Hello foodies! I’ve been away a little longer than I would have liked, due mostly to being way too busy over the holidays, along with being kinda lazy, and for the past few days… super sick. Seems like everyone is sick right now so I won’t whine too much about it. I figured I had to at least post something today because (drum roll please) it’s my two year vegan anniversary! Yay me! I would be celebrating out on the town with awesome food if I wasn’t so ill, but rest assured celebrating is yet to come just as soon as I can actually swallow again.
For now, before 2008 gets too far away from us (good riddance!) I figured I should do a quick catch up on the fun vegan blogger potluck I got to take part in just before Christmas. The idea was to bring an appetizer to share, and then we’d all write about it on our respective blogs. Knowing myself well, I knew that if I attempted to cook something it would either end up a disaster, or take far too long, or both. My best bet was to purchase something… but what? I didn’t want to bring something too boring, nor did I want to bring something that everyone would already be familiar with. In a fleeting moment of genius I came up with the idea of bringing some delicious treats from Thai town.
These funky looking goodies are made of sweet sticky rice stuffed with bananas and black beans. They come wrapped in banana leaves in which they’ve been steamed, and the leaves impart an earthy, almost smokey scent and flavor to the rice. I love these guys and I like to think of them as the Thai version of a tamale. Sometimes you’ll also find them stuffed with taro instead of banana, but I prefer the sweeter banana version myself. Chewy, hearty, filling and delicious. A quick search online for the actual name of these beauties turned up a seemingly easy to follow recipe for Khao Tom Pad. I might just have to refer to them though as Khao Tom Yummy.
Next up was the star of the show… Saku. These are awesome little handrolled balls made with a thin, soft outer “skin” made of tapioca floor and the filling is an amazingly flavored concoction of ground peanuts, radish, sugar, salt and magic love power directly channeled through the nice Thai lady who makes them. In the past I’ve gotten them ready-made from Bangluck Market (both the North Hollywood & Hollywood locations have them) where you can buy them in a little plastic container but this time around I went for the real deal and walked around the corner to the Cha Chaa Restaurant were a little birdie told me I could find a group of ladies at the back of the restaurant making these (and other) wonderful Thai goodies fresh to order.
There’s actually two different kinds shown in the photo above, the lady convinced me to give them both a try. They both have basically all the same ingredients, the only difference as far as I can tell is that one version is a nicely rolled up ball (the ones in the center) while other version is shaped more like a dumpling with a looser wrapping (the ones around the edge). She made them fresh in front of me on this really cool gizmo that’s got a flat top and a heat source below that sends up steam. I have no idea what it’s called but I’m pretty sure it would be illegal for me to own one anyways since I’m not a cute, little old Thai lady who reeks of fish and fresh cut durian. Rules are rules.
I served the saku with some fresh leaves of butter lettuce, spicy sambal chili sauce, cilantro and lots of lime. You take your lettuce leaf, plop in your saku, pile on some cilantro and spice it up as you like with chili and or lime… wrap it up and pop that sucker in your mouth. They are fantastic!
While the pre-made version I’ve had in the past is quite tasty, it cannot compare to these freshly made delicacies. The peanut filling is slightly sweet and when combined with the hot chili and zing of lime… oh mama… I love the stuff. I’ll never get the packaged ones off the shelf again now that I know I can get them made to order.
Now a few words about appearance and texture. These are a little bit odd looking so people who aren’t used to weird foreign foods may be initially put off by how they look or by the slightly slimy, sticky feel to ‘em. The last thing you want to do in a situation like this is tell people, like I did, that these little balls have the texture of baby testicles. But hey, I’m one to tell it like it is and well, these genuinely do remind of little tiny testes! They are soft and mushy and… well, you get the idea. Thankfully no babies were harmed in the making of these saku, neither the human or animal variety, so you are free to love and devour them without being a labeled a pervert or ending up in jail. Aside from the few folks I scared off with my overly honest/graphic description, these seemed to go over very well, so they may have just become my signature weird potluck item of choice.
Everything that everyone else brought was great too. A few of our potluck attendees have already blogged about their goodies and I have no doubt that they can describe their foods for you better than I can, so here’s where you can find their versions of what they brought:
- VegYogini of Huggerfood was our lovely hostess for this event, and she made Potato Parsnip Laktkas.
- Your Vegan Mom was our bartender for the evening with her fancy bourbon, ginger, pear concoction.
- Miss Alix of Cute and Delicious made some really tasty mini-paninis filled with portobellos, spinach and white bean spread. These were so good… I had to conjure up some serious willpower to not eat them all up before everyone else had a chance to try some. She’s definitely invited to the next potluck :)
- JennShaggy made not only an insanely complex and delicious vegan peppercorn and red wine braised brisket (made from seitan) but she also brought some of her signature Twinkies, though keeping with the season she Hanukkah-ized them with cherry filling and a sugar coating, reminiscent of the Jewish style donuts known as Sufganiot. Yum!
There was a hell of lot more tasty food there but I think those are the ones that have been blogged about thus far. It was a fun and filling evening with old friends and new, hopefully we’ll have more such gatherings in the future.
On that note, I’m wishing you all a happy, healthy, prosperous, fantastic and of course, delicious new year. Thank you one and all, friends and foes alike, for being along for the journey these past two years. My switch to veganism has been a lot easier than I expected it to be and I have no doubt that I am now a vegan for life. If you’re someone who is still on the fence about if you can handle going vegan or not, allow me to be your proof… if I can do it, any of you can too. You will be glad you did.
And now… I’m off to tackle some of those resolutions!Related Posts:
- Happy World Vegan Day!
- Is that a fake sausage on your plate or are you just happy to see me?
- Happy trails to you! A forest of vegan goodies…
- Again with the vegan Thai food…
- “Freshy Rolls” at Vegan Plate.