What is …?

This is a new page to explain items I use that may be uncommon in areas outside of Thailand or South East Asia. The beauty of cooking is using the ingredients near you, and I do that a lot! Some ingredients I list with their name from the country of origin, and I explain the names as well. You can call them either name you like. I will take photos as I get these items and describe what they are made out of, taste, and how to cook. If you would like to see an item explained here, or have a question, feel free to contact me.

Newest entries will be listed at the top of the post.

Trinity & Holy Trinity – I did some research on this and as far as I can figure, Trinity is a cooking term used the Southern US, particularly Louisiana, Cajun in origin and Trinity is nothing more than a carrot or two, an onion, and celery, lightly chopped and added to water with chicken and boiled to make broth. Holy Trinity is nothing more than replacing the carrot with a bell pepper or two, onion, and celery and is boiled with chicken to make a broth. Can also add a palm full of black peppercorns as well.

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Straw Mushrooms (Volvariella volvacea) – According to Wikipedia, this is the third most popular mushroom consumed in the world, native to Asia and more than likely, sold canned to areas outside of Asia. To me, and many others, this is probably the best tasting mushroom there is, it is mild and stays firm when cooked. Any Thai soup, served in a roadside kitchen or top level restaurant, will include these mushrooms.

This is a mushroom picked early that has not opened or before the veil has ruptured. They are oblong when you purchase them with no visible stem or ‘cap’ like other mushrooms. Like the name implies, they grow on rice straw, and oddly they were never recorded as cultivated by any culture before the 19th century. These do grow in the wild but should not be used as they do resemble a toxic variety of mushroom.

Use, mainly in soups, and to prepare, they are simply rinsed and cut in half lengthwise (since they are unopened, just slice in half along the longest side. If you slice the opposite way, the mushroom will fall apart.

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Vietnamese Sausage (Cha Lua) – This is a cooked sausage that can just be sliced off and eaten as is and is the most popular sausage in Vietnam and is popular around South East Asia as well. This is made from lean pork that is pounded into a paste, it is not ground or minced. Fish sauce is added as well as some salt and black pepper, potato starch, and garlic. There is a variant called Cha Hue that is heavy with black peppercorns and more garlic. Once in paste form, it is wrapped in banana leaves, foil, or injected into large plastic casings, and is boiled to cook it.

This will be refrigerated when you buy it, can last 3-4 weeks in your fridge or even frozen. This is eaten in sandwiches or fried with soy sauce and black pepper, with other meat dishes or even just steamed, sliced, and served as a pork roll. Mild flavor.

Used in Recipes Listed on this Site:
Cha Lua Soup, Made it, GO-TO recipe,
Cha Lua Kimbap,
Vietnamese Sandwich (Banh Mi Cha Lua).

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Chinese Sausage (Lap Cheong) – These are cured, dried raw-meat sausages which are quite hard in texture, and require cooking before eating. Lap Cheong is the Cantonese name for wind-dried Chinese sausages, and literally means ‘Wax Sausages’, referring to the waxy look and texture of the sausages. Chinese sausage is generally made with minced pork, port fat, sugar, salt, and some spices. These are not refrigerated at the store, just put on a shelf. Once you open the package, store unused in the fridge, or you can even freeze them.

These sausages are brilliant, they have a sweet flavor to them, and you may have seen them from their bright red color.

The best way to prepare these is steam whole sausages first, this will soften them up a bit, then slice at an angle and stir fry with other ingredients.

Used in Recipes Listed on this Site:
Thai Curry Mussels & Chinese Sausage,
Steamed Chinese Sausage & Rice, Made it,
Chinese Sausage & Chicken in Soy Sauce, Made it, GO-TO recipe,
Hard Boiled Eggs in Thai Curry.