Archive for the ‘Thai’ Category

Yes, ok, I’m fully aware that the dish photographed is actually Hokkein Si-Iew but I do normally make this recipe with the proper wide fresh flat rice noodles, I promise! As this will be on our soup kitchen menu next week I needed to test it with noodles that I can just chuck in the wok without any prior preparation besides a quick soak, and I must say that it tastes almost as good as with the proper noodles. I know this looks like a long list of ingredients but since the first 13 are just for the marinade and you make that the night before, you actually come home to a 5 minute dinner of deliciousness with the most sweetly delectable sauce. All hail the pad!


5 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

1 spring onion, chopped

1 shallot, sliced

1 tablespoon cornflour

1 tablespoon shao xing rice wine

1 tablespoon fish sauce

3 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped (more…)


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Thai basil, or Holy Basil, is the most deliciously aromatic herb I have ever come across. Often served pungent and raw with Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, it is capable of making my car smell amazing for hours after transportation. I always buy this fresh on the day I’m cooking with it and choose it by smell – the Vietnamese grocer I buy it from sells many herbs, all packaged in opaque plastic and mixed up together so I’m grateful that this basil is so easy for my nose to spot with its notes of aniseed and licorice.

I’ve been looking for ages for a recipe that truly replicates the delicious gai pad graprow dish common in Australian Thai restaurants and this is it. It’s from chef Chanrat Karantna and I could eat at least the two servings that it makes all on my own. ‘Nuff said.

Serves 2

3 tablespoons peanut oil

3 large cloves garlic

1 long red chilli, seeded if you want to be cautious about the heat

200gm chicken breast, sliced

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup Holy Basil leaves

rice or noodles, to serve

cashews or peanuts, to garnish

Mix together the sugar and sauces in a small bowl and set aside. Mince or finely chop the garlic and chilli together – use a mini food processeor if you have one or finish with a mortar and pestle.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat; add the garlic and chilli mix and stir fry for 15 seconds. Turn the heat up to high and add the chicken; stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the sauce mix and stir thoroughly; add the basil leaves and stir through again until they are just starting to wilt.

Serve on rice or noodles, garnished with nuts.

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The whole concept of this recipe is actually really clever: it’s essentially a rather nice home made Thai curry but you don’t have to make a paste. Instead a mix of dry spices is used, and I’ll be damned – it works! It’s from Just Add Spice and is my second winner recipe from this book, and in my opinion two great recipes  = great book. So go forth and purchase in April 2010! I must confess to a couple of changes from the original recipe as follows: I used chicken thighs instead of breasts to avoid dry meat in the curry, added more veggies and most importantly did NOT add spices to sesame oil heated over high heat! This is a great thing to do if A) you want your kitchen full of smoke and B) you want to burn your spices and destroy your dinner. Sesame oil smokes like buggery on high heat and you never, never add spices to really hot oil. However if you follow the instructions below you’ll be fine and end up with a really lovely dinner. The recipe will yield a mild curry so we upped the chilli flakes accordingly when making it a second time. (more…)

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From David Thompson’s Thai Street Food


Annoyingly excellent...


If I were going to be mugged on the way home to dinner and had a choice of one cookbook to use as a weapon, Thai Street Food would be up there on the list. Sure, it’s massive and unwieldy but if you got your body weight behind it I reckon a good swing at your attacker’s head would stand you in good stead. The spine is solid and chunky for some follow-up beating and I’m sure the pretty ribbon marker could be used for strangulation or just to leave your initial, Zorro-style, on your attacker’s prone corpse. (I hope you all appreciate that my attacker is now dead, as opposed to just unconscious or fleeing in terror. Never get between a hungry Beck and her dinner). However, operating on the assumption that this book was not actually designed as a weapon for slightly crazed food-lovers, I tried out a recipe. 

This recipe was one of the few that caught my attention; my view of the book generally is that it has too many photos, not enough recipes. Coffee table cookbooks are just not my thing; actually, they really annoy me. Either it’s a book of pretty pictures which just sits there to be cooed over or it’s a cookbook with pages splattered with oil and stuck together from soy sauce spillage. Make up your mind! I know Thai Street Food is supposed to be an evocative travelogue as well as a cookbook, but all I really want are some excellent recipes which are doable for the home cook. And I have to say that not many of the dishes in here really got me interested. But this one did, mainly because I’ve always wanted to know how to cook those delectable, slightly charred and crispy flat rice noodles that you often get with kway teow. So even though I’d rather have less liquid in my noodle dishes, I wanted to give this a go and see if the technique outlined works. 

And even though I don’t appreciate the book generally, I have to admit that this was truly excellent. Resigned Husband is not a fan of noodles in liquid or soup, but we couldn’t get enough of this. The rice noodle technique worked beautifully, leading to great texture and an inherent smokiness in the dish. Bugger. There’s nothing worse than being prepared to pan something, only to find out that its so good you can’t wait to make it again. Curse you David Thompson – you and your excellent noodly ways! (more…)

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