Everyday Food Blog

cooking the book: thai food and cooking

Posted by
A composed fruit and vegetable salad that we paired with a coconut milk dipping sauce.

A composed fruit and vegetable salad that we paired with a coconut milk dipping sauce.

For our second cooking lesson at my apartment, my friends and I chose a Thai cookbook that I got from a book giveaway at work—Thai Food and Cooking by Judy Bastyra and Becky Johnson. It had a lot more recipes than the Indian cookbook we used a few months ago, so it required a little bit more reading on my part to figure out what dishes we would cook. And, in fact, I probably got too excited and had us cooking too much, as we spent most of the day chopping ingredients for the three salads and we didn't have time to cook a corn-cake appetizer. So when planning your own cooking day, keep that in mind (for more tips, click the link above).I always order red curry at Thai restaurants and decided it would be one of our main courses. We made the curry paste from scratch in a food processor, using small hot chiles, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, cilantro roots, and galangal. I sought out some of the more uncommon ingredients like galangal (a rhizome that looks like ginger but is harder and tastes lemony) at a Thai grocery store in New York’s Chinatown, but most of the other items were available at my local store. The cookbook was helpful as it supplied descriptions and photos of ingredients in the intro. Once the paste was made, we simply simmered it in coconut milk, then added bamboo shoots and chicken. The best part is the curry paste will last for a few weeks in the fridge. I thought it was interesting that a lot of recipes called for cilantro roots, but found out from the editors here that there is a lot of flavor in this part of the herb. Check out some of the ingredients we used and other dishes we made in the gallery below.

Back
1 of 8
The red curry simmering.

1 The red curry simmering.

I overloaded the menu with salads—they required too much prep time and chopping. All three tasted great, though: We made a hot and sour noodle and vegetable salad, a bamboo shoot one (with canned shoots and toasted rice ground up for crunch), and a composed salad, also above.

2 I overloaded the menu with salads—they required too much prep time and chopping. All three tasted great, though: We made a hot and sour noodle and vegetable salad, a bamboo shoot one (with canned shoots and toasted rice ground up for crunch), and a composed salad, also above.

The hot and sour salad included thin rice noodles that we boiled and canned baby corn, tomatoes, red bell pepper, and toasted peanuts. It had a simple dressing of lime, soy sauce, and sugar.

3 The hot and sour salad included thin rice noodles that we boiled and canned baby corn, tomatoes, red bell pepper, and toasted peanuts. It had a simple dressing of lime, soy sauce, and sugar.

The book.

4 The book.

Some of the ingredients we used: hot and sweet chili sauce, a dark soy sauce, fish and regular soy sauce. On the plate (clockwise from left): small red chiles, lemongrass, our homemade curry paste, galangal, and dried kaffir lime leaves.

5 Some of the ingredients we used: hot and sweet chili sauce, a dark soy sauce, fish and regular soy sauce. On the plate (clockwise from left): small red chiles, lemongrass, our homemade curry paste, galangal, and dried kaffir lime leaves.

A great starter: We put a ground pork mixture around lemongrass stalks, then broiled them. They tasted great with the sweet chili sauce. Also, our whole menu paired well with a Gewürztraminer.

6 A great starter: We put a ground pork mixture around lemongrass stalks, then broiled them. They tasted great with the sweet chili sauce. Also, our whole menu paired well with a Gewürztraminer.

I chose a pork belly dish because I had never cooked with it before. The main flavoring here was Chinese five-spice powder and tomatoes. When steaming my rice, I covered the pan with foil to create a tighter seal.

7 I chose a pork belly dish because I had never cooked with it before. The main flavoring here was Chinese five-spice powder and tomatoes. When steaming my rice, I covered the pan with foil to create a tighter seal.

Our sweet ending: sticky rice with orange zest, mangoes, and pineapple. The sticky rice was soaked overnight, steamed, then soaked in coconut milk.

8 Our sweet ending: sticky rice with orange zest, mangoes, and pineapple. The sticky rice was soaked overnight, steamed, then soaked in coconut milk.

Comments (1)

  • avatar

    Kellee, your Thai dishes look great! Very impressive that so much food came from a tiny NY apartment kitchen:)

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.