By Request


Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Chef Chai Chaowasaree heats a pan for Stir-fried Beef
with Dried Chili and Cashew Nuts. In the foreground
are the final ingredients that Chaowasaree will
toss into the pan.

Chef shares recipes
for Thai favorites

May Kaneshiro wants to put a Thai meal on the table, featuring two favorite dishes, Beef with Cashew Nuts and Newspaper Noodles.

She likes the way they're prepared at Chao Phya Thai Restaurant in Kaneohe. That restaurant declines to share, but fortunately these dishes are somewhat universal in Thai cooking, and chef Chai Chaowasaree was willing to offer up versions from his restaurant, Singha Thai Cuisine.

Actually, only the cashew dish is on the Singha menu; Newspaper Noodles, he says, are the Thai version of a bento. Noodles are cooked up by street vendors and wrapped in plastic, then newspaper for a portable snack or light meal.

The little packages vary from vendor to vendor, in some cases being much like traditional Pad Thai; in others, resembling Japanese Yakisoba, or fried noodles.

Some vendors use homemade noodles, making their versions particularly distinctive, Chaowasaree says.

He recalls the typical bundle selling for about 25 baht -- around 50 cents.

For his recipe, Chaowasaree used fresh wakana soba and smoked pork, purchased in Chinatown. It's a quick dish with simple flavors, good for a picnic.

His beef and cashew dish is also quite flexible and can be made with chicken, pork or seafood. He compares it to the Chinese dish Kung Pao Chicken. It's demonstrated on his cooking video, "The signature of Thai," given free to dinner customers at Singha Thai.

Stir-fried Beef with Dried Chili and Cashew Nuts

Vegetable oil for deep frying
1/4 cup raw cashew nuts
1/4 cup whole Thai chili peppers
2 tablespoons sliced red onion
2 tablespoons green onion, in 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces sliced beef tenderloin or top sirloin
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/4 cup sliced zucchini
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce or low-sodium soy sauce

To prepare nuts and chilis: Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry nuts until golden. Drain and set aside. Fry chilis until crisp. Drain. Place nuts, chilis, red and green onions together on a plate and set aside.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to a hot pan. Add beef and stir-fry quickly, about 30 seconds. Add pepper and oyster sauce, continuing to stir. Add zucchini, water and fish sauce. Cook 1 minute. All at once, add cashews, both onions and fried peppers; cook another 30 seconds. Serve immediately so nuts and peppers stay crunchy. Serves 2.

Note: Chicken, pork, tofu, shrimp or scallops may be substituted for beef. Chicken and pork will have to be cooked longer initially.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 530 calories, 46 g total fat, 11 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 800 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 20 g protein.*

Newspaper Noodles

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bundle (3-4 ounces) fresh soba noodles
1/4 cup bean sprouts
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces roast pork or char siu
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped green onion

Heat vegetable oil, then stir in garlic and fry over medium heat until light brown. Remove from heat.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook 30 seconds, then add bean sprouts. Cook a few seconds to blanch sprouts, then remove from heat and drain. Toss with garlic and oil mixture, fish sauce and pepper. Top with pork, cilantro and green onion.

Wrap tightly while warm in plastic wrap or a banana leaf, forming a triangular shape. Then wrap in newspaper to make a portable bundle. Serves 1.

Note: Cooked crabmeat or shrimp may be substituted for the pork.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per half cup serving: 550 calories, 23 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 110 mg cholesterol, 410 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 46 g protein.*

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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