Posts Tagged ‘rice’

Thai One On

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Thai One On opened a new location in Pickering this week and we decided to try it out. They also have a few other locations in the Toronto area.

Thai One On

Even though it had only been open for a week, they had a decent amount of people coming in for lunch. While there seems to be a plethora of Thai restaurants in the greater Toronto area, there is only a couple other Thai places that we know of in Pickering, so it’s probably a good location for them. We ordered a shrimp seafood fried rice and a coconut chicken with mango dish. The fried rice was truly cooked in the Thai style and was excellent. The chicken was tasty. Each dish was in the $10 territory which seems typical for most Thai restaurants. For the next little while they are offering 20% off for dine in as part of their grand opening promotion for this location. Overall, a pleasant experience and we’re looking forward to going back again to try some of the other dishes.

Seafood Fried Rice

Coconut Chicken with Mango

Of course, we know a lot about Thai food at Ingredient Hotline: we offer a full line of authentic Thai spices, dehydrated herbs and vegetables for food manufacturers sourced directly from Thailand.

Thai One On on Urbanspoon

Grilled Tilapia & Mango Salsa

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Grilled Tilapia
Fish on Fridays is a tradition we try to maintain at our house, if only to ensure we have seafood at least once a week. A perennial and simple favourite is to simply fry up a whole tilapia fish. Fish CounterWe splurged this past week and bought some fresh tilapia fillets (at our local fish counter, a tilapia fillet is $5.99/lb. compared to just $1.99/lb. for the whole fish – yes, we could probably fillet it ourselves, but it seems like a lot of work). It was very busy at the fish counter, presumably everyone was getting fish for their Good Friday meal.

With the abnormally warm weather we’ve been having, it was also time to put the fry pan away and break out the grill. A quick search on the internet yielded the following marinade for the fish:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Source: AllRecipes.com

According to the recipe, you whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, basil, pepper, and salt in a bowl and pour it all into a resealable plastic bag.  We added the tilapia fillets and made sure they were coated with the marinade. We sealed the bag and put it in the refrigerator for a little over an hour.

Mango Salsa IngredientsWe had to come up with our own recipe for the mango salsa based on what we had on hand. We combined the following ingredients in a bowl:

1 1/2 diced fresh mango
1 small tomato diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of one half a lime
Salt and pepper to taste

When it’s all mixed together, the salsa looks great:
Mango Salsa

After an hour in the refrigerator, we took the fillets out of the marinade bag. I’ve always had trouble grilling fish fillets directly on the grill, so we use a grill pan with some foil on it. We get the grill extremely hot before putting the fish on the grill pan. The high heat sears the outside of the fish, and the oil in the marinade makes it easy to get under the fish and flip it to evenly cook each side. It’s also critical that you don’t overcook fish. Once you can easily flake it with a fork, you’re good to go. The fish was delicious. Besides the mango salsa, we served it with coconut rice (we’ll save that recipe for another day). This was an easy dish to prepare. If you’re looking for a nice alternative to grilled meat, this is a great one.

Satoyama

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

On my way to Tokyo earlier this month, I was leafing through the Japan Airlines in-flight magazine. There was a great article on Japan’s satoyama. While it’s not exactly clear to me what satoyama specifically means, in general terms it refers to the landscape of the countryside. According to the article, Japan is a:

“…small mountainous island nation, with limited natural resources and few extensive level plains suitable for large-scale farming. Yet this same land has managed to sustain a dense population and rich civilization for nearly two millenia. And the reason it has been able to do so owes much to the management of its satoyama.”

Source: Skyward, JAL Group

satoyamaThe identifiably unique landscape in Japan is a mosaic of irrigated and terraced rice paddies, vegetable plots and orchards. It also includes oak coppices used for growing wood fuel and gathering compost, conifer forests for building materials, grass fields for thatch and bamboo groves used for tools. A self sustaining and balanced system where the landscape is meticulously managed to provide for so many even though it be a limited resource.

As the younger generation has been drawn to the jobs and lifestyle of the city, and fossil fuels/electricity have become available, there has be no good economic reason to put in the effort required to sustain the satoyama. The same effect has been witnessed in the Banaue Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras. These massive man-made structures are over 2000 years old and are often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. With access to modern media and education, the younger generation have mostly opted to go to Manila for work instead of farming and maintaining the landscape. Deforestation and climate change also threaten the terraces.

banauePerhaps the satoyama provides a good metaphor for a lifestyle based on balance and respect for the awesome, but ultimately limited resources of the human body and mind. One can imagine a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and a balance between hard honest work, and fair play. Perhaps such a lifestyle is extended to one’s immediate environment where we consume and contribute in equal proportions. Does abundance perhaps tempt us away from such a lifestyle in the same way as the modern world lures the youth from the satoyama?

Photo Credits: Naomi Ibuki and Stephan Munder

The “Rice” and Fall

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

On a cool, crisp autumn day, there’s nothing better than a bowl of steamy rice from my rice cooker.

I remember growing up in South East Asia, when there was a typhoon storm at highest signal level and classes were suspended; my mom would make a tamarind based stew of either pork or seafood with various vegetables and slivers of chili peppers. This was served with steamed rice and with something fried -i.e. spring rolls or fish.  It was a combination of very sour notes from the tamarind, to the saltiness of the fried fish with the creaminess of the steamed jasmine rice.

Rice paddies of Chiang Mai

Rice continues to be an important food item in my father’s household. You have to understand that my father grew up in one of the major rice growing regions in Asia. Rice paddies surround the entire region, with fiestas in every town during harvest time. There is a specific term for every stage and part of the rice plant.

Asia still consumes the highest amount of rice, but it is gaining importance in other parts of the world as well. Allergies to gluten(the protein derived from wheat), the variety of rice available and ease of preparation have all contributed to its appearance in almost every  North American and European household. Its basic taste, makes it a perfect canvas for more flavourful sauces and seasonings.   In addition to savoury products, it has been historically used in desserts such as mochi or rice cakes and fermented into alcoholic beverage such as sake.  At present, it is a popular ingredient in gluten-free and other natural products such as snackfoods, ”rice milk” beverage, pasta, bread and many more.
Just how many varieties of rice are there?
Basically, rice can be divided into two: short grain and long grain rice.