You may have missed Mouth of the Border’s most recent Midnight Brunch on 1/21/12. We had a gluten-free Thai Feast with a poker night/wild card theme. Here’s the photo recap.
We know not everyone can keep their peepers open ’til midnight to join us so, as usual, we want to share the crowd favorites from the menu so you can play along at home. The crowd voted with their mouths and their picks were definitely the fried, pork-stuffed shrimp and the desserts; our bananas poached in coconut milk and vanilla beans, served over coconut milk custard. You can check out the full menu here.
These dishes would be delicious any time of year but would be the most fun to make when you’re serving them to a crowd!
The first recipe here is from The Original Thai Cookbook by Jennifer Brennan, which I used to plan the entire menu. I found out about the cookbook from Chrissy Teigen’s food blog. Yes, she’s a model and yes, her site is great. Most importantly for my purposes, though, she is half Thai and says her mom always cooked from this book when she was growing up.
These were so good, and we made SO many that I got to eat some during the event (I usually don’t get time to nibble at my own events, so this was a treat).
Fried Stuffed Prawns (Gung Tiparot):
Pork-stuffed Giant Shrimp, Dusted with Rice Flour and Delicately Fried
8 peppercorns, dry roasted and pounded or ground to powder
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp cilantro stems, chopped
1/4 cup ground pork
1 tbsp fish sauce (Nam Pla)
1 tsp granulated sugar
8 green prawns (15 count per pound),* cleaned, shelled and split down the back to remove the alimentary canal and allow for stuffing (can substitute shrimp)
4 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
3 tbsp rice flour
2 eggs, beaten
Sriracha, for serving
Yield: Four Servings
- In a mortar or using a food processor, pound or grind the peppercorns, garlic, cilantro stems, pork, fish sauce and sugar to an even paste.
- Holding the prawn (or shrimp, whatever you’re using) open, taking care not to separate into half, spread the split with pork paste using the blade of a table knife (approximately 1 teaspoon per prawn).
- Heat the oil in a wok to 375°F. for frying.
- Dust the stuffed prawns with the rice flour.
- Holding them by their tail, dip them in the eggs and quickly drop them into the hot lard.
- Fry the prawns, turning as necessary, until crisp, about 5 minutes each.
- Serve with Sriracha sauce for dipping.
Runner up for the crowd favorite were the “Nun Bananas” served with squares of coconut milk custard. I was excited about making the nun bananas because the book described it as a real down-home, family type dessert … the type of thing you’d make for your family and not as a display dish to impress others.
What I hadn’t counted on was that this dish would look so unimpressive. Most versions of the custard are topped with fried shallots (which sounds amazing for no reason other than its weirdness), but that shallot topping would serve a good purpose in covering up the weird color underneath.
My version didn’t call for shallots but I wouldn’t have used them anyway since I was already topping the dish with the poached bananes. Happily, the combination of the poached bananas, fresh vanilla beans and the custard was so creamy and flavorful won over our guests to the point where appearances didn’t matter. Make this one for people you love.
I’m going to link out to this version of Bananas in Coconut Milk (Kluay Buat Chee). It’s not the recipe I used, but it has some great pointers for people making it for the first time. The ingredients are in the lower right-hand corner. If you can’t find pandanus leaves, you can skip them or use jasmine essence.
If you want to make the custard, I’d suggest checking out the kind with the shallots … from my research it seems this is one of the country’s favorite parts of a beloved dessert.
I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won’t want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing. Request an invite to future Midnight Brunch events here.