Thai Beer Bites: "Chicken Three Ways", & Fried Dried Anchovies w Sri Racha

This weekend, grab your friends and some Thai beers. Fish out all your tiny bowls and create these snacks of zingy umami crunch.

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But first: pay a visit to your local Asian market, even if it's just to have a look around the place.  You'll be surprised by the amount of fresh, exotic, and everyday ingredients you'll find simply by asking.

These simple bites blew my mind at Whiskey Soda Lounge in Portland, Oregon, which serves up great beers, cocktails, and Thai drinking food.  
The place has a super laid-back vibe with some pretty ridiculous Thai fighting movies airing in the background.

Please give these recipes a shot, or should I say, a chop, as there is mostly chopping involved.  Always use caution when deep frying as the oil is very hot.

KAI SAAAM YANG (AKA Chicken Three Ways.  Be warned, there is no chicken in this dish!)
serves 4

INGREDIENTS

-1 cup raw peanuts with skin on
-2 sticks lemongrass, finely sliced
-2 long red chillis, finely sliced
-2 limes, small diced with peel on
-1 large knob ginger, peeled and small diced
-1 small red onion or 2 small shallots, finely diced

METHOD

Roast the peanuts on a baking sheet in a preheated 180 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Place all the other ingredients separately into tiny bowls.  Place a few peanuts onto a dessert spoon or an Asian soup spoon.  Add a little bit of everything to the spoon.  Mind blown, done.   

PLAA LEK THAWT KROB (deep fried anchovies w/ sri racha sauce) 

serves 4

INGREDIENTS

100g dried anchovies or fish (preferably with very little salt,from Thailand)
100g dried shrimp (from Thailand)
200 ml vegetable oil, for frying

Sri-Racha, for dipping

Ice cold Thai Beers such as Sing-ha or Chang

METHOD

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Prepare a plate with a few layers of kitchen paper. Place oil in a deep medium saucepan and turn up the heat.  Bring the oil up to 180 degrees, or simply test one of the anchovies in the pot by dropping into the oil.  If it fizzes nicely then the oil is hot enough.  Place anchovies and prawns into the pot carefully (slide into the oil away from you a couple centimetres from the oil) and fry for 30 seconds.  Scoop out the fish and prawns with a spider or strainer and place on the plate with kitchen paper.

Place fish and prawns in a small serving bowl and place the sri racha into an even tinier bowl to serve.  Crack open those beers, clink, and crunch.

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