My two months backpacking trip to Southeast Asia has, unfortunately, come to an end. I’ve seen so many beautiful places and tasted so many amazing delicacies. I believe that food is one of the reasons why people go to Southeast Asia. Every region has its own unique cuisine with extremely well seasoned dishes and fresh vegetables.
First stop…Thailand! In every city –large or small – you are surrounded by food. Thailand wouldn’t be the same without the street food. Little ovens on wheels, stalls and tiny plastic chairs for the customers are such a joy to behold….and certainly a pleasure to sample. The food in Thailand is just incredible, cheap and often…extremely spicy. If you want my advice, stay away from western restaurants – Eat where locals eat!
My trip to Thailand wouldn’t have been complete without taking part in at least one cooking course. As I discovered, Chiang Mai is the best place to explore Thai cuisine. After a quick Tripadvisor search I chose ‘A lot of Thai: Home Cooking Class’ run by an excellent chef called Yui. She is very knowledgeable and taught us tricks which apply both to Thai and Western cooking. Yui guided us through 3 delicious Thai dishes: Phad Thai (recipe below), Green Curry (recipe below) and Tom Yam Kung. We finished our class with a tour of the local market.
It was a fun and memorable experience!
Ingredients (serves 2)
3 tbsp cooking oil
¼ cup tofu – cut into small sticks
1 tbsp shallot – chopped
1 tbsp garlic – chopped
50g mined pork
1 tbsp dried shrimp
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp tamarind puree
1 ½ tbsp sugar
200g fresh narrow rice noodles
4-6 tbsp water or chicken stock
100g bean sprouts
100g Chinese chive – cut into 3cm
2 tbsp ground roasted peanuts
1.Fry tofu and shallots in 2 tbsp of hot oil over a medium heat until light brown. Add garlic, minced pork and dried shrimps. Cook for about 1 minute.
2.Add noodles and immediately add water or stock. Cook until noodles are soft. Then add fish sauce, soy sauce, tamarind puree and brown sugar and cook for about 1 minute.
3.Add bean sprouts and Chinese chive and cook until Chinese chive turns bright green in colour. Add 1 tbsp of cooking oil at the side of the wok and cook eggs. Mix eggs with noodles when the eggs are nearly cooked. Remove from heat.
4.Add ground roasted peanuts.
5.Serve with chilli powder, lime and bean sprouts.
Green Curry with Chicken
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 cup coconut cream
2 tbsp green curry paste
150g chicken breast – sliced
1 ½ cups coconut milk
200g eggplant – sliced
20g small eggplant (optional)
2-3 kaffir lime leave – torn in quarter
2 tsp palm sugar
1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
½ large red chilli – thinly sliced
40g sweet basil leave – torn from stem
1.Boil the coconut cream over a low heat until the surface looks shiny and the oil appears.
2.Add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute
3.Add chicken and cook for 1 minute.
4.Add the coconut milk
5.Bring to boil.
6.Add the eggplant, small eggplant and kaffir lime leave.
7.After the eggplant becomes soft, season with palm sugar, fish sauce and add chilli.
8.Add the sweet basil leaves at the last moment and stir. Remove from heat.
9.Serve with rice