“The only time pineapples are acceptable in Thai food is in pineapple mussel curry (แกงคั่วสับปะรดหอยแมลงภู่; kaeng sapparot hoi malaeng phuu) or sweet and sour dish (ผัดเปรี้ยวหวาน; phat priaow waan),” said Mr. P insisted, who is adamant that fried rice and pineapples are a mismatch. “Pineapple fried rice are only seen on menus in MBK and places with lots of tourists. Have you seen your Thai gal friends ordering this dish before?”
The flood alarm has been sounded for Bangkok for close to a month already. We were initially rather frugal with our meals, trying our best not to use too many ingredients lest we were struck by the rising waters. But three weeks of waiting for the ‘giant whales’ to descend upon our neighborhood (still a if and when at point of writing) have taken its toll on us; we were getting restless at home so we decided to make better use of our weekends at home by attempting to cook new dishes. Mr. P had been craving for fish for several days so we made a trip to the nearby Udomsuk fresh market, zeroed in on our favorite seafood stall and chose one fortunate pomfret to be our guest at home. (Side note: We were pleasantly surprised that fresh produce were still in abundance. A fruit vendor in the neighbourhood told us the week before that his supplies were running low as it was becoming harder to secure fruits from the Rangsit wholesale market—the area is currently flooded.)
It’s always hard to resist the fresh, lovely squids on offer at the Udomsuk market near home. There are squids of varying sizes and hues, nestling amongst baskets of crushed ice. With prices averaging around 180 baht per kilogram, squids—and other seafood—at this market are quite a good deal. Mr. P and I usually walk one round around the market to inspect the day’s offers before deciding on which stall to make purchases from.
I’m starting to discover the wonders of naam phrik phao (นำ้พริกเผา), a type of Thai chilli paste made by dry-roasting and pounding dried chillies with shrimp paste, dried shrimps, palm sugar and fish sauce. A very versatile sauce in Thai cooking, its uses range from flavouring soups to complementing omelettes to being a jam spread on toast (never tried that!).