Thai Chilli powder

Nov 30th, 2008, 01:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 312
Thai Chilli powder

Hi Everyone

This post is not exactly about travel. But, sorta related.

Last year, on our visit to Thailand, we got some chilli powder from one of the restaurants we ate at. We tried to buy a whole bottle from them (if they were willing to sell it) but we could not communicate well enough. We ran out of time to shop for it and came back home with a little amount in a pouch that the restaurant folks gave us.

A few pinches of that chilli powder in my soup and I'm taken to new levels of chilli-nirvana. Its really that spicy (and I have a high spice tolerence).

Unfortunately, the reserve is diminishing and we're not going to Thailand for another year (at least). Does anyone know where I can score some good chilli powder in San Francisco? I've tried most shops on Clement St and Chinatown with no luck. If not SF, LA? I could pick up some on our next trip to LA...?

rahulm is offline  
Nov 30th, 2008, 01:47 PM
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Ah, and if there is a website where I could order Thai chilli powder online, that will be fine too!
rahulm is offline  
Nov 30th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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there is a whole thai community in LA, so it must be available SF isn't there a decent sized asian market?? ours has tons of thai stuff...

also google it on line....
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 30th, 2008, 02:08 PM
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try 'temple of thai' gave me tons of sites
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 30th, 2008, 02:09 PM
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I have a couple of ideas:

First, take your little packet of Thai chili powder to your favorite Thai restaurant and ask them if they use something like this, and if so, would they either tell you how to buy it here in the US or sell you some of theirs.

Second, is there a Thai grocery nearby or even an "Asian" grocery? You might look for chili powders there and ask them as well.

Remember that all chili powders are mixtures of spices. If you buy brand A chili powder it will taste different than brand B chili powder. Some chili powders may be subtly different, some may be dramatically different. What makes the chili you bought in Thailand so good - just the heat? a subtle difference in spices? You can mix your own chili powder by enhancing one you can buy at the store (more cayenne for heat, for instance, or a bit of ginger for a different flavor, etc.).

There are some excellent purveyors of spices, such as Penzey's (available on the web). They sell both pure spices and various mixtures of spices. For instance, they have a Thai spice mixture. I've never tried it, but you might add just a bit to a chili powder and see if it gets you the kinds of flavors that you want.

By the way, Penzeys has a great variety of curry mixtures and a great Garam Marsala! I do a fair amount of Indian cooking and have used many of their curries, always altered by my own spice additions.
Kathie is offline  
Nov 30th, 2008, 03:17 PM
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Many things Thai.
wintersp is offline  
Nov 30th, 2008, 04:28 PM
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I'm with Kathie...hang on to what little you have left so you can match it up or show it to others.

It's possible that it's their own concoction and may have more than just chili powder in it or it may be their own family recipe for combining different chillies into this powder.
Jaya is offline  
Nov 30th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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Rahulm, I haven't been three lately, but there's a store in Berkeley called Tuk Tuk Thai & Asian Market that carries Thai foodstuffs. Also, I agree you should bring the chili powder to a Thai restaurant and once you get the name of it (if indeed it's one commercially available as opposed to something specially mixed by the restaurant) you can probably hit one of the large Asian supermarkets such as 99 Ranch to find it.
PegS is online now  
Nov 30th, 2008, 06:43 PM
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Here in L.A. there's the Silom supermarket on Hollywood Blvd. , a half block east of Western...north side of the street. But, the HUGE Thai and other Asian food warehouse, bookstore, and housewares store is at LAX-C. It's on Main Street, less than 3 minutes from China Town. It's in a very industrial area. I thought I still had the address in my electronic organizer, but have noticed that it's not there. I've been going there for quite some years.

You should be able to google it. If you google, Dokya Thai Bookstore, two addresses should pop up. One Dokya bookstore is in the underground parking lot of the Silom supermarket and the other is in the LAX-C complex. You can figure the address out that way.

If you happen to also like chu chee curry paste...the red curry sauce that's put on fish a lot, they have it at LAX-C and I think also at the Silom market and for sure at the 99 Ranch Markets. I couldn't even find it in Bangkok.
One of my Thai, restaurant owner friends, uses it to make her delicious chu chee sauce. The brand is Maesri and it's called, Chu Chee Curry Paste (pink Label). I made the sauce and then sauteed cooked salmon filets in the finished sauce and my lunch guests went wild. Smiles.
You can also use it with jumbo shrimp. In Thailand, I've usually had it with shrimp or a white fish, but here on the west coast, we eat a lot of salmon, so my Thai restaurant owner friends all have it with salmon. Salmon works really well as it has a high fat content.

However, the Thai way is to cook the salmon until it's dry. I don't like dry salmon, so I saute the salmon in a cast iron skillet with a cast iron lid to keep the flavors and moisture in and then transfer it to the chu chee sauce at the end and let it simmer a short while. You can garnish the dish with thinly cut, slivers of green bell pepper.

To make the sauce, I remember that I put a little oil in a fry pan, put in about half a can of the curry paste and some finely chopped up kiffir lime leaves...around 3 or 4. I then sauteed it. Put a lid on it or your eyes will burn.

Then I added a little( maybe a teaspoon) of that stinky fish sauce and about a teaspoon or two of white sugar. Then I added about three-fourth of a can of unsweetened coconut milk.

The sauce really needs to be watched and not start to separate. It should come out looking smooth like American gravy...just a different color.

To get it smooth and thick, you could cheat and add a little Japanese kuzu, dissolved in water first. I use kuzu for everything, even as medicine if I catch a cold.
Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 08:47 PM
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Thank you so much. We return home from our vacation on Saturday and will surely try it out and let you know how it turns out
rahulm is offline  
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