Thursday, August 9, 2012

Visiting Thailand Through Cuisine

One of my bucket list places to visit is definitely Thailand.  Thai cuisine involves so many wonderful spices that compliment each other no matter if it is a bowl of rice, noodles, or soup.  Thai cooking also is lighter than many other cuisines.  Until then I will live vicariously through my cousin Molly's trip.  Oh the food pictures and lush greenery draping over Buddha statues.

Every year we draw names at Christmas time and Molly was lucky enough to draw my husband prior to her trip.  Do you remember the days when you would just buy gifts for someone?  You would think about what that person was like, what their hobbies were, and pick a gift with care.  Those days are gone to lists.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Christmas list too.  Some folks I don't get to see as often, so some ideas are nice, but if I can tie it with a little something personal or handmade, even better.  Molly was an exceptional gift giver this year.  Not only did she carefully mail back 5 jars of curry paste, made by the person she had a cooking class with, but also two books on Thai cooking!  By far the best gift of the season!  (Well, I do love my new bedding as well.)  Below are a few recipes that we have tried and loved.

Khao Phad Gaeng Kheo Wan Phak
(Green Lipstick Fried Rice with Vegetables)
Serves 2

Cooked Rice (2 servings)
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon green curry paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can of baby corn (rinse well), or sweet corn cut from the cob
1 tablespoon onion, diced
1 tablespoon carrot, diced
1 tablespoon spring onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
2-3 tablespoons light soy sauce
A few grinds of pepper

In a bowl, add sugar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper and curry paste.  Mix well then add the cooked rice.  In a wok at medium heat add all the vegetables.  Stir frequently for 2 minutes.  Add rice mixture to the pan.  Only cook 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy.  This is a new favorite at our house!

Phad Siewe
(Fried Noodles with Sweet Soy Sauce)
1 handful rice noodles, soaked
1 handful meat of your choice (we used chicken)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2-3 drops of dark soy sauce/ Tamari
a few grinds of pepper
1/2 handful of Chinese kale (into into 1 inch) (We omitted kale, and added more cabbage, as that is what we had at home)
1 handful of Savoy cabbage (into into 1 inch)
1 carrot sliced (we added extra, as I love carrots)

Prepare noodles by soaking in boiling water (follow directions on package).  During the last minute add the kale, cabbage and carrots  for 5 seconds, then remove promptly.  Once tender, drain and cut with shears into smaller pieces.  To the drained and cut noodles add all vegetables, garlic, soy sauces, and sugar.
Heat oil in a wok and add the meat of choice and stir until meat is cooked.  Then add your noodles, kale, cabbage, and carrots mixture. Cook for a couple minutes to combine.  Serve with a pinch of pepper.

Green Lipstick Gaeng Kheo Wan Gai
(Green Curry with Chicken)

1 handful chicken
4 ounces coconut milk
4 ounces water (I added more coconut milk and less water)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon green curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 handful green beans, trimmed, 1 inch pieces
2 kaffir lime leaves

Heat oil and green curry paste in a wok to medium.  Cook chicken until half way done, stirring constantly. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar.  Mix to combine.  Add the water and the green beans.  bring to a bowl and immediately pour into serving bowls and garnish with kaffir lime leaves.

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