Friday, November 19, 2010


Thai cuisine is based on strongly aromatic ingredients like chile peppers, ginger, and lemongrass. Each meal is supposed to be composed of sweet, sour, spicy, salty, and optionally bitter flavors. Regional cuisine is influenced by neighbors including Malaysia, China, Laos, Cambodia, and Burma. Traditionally, one would serve more dishes than there are guests at the table. Staples include rice, noodles, fish sauce, and curry.

I'd certainly had Thai food before, but it's never been one of my favorite cuisines. I've never been able to find anything that excites me. So since I didn't expect to love this meal, my major priorities were nutrition and low hassle, which included easy ingredients and fast preparation. I left out the spiciness and bitterness, but I did serve three dishes for the two of us. The won-tons were easy (although the oil spattered like no other!) and tasty enough even without a dipping sauce. The curry (which was a last-minute addition after I realized I had half a can of coconut milk left over from Cameroon) was reasonably inoffensive, and if I make it again I might even use more curry paste. The noodles were downright tasty, and I'll definitely make something like that again. Blair agreed.

Fried Wontons
Prepared wonton wrappers
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup ground pork
1 tbsp scallions, sliced thin
1 pinch white pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed

Set aside wonton wrappers and oil. Mix other ingredients well. Wet the edges of the wonton wrappers with water, then put in about 2 tsp filling and press the edges together on a diagonal. You can fold fancily, but I didn't. Heat the oil in a wok or electric skillet until it sizzles a little, then fry the wontons, turning as they brown, until filling is done. If I were making a dipping sauce, I'd probably combine soy sauce, honey, and a little sesame oil and microwave them, but that's probably not the Thai way.

Vegetable curry (full disclosure: this recipe came from the side of the jar of red curry paste)
1/2 can coconut milk
red curry paste to taste
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce (or to taste)
1/3 cup water
assorted vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used cauliflower, carrots, and green beans).

Simmer coconut milk and curry paste together for five minutes, stirring regularly. Add other flavoring agents and stir to dissolve sugar, then add water and vegetables. Simmer for ~20 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Pad Mee
1 handful of rice vermicelli
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sliced pork (for two servings)
1/2 tablespoon (or more) chopped garlic
cabbage and cauliflower cut into bite-sized chunks
cilantro and green onion as garnish

Heat the wok at medium-high heat, and add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. In a separate bowl, lightly beat two eggs. Pour egg into the bowl and scramble it quickly. Remove egg and set aside.
Put 2 tablespoons oil in the wok again, and add chopped garlic, for just a minute or less. Add the sliced pork and wait until it's cooked.
In the meantime, place the cabbage and cauliflower in boiling water momentarily, or you can place in a glass bowl with a bit of water and microwave it for 2-3 minutes.
Blanch your soaked rice vermicelli in boiling water then add it to cooked pork in the wok. Add sugar, vinegar, and sauces. Stir fry this, mixing well, until the noodles turn a bit brown. Add vegetables and stir-fry a bit longer. Add in the cooked egg. Stir, and put on plate. Top with cilantro and green onion

1 comment:

  1. I hate cooking Thai food because it makes my house smell. So I wait to go home for my mommy to do it instead :) Now, I can go to you, too!