Tuesday, September 02, 2008

September 2nd Bento Lunch & Poached Tamarillo Recipe

BF and I found an amazing Thai restaurant this weekend. It was so good we went two days in a row! (For my Halifax readers, check out Chabaa Thai on Queen St., near the Italian Market).

We had leftovers that we brought home, so when I was making bento this morning, I asked BF, "Do you want curry or pad Thai in your bento?"

His response: "Can't I have both?"

Sure, why not?

On the left side of the divider is a foil cup of masaman beef curry from the restaurant, made with beef, sweet potato chunks and onions. It is phenomenal, it's the first time I've ever tasted beef that literally melts in your mouth, it's so soft. So, as I'm sure you can imagine, learning to make an amazing masaman curry is near the top of my ever-changing list of cooking goals at the moment.

Masaman curry paste is used in Thai cooking, but it actually contains a lot of Indian flavours like cinnamon and cardamom, so it's a very different taste from green or red curry paste. It's definitely my new favorite.

Surrounding the curry, we have some rice. I used long grain white rice instead of the short grain that I usually use, since that is what is traditionally served with Thai food. There are a couple of steamed zucchini acorns on top of the rice for decoration.

On the right hand side of the divider, there is a foil cup of pad Thai, along with some steamed broccoli and asparagus, as well as boiled edamame. For fruit there are blueberries and poached tamarillo (recipe given below), and for dessert there is a daifuku filled with taro jam. Without a doubt, this is the softest mochi I've ever eaten, it's not chewy at all. I don't know the brand name because it's written in Japanese, so here's a picture of the box that it comes in. If you see it at the store, I definitely recommend picking it up. They make lots of different flavours, which I can't wait to try.

This morning I made poached tamarillo. It takes longer than most bento foods should (about 20 minutes) so I don't recommend this when you're in a hurry, but it's has a really interesting flavour if you have the time to make it. You can also make this the night before and refrigerate. The sourness of the tamarillo contrasts with the sweetness of the syrup and the texture of the fruit is incredibly smooth, smoother than any other fruit I can think of. It's really delicious, but I find the flavour is so powerful that I can only eat a few bites of it, which is why I think it's a perfect bento food.

I thought I would share the recipe, since when I first saw a tamarillo I had no idea what to do with it, so I'm guessing that there are lots of other people in the same boat.

Recipe: Poached Tamarillo with Cherry Syrup


  • Tamarillo
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Slice of Orange Peel
  • Cherry Brandy

Quantities are easily adjusted depending on how many tamarillos you wish to poach.

1. Blanch the tamarillo by plunging it into boiling water for 10 seconds and then plunging into ice water for 10 seconds. Remove the peel (it should come off easily now).

2. Combine 1 part sugar to two parts of water and bring to a boil. For one tamarillo, I use 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup water and boil in the smallest pot I have so that it covers the tamarillo.

3. Reduce heat to a simmer and add tamarillo and a slice of orange rind (If you don't have orange rind, you can add orange extract at the same time as the cherry brandy). Poach for 6 minutes if it is very ripe, or 8 minutes if it is not. If the liquid doesn't entirely cover the tamarillo, poach with the pot covered and turn the tamarillo over halfway through cooking.

4. If you're not in a hurry, allow the tamarillo to cool in the syrup, and then remove the tamarillo before proceeding to the next step. If you're like me and are always in a hurry, place the tamarillo and half of the liquid in a bowl, and cover it so that the tamarillo doesn't lose moisture as it cools. Place the pot containing the other half of the liquid back on the stove.

5. Add 1 1/2 Tbsp cherry brandy per cup of water you originally used in the syrup to the liquid in the pot.

5. Boil it down for 7 to 10 minutes until you have a syrup of the consistency you like. I like a light syrup, but if you prefer a heavy syrup, boil it for longer.

6. Allow the syrup to cool.

7. Slice tamarillo and put it in a small container for your bento. Pour syrup over it.


Par said...

I would want both too...ehehehe

Jacki said...

ms.____2be, I showed your post to BF and he was like, "See?!" haha