|ปลาร้า the blue cheese of Thai cuisine|
Half the fun of doing this Shophouse project is locating ingredients that either maintain the flavors of the motherland or contribute to the story that we are telling.
We also have been lucky to find ingredients from the local business importfood.com that are subtly important to Thai cooking like fresh kaffir limes. Apparently they get the limes from someone down in California, as the US won't allow imported kaffir limes. There is only one harvest a year and we jumped on it. Kaffir limes add an important citrusy bitter kick to curry pastes. The limes were so fresh and fragrant that I got some weird kind of hangover headache from peeling and smashing the limes. Or maybe I was just hungover, I don't remember.
More locally, we have also found some great finds. Oxbow farm out in Carnation sells their amazing cilantro root. I have never seen cilantro root like Oxbow's. I got in several fat bunches that completely permeated the walk-in cooler. We pound the fragrant cilantro roots in a mortar and pestle with garlic and peppercorns to complete this important trinity of Thai marinades for grilled meats. I'm not sure why the roots are cut off of cilantro bunches when you buy them in the store. This is just one of the mysteries of the produce business, like Why do they put those little stickers on the apples.
|white gold from Oxbow|
Ok, I'm done talking up ingredients and going Thomas Keller on you all.