29 January 2012

SRKitchen on tour - a Thai banquet

The menu
From David Thompson's Thai Food cookbook

Sour orange curry of trout and vegetables
Red curry of fish and bamboo shoots
Marinated prawn salad with grated coconut
Egg nets with prawns
Pickled vegetables

Passionfruit and mango jelly with vanilla and elderflower ice cream

Photo by the SRKitchen team
It was so damn exciting yesterday getting back in The Self-Raising Kitchen to prepare a feast for friends, but 'on location'. Some of you may remember my first on tour feast at 'Dupree's' house. As I had such a ball doing the first one - despite the challenge of a miniature wooden spoon and no kitchen scales - I asked a very dear friend of mine, who just built a new house with a VERY snazzy new kitchen, if I could do another SRKitchen on tour. She kindly accepted with a WOOP! 

I would like to thank Anita and Leigh for hosting this event with such enthusiasm, excitement and support. It was a fabulous evening with friends, plenty of food and a great deal of wine. Your kitchen rocks, especially with a rangehood that works AND a gas stove. Two things I miss very much in my own little kitchen.

Now my challenge for most of my cooking adventures with friends, is that I generally have never cooked the item before. I'm mad, I do realise. And even my father (ex-chef) laughs at me whenever I tell him what delicacies I'm making my friends trial and that I've never cooked before. Don't worry, he often gets to be a guinea pig for my cooking adventures, too.

But for this feast I had at least made the dessert previously and the pickled vegetables. So it was only four other dishes I needed to conquer. 

Thai banquet hosted by Anita & Leigh
For me the challenge was in making the egg nets. They sound odd don't they? But they ended up being the hit of the evening.

Thanks to David Thompson's detailed instructions in his amazing book Thai Food, every dish is possible to the novice Thai cook with a little patience and commitment. Including egg nets.

Egg nets with prawns

Egg Nets by David Thompson

3 eggs
oil for frying
3 coriander roots, scraped
pinch of salt
4 garlic cloves, peeled
10 white peppercorns
50g minced pork (as I had a person who does not eat meat at the feast, so I added another 50g of prawns)
100g minced uncooked prawns
2 tbls fish sauch
3 tbls palm sugar
1 tbls finely sliced lemongrass
3 red shallots, sliced
1 tbls julienned red chilli
handful of coriander leaves

Whisk the eggs lightly to combine. Do not over-beat, as this will make the eggs difficult to strain; it also incorporates to much air, which makes the eggs 'bubble' slightly on cooking, and then becomes tough. Strain the whisked eggs through a fine sieve to remove filaments and membranes, and to help break down the protein. Rest eggs overnight in a glass or plastic container, which must be scrupulously clean (they are very susceptible to absorbing other flavours). Store in fridge.

Next day, pour the eggs into a bowl wide enough for your hand, and leave to reach room temperature. Dip the tops of your fingers (up to the first joint) of one hand into the bowl, stir through the mixture, then lift your hand from the bowl. The egg mixture will dribble and drip back into the bowl. Try this a few times to become accustomed to its flow.

Half fill a wok with oil and heat it up to medium, then maintain this temperature over a low flame. Now dip your hand into the egg mixture and quickly wave across the wok, so that the egg drizzles into the oil. Move your hand backwards and forwards, then from side to side, to form the net. Do not move too quickly, or the strands will be to thin to form a net and too brittle to fold when cooked and cooled. It will be necessary to re-dip your hand into the egg mixture several times to form sufficient strands to make a net.

SRKitchen tip - the egg first sinks to the bottom and then floats to the top to start frying. I had to deep my hand many times to form the net so don't be conservative with your mixture.

Make egg nets by placing hand in bowl

Make egg nets by allowing the egg mixture
 to dribble into hot oil.
Watch the temperature: if the oil is too hot, the eggs cook too quickly and the nets become brown and brittle. If the oil is too cool, then the net becomes sodden with the oil. Remove net and drain on greaseproof paper. repeat until all the mixture is used (normally 1 egg makes 2 nets). Cool. The nets can be made several hours in advance.

Using a pestle and mortar, pound coriander roots, salt, garlic and peppercorns into a paste. Heat oil in a pan or wok and fry paste until fragrant and golden. Add pork and, after a minute or so, the minced prawns (as I only used prawns I just added the prawns), stirring regularly to prevent clumping. Season with fish sauce and palm sugar, and set aside. When cool, mix with lemongrass, shallots, chilli and coriander.

SRKitchen tip - when you add the fish sauce and palm sugar, keep cooking until you get a delightfully thick sauce type consistency. You don't want a lot of liquid at this point.

Lay out one net. Spread some of the mixture on the lower third of the net. Roll the net, gathering in its ends to form a cigar. Repeat with the remaining nets and mixture. On serving, slice into pieces with a sharp knife.

-recipe end-

The rest of the feast:

Pickled vegetables - Chinese radish,
Chinese cabbage and snake beans.

Marinated prawn salad with grated coconut

Red curry of fish and bamboo shoots

Sour orange curry of trout and vegetables
To finish the feast, something a little lighter:
Passionfruit and mango jelly with vanilla
and elderflower ice cream.

If you would like me to post any of the above dishes, please leave a comment below and I'll happily provide the recipe in my next post.

Happy cooking adventures!


  1. That looks absolutely fantastic Fi, and I am sure it tasted every bit as good. I think TSRK needs to go on tour to NSW :)

  2. Well, duh! Obviously we need ALL the recipes posted! (with due acknowledgement of sources, of courses, as well as your own refinements!)

  3. Different combination food really looking great nice post.