12 November 2008

Float away

I just finished fishing krathongs out of our swimming pool, my daughter is reassembling them and creating a floating centerpiece to remember the evening by and my son is racing wildly around the dining room table asking for more coconut taro root ice cream. We were treated to a special evening as we celebrated our first Loy Krathong holiday.

A week in the planning, the deal worked like this. I would host a little dinner party (menu: prawn pineapple curry, green papaya salad and local fruits) and our guests would bring the krathong making supplies (banana tree trunk slices surrounded by banana tree leaves, flowers, candles and incense). 

Loy Krathong is a holiday celebrated annually throughout Thailand where people rid themselves of last years sins and give thanks for the year ahead. To celebrate, participants build little floats (known as krathongs) and decorate them with offerrings such as flowers, coins, incense and candles. They then light the floats and push them out onto the water. Any waterway is considered acceptable: rivers, ponds, canals, swimming pools (but maybe not mud puddles much to my children's disappointment as they allowed their imaginations to envision making teeny tiny floats to place on the puddles formed after a Bangkok monsoon).

After enjoying drinks and dinner, we all got to work on our floats. Placing candles and incense in the center, we then used little hand made toothpicks to plant our orchids and marigolds into the floats. The floats themselves were rounds of a banana tree's trunk, decorated with banana tree leaves around the edges. The consistency of the trunk is eerily like styrofoam and allows for the toothpicks to fairly easily hold the flowers in place. 

Picking up our beautifully finished floats, we headed to our home's swimming pool where we lit the floats and individually launched them onto the water. All of the floats swimming together made for not only a beautiful show, but a spectacular finish on a wonderful evening with new friends. Happy Loy Krathong!

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 24:
Prawn Pineapple Curry
A delicious sweet curry, perfect for any special occasion. 

1/2 yellow onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon veggie oil
3 cups of coconut milk
1/4 cup fish sauce
4 tablespoons red curry paste
1/4 disk of palm sugar (or approximately 1 tablespoon brown sugar)
bird's eye chilies, sliced into thin rounds (1 for mildly spicey, 2 for medium, 3 for spicy)
1 fresh pineapple, cored and sliced into generous bite-sized pieces
1/4 head of green cabbage, shredded
1 red pepper, sliced finely
1 cup of bamboo
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1 lb. of large prawns, peeled, devined and sliced in half lengthwise

Add veggie oil to a large stockpot and over medium heat saute onions until carmelized. Add coconut milk, curry, fish sauce, sugar and chilies. Bring to a simmer. Add pineapple and cook for five minute over low heat. Add cabbage, pepper, bamboo and basil. Cook until pepper is tender. Turn off heat, add prawns and cover. Steam until prawns are opaque (approximately 5 minutes) and serve with rice.

Note: The curry base can be made a day ahead of time. Just stop before adding the pineapple and then pick up where you left off the next day.

1 comment:

  1. Your floats are beuautiful. Mine made from plastic and cheap flowers and candles that burn up in the float in the water. Thank you for writing about your Bangkok. I love your websight.


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