Sunday, 17 March 2013

A Taste to Thai for !

This weekend my husband and I had a great date. An afternoon shopping together with time to enjoy a coffee and chat. We then had a  delicious meal at a Thai restaurant. I love Thai food. The fresh, aromatic flavours of lemon grass, kaffir lime, coriander and coconut really compliment each other. I find I enjoy the lighter, delicate flavours of a Thai curry much more so than an Indian curry. Thai food is also quick and easy to make with very little preparation. I started cooking Thai food about 8 years ago. My first recipe was actually a Delia Smith version of Thai Green Curry from her How to Cook Book 3.  A few years ago I did a 5 week evening class on Thai cookery at our local Adult Education Centre. The Lady who ran it used to be Head Waitress at one of our local Thai restaurants and was excellent. It was really great fun, a good way of trying some different recipes and also picking up lots of tips on authentic Thai cookery and ingredients. If you haven't tried cooking Thai before I would really recommend you give it a go. You can create a very tasty supper in about 20 minutes including the preparation. You can pick up most of the ingredients you need in the supermarket but I would suggest you go to a local Asian store, if you have one nearby. They sell the authentic Thai green or red curry paste which is also much better value than the smaller brand ones you find in the supermarket. You will also be able to find large bottles of Thai fish sauce, oyster sauce and soy sauce which will again be good value. I tend to use the lighter coconut milk as it has half the fat of the regular coconut milk which is healthier. It is obviously a bit more watery but I find that once it is added to the rest of the ingredients you don't really notice. It tastes just as good. A Thai green curry is nice with steamed jasmine rice (or I will often use basmati rice). For an extra special meal you may want to serve it with egg fried. The recipe below was one we learnt on the course. It tastes very good and is probably much healthier than the takeaway version as it uses less oil. It could be a complete meal in itself if you added some cooked tiger prawns at the end or if you are vegetarian you could always add some chopped steamed veg or stir-fried peppers and mushrooms. 

Thai Green Curry.

Serves 4

3-4 chicken breasts sliced
1 tbsp cooking oil
400ml coconut milk
1 tbsp thai green curry paste
3 kaffir lime leaves
200g bamboo shoots sliced
1 small aubergine or 3-4 baby aubergines cut into chunks
2 tbsp frozen peas
2 tbsp thai fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
10-12 fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan 
Stir in the Thai green curry paste and add the sliced chicken fillets
Cook the chicken until browned
Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil
Add the fish sauce, sugar, bamboo shoots, aubergines, kaffir leaves and peas and simmer for 10-12 minutes
Add the basil and heat for another minute
Serve with rice

Egg fried rice

Serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable oil 
4 cloves garlic crushed
2 eggs beaten 
300g cooked long grain or basmati rice
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 pinch of ground white pepper
2 tbsps frozen peas
2 tbsps finely chopped onions
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

Heat a wok (or frying pan) on a medium heat and add the oil
Stir in the crushed garlic until fragrent, add the beaten eggs and scramble until cooked
Add the chopped onions, cook until lightly brown
Add the rice, soy sauce, oyster sauce and white pepper. Continue to stir fry for 3 minutes
If you wish to, add 150g cooked peeled tiger prawns or some chopped vegetables to make this into a meal in itself.

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