Pineapple Fried Rice – Kao Pad

526942808e1e9PineappleFriedRiceThis is such a cool dish when you’re on the islands sipping a cocktail watching the sunset. For me, it evokes those memories island hopping with friends. But if you want to create that dish at home (minus the whole pineapple) here’s how to do it!

Serves 3-4

You will need:

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 100 grams chicken, pork or shrimp
  • 1 tbsp raisins, chopped
  • 1 tbsp pineapple, diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato, diced
  • 1 tbsp carrot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • handful sweet peas
  • any other veg you want to add!
  • handful of cashews (these are plentiful in Thailand! If salted, remove the salt and 1/2 the soy and fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2-3 spring onions sliced finely
  • 1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

3611900631_3422184d3dGet your ingredients sorted and then warm up the wok.

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and protein, then add the onion.
  3. Add the egg and stir-fry everything together, adding in the vegetables.
  4. Add in the seasonings and stir together for another minute or so.
  5. Serve with red chili pepper, limes for garnish and sprinkle the green onion on top!
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Thai Desserts – Pumpkin and Bananas in Coconut Milk

Gluoy Bwod Chee might not be the most appetizingly appealing dish, but bananas in coconut cures any sweet craving! Thais also like to use pumpkin in their sweet dishes, so I’ve included it as a substitute in the recipe.

Makes 2 servingsdsc_04351

You will need:

  • 1 cup bite size pieces of pumpkin or 2 ripe bananas peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar
  • pinch of salt

This is the easiest dessert to make! Simply put it all into a sauce pot and boil it for about 4-5 minutes! Adjust the flavour with a little more sugar and/or salt.

Stir-Fried Tofu with Holy Basil

Dinner at May Veggie HomeThis is another quick dinner recipe, and you can tell that I like those! You’ll often see this being served up at street food stalls, but noticeably they use ground chicken or pork. Today, I’m going to use tofu.

Serves 2

Note: This dish is great with rice as a main, or you can do what the Thais do and offer it as an appetizer as well. You can put it into hollowed out cucumbers or as lettuce tacos.

 

You will need:

  • 1 package medium firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped chilies (oh, this is a spicy dish!)
  • 1/2 cup holy basil
  • 1/3 cup long green beans
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/3 cup veg stock or water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish or oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp palm sugar

Method:

  1. Heat your oil over medium heat. Make sure all of your ingredients are ready to go.
  2. Add the tofu and cook for a minute or two, constantly stirring.
  3. Then throw in the green beans, all sauces and the stock.
  4. Just before you’re ready to serve it, add in the basil.
  5. Serve with jasmine rice and enjoy!

Pad See-Ew – Fried Flat Rice Noodles

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So quick and easy to make!

This is one of my favourite dishes as it’s super easy to make and I get a whackload of kale in one meal. According to WebMD, 1 cup of kale has just 33 calories but:

  • Nearly 3 grams of protein
  • 2.5 grams of fiber (which helps manage blood sugar and makes you feel full)
  • Vitamins A, C, and K
  • Folate, a B vitamin that’s key for brain development
  • Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. (While kale has far less omega-3 than fish, it is another way to get some of this healthy fat into your diet.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that give kale its deep, dark green coloring and protect against macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc

    pad_see_ew

    I’ve also used brown rice linguine for this and it works well!

Serves 2

Right, let’s get to the recipe! For this super quick dinner or side dish, you will need:

  • 200 grams wide, flat rice noodles (sen yai). Fresh or dried is ok, but if you’re using the dried kind you need to soak them first
  • handful medium firm tofu or handful of prawns
  • 1 cup kale cut into 1/2 inch sections – use the stalks and leaves! Broccoli and rapini work well for this recipe too!
  • 1 egg tbsp garlic
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster or fish sauce
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • 2 tsp apple cidar vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red chili if desired

Get your ingredients ready and your wok warmed up. This is a quick dish!

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Don’t be an idiot like me and add the kale too soon!

 

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat
  2. Add the garlic and tofu or prawns. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Then add the egg and cook, then the noodles. Stir it all together.
  4. Add the kale and all the seasonings. Stir again for another 2 minutes.
  5. Serve with red chili powder and a slice of lime.
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Vietnamese Spring Rolls

imageI make these bad boys a lot! They are great to pack as lunches or snacks as they don’t require refrigeration, and they aren’t too messy when traveling.

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My favourite!

 

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I didn’t have any peanuts, so I used cashews instead

You will need:

  • Rice paper wrappers
  • 1-2 carrots
  • small head of cabbage
  • bunch of holy basil
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • bunch of spring onions, only green part
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, crushed

For the dipping sauce:

  • fish sauce
  • tamarind paste
  • palm sugar
  • chili powder

How to do it:

  1. Start off by washing and prepping your veg. Rip the leaves of basil from the stems, rinse the beansprouts and green onions. Remember, you only want the green part of the onion.
  2. Shred your cabbage and carrot, then mix together in a bowl.
  3. Crush your nuts with a sharp knife, mortar and pestle or food processor.

    image

    This recipe is all about preparation!

  4. Bowl some water and lay out a large plate for the rice paper wrappers.
  5. Now you need to prep the rice paper wrappers. Lay one flat on a plate, and then pour the hot water over it. Be careful! You need to turn the wrapper over so that both sides are wet. You don’t want the wrapper to be too sticky or too soft.

    image

    Have some cool water nearby

  6. Once the wrapper has become soft and pliable, shake or squeeze the excess water off.
  7. Lay it flat on a cutting board, and then start to add in your ingredients.

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    While you’re filling the first one, put another wrapper in the water

  8. Follow the instructions on the back of the packet – you want to roll the wrapper once, then tuck in the two ends, then continue wrapping it.

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    It takes a bit of practise, I admit!

  9. In a small mixing bowl, add in some fish sauce, tamarind paste, and palm sugar. Just keep adding the ingredients until you get a sweet and sour flavour. Add in some chili powder, if desired, then serve with your Vietnamese Spring rolls!
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Massaman Curry with Tofu

This is a curry from the south, as evidenced in the use of typically large pieces of chicken and in the spice combination of turmeric and star anise. These are distinctly Indian qualities, which come up from Malaysia.

massaman

In this picture, I was too lazy to grind the peanuts. Also, I used regular potatoes which had been boiled for a few minutes before adding to the curry.

 

Instead of using chicken, I am using medium tofu for this recipe.

Serves two.

Curry Paste:

  • 2 tbsp chopped dried red chili
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped galangal
  • 1 tbsp chopped lemon grass
  • 1 coriander root
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp chopped keffir lime peel
  • 4 cloves Chinese garlic
  • 2 peeled shallot cloves
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 thin piece fresh turmeric
  • 1/2 star anise

Pound these ingredients in a mortar, or blend together in a food processor until smooth.

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams medium firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp ground peanuts or peanut butter
  • 1 cup tomato or sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup water

Seasoning:

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce or 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • fresh leaves of basil and coriander for garnish

Method:

  1. Pound the curry paste together before starting.
  2. Add oil to a wok, adding the curry powder and chili paste. Stir until fragrant.
  3. You may wish to boil the tomatoes and or potatoes so that they don’t take too long to cook. You want the curry to have some sauce, not be too thick.
  4. Add the tofu, tomatoes or sweet potato, then add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  5. Add in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Add in the seasonings and adjust to your liking.
  6. Serve with fragrant jasmine rice and garnish the curry with basil or coriander.
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Hot & Sour Shrimp Soup

Tom-Yum-GoongAlso known as Tom Yam Goong (goong is shrimp), you will find this soup on every menu. This can be a very spicy soup, but equally delicious. It combines the savoury flavours of salt, spice and sour. A very complex soup, especially once you notice everything that goes into it!

Serves two.

You will need:

  • 8-10 shrimp
  • 8 thin pieces galangal
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, cut into 2cm pieces and smashed
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock (remember: used imported Knorr stock cubes or water)

For garnish:

  • 3 keffir lime leaves, torn
  • 4/6 leaves Thai parsley, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 stem coriander cut into 2cm pieces

Seasoning:

  • 3 fresh chili peppers, pound them if you like medium spicy
  • 1 tsp shrimp chili curry paste
  • 2 tbsp soy milk or fresh milk
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce or 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Mix all of the seasonings together.
  2. Add water to a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the lemongrass, galangal, onion, mushrooms and tomatoes, cooking until the mushrooms are done.
  4. Then add in your shrimp and turn off the heat once they have turned pink.
  5. Put all of the seasonings in the serving bowls, pouring the soup on top. Mix together, and then garnish and serve!
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Pad Thai

Phat_Thai_kung_Chang_Khien_street_stallI’ve been lazy lately, making pad thai with the organic pad thai sauce I bought. But if you want to cook it from scratch, here’s how!

Pad thai was originally invented to get rid of the Chinese influence of wheat noodles. They didn’t stir fry very well, so rice, being the main export of Thailand, was converted into noodles and a new dish was born!

Serves two.

You will need:

  • 100 grams rice noodles and water for soaking
  • 100 grams chicken or tofu
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped shallot
  • 2 tsp dried shrimp (optional)
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 chopped spring onions
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce
  • 3 tbsp tamarind juice (substitute rice vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • slice of lime for garnish

Method:

  1. Soak the rice noodles in some water before you start.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over low heat. Add the garlic and firm tofu. Stir fry until the tofu becomes golden and a little crispy on the outside.
  3. Add the dried shrimp and stir fry for a minute. Then push everything to one side.
  4. Drain the rice noodles and add to the wok. Add in the water and stir fry until the noodles become soft, then add the seasoning, bean sprouts, carrots, spring onions etc. Leave out the peanuts and lime for later.
  5. After stir frying for a couple minutes, push everything to the side and add in the other tbsp of oil. Crack the egg and let it spread out across the bottom of the pan. Flip it over and let it cook, then start breaking it up into smaller pieces.
  6. Mix everything together now, turn off the heat and serve. Add the roasted peanuts on top, or on the side, with a slice of lime. As in the picture you can also serve chili powder, beansprouts and spring onions on the side as a garnish. Your choice!
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Mango with Sticky Rice

Thai mangoes(ma-muang) are probably different from the ones you’ve experienced, if you’re from the west. They are not perfectly round, red, or coarse. In actual fact, they turn from green to that lovely yellow colour and are so delicious when ripe, there is simply no comparison! I find mangoes from South America are usually quite tart, whereas these ones are not. The inside seed is also flat, allowing you to get the most out of this delectable fruit!

Serves two.

You will need:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup steamed sticky rice or sweet rice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white suggar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 mango

Method:603033_10100622451555106_1850881918_n

  1. Add coconut milk, sugar and salt into a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the steamed sticky rice and stir for about 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and move to a plate or serving bowl.
  3. Slice the mango, put it on the top and serve.
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Green Curry

green-curryBack before I moved to Thailand, I would go to my local Thai restaurant in Gravesend and always order the Green Curry! I loved the mix of sweetness with spice, especially combined with an order of coconut rice.

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Using the old fashioned technology!

I discovered how to make this at the cooking school in Chiangmai, from scratch! It was hard work pounding out the ingredients for the curry paste, but my instructor said I was very good at it!

Serves two. Be sure to serve with fragrant jasmine rice!

This is what you’ll need for the curry paste:

  • 3 large fresh chili peppers
  • tbsp galangal
  • tbsp lemon grass
  • 1 coriander root
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chopped kaffir lime peel
  • 4 peel garlic clovevs
  • 2 peeled shallots
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste

Pound these together in a mortar. You could also use a food processor or blender.

1383332_10100622451375466_1372164849_nIngredients:

  • 100 grams hard tofu (or chicken or fish) sliced
  • 2 small green eggplants (soak in water to prevent discolouring)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce or 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 keffir lime leaves
  • 10 sweet basil leaves

Method:

  1. Once you have your curry paste, add it into a wok over low heat with a little cooking oil. You want to paste to smell fragrant. Be sure to keep stirring it. Add in half of the water and coconut milk.
  2. If you’re cooking with meat, add it in. Let this cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add in the rest of the water and coconut milk, plus the eggplant and seasonings.
  4. Just before the curry is finished, add in the keffir lime and sweet basil leaves.
  5. Garnish with a spoonful of coconut milk and chopped chilies on top.

 

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Guide to Thai Spices

thai_spicesThai Cuisine is popular around the world for its rich use of spices and unique flavours. Here’s a list of common spices you will find in popular dishes. Many of them are similar to other spices you may know, but if you don’t use the Thai version in your cooking, your dishes will taste very different (as I found out with basil when I first moved here!)

thai parsley

Thai Parsley

Thai Parsley (pak chee farang) – Used for tom yam and salad. It looks like very skinny romaine lettuce and has a very strong smell.

Sweet Basil (horapaa) – Similar to the kind used in Italian cooking. Is used in green and red curries. It’s often available on street food stalls.

Basil flowers in the garden

Holy Basil

Holy Basil (kaprao) – Looks similar to regular basil, but the leaves are flat, not curved like sweet basil. It has a slightly licorice smell/taste. They are used in stir-fries and vegetable spring rolls.

Coriander (pak chee) – The seeds are often roasted and used in many curry pastes. Leaves are used to add flavour to salads and soups.

bird's eye chilies

Use sparingly until you’re used to the spice!

Bird’s Eye Chilies (prik kae noo) – This is the smallest variety of chili and they are very hot!

Galangal (khaa) – This is also known as Siamese Ginger, and in fact, the two plants are closely related. Its roots are longer than ginger. This is used in curry pastes, Tom Yam and Tom Kha.

Lemongrass (ta krai) – A grey/green grass with the most fantastic aroma! You will find this used in soups, curries, teas and as a fragrance.

lemongrass

Lemongrass

 

keffir

Keffir Lime

Keffir Lime (mo krut) – This looks like a Thai lemon but it has a rough knobby skin. The flesh is bitter and contains very little juice. The rind and leaves are used in curry or soup. You’ll often see these limes at spas.

Resources:

 

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Egg Tofu with Glass Noodle Soup

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You will see this soup on most restaurant menus around Thailand. It is often made with minced pork or chicken, so if you’re vegetarian like me, be sure to ask for ‘jay.’

Serves two.

You will need:

  • 1/2 roll Egg tofu cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1/2 cup soft glass noodles cut into 2inch pieces
  • 1 coriander root
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 stem of Chinese cabbage cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1/3 carrot cut into 2cm pieces
  • handful mushrooms of your choice
  • 2 cups stock (remember, you will want to use imported vegetetable or fish stock. Thai Knorr stock cubes contain gluten in the form of soy sauce.)
  • 2 tbsp gluten free soy sauce or 1tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt1382103_10100622451290636_264582862_n

Instructions:

  1. Pound the coriander root, garlic and pepper until smooth. Add the soy sauce.
  2. Add the stock to a pot and bring to a light boil. Add the glass noodles, egg tofu and any veggies you want.
  3. After a few minutes at a light boil, add in the rest of your ingredients. Use soy sauce and sugar to taste.