Category Archives: Recipes

Food Porn: Thai Edition

Since I have been in Thailand I have eaten…well…everything. Everything besides the trays full of bugs that they sell on the streets at night, that is. Too expensive, and anyways I’ve tried fried crickets before so I’m not about to shell out 80 baht to try one again. Or whatever they cost.

Anyway. The food here is amazing. Like, even more so than I could imagine! I do recall one time when I was younger declaring that I could (or would?) live off of Shrimp Pad Thai for the rest of my life. Well, I still completely hold true to this statement. The Pad Thai on the street, made fresh to order and topped with crushed peanuts and tiny dried prawns bringing in their wonderful crunch and briny taste? SO wonderful!

So, in honor of this wonderful country’s food, my favorite street foods, from awesome to totally awesome:

10. Fried gelatin…stuff…

The gelatin is cut up and thrown in a vat of oil before being fished out and covered with Thai chili sauce. This method of cooking things really does produce some awesome results...
The gelatin is cut up and thrown in a vat of oil before being fished out and covered with Thai chili sauce. This method of cooking things really does produce some awesome results…

Found in Chinatown, this stuff was some sort of scallion gelatin thing chopped up and fried. Anyone know what it is? Cause I have no idea. But it was drenched in sweet chili sauce, which turns everything it touches delicious. Very good! But I had to turn the rest of my serving over to Stephen cause it was a little too jelly-like.

9. Steamed pork buns

Mmmm you just can't go wrong with a nice steam bun.
Mmmm you just can’t go wrong with a nice steam bun.

Another one from Chinatown! Delicious, but partially so delicious because I had not had a steamed bun in a very long time. I still think the ones from San Francisco when I was younger win out over this one. Still totally worth the 10 baht, though.

8. Stir Fried Veggies w/ cashew nuts

I spy corn, carrots, greens, pork, and delicious stir fry sauce
I spy corn, carrots, greens, pork, and delicious stir fry sauce

I love veggies. As you can see, I was pretty hungry at this meal, enough so that I forgot to take a picture before devouring the large majority of the dish. Again, delicious! But very simple, I could make something similar. Not out of this world enough to warrant a top-5. Paired with a fresh mango smoothie, though? A great first meal of the day.

7. Fried fish

Looks gross, tastes delicious.
Looks gross, tastes delicious.

Oh MAN was this stuff good! Found in Chinatown, again. I know I know, it looks kind of weird. It’s freshly fried fish topped with (you guessed it) sweet chili sauce. Again, I think the sweet chili sauce may have been carrying it a bit, but it was nonetheless the stuff of dreams. They cut up a few pieces into a plastic bag, drench it in sauce and send you on your way.

6. Grilled Mushrooms (on a stick)

Delicious delicious mushrooms.
Delicious delicious mushrooms.
Mushrooms with bacon? Why yes, thank you.
Mushrooms with bacon? Why yes, thank you.

I love mushrooms. I LOVE mushrooms. Mushrooms are SO good. These were also wrapped in bacon. They were bacon wrapped grilled mushrooms, grilled to order on the street. I mean, it’s not even fair! I did, however, make the mistake of assuming the pepper at the bottom was not as spicy as it was. I ate the whole thing in one bite and thought I was going to die for a few minutes. That made the mushroom experience a little less than awesome. But still, they are grilled mushrooms, wrapped in bacon. Pretty legit.

5. Duck.

Super fancy for a street cart. Super delicious, too.
Super fancy for a street cart. Super delicious, too.
Homemade condiments for the duck.
Homemade condiments for the duck.

There’s this guy on the corner who has a stand where he cooks duck and then serves it up over rice with greens and sauce and this brine-soup that you wash it down with! Pretty amazing because it is duck and duck is awesome. And delicious. The rice wasn’t great, though, so he lost a few points for that. Overall a pretty delicious dinner, though.

4. Grilled Squid on a Stick

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The whole array of items on sticks to buy, freshly grilled!
The whole array of items on sticks to buy, freshly grilled!

Again, found in Chinatown. Again, served with chili sauce. But unlike the previous ones found in Chinatown and served with chili sauce this is squid! Uh, YUM! Really good squid, too. And freshly grilled, then plopped into the plastic bag, covered in sauce, and you are on your way. This is totally my new favorite way to eat squid.

3. Green Curry

Spicy spicy and amazing. Love curry.
Spicy spicy and amazing. Love curry.

Mmmm curry. Served over vermicelli noodles in a little hole in the wall restaurant. Lots of greens, and delicious sauce, and fresh noodles. ‘nuff said.

2. Tom Yum Soup (pork and noodles and spice!)

The first time I had the soup: from a little cart in the middle of the street, served in a bowl to go.
The first time I had the soup: from a little cart in the middle of the street, served in a bowl to go.
The second bowl, at a slightly more legit food stall, where they actually had real bowls and tables!
The second bowl, at a slightly more legit food stall, where they actually had real bowls and tables!

I. Love. Soup. They make this soup on the streets, which I think is so cool! Soup is not supposed to be a street food! In the middle of the street stand is a giant pot which holds the broth, and inside that pot is a slightly smaller pot filled with water where they cook the noodles. Two-for-one cooking. Very efficient. The other things in there are fish balls, pork, greens, and sprouts. I asked the guy on the street to put on the toppings for me, and he added a spoonful of sugar (?!), some chili flakes, a bit of chili brine and some soy sauce. This stuff tastes like heaven! If I hadn’t already promised to live off of Pad Thai for the rest of my life, I would totally consider living off of this instead.

1. Pad Thai

Pad Thai. 'Nuff said.
Pad Thai. ‘Nuff said.

This particular plate tasted like heaven. Literally. As Stephen pointed out, that could partially do with the fact that we were eating this one at 4am. I agree that that could be part of it, but only a very small part. They make each plate of Pad Thai fresh, adding in the veggies, an egg, and shrimp or pork or chicken (whichever you want). It is delicious. Then you can add all the lime and peanuts and chili flakes and mini dried prawns that you want! This particular plate I added ALL the peanuts and ALL the prawns. It was a great choice. I have dreams about the Pad Thai sometimes. And I have only been gone from Bangkok for a few days.

Goodnight, food carts.
Goodnight, food carts.
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Paneer and Peppers (Kadhai Paneer)

I really wanted to make mac ‘n cheese tonight, but, alas, we had some red peppers in the fridge that were kind of expensive and about to go bad. Luckily I had recently been drooling over a picture of some red peppers blistered and cooked with paneer, so I thought I would give it a chance.

Because if you can’t have American-cheesy-delicious food, why not make Indian-cheesy-delicious food! This was based off of an Indian Kadhai Paneer recipe, which is admittedly a better name than Paneer and Peppers.

All in all it turned out great: grilled paneer (well, you really can’t go wrong when you start with a ton of cheese…), butter and sweet and spicy flavors all mix really nicely. I’ll have to splurge for those red peppers and cheese again soon, since the leftovers will be gone before I know it…

Cheese. Yes.

Ingredients:

500 g paneer (2 cups cubed), 2 red bell peppers (cubed, similar size to the cheese), 3 tbsp chopped fresh ginger, 2 tbsp chopped fresh garlic, 6 green chili peppers, 2 tsp of sweet paprika, 2 tsp cumin, ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp salt, 4 tbsp butter, 1-2 tbsp oil

For the gravy:

Heat butter in a pan over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, and chili peppers and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add spices, mix completely, and fry for another minute.

Turn off stove, but keep the curry warm.

For paneer and peppers:

Heat oil in pan over high heat.

Add paneer, and fry for 2-3 minutes. Liquid will start to come out and boil off.

Add peppers and continue to fry. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until the paneer has started to brown, and the peppers have started to blister and brown.

Add the gravy to the paneer and peppers and mix well.

Cook another 1-2 minutes, then take off heat and serve warm.

Thai-type Stir Fry

We had a full fridge of vegetables, but realized that they were all about to go bad! So I grabbed some coconut milk at the store (less expensive than I thought it would be!), and set about to figuring out how to make a nice stir fry. I browsed a few Thai recipes before grabbing out the ingredients we had and working with them to make a sauce.  I wanted to add cauliflower, but this time the vegetables that were about to go bad got priority so the cauliflower, unfortunately, didn’t make the cut. It is great cooking for both myself and a roommate–it gives me an excuse to cook a huge pot of food, and then we eat the leftovers the next day! All in all it turned out really well! A bit spicy (but not too spicy), and also sweet and a bit savory all at the same time.

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Ingredients:

2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger, 2 tbsp chopped fresh garlic, 4 small chilies, 3 small onions, 2-3 handfuls of bell mushrooms, 3 medium bell peppers, 2 handfuls snap peas, 6-8 small tomatoes, 1 block of tofu, 3 limes, bunch of cilantro, 1 400mL can of coconut milk, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, salt, chili powder

Stir Fry:

Cut tofu into small pieces and put in bowl with teriyaki sauce to soak.

Chop the vegetables.

After the tofu has soaked for 10-20 minutes, combine coconut milk, leftover teriyaki sauce, soy sauce to taste, one spoonful chili powder and lime juice from two small limes.  Add more of any of the ingredient to taste. It should be a little sweet, a little savory, and a little spicy.

In a large pan or wok heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the ginger, garlic, and chopped chilis and let fry for 30 seconds. Add onion. After a minute add mushrooms.  Let fry for 2-3 minutes then add about a quarter of the sauce,  or enough for them to simmer in. Cover with lid and let simmer 4-5 minutes.

Add peppers and snap peas. Add another third or so of the sauce, cover, let simmer 4-5 minutes.

While simmering, place tofu in a frying pan with another tbsp of oil and let fry. After the stir fry has been simmering for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and fried tofu, stir, re-cover, and let simmer for another 5-7 minutes.

Take off heat, garnish with cilantro and another squeeze of lime and serve, over rice or on its own.

Tomato Paneer Curry

I wanted to figure out how to make a simple curry at home in my flat, one that would make a good dinner for one or two using the spices and ingredients that are around me! I found a few tomato curry and paneer curry recipes online, and, after reading all the ones that looked decent, combined their ideas to make a quick, simple dish. I made it all in a small pot on the stove, using a normal table spoon to measure spices and a water cup to measure the rice and water. Not the most precise, but it made use of the things I have in my kitchen at the moment, and went more off of my gut than off of precise amounts. It turned out so well I made it again two nights later!

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 4.37.22 PM

Ingredients:

2 small onions, 4 medium tomatoes, 1 cup cubed paneer, 3 cloves garlic, small handful fresh cilantro, salt, cumin, tumeric, chili powder, ½ cup milk, 2 cups water, 1 small lime, 1 cup rice, oil

For rice:

Rinse rice a few times, the place in rice cooker with 1 cup of water, some salt and oil. Let cook. Make sure to plan this around the power outages so you don’t end up with a pot full of semi-cooked rice in water and a dark kitchen.

Curry:

Heat oil in a low pot. Add garlic and toss.

Add chopped onions, and fry until translucent.

Add a half a spoonful of cumin, the tip of the spoon full of turmeric, and an amount in between of chili powder (more or less for spiciness), and salt, and mix well.

Add chopped tomatoes, stir, and let simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Add cubed paneer.

Pour in milk and 1 cup of the water and stir well.

Let simmer for 5+ minutes, until the curry has thickened a bit. Add the cilantro and stir well, let simmer for a few more minutes.

Add lime juice, mix in, and take off the heat. Divide and serve over rice.