So our lovely vacation is drawing to a close. It's sad, but you know what they say...all good things must come to an end. I'll miss the lazy days of rolling out of bed at 10am, my mom's cooking, good Mexican/Tex-Mex food, walks in the woods where my parents live, watching the Food Network and the Cooking Channel (not to mention some shows that I am too embarrassed to mention), the taste of sweet Georgia peaches, corn and other summer produce, Trader Joe's (of course) and being able to understand everything and communicate effortlessly. But at the same time...I'm looking forward to going home. Home to Bangkok! I miss our lovely apartment, our swimming pool, work (hmmm) and OF COURSE I miss Thai food! The trendy restaurants in our neighborhood, the mall food courts, the street food...I just can't wait to savor it all again. We purposely avoided Thai food in the U.S., but decided to have my cousins over the other evening for a homemade Thai dinner, made by Luis and I.
These fritters are traditionally served with sweet chili sauce (your favorite store brand is just fine), but I remember seeing them somewhere with a sweet cucumber relish. The May 2011 issue of Saveur magazine featured a recipe for the awesome cucumber relish known as ajad in Thai, so I made this exactly as written and it was simply wonderful. I added the leftover relish into our appetizer larb (minced tofu salad), where it made for a wonderful addition.
THAI CORN FRITTERS WITH CUCUMBER RELISH
Makes 12-15 fritters
4 cups corn kernels
1 tablespoon Thai curry paste of your choice
1 teaspoon light soy sauce (or fish sauce)
1 kaffir lime leaf, shredded
1 Thai bird's eye chili, chopped
2/3 cup flour
Salt, to taste (optional)
1/4 cup oil
1. Puree 2 cups of the corn kernels in a food processor to a coarse paste.
2. In a large bowl, mix the corn puree, whole corn kernels, curry paste, soy sauce, kaffir lime shreds, chili and egg with a large spoon.
3. Add the flour a little at a time and mix with your hands until the batter is just formed. Add a bit of salt to taste if you deem it necessary.
4. Warm the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Using your hands, form the batter into small patties and place into the oil, about 5 or 6 at a time.
5. Fry until golden brown on the first side, then flip over and fry until browned on the other side.
6. Place on a tray lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve right away or store in a slightly warmed oven until serving.
AJAD (THAI CUCUMBER RELISH)
Adapted from Saveur Magazine, May 2011
Makes 2 cups
In a medium bowl, mix 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/4 cup boiling water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir well until sugar is dissolved and set aside. In another bowl, mix together a small cucumber (quartered and thinly sliced), 4 small thinly sliced shallots (if you have time, you can put the sliced shallots in cold water to take away some of the bite, drain and then add to the cucumbers) and 1/4 of a Thai bird's eye chili, chopped. Just before serving, pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumber mixture and stir well.