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Four Essential Northern Thai Dishes to Make Right Now

All week I've been publishing recipes and stories from Northern Thailand, the country's least exported regional cuisines. With strong funky aromas, heavy spicing, and the kind of bitter and hot flavors that can make you weep simultaneous tears of pain and pleasure, it's definitely not Thai Food 101 material, but you'll be richly rewarded if you delve into it. If you can't make it all the way to the spice markets and roadside restaurants in Chiang Mai, making these dishes at home is the next best thing. More

Recipes From Chiang Mai: How to Make Real Deal Khao Soi Gai (Coconut Curry Noodle Soup With Chicken)

Khao soi, a curry- and coconut-flavored noodle soup, is Northern Thailand's most famous export. Westernized Thai recipes often make compromises to suit Western palates. Not this time. This is the recipe for folks who are willing to scour the backstreets in search of makrut limes and settle for nothing but fresh turmeric. Fasten your seatbelts, we're going for a trip. More

So You Like Flavor? Don't Soak Your Black Beans!

I've spent my whole life soaking black beans before cooking them just like every other bean around. But Russ Parsons of the L.A. Times recently chastised me for it, claiming that un-soaked black beans are better in almost every way. I put it to the test, comparing soaked and un-soaked beans for flavor, texture, color, ease of preparation, and, er, digestibility. Guess which method came out on top? More

Recipes From Chiang Mai: Yum Jin Gai (Spiced Chicken Soup)

Think of the best chicken soup you've had: steaming hot, rich, comforting, and soul-satisfying to the core. Now add to that the complex fragrance of fresh Thai herbs like lemongrass, galangal, a sweet shallots. And wait, we're not done yet! To that base, add a big fat pinch of warm Northern Thai spices and you're starting to get an idea of what yum jin gai is all about. More

Lunch Hack: Use a Pizza Wheel To Chop Your Salad Directly in the Bowl

I had a bit of a shock-and-awe-style jaw-drop when I saw our Account Executive Leandra making herself a salad for lunch earlier this summer. She dumped some whole spinach leaves and other ingredients into a bowl, reached for the pizza wheel, and started rolling it over the greens directly in the bowl. The method is sheer brilliance from a purely lazy, I-don't-want-to-wash-a-cutting-board standpoint. I'll cop to having used it ever since. More

Recipes From Chiang Mai: Larb Muang Moo (Northern Thai-Style Chopped Pork Salad)

This ain't your grandma's pork larb. Unless your grandma happens to be of Lanna descent and native to Northern Thailand, in which case, this is probably very much like your grandma's pork larb. Unlike Isan larb, this is a darker mince, with tender bits of lean pork mixed together with chunks of fat, chewy bits of intestine, and a rich, thick sauce flavored with crushed spices and pork blood. It's not larb for the faint of heart, but it's one worth seeking out or cooking at home if you've got any interest in offal. More

The Food Lab Turbo: How to Make Lighter Tuna Noodle Casserole With Just One Pan (and No Knives!)

Pasta with a light and creamy sauce, tender chunks of tuna, and peas, in about 15 minutes start to finish. This is the kind of recipe that I wish I'd known in college. All it takes is a single large skillet or pot, one burner or hot plate, a bowl, and a fork. That's it. And on top of that, it turns out a dish that's not just good-given-the-constraints, but legitimately good-enough-that-I-would've-made-it-for-that-girl-I-was-trying-to-impress-in-college or even good-enough-for-a-mildly-romantic-weeknight-dinner-with-the-wife. More

The Food Lab Turbo: Why You Should Really Be Grilling Your Cabbage

Every year, when fall vegetables begin dominating the farmers markets, I have the same though process: charred brussels sprouts are so damn awesome, I wonder if there are other similar vegetables that I can char to get the same effect? It turns out the answer is yes: pretty much any brassica will get nice and sweet and nutty when exposed to extreme high heat, and the simplest of them all, the basic green cabbage, is no exception. More

Headed to Chiang Mai? Don't Miss the Stellar Khao Soi at Lamduon Fahrm

Chiang Mai easily makes the list of my top five favorite cities in the world. Culinarily, it's one of the least familiar regions of Thailand. The local dishes, influenced by Burma to the Northwest, and China's Yunnan province and Laos to the north, don't really make it far beyond Northern Thai borders. With the exception of a few dishes at Pok Pok, Andy Ricker's ode to Chiang Mai in Portland and New York, I'd never seen half the dishes I tasted while we were there. The big exception is Khao Soi, the area's most popular export. I was eager to taste this fantastic dish at the source. More

For the Best Food in Bangkok, Hit the Streets

You can wander the streets of Bangkok for weeks, pointing at every single thing that looks tasty, handing over a couple dozen baht, and eating until you burst, all without ever eating the same thing twice. And you'd have difficulty spending more than around $10 a day doing it. And, in fact, that's pretty much what my wife and I did for the few days we were there. Here's just a taste of what you'll get. More

The Food Lab Turbo: Make This Smoky Eggplant Topping to Upgrade Your Ramen

I spend an awful lot of time experimenting with ramen toppings. And of all the toppings I've created, this smoky eggplant is the one. Whether you're making ramen from scratch, or just want to improve a store-bought kit, look no further than this chunky puree of eggplant meat infused with the Japanese flavors of bonito flakes, mirin, and soy sauce. More

14 Essential Sichuan Eats (Beyond Hot Pot) in Chengdu and Chongqing

Though Chongqing Province and the city of Chongqing itself are no longer part of Sichuan Province (they split in the '90s), they share a culinary and cultural backbone. It's a foundation built on the slow, smoldering burn of dried chilies, the pungent bite of raw garlic, and mouth-numbing handfuls of citrus-scented Sichuan peppercorns, all balanced with dashes of black vinegar and more peanuts than you ever thought you could eat. More

The Food Lab: How to Make Adana Kebabs (Turkish Ground Lamb Kebabs)

I ate a lot of good things when I was in Istanbul last winter—eggs scrambled with tomatoes and chilies, flatbreads topped with cheese and eggs, teeny tiny dumplings served with yogurt and sumac—but kebabs, made with juicy lamb meat molded around flat metal skewers and grilled over live coals were the kind of thing that even at their worst, were still pretty freaking awesome. Here's how to make them at their best. More

The Food Lab: How to Make Thai-Style Grilled Chicken (Gai Yang)

Thai cooks are experts at grilling all manner of meats, but nowhere does that proficiency shine more brightly than with chicken. Crisp, golden skin, coated in a richly charred marinade of toasted spices and herbs seasoned with fish sauce and sugar, the chicken is butterflied, flattened, and threaded onto bamboo skewers before being slowly grilled over charcoal. It's tasty enough on its own, but dipped into a sweet and spicy chili sauce, it becomes mind-blowingly delicious. More

How to Make Takeout-Style Kung Pao Chicken

As much as I now love real-deal Sichuan kung-pao chicken, my absolute favorite Chinese dish as a kid was this mildly spiced Americanized version—and to be honest, I still love it today. Just because it's a Chinese-American standard, complete with slightly-gloppy-sauce and mild heat doesn't make diced chicken with peppers and peanuts any less delicious. Here's how to make it at home. More

The Food Lab: Slow-Smoked, 40-Ounce, Dry-Aged Porterhouse Steaks

Smoking is generally a method reserved for long-cooking, tough cuts like pork shoulder, ribs, or beef brisket, intended to deeply flavor and tenderize the meat over the course of a half day of cooking. But with a bit of finesse and a couple hours of free time, it's perfectly possible to get that same smoky flavor into a thick-cut steak and still have it come out perfectly medium-rare and juicy, so long as you play your cards right. Here's how it's done. More

Real-Deal Khao Soi Gai (Northern Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup With Chicken)

Lime leaves in the curry paste and sugar in the broth. I've updated it, sorry for the omission!

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@jimbo


That's ok, that's what I thought too.

So You Like Flavor? Don't Soak Your Black Beans!

'@rpenm

Er, the article specifically compares beans cooked in the soaking water vs the others.

Set Course for Dumpling Galaxy: The Makings of My Favorite Dumplings in NYC

Oh god this looks so good. And I love the name.

Real-Deal Khao Soi Gai (Northern Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup With Chicken)

@amandarama

Depends how thick the skin is, but generally no, you don't really need to.

I also found some at Whole Foods in SF, so if folks can't find it, try there!

Yum Jin Gai (Spicy Northern Thai-Style Chicken Soup)

@firetriniti

Glad you liked it!

The carcass does go in with the rest of the chicken. I'll update the recipe to reflect that. Thanks for catching it!

The Food Lab Turbo: How to Make Lighter Tuna Noodle Casserole With Just One Pan (and No Knives!)

@sonvolt

I do mean creme fraiche! It's often sold in the cheese section. If you can't find it, it's easy to make with heavy cream and buttermilk. Google the recipe, there's one on the site!

So You Like Flavor? Don't Soak Your Black Beans!

@cirilism

Add salt to the soaking water if you're soaking! It'll help the skins get softer faster and prevent beans from blowing out. About 1% by weight of water.

Real-Deal Khao Soi Gai (Northern Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup With Chicken)

Oh man, I now realize that I completely overlooked the fact that black cardamom can be two completely different things. I'm talking specifically about Thai black cardamom, which is small black seeds in a white pod. It looks like this: http://www.templeofthai.com/food/spices/cardamom-3101000344.php

I should definitely clarify that in the instructions, thanks for everyone for calling it into question, I don't want anyone making this with 6 whole pods of standard black cardamom!

Real-Deal Khao Soi Gai (Northern Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup With Chicken)

@dmccurtis

Hmm, that doesn't really jibe with my experience. Thd black cardamom I brought back from Chiang Mai, at least, is quite mild compared the the green caradamom in my pantry. In the end, it's really a matter of personal taste though. You can add more or less if you like more or less :)

So You Like Flavor? Don't Soak Your Black Beans!

@roxlet

The only real problem with adding salt to beans as they cook is that the salt will concentrate a sthe liquid reduces, so yuo can end up accidentally oversalting. I add just a little salt to start.

For beans that require soaking, I soak in brine. This keeps the skins more intact as they cook.

Real-Deal Khao Soi Gai (Northern Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup With Chicken)

@nutjob

Your best bet might be an Indian market. I've seen it frequently in both NY and SF!

Manner Matters: A Spicy Food Lover's Conundrum

I, much to the chagrin of my wife, do the tilt-the-head-back-and-snort thing. It really grosses her out. I oughta do something about that...

So You Like Flavor? Don't Soak Your Black Beans!

@dennis

I never told Adri. She's probably finding out right now as she reads this.

So You Like Flavor? Don't Soak Your Black Beans!

@hat19

Unfortunately not. Evaporation depends on a ton of factors, including exactly how hot your burners are, the size and shape of the pan, how high its sides are, your altitude, the temperature of your kitchen, etc. That's why for recipes with extended simmering times, you'll almost always see those kinds of "cover by X amount" followed by a "top up as needed" and a "reduce at the end" step. You just can't predict how it's going to work in a given kitchen and a given pot.

@Eatfoodgetmoney

With black beans there no need!

Ideas in Food vs. The Snickers Bar (or How to Make the Ultimate Snickers Pie)

@LynnR

Sorry about that, the recipe link should be up shortly. Here it is if doesn't appear for you!

Breadmaking 101: How to Mix and Knead Bread Dough Like a Pro

Easy One-Pot, No-Knife, Lighter Tuna Noodle Casserole

@Estee

You can eyeball it. The noodles should still be moist and there should be some cloudy liquid left in the pan.

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@dskiras

I agree - articles like this can come off sounding heavy handed, especially because the opposition tends to be well armed and pretty vicious (people are passionate about tomatoes!) So long as everyone plays nice though, I think we can all manage to have a meaningful discussion and bring up flaws in our methodology you may have spotted. There certainly were a few holes that need shoring up, so I'm glad you and others have pointed them out. It'll make our next round of testing even better! And who knows, we may find the exact opposite to be the case after even closer examination.

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@dskira

I think the key point here is to realize that there are many well-respected food writers out there who repeat the mantra to NEVER refrigerate tomatoes. Daniel's message here was not that refrigerated tomatoes are better, but that they aren't worse, as is often stated. His only conclusion is that it does no harm to put tomatoes in the refrigerator, and that in certain cases, it's actually better to do so. So the 5-1-5 results are actually quite significant, considering that given conventional wisdom, the results should have been an 11-0 landslide in favor of the non-refrigerated tomatoes.

I know many people who follow the "never refrigerate tomatoes" mantra to the point where they'd rather let their tomatoes rot than to let them see the inside of a fridge (I was one of those people). This article is useful precisely because it tells people, "It's ok, just put them in the fridge." It'll certainly make me change my own habits, and I don't think I'm the only one.

It's very much like the burger flipping post I did a while back, which challenged the accepted "only flip once" wisdom and found that you know what? You can flip as much as you'd like and it doesn't harm your burger. It makes you a better cook by lifting a restraint, not by imposing a new one.

You're right that tests can always be more rigorous and can always cast a wider net. That's true with any science, and we'll certainly continue to pursue this avenue (we've already started a new round of testing, in fact), but that doesn't mean there's no value in what testing has already been done, particularly when considering that the alternative is purely anecdotal!

Grilled Orange-Glazed Baby Back Ribs With Chile-Peanut Dust From 'The Big-Flavor Grill'

@Bkhuna

The photos we get direct from the publishers!

(Not that I don't agree...)

The Food Lab Turbo: How to Make Lighter Tuna Noodle Casserole With Just One Pan (and No Knives!)

@kiersten888

Yes you could add mushrooms! I didn't for the sake of absolute simplicity, but it'd certainly work.

@rustymermaid

Thanks, I'm so glad your husband liked it!

Cook-and-Serve Flour Tortillas From TortillaLand Are as Close as You'll Get to Homemade

@Teachertalk

Ack, you're right! Apparently the flour aren't offered on amazon. I suppose you'll have to use the store locator to find the closest vendor!

Lunch Hack: Use a Pizza Wheel To Chop Your Salad Directly in the Bowl

@veganwithayoyo

I wouldn't use your fanciest wooden bowl for this because it'll leave marks just like a knife leaves marks on a cutting board. But when I'm serving guests, I always toss in one bowl and transfer to another anyway, as it makes for a neater presentation.

Lunch Hack: Use a Pizza Wheel To Chop Your Salad Directly in the Bowl

@expensiveeats

Er, that's essentially what this article is. It's me saying, "hey, you can use your pizza cutter to cut a salad in a metal bowl." Most other folks seem to have appreciated it. What's the problem?

If you're looking for longer, more in-depth content with well-tested recipes, I recently did a recipe for lighter tuna noodle casserole and grilled cabbage. Both are perfect for someone trying to cook a great meal with limited time and budget.

True, I was on vacation for the last three months and have only gotten back to work full time last week, but in that time I've tested, written, and published nine whole articles, of which this one was the shortest! You can find all of them here. Stay tuned for a khao soi recipe coming up tomorrow, as well as an article testing whether or not black beans are better soaked or unsoaked, followed by four more recipes, a canned tuna taste test, a piece about my emergency equipment survival kit, another follow-up to our tomato taste test (in which we test tomatoes we pick ourselves), and a post about easy, inexpensive ways to improve store-bought pasta sauce. And that's all within a week!

So nope, not giving up just yet!

The Serious Eats Guide To Pizza In Naples

A few months ago, my wife and I spent all of 24 hours in Naples on our way home from Sicily. It was probably the second-most pizza-packed 24 hours of my life (the first being when I took my Colombian brother-in-law on a whirlwind pizza tour of New York). We hit over a half dozen pizzerias over lunch alone, and a few more for dinner. Here now, I present to you the Serious Eats guide to Eating Pizza in Naples. More

Video: Serious Eats Cooks Peking Duck At Buddakan

Ever made a traditional Peking duck? Turns out it's a pretty involved process, requiring not only multiple steps but multiple days, cooking apparatuses, and spices. The end result: an incredibly crispy, juicy bird that's seriously delicious. Come along with Serious Eats's own Carey Jones as she learns how to make Peking Duck. Chef Brian Ray of Buddakan gives us the grand tour. More

60+ Holiday Snacks in 20 Minutes Or Less

Uh oh. The buzzer rings. Friends are coming over to spread holiday cheer and you panic. Serve frozen dumplings...again?! You can do better than that. Print out this list of easy-to-assemble, stress-free, mostly-sub-20-minutes-to-prepare munchies and paste it to the fridge. Here are 60+ dips, hors d'oeuvres, small bites, toasty snacks, sweet nibbles, appetizers, and more festive munchies to prepare in a snap. More

30 Cookie Recipes from the 2011 Serious Eats Cookie Swap

The Serious Eats Cookie Swap has become an annual tradition. We break out the Duane Reade tinsel and twinkle lights, and are forced to do a major office detox to make room for cookies. Many, many cookies. (OK, maybe a dozen doughnuts snuck in this year too). It was our third year swapping, and as per tradition, the tables were covered with butter-laden treats. Our NYC-based contributors really pulled out their ninja baking skills. Get all the recipes here. More

Serious Eats' Bacon Banh Mi

Our recipe for Bacon Banh Mi brings our favorite Vietnamese sandwich home, swapping out the usual array of cold cuts and charcuterie for bacon but staying true to the other elements that make this sandwich so balanced and irresistible. More

My All-Pie Thanksgiving Fantasy

When you think about Thanksgiving and you think about various elements of the Thanksgiving meal, it seems like you're just waiting through the big meal to get to the pie. I really believe this, which is why I always fantasized about an all-pie Thanksgiving. (Anyone with me on this?) At an editorial meeting about a month ago, we were at the office talking about Thanksgiving coverage and I shared this fantasy with the team. Knowing how much I adore and obsess over pie, the Serious Eats editors weren't too shocked, so we did the only thing we know how to do: make it happen. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own 3 Musketeers

Urban legend has it that some industrial candy snafu botched the names of 3 Musketeers and Milky Way. The tale has a certain logic. 3 Musketeers doesn't have three ingredients but Milky Way does. And the very name Milky Way recalls the smooth, uninterrupted creaminess found in 3 Musketeers. Those kinds of wonky urban legends ran amok in the eighties, but we have the internet now, so let's clear this stuff up. It's not a tasty tabloid tale of "Switched at Birth!" but rather "Murder, She Wrote." More

BraveTart: Make Your Own (Better) Soft Batch Cookies

When you first joined me in my quest to unlock the secrets of culinary time travel, I told you it would take equal parts science and magic to make the foods that could power the flux capacitor of the mind. I said, "leave the DeLorean in the garage, preheat your oven to one point twenty one gigawatts, and rev that Kitchen Aid to eighty eight mph. We're going back to the Eighties." And we did. But while there, what if some careless action altered our timeline? Could we, like Marty McFly, inadvertently create an alternate universe? One where the Keebler Soft Batch Cookie tastes freaking delicious? Friends, this isn't speculation. I have done such a thing. More

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce

This "Memphis-style" is my favorite to make at home—it takes the aspects of sweet tomato-based sauces I grew up on, but by dialing back the sugar and amping up the vinegar, creates a sauce where seasonings and spice are more defined and achieves a pleasing balance between the main defining aspects of a barbecue sauce. More

Boston: Fried Ipswich Clams at B&G Oysters

These are the only fancy-restaurant fried clams I think are really worth the cash ($14 half/$26 full). That they start with Ipswich bellies makes all the difference; these juicy, sweet, whole-belly behemoths are harvested from the mud flats off Ipswich, where experts claim that the particularly nutrient-rich soil gives the bivalves their superior, almost nutty flavor. More

Boston: Tamarind Bay's Lalla Musa Dal

As food aesthetics go, the murky, rust-brown, pebbly lalla musa dal at Tamarind Bay Coastal Kitchen can't compare to the restaurant's other specialties like the fennel cream-sauced cauliflower dumplings or the spiced lobster tail. But famed Indian chefs like Julie Sahni don't consider this dish "the most exquisite of all dal preparations" for nothing, and speaking in terms of decadence, it outclasses the rest by a long shot. More

Guide to Grilling: Planking

For all that I've grilled (150-plus recipes and counting), there's always plenty of uncharted territory. One of those areas: planking. There aren't usually many planking recipes in cookbooks, save the ubiquitous planked salmon. Put simply, planking is cooking food directly on a piece of hardwood. When cooking this way, the surface of the food touching the wood picks up some of the plank's natural flavors. More

How to Make Bagels at Home

I don't use the word magical lightly, but there really is something wondrous about making bagels at home. Maybe it's the shape. I think most everyone understands a loaf of bread, but the round shape with a hole ... well, it seems like a whole lot more work than simply plopping some dough in a loaf pan. But it's not. Really. Try making just one batch of these, and I'm sure you'll have the process down pat. Put on your sorcerer's robe and follow along! More