What to CookSoutheast Asian


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Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.


A drought, searing heat, and a house sitter who really did not embrace the concept of “Please water every day” will combine to show you which herbs in your garden are tough warriors, and which simply cannot keep up the fight. Bye bye, lavender, it’s been a good two years. Godspeed, mint. Et tu, oregano?

But basil fights on like the weed that it probably is, especially the Thai variety. It’s a bit odd, this, because once basil gets picked, it’s among the most delicate divas in the fridge, fading soon without all sorts of care and handling with damp towels, the botanical equivalent of Van Halen’s M&M rider.

So what to do with all that excess Thai basil? I strongly suggest Bankokamole, a creative and delectable twist on your standard guacamole. (Pause here to go and examine hardlikearmour's profile photo. Isn’t that awesome?)

Okay so Bankokamole has some recognizable elements, like the avocados, cilantro and lime. But then it gets a little off the hook with some fish sauce and ginger, a whole new Southeast Asia thing happening right there in your bowl.

First you mix up your lime, zest and fish sauce. If you’re not in the microplane mood, go ahead and chop that ginger and garlic super fine. Next comes the avocado. From here you need to start adjusting to taste, both in terms of salt and acidity, and once your herbs are chopped and added, the chile.

Now, you have a little time to get showered and dressed for dinner, go outside and water the rest of your plants or write some starchy email to your boss about the sorts of things you will or will not accomplish during the month of August. Or just wait. The flavors need a bit of time to marry.  About 20 minutes later, it’s chips and a beer (or nice cold lemonade) time, hopefully on the deck, if it’s not too damn hot, or buggy. Lord fall, please come.

The only thing I must note is the yield here is not huge. My Texan husband, who does not weigh in on much in the kitchen, did offer, “Well of course you need like five avocados for guacamole.” We took this as an appetizer to a dinner for five and it was just enough. If you’ve got more mouths, please double.

Bankokamole by hardlikearmour

Makes 2 1/4 cups

1 large lime
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 medium shallot
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2- to 2-inch knob ginger
2 large ripe Hass avocados
Mint (about 10 large leaves)
Thai Basil (about 20 leaves, less if you're subbing regular basil)
About 10 sprigs cilantro (or about 15 leaves rau rum if you've got access)
1-2 Thai chiles (the little red ones)

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Photo by James Ransom

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Guacamole, Avocado, Basil, Herb, Summer, Weeknight Cooking, Dinner, Faster, Everyday Cooking