We started our meal with Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls accompanied by nuoc cham for dipping. Round rice wrappers, (banh trang), are soaked in warm water until softened, then filled and rolled like an egg roll. These were filled with prepared rice noodles, cooked shrimp, cucumber, carrot, scallion, snow peas, and fresh cilantro. They're a year round favorite here, but are especially nice during the summer when it's too hot to do much cooking. When the mint is over running the garden during the warmer months, we add that too.
Our main course was Thai Green Curry Chicken with Long Beans. Chicken is poached in a coconut milk sauce that is seasoned with Thai green chile paste, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, fish sauce, lime, and fresh basil leaves. This dish is packed with flavor, and can be mildly hot or very hot, depending on how much curry paste you add. We serve this over jasmine rice. The rice collects some of the sauce, which is very thin, and also mitigates a bit of the heat. This dish is simple to prepare. Finding 'exotic' ingredients is what consumed my time.
I would have made Thai Black Rice Pudding for dessert, but in my travels to local food stores I've yet to find the special rice. As a substitute, my husband requested my regular rice pudding. It's a perfect finish to almost any meal, so I'm including the recipe that an Aunt gave me years ago.
Creamy Rice Pudding
Cook 3/4 cup long grain rice in 1 quart of water. Don't let dry out. When the rice absorbs most of the water and looks creamy, add 1 quart of milk and bring back to a boil.
Thoroughly mix together 2-3 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, a dash of salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. (You can also add a cup of raisins now, if desired.)
Using a whisk, whip the egg mixture into the boiling rice mixture. Stirring constantly bring back to a boil. Pour into a large serving bowl. Chill before serving. (Note: Pudding thickens as it stands.)
This post is being linked to Designs by Gollum, where Foodie Friday is well under way. Please stop by and visit our hostess, Michael Lee, and see what others are cooking up for the dual holiday on February 14th.
Happy New Year and Happy Valentine's Day..........Nancy