Thai Turkey Throwdown

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I love this dish. It is practical, economical, ultra tasty, and an all around solid lesson in Culinary Ninjahood. Speaking of Culinary Ninjas, I’ve been reading a book by Rick Bayless and I love everything about the guy. He is an amazing writer, chef, historian, Spanish speaker, restaurateur, philanthropist, etc… They guy wears so many hats, they’d be difficult to count. He gives a ton of credit to his team, who helps him create endless, “top notch” products.

Why am I telling you about this while posting a video and recipe for Thai-style food? Because of what he says about why he wrote his book. I’ll quote him so I don’t mess up his beautiful way with words.

He says this,

“I want to engage as many people as I can in sharing fresh, honest food. Until the fairly recent past, our species has lived in small, relatively self-sustaining communities, sharing daily life with the same handful of folks in more or less the same place from birth to death. Without a second thought, we nourished ourselves with locally grown, seasonal foods. All that has changed, and the ties that bound us to our families, communities, terrain, seasons and food have in many cases weakened. Just as we’ve learned to substitute planned physical exercise for the healthy exertion most of our ancestors experienced in everyday life, so, I believe, to be completely healthy, do we have to exercise our connection to the world we live in. Food provides the perfect medium for that.”

It’s almost like he’s talking about the Paleo Diet, no? Anyways. What does this have to do with Thai food? Not a ton, but it deals with food in general and I hope it encourages you to think about where your source your “stuff”. Get together with your ethnic friends and learn the foods they learned from their parents. The other big part about Rick’s advice is that at the end of the intro to the first recipe (for guacamole) he says this, “…feel free to pare these recipes down or add to them. They’re yours to make your own.”I love that and couldn’t agree more. On the member page, I break down the Zone blocks for this dish and make suggestions as to what you might add to make the meal balanced. However, as with all my recipes, the ingredients I use are only suggestions. Please be creative, don’t run to the store just to get the one ingredient you are missing (unless it’s scallops), and make these recipes your own. Don’t do just that, but please share pictures and stories, successful or not (Megan), when you do “Keep It Paleo!”.

As always, there is a ton going on on my end:

  • I am working on setting up a food booth at the 2014 CrossFit Games (where Thai Turkey Throwdown may be a menu item).
  • Power Monkey Camp 2.0 is on the radar and will likely go down October 6-12, 2014.
  • My Eco Adventure and Paleo Retreat in Nicaragua is going down in just over three weeks, May 11-17th, 2014.
  • The new site is set to launch on June 1, 2014.
  • I am working on finalizing the details for an August 23-30, 2014 Paleo Adventure to Alaska.

As I said at the beginning of the year, 2014 is going to be a big one. There are a lot of pots on the stove and I hope you’ll hang out and finish them off with me. There’ll be plenty for eveyone and I like to share…

Since becoming a father, the years have passed as weeks used to. The Bro! is almost 6 years old and it seemed like just six weeks ago he was born. While time flies, I want to encourage you to slow down whenever possible and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery we miss by going too fast, we also miss the sense of where we are going and why.

“Keep It Paleo!” my friends.

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

(Seen here with my buddy, Jacob, at the 2013 CrossFit Games. Hoping to see him again in Carson this year…)

Thai Turkey Throwdown

Ingredients List:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh garlic, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste but typically 6 grams per pound of ground meat (so 30 grams in this case)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 pounds ground turkey
  • 4 cups yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 1/2 pounds carrots, shredded
  • 2 pounds mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 4 cans bamboo shoots, sliced and roughly chopped
  • 4 cans water chestnuts, sliced and roughly chopped
  • 10 cups light coconut milk, I look for the cheapest stuff that is only water and coconut
  • 1/3 cup Sambal plus what you’ll use to garnish
  • 10 “spooges” fish sauce, I use Red Boat
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, roughly chopped plus what you’ll need to garnish

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in two 14″ saute pans over high heat. When oil runs like water when pan is tilted side to side, add the ginger and garlic and stir well. Season the top side of the turkey with salt and pepper and place, seasoned side down in the oil, garlic and ginger. Season top side of turkey with salt and pepper.
  2. Add onions around the edge of the turkey so that they prevent exposed garlic and ginger from overcooking. After 60 seconds, begin to break up the turkey, but do not turn it yet. Maintain the original seasoned side down so that it has a chance to caramelize.
  3. After 3-5 minutes, begin to turn turkey, then add carrots and stir well to incorporate. Allow to cook for 6 minutes, then add the mushrooms, stir gently, and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and coconut milk and bring entire mixture to a simmer. Stir well, break up any turkey chunks, and when mixture has reached a simmer, season with Sambal and fish sauce.
  5. Stir one final time, then cut the heat. If you are serving immediately: gently fold in cilantro and call your “Paleo Pups” to the table. If you are going to reheat and eat at another time: cool mixture completely before adding the cilantro as this will prevent the cilantro from turning an off green color.
  6. Portion out into individual containers, garnish with Sambal, fish sauce and cilantro and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:

For the Protein:

  • We have five pounds of ground turkey, which is 80 ounces. This stuff cooks down about 15%, so we’ll say 68 ounces of cooked meat. At 1.5 ounces per protein block, we get 46 blocks.

For the Carbs:

  • Carrots are the bulk of our carb blocks. I am saying that 2.5 pounds yields 12 cups of cooked carrots. At 1/2 cup cooked carrots per block, we get 24 blocks.
  • We used ~12 cups of fresh mushrooms, which are 3 cups per block, so 4 carb blocks.
  • We used 4 cups yellow onions, so 4 carb blocks.
  • I’ll give one carb block for the ginger and garlic.
  • Bamboo shoots and water chestnuts are 4 cups per block, so I’ll give one block to the shoots and one block to the chestnuts.

For the Fat:

  • Olive oil is 1/3 tsp per block. We used 4 tablespoons and there are three teaspoons in a tablespoon, so 36 fat blocks.
  • Light coconut milk is 4 grams fat per 1/4 cup. We had 40 quarter cups, so 160 grams fat. There are 3 grams of fat per block, so 53.33 fat blocks.

The Balancing Act:

  • In order to balance this out, you would replace half of the coconut milk with chicken stock and increas carb blocks by 11 blocks. I would do this by adding 3 more cups of onions and 4 more cups of cooked carrots. That would put you at 46P, 46C, and 45F.

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