is a curry, sort of a dry curry, that requires deep frying the meat first. Normally this is done with catfish, but I thought the same preparation would be good with the frog legs as well.

So, the frog legs were first marinaded in a mixture of garlic, cilantro roots, white pepper and some salt for a couple hours, then deep fried until brown. After the frogs were done I threw in a huge handful of Thai basil into the hot oil and fry until crispy, set aside to top the curry later. Then the frogs were added into the usual curry treatment, with a panang paste and only a little bit of coconut milk as this was supposed to be a dry curry.

The curry turned out quite delicious, but the frog legs -having been jostled around and handled a bit much- didn't stay together in one piece. Next time I shall brown the legs in just a little oil instead. Also, I didn't really have cilantro roots this time -the cilantro came rootless from the market- so ended up using the end bits of the stalk. That gave the curry -which was supposed to be red- a little green-ish hue.

The dinner was washed down with about five bottles of various Riesling and Gewurztraminer, but the two I particularly liked were two Gewurztraminers: 96 Zind Humbrecht Vendage Tardive and 01 René Muré Zinnkoepflé.

I'll do this again soon, and promise I'll have recipes, and yes, take photos too.


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