For a good cause, I decided to fast for the occasion of Phuket Vegetarian Festival and Stilgherrian was also loosely on board. During the Fast, we were not supposed to consume any meat or animal products. So, no favourite steaks, fish, eggs, dairies or alcohol for just over a week. To be very strict, you have to purify the mind as well as the body by wearing white, meditation and so on. I did not go that far. It is not too hard to find vegetarian food in Sydney but to get a strict vegan dish is a bit tricky.
If I was back in Thailand, where the cult become mainstream, the vibe would help me get through the period and I would feel cleansed at some level. Here, it brought me back the questions about living in the modern world as we try to make sense of everything these days.
- On the surface, it is definite healthier not to have something to block your artery. But does that lift your spirit off the ground if the deed is focused just on yourself?
- In developed societies, we are bombarded by trillions of different products trying to get our attentions. How could we find what we really want and need without them telling us so?
- In every religions, limitation of choice is one of the path to enlightenment. Why do we consume everything what we have in front of us so quickly?
Last week news. A Thai restaurant in London were slammed by firefighters and the busy shopping streets were closed for several hours after a report of chemical attack. It turned out to be another post-911 joke when they found out that the cook was just preparing Nam Prik Pao, Chilli Jam (น้ำพริกเผา). Oops!
The restaurant has been there for 17 years and, I am certain, they make that recipe on regular basis. How could the neighbours mistake the aromatic fume of burning chillies for a terrorist toxic weapon and make such a report to the emergency? Mind you, when I was making Chilli Basil Stir-fry (ผัดกะเพรา), the kitchen was gassed with garlic and chilli smoke so that Stilgherrian had to poke me with chemical attack quip. But that is the way it is, the way I and most Thais grew up with.
Imagine they wrongly smashed middle-eastern restaurant for the same reason. Are we living in safer world than before or paranoia will lead us there?
Kangaroo Panang Curry (Kang Panang Jing-jo)
Thai Panang curry fusioned with Australian kangaroo meat.
When I saw unfrozen pack of kangaroo rump at a butcher in Marrickville Shopping Centre, I knew I wanted to make a curry with it. Creamy Panang curry can go very well with the texture of the meat. Nature of the curry is tend to be thick and not supposed to have any vegetable in it as opposed to Thai red or green curries.
- 500g of kangaroo rump, sliced
- 1/2 can of Panang curry paste (60g)
- 250ml of coconut milk (2/3 of 400g can), separate the cream on top
- Vegetable oil
- 4-5 kaffir lime leaves
- Chillies (optional)
- Sugar to taste (palm sugar prefer)
- Fish sauce to taste
- In a wok, fry curry paste in hot vegetable oil until the aroma comes out.
- Gradually pour in cream of coconut milk. Leave some for garnishing.
- Add kangaroo meat and keep stirring until the rump is half-cooked.
- Add the rest of coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and chillies then let it cooked in low heat for 20 minutes, occasionally stir.
- Season with fish sauce and sugar. Traditionally, sweet is the dominant flavour.
- Garnish with coconut cream, shredded kaffir lime leaves and chillies.