Pumpkin is one of the few “cross-over“ ingredients in Thai cooking that can be found in both sweets and main dishes. While the eye-catching custard-filled pumpkin dessert often gets a lot of attention, you can also find this simpler sweet dish as well.
Here is the full list of all recipes published on Traveling Chili. Click on the Ingredients list at left to see a list of articles and recipes for each major food item.
Among Thais as well as expats around Thailand, this dessert called Bua Loy in Thai is definitely a favorite. It's surprisingly simple to make, although it does take some time.
This is a rather basic recipe that will allow you to experiment with tapioca pearls. This dish is best served relatively warm. If refrigerated, the pearls will become dry and hard.
“Black beans for dessert?” I hear you asking incredulously. Yes, as I've mentioned before, Thais don't follow the same “rules” about what is sweet and what is savory that westerners do, although they can be just as rigid about their ideas. I've never seen black beans used in a Thai main course, but this dessert dish is quite common.
This recipe for Nam Prik Ong makes a small portion suitable as an appetizer for about four people. For larger groups, simply scale it up. Some versions of this recipe call for the addition of a small portion (1 teaspoon) of shrimp paste, a tofu sheet or fermented soy beans. I think the dish does fine without them, as they are difficult to find and the quantities needed are so small.
Thai name: Nam Prik Awn
I'm not a very consistent chef. I will cook according to the recipe once or twice, but then I'll most likely start fiddling with it. I can't help wondering if a dish would taste better with more of one thing, or this instead of that. Cooking for me is a constant process of experimentation. Sometimes the results of my experiments are good. Sometimes, not so much. And sometimes, the experiments work very well, surprising even me.
I've never been able to find out exactly how this dish got its name, which in Thai is kwiteeo pat kee mao. Unlike Chinese 'drunken' recipes that I have known, there's no alcohol used in this dish, ever. The basic ingredients are similar to those used in stir-fried meats with garlic and holy basil, called pat krapao in Thai. It does appear that the name actually refers to the diner, rather than the dish. In other words, the name should be translated as 'drunkard's noodles' but that just doesn't have quite the same ring.
In Thai, this dish is simply called kwit-teeo pat see-eew, or rice noodles stir-fried with soy sauce. You'll not it uses all three kinds of soy sauce commonly used in Thai kitchens. I think this dish goes best with pork, but you'll also easily find it on the street with chicken. Seafood is less common due to the over-powering tastes of the sauces.
This simple dish, called rat nha in Thai, is widely available throughout Thailand, where for many it's a 'comfort' food. In stalls, the gravy is usually prepared in a large pot and ladled out over bowls of noodles and kale. If you can't find Chinese kale, broccoli is a good match for the colour, crunchiness and taste of Chinese kale. Likewise, cornstarch can just as easily be used in place of tapioca flour (cassava starch) as a thickening agent.