Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cookin' Thai Food

Man, do I love Thai food. So much so that I spent last fall studying and cooking Thai food until I mastered a few dishes.  I even did a Thai feast for Thanksgiving in lieu of a traditional meal!  I must say that the cookbook, Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid was my greatest resource and an all around fabulous book.  The photography, writing and recipes truly take you on a journey through southeast Asia.  As with most things in life, I tend to put my own spin on things--so one of the recipes I post today is my own interpretation and the other is a classic that I found online.  I'm a little nervous to post these because Thai food is not for everyone.  If you've never had Thai food before, perhaps seek some out to sample before investing in special ingredients.  You may love it and you may not, but either way you can feel more cultured for trying!  Here are my two favorite Thai dishes--Panang Curry & Pineapple Fried Rice. 

First up, Pineapple Fried Rice
Thai ingredients that I cannot find in the Asian food section at the grocery store I order from this online store:
The fresh Kaffir lime leaves smell AMAZING and keep in the freezer for months ;-)
I will copy and paste this recipe bellow but here's the link

You will need.

and cooked Thai Jasmine white rice (not pictured).

I cook the rice and then put it in the frig uncovered for an hour or so before I start. 
Mix 1 Tbsp. oil with the rice, using your fingers to separate any chunks into grains. Set aside.

In a cup, stir the soy sauce/fish sauce together with the curry powder.
Tip:  Schilling Curry Powder bought at the grocery store works great for Thai cooking but if you want something extra special, Penzeys Sprices sells a Maharajah Curry Powder that is to die for!
If you use the Penzeys curry, reduce to 1 1/2 tsp in this recipe as it is more powerful.

Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp. oil in a wok/large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, and chili, stir-frying until fragrant (1 minute). Whenever the wok/pan becomes dry, add a little stock (1/2 to 1 Tbsp. at a time to keep the pan sizzling).  I've got a wok attachment for my stove, if you've got one this is a great time to use it.

Crack egg (if using) into wok and stir quickly to cook (like making scrambled eggs).

Add the carrot (if using), peas, cashews. Stir-fry 1 minute in the same way, adding more stock if needed.

Now add the rice, pineapple chunks, and currents. Drizzle the fish/soy sauce mixed with curry powder over and gently stir-fry to combine over medium-high to high heat until the rice "dances" (begins to make popping sounds) - about 3 minutes.Tip: Avoid adding any more stock from here on, or your rice will turn out soggy. The wok/pan should be hot and dry.

Remove from heat. Do a taste-test for saltiness, adding a few shakes of salt or up to 2 Tbsp. more [veggie] fish sauce or soy sauce, as needed. (If you happen to over-salt the dish, add a squeeze or two of lime juice.)

To serve, scoop rice onto a serving platter (or in a carved-out pineapple, if serving at a party - see link at beginning of recipe). Top with spring onions and coriander (cilantro), and ENJOY!

Panang Curry
You will need
1 lb. raw Jumbo Shrimp, OR 3 boneless skinless chicken breast, OR desired about of fried tofu.
1 13oz can coconut milk
2 Tbsp. red curry paste (
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp. fish sauch (
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
6 kaffir lime leaves
4 servings of cooked jasmine rice
Thaw, shell and devein raw shrimp and set aside. Or if using chicken, slice raw chicken into thin strips and set aside.   Add coconut milk to a saute pan along with red curry, brown sugar and peanut butter.  Whisk to combine and heat to a simmer.  Add lime leaves and simmer 2-3 min.  Then add shrimp and simmer 5 mins until all shrimp turn pink on all sides. (or add chicken and simmer 5-7min until chicken is cooked through)


  1. For some reason I cannot edit my post...blogs having fits today. I just wanted to add that you can serve the panang curry over white rice or serve it over the Pineapple friend rice (recipe above) ;-)

  2. yum the pineapple fried rice looks awesome:)

  3. Made me smile reading this and thinking of my "intro" to Thai, when we tried that restaurant last year. I was so excited to try my salad, had so many wonderful ingredients in it - but what the menu did not tell us was that the whole salad was bathed in fish sauce! Your recommended "tried and trues" were yummy though. I have to try it again sometime, maybe cook my own...

  4. Looks wonderful! Truly beautiful food.

  5. haha, Shannon, I totally remember the "fish sauce" salad. Poor thing, pg and smellin' that!
    I take it really easy on the fish sauce. You can substitute soy sauce for fish sauce most thai recipes.

  6. Thank you for posting these recipes!!!! I lived in Penang, Malaysia and these were 2 of my FAVORITE dishes while there. I can't wait to make them.