Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pounding Away, Lon Gapi

Another day, another recipe to follow. If this is your first visit in a while, go here to see what's going on.

Today's recipe was lon gapi.  According to David Thompson, "Lon means to simmer or stew, normally in coconut cream". It falls somewhere between a dip and a curry. This rich base is not so thick as to be scooped up entirely with vegetables, but a tad too rich to eat all by itself.

Like my previous curries and yesterday's soup, lon necessitated making paste.
I had already pounded my red chilis, then lemongrass before realizing that this recipe was going to take a while. Subsequent ingredients like galangal, grachai, shallots, garlic, and dried prawns took longer and longer to beat into paste. I vacillated between being frustrated and rather happy about this process. While my arm started to get rather tired, I was intrigued by the changing texture, colors, and smells of the mixture. It all comes alive right in front of you as you pound away. It's hard to imagine preparing herbs and spices any other way. By the time I added the quarter cup of gapi or shrimp paste, my arm was finished. I took a break and planned my next move.

David Thompson's recipe suggest "For extravagance, a few chopped prawns can be added just before serving." I decided on extravagance so I popped out of the house for a quick purchase. Look where I went:
Some of you might think me foolish to visit a place with a name like "Lo-Cost Meat and Fish Market" and you have a point. However, where the hell else was I supposed to go? Lo-Cost is less than a block from home, and there is nothing else really within walking distance from my house in the lower Haight, and this rather last minute decision meant I needed to act quickly lest my lunch become dinner. I would really love to go and pick up some sustainably caught fresh fish or other seafood, but I ain't travelling across town to do it. More on this topic later.

When I got home I fried up the paste in coconut cream. I added fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind, and then coconut milk. When things were approaching completion, I added tangerine juice, and then half a dozen shrimp. I served up a couple of bowls and topped them with shallots and cilantro. We ate our lon gapi with rice and fresh cabbage.

If I told you how good this was you wouldn't believe me. See you tomorrow.


hillary said...

Your fun-a-day is making me so incredibly jealous. And hungry.

a said...

you are welcome anytime...