Bob’s Holy Fuhk-Tawng Surprise

People keep asking for my semi-famous Holy Fuhk Tawng recipe. So here it is.


ประเทศไทยฟักทองพรึงเพริดเป็นของบ๊อบ
What’s the surprise? That it’s so doggone yummy and satisfying and all-veggie! It’s affordable, about 20 baht per serving (less than a US dollar), perfect for any Peace Corps Volunteer’s budget. Also: it uses only one pan, which is great because that’s all we have.

Ingredients:

  1. Red pepper flakes or red chilli powder
  2. Garlic
  3. Shallots or onions
  4. A big fuhk-tawng (ฟักทอง). This is also called a pumpkin in Thailand, but it’s nothing like the bland Halloweeny things the word suggests. Think instead of a homely squash as big as your head.
  5. Slivered almonds, 1/2 cup. Raw peanuts also are fine.
  6. Whatever extra veggies you like. I’ve used broccoli and sometimes long green beans (tua fuhk yao, ถั่วฝักยาว), but today I have fresh corn sliced off a couple of ears, and some pea pods.
  7. Some fruit. On minimalist days I use raisins or dried cherries; today I’m trying fresh pineapple.
  8. Coconut milk, two 300 ml cartons
  9. Thai veggie chili paste. Non-veggie is okay too if you’re not fussy about a little fish.
  10. Sesame oil
  11. Olive oil
  12. Vinegar. Today I’m trying coconut vinegar.
  13. Waugh’s curry powder, or equivalent.


Preparation:

Peel and dice-up the fuhk-tawng. This task is made a lot easier if you microwave it for 60 seconds first. Poke a few holes in it so it doesn’t explode in the micro. Dicing and peeling takes a long time. Soak the diced pieces in salt water for about a half hour, then drain.

Dice the garlic and onion. Use whatever quantity makes you happy. We use a lot. Mix in the red pepper flakes, because all 3 ingredients are going to hit the hot oil at the same moment.

Chop up the extra veggies and fruit.

Stir two tablespoons of veggie Thai Curry paste into about 4 ounces of piping hot water, stir till dissolved.

Heat the wok and drizzle in about a quarter teaspoon of sesame oil. Toss in the slivered almonds and stir till browned. Empty into a bowl with paper or cloth to absorb any extra oil. Put aside.

Add three tablespoons of olive oil and heat. Throw in the garlic-onion-pepper mix as soon as it’s hot enough to sizzle. Stir. Cook a minute or two over high heat, then toss in a couple tablespoons of vinegar. Careful, hot oil may make it want to hop right back out and onto you. Stir till it’s translucent.


Throw in the diced fuhk-tawng. Stir for a few minutes to get the peppery garlicky oniony oil all over it. Reduce heat. Add the diluted Thai chili paste. 

Stir-in the coconut milk. Add a lot of curry powder — like, three heaping tablespoons. Really, don’t be shy. After a few minutes, stir-in the extra veggies you’ve chopped up.

Simmer on low heat for ten minutes or so, till everything is tender.

Remove from heat and fold-in the fruit. Let sit for ten minutes. Sprinkle toasted almonds on top of each serving.

Serving suggestion:

Please share with your friends!

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