Tag Archives: thai food

A Chiang Mai Favorite – Khao Soi

The true origin of this dish is debatable. Some will tell you it comes from the Shan State of Burma, while others say it arrived in Thailand with Muslim traders from Yunnan. Whatever the origin, this dish is delicious and easy to make (once you’ve made your red curry paste). The recipe is traditional made with beef, though I’ve used chicken here as it was what I had in the fridge. Chinese egg noodles can be found at most Asian groceries. They come in one pound packages and the noodles look similar to linguine noodles. (Click below for a photo of the restaurant where we first experienced the delightful Khao Soi!)

Khao Soi (Chiang Mai Curry Noodles)

3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp red curry paste (homemade is best, but you can use store bought paste also)
1 tbsp peanut oil
3 cups canned coconut milk (reserve 1/2 cup of the thickest milk in a separate container)
2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
peanut oil (for frying crispy noodles for topping)
1 pound Chinese egg noodles (some reserved for frying)

Optional Condiments:
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 lime, cut into wedges
a couple of birds eye chilis
pickled cabbage

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Coconut Milk vs. Cream: It’s Thai, not a Tie.

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Any fairly experienced cook is aware that swapping cream for skim milk will impact the outcome of your recipe.

However, I have been experimenting with Thai cooking lately, and I encountered a number of Thai recipes calling for either coconut milk or coconut cream, completely unaware that these two were as distinct as their dairy analogues!

I made a wonderful looking soup, using coconut milk in lieu of cream. Something was not right. Perplexed by my failure to capture the taste I was aiming for, I did a litte research on the topic and here is what I found:

Coconut cream is the thick non-liquid part of coconut milk that separates and rises to the top of the milk.

For this reason, you actually can by coconut milk, if the cream is unavailable, and use the thicker top portion of the unshaken can in place of coconut cream! In essence, the true distinction between to two substances is the thickness of the liquid, which will influence the overall richness of the dish!

For those of you who are interested in what exactly coconut milk is made of, here are some general facts:

The meat of the coconut is finely grated and steeped in hot wate, then cooled. It is then squeezed until dry; the white fluid is strained (generally with a cheese cloth) to remove all the pulp. More hot water is added to the pulp and the process is repeated to yield coconut milk.

If you need a reason to try cooking with coconut milk, doctors have found that the monolaurins in the coconut oil have very powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents, and boost immunity (who knew?)

Coconut milk is present in a variety of thai curries and soups, as well as in several Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian, Sri Lankan, West Indian, Hawaiian, and Filipino delicacies. Coconut cream can also be found in thai dishes, as well as in pina coladas (which happen to be my favorite vacation drink!)

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A Photo Tour of Thailand – Part 1

I thought you might enjoy a little “tour” of our trip so far in Thailand.

We started in Bangkok…

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Bangkok’s Chinatown out the window of our taxi

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streetfood in one of the alleys

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Candies filled with marzipan at The Pullman Hotel in Bangkok

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me working at one of the places making the silk folders

stay tuned for the first part of Chiang Mai tomorrow….

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I changed my mind…

Last night’s dinner at Salaloy on Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand blew every other Thai meal I have ever eaten out of the water.

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For starters, the restaurant is as casual as could be. With the seating along the sidewalk on the beach side of the road and the kitchen on the other, this restaurant served incredible Pla Tot Ka Tiem (whole fish), sum tum (papaya salad) and Tom Yung Kung Nam Koon (spicy shrimp soup). We had fried cuttlefish as tender as I have ever eaten along with crab and pork steamed dumplings as appetizers followed by whole fish topped with roasted garlic and herbs and another whole fish topped with red curry and fresh coconut. Other entrees included pork with yellow curry and fried tiger prawns.

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Best Thai Food in My Life!

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While in Chiang Mai this week, I had the best Thai food I have ever eaten!

Our driver (whom we hired to drive us everywhere for an entire day for $50) took us here for lunch. The Thai culture is really interesting in that your driver takes you to a place owned by his friends (or Thais) and then he gets to eat in the back for free for bring you to the restaurant (this is also true of stores, where he gets a kickback for taking you there – I know, totally uncool, but how it works). Anyways, this place he took us to for lunch was incredible! The place (Khao Soil Lamduanta) was full of Thais (always a good sign) and the menu had no English.

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Miang Kum – A delicious Thai treat!

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On our first full day in Thailand, we sampled some of the best Thai foods I have ever eaten. Among the delightful eats was Miang Kum, a delicious treat made out of many common Thai condiments and are served as a mid-day snack or hors d’ouveres for a party.

To make them, you start with the bi plu (which is a leaf similar to a banana leaf, but smaller) and fold it in half and then in half again creating a pocket for the goodies. Then you put toasted coconut, a couple of peanuts, one fermented dried shrimp, a piece of garlic, a bit of shallots, a piece of ginger and lime and as much of a chili as you would like into the opening created by folding the leaf. Then top with the sweet chili sauce and pop into your mouth in one bite! MMGOOD!

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