noodles

Black Pepper Noodles

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 Noodle Salad

Instant Noodle Salad

In Thai: Som Tam Mama Instant noodles - often called Ramen noodles in the US - are a very popular light meal or snack in Thailand. While they may be something you thought you left behind when you left college, chances are you never ate this well back in school. This is not a very common dish, but I have seen it on the menu of some Thai restaurants, although not those that cater to westerners.

Pad Thai Noodles

Although pad Thai is well known to tourists, and so expected on the menu at every Thai restaurant in the west, the dish is actually not all that common in Thailand. You will find stalls that sell it and Thais do enjoy pad Thai once in a while, but the dish is not nearly as common as many westerners think. It is very much a street food, and perhaps a good example of a strange sort of snobbishness about food.

Rice Noodles in Thick Gravy

Rice Noodles in Thick Gravy

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 color, 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.

Spicy Drunken Noodles

Spicy Drunken Noodles

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.