'Korean' Grilled Beef

I put 'Korean' in quotes because I don't know how authentic this recipe is. Everything Korean is extremely popular in Thailand, as it has been for a few years, so I suspect a lot of things get 'labeled' Korean even if they're adaptations of Thai foods or whatever. Curiously, I got this recipe from a Thai cookbook that came with my new microwave oven (it was a Korean brand, I should note). It had the beef cooked by microwave, which didn't seem to be the best idea, so I just fried it up in a skillet. If you have a … More

American Fried Rice

Thai name: Khao pat amerigan You don't have to be in Thailand too long or make too many Thai friends before one of them will eventually order khao pat amerigan at some food stall or restaurant. I frequently get asked about it by first-time visitors, who assume that the dish really is American in origin, even if they themselves are from the USA and have never heard of it. American Fried Rice In truth, the origins of khao pat amerigan seem to be a little more convoluted. The recipe is a Thai invention, but did evolve during the American war in … More

Black Bean Dessert

“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. Black beans with sweet coconut milk The old Thai-language recipe I used as a starting point for this dish didn't have taro in it, but I don't think I've every been served this dessert without it, so I added taro to the mix. … More

Black Pepper Noodles

Just in case you were thinking that every meal at my place is a gourmet feast, I thought I would post a recipe that represents a more typical lunch or dinner for me. Instant noodles have become something of a staple in modern Thailand, since they're quick and easy to make. During the big Bangkok floods of late 2011, it was instant noodles that supermarkets couldn't keep on the shelves, not rice. Instant noodles come in a wide variety of flavors - enough to fill an entire aisle at most supermarkets - including tom yam, seasoned pork and duck. For the … More

Black Rice Pudding

Black rice pudding is a relatively common dessert in Thailand as well as Indonesia. It is a very warming dish, so it is usually more easily found in the cool season. The naturally sweet taste of the rice is why you find it used in desserts rather than served with main courses. Black rice has a well deserved reputation for taking forever to cook, since it's a more 'natural' grain with a strong husk. However, I've found that if I soak the rice for much longer than just the 'overnight' usually recommended, it reduces the cooking time considerably. Soaking the … More

Burmese Pork Curry

In Thai, this dish is called Gaeng Hungleh, and it's also called "Chiang Mai Pork Curry", this dish is a specialty of northern Thailand. It originated in the foods that the Burmese bought with them when they occupied the Lanna kingdom, which had its capital in Chiang Mai, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. Unlike most Thai curries, it uses only the tiniest bit of coconut milk, and some versions of the recipe use none at all. There are indeed a great many versions of this dish, since the Burmese origins of the name imply an improvised … More

Carrot Som Tam

Shredded carrot most closely matches the texture, if not the colour or flavour, of green papaya. This recipe is similar to one that has proved successful at the restaurant chain in Thailand where I used to work, and also utilizes ingredients easily found outside of the country. You can of course substitute fresh string beans for the long beans. For the photo, I left out the dried shrimp, since I don't think they add anything to the dish and didn't want to buy a big bag of them for this one dish. By leaving out the shrimp and using … More

Cashew Chicken

As a seemingly obvious "Chinese" import, cashew chicken often gets dismissed as not really a "Thai" dish, but it definitely helps to balance out a meal that already has many spicy dishes. Although they make the dish look spicy, the dried chillies usually don't impart much heat to the rest of the ingredients. In Thailand, this dish is almost always mild, with little or no spiciness. Since they can be a bit tough, most people just push the chillies to the side of their plate and don't eat them. Their presence in the recipe seems to be … More

Chiang Mai Pork Sausage

This cooked sausage, called sai-ooa, is one of the foods that Thais associate strongly with Chiang Mai. You can purchase it fresh at most markets, and you'll see coils of it grilling on barbecues at stalls all around town. Chiang Mai sausage meatballs Since most people don't have sausage making equipment in their home, I've adapted the recipe to make meatballs instead. These work very well as an hors d'oeuvre with cocktails or as one of the many 'finger foods' forming a kahn toke style dinner. Sai-ooa is one of many popular 'drinking foods' that Thais enjoy with beer. The … More

Chicken and Galangal Soup

I often think chicken and galangal soup (tom ka gai) is perhaps the best example of Thai cuisine. Unlike its more famous cousin tom yum the taste of this thick soup is more varied and sublime. The undercurrents given by the galangal, lime juice, lemongrass and pepper make this dish quite remarkable. Chicken and Galangal Soup The first part of the Thai name, tom ka, simply means “boiled galangal” while gai is the Thai word for chicken. Although the meat most commonly used in this soup is chicken, tom ka can also be made with fish, shellfish and other poultry, … More

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