Golden Bags

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This is the first of four dishes that I learned to make during my 4-hour cooking class at BaiPai Cooking School in Bangkok, Thailand. This is the thirteenth post in the Thailand! travel series of my eats in Bangkok. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see other posts in this series.

In my way-too-short five days in Bangkok, I packed in two cooking classes over two days where I learned how to make seven different Thai dishes.
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Having very little exposure to Thai food before I traveled there, every new dish was a new adventure. I loved learning about the street food, fresh market produce, and dishes from various regions around Thailand. The cooking classes were great because they got me familiar with Thai ingredients and how to cook them.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to get some of these ingredients halfway around the world. There are certainly some dishes that just won’t be the same if I try to remake them here in the US.
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However, other dishes will translate quite well across the ocean, and I think these deliciously cute little Golden Money Bags are definitely one of them. This particular appetizer relies a lot less on the distinct flavors of Thailand-specific ingredients. It’s actually quite flexible, and therefore I think it can stand up to a lot of substitutions.

Better yet, they impressive to look at yet surprisingly really easy to make. I was floored how perfectly my little bags turned out, even though it was my first time ever making them!
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Grind the white peppercorns, garlic, and cilantro root together to form a paste. We used the traditional Thai mortar & pestle, but you could just as easily use a mini food processor. If you don’t have cilantro root, you can substitute with the leaves and stems. Add this to the ground pork, cilantro, chopped water chestnuts, onions, sugar, and soy sauce. Mix it up!
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In Thailand you can easily buy fresh wrappers in the market. In the US, you will likely have to go to an Asian market (probably the frozen section) in order to get these spring roll wrappers. Let the wrappers defrost in the refrigerator, and then just make sure to keep them moist (e.g., store the wrappers under a wet paper towel while wrapping so they don’t try out).

Wrap according to the steps shown above.
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Tie up the golden bags using your green strips of Pandanus leaves. Use Chinese chives or scallions as a substitute. It is good to parboil your leaves before using them in this recipe. It makes them more flexible and prevents them from breaking when you try to tie them into a bow.
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Heat up about 2 cups of oil to ~180 °C (~356 °F). One way to check whether the oil is hot enough for frying is the “chopstick test.” Stick a wooden chopstick into the oil. If tiny bubbles form around the oil, it means the oil is ready.
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Fry until golden brown (3-5 minutes?) and then remove to let cool. Ideally, place them on paper towels to cool a bit so some of the oil can drain off.
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Because the bags are deep fried, it’s nice to balance them out with something light and crisp, such as sliced raw cucumbers.

Serve with a sweet and sour plum sauce. Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe for the plum sauce. They just served it to us at the school.

Enjoy!

Golden Bags
makes 4 bags

Filling
20g minced pork
5 white peppercorns
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp finely chopped cilantro root
1-2 stalks cilantro, chopped
5g water chestnuts, chopped
5g onions, chopped
2 cups oil (for deep frying)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp soy sauce

Bags
4 spring rolls wrappers
1 Pandanus leaf, pulled into strips and parboiled
(note, if not available, can use scallions or Chinese chives, which don’t need to be pulled into strips)

Grind the white peppercorns, garlic, and cilantro root together to form a paste (mortar & pestle or food processor). Combine with ground pork, cilantro, water chestnut, onions, sugar, and soy sauce. Mix well.

Wrap a spring roll wrapper around about 1 tsp filling and tie together with the Pandanus leaf.

Deep fry at 180 °C until golden brown.

Serve!

This is the thirteenth post in the Thailand! travel series of my eats in Bangkok. Other posts include Thip Samai, Best Pad Thai in Bangkok? and Raan Jay Fai, Best Drunken Noodle in BangkokMaeklong Railway MarketFloating Markets (Damnoen Saduak)Street Foods of Bangkok, Part I, and Street Foods of Bangkok, Part II, and Fun Fruits in Thailand plus posts about recipes from my cooking class at Somphong Thai Cooking School including Som Tam (Papaya Salad)Thai Panaeng Curry ChickenBananas In Golden Syrup, and BaiPai Thai Cooking School.

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