I love Asian cooking above all, I must say, and Thai cooking happens to capture my wild appetite for great food. For those times when I feel like my tastebuds need a serious switch from the usual to something more extraordinary, the blend of spices and fresh herbs of Thai cooking pleasantly exceeds my requirements.
I used to frequent this popular local Thai Bistro whenever my cravings are making me salivate for curry and fresh spring rolls. Since it’s been a while that I’ve gotten around my blog, I feel like making it up to you by sharing two Thai dishes — Thai Curry and Fresh Spring Rolls — that I have just recently had the courage to cook on regular basis at home. Oh, but I should warn you that it may not be as authentic if that’s what you’re looking for. To put it more succinctly, these two Thai dishes are adjusted for my Filipino tastebuds.
Let’s get on with it!
First Recipe: Beef with Thai Yellow Curry Sauce
1/2 kilogram Beef Kenchie, diced (I recommend it for being tender but choose a portion that does not have too much tendons or, you can use any part of beef that you want)
deSiam (brand) Thai Yellow / Green / Red Curry Sauce (in order of sweetness to chilliness; I personally love yellow although I’d it any of these haha!)
Suree (brand) Thai Coconut Milk (optional; you won’t really need to do anything else with your deSiam curry but, if you need a little bit more sauce or natural sweetness in there, use this rather than adding water or sugar to your dish)
Mint or Basil Leaves (Don’t cook this dish without either of these! It won’t taste the same. Use both if you want to.)
Red and Green Bell Peppers, cut squarely
*Optional vegetables to add: Baby Eggplants, Young Corn (Check your deSiam, it might already have that in there already but, because those veggies have been soaked in the curry for a long time, they taste different. I take them out then, replace with fresh veggies.)
Ginger (a considerably big portion of it), peeled and cut squarely and pounded
Garlic, peeled and pounded
Salt and Pepper
Several pieces of Chili Peppers (What’s a Thai dish without them? Cut, if that’s how hot you want your dish to be. If the kids will be eating, just drop them in whole. Cut them up on your plate later.)
To cook this yummy Thai dish:
1. Heat pan. Add oil. Saute your garlic. Once brown, add in ginger and let it sweat.
2. Drop your beef. Salt and pepper. Give everything a nice toss. Put on the lid. Let your beef sweat off those juices. Start with high heat but, once boiling, adjust to medium heat to tenderize that beef and keep the outer surfaces from getting toasted. Add water occasionally to simmer.
3. Once your beef is tender, add your bell peppers and vegetables.
4. Allow some of that water to evaporate before adding in your deSiam Curry Sauce. Boil then, bring down to low heat to allow those flavors to be absorbed by your meat. I like mine dry so, towards the end, I open the lid and just allow those fluids to evaporate.
5. Taste and use your Suree Thai Coconut Milk at this point if you want more sweetness and more sauce in your curry. (Next time, you can even use this to boil your meat and veggies with because you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need with your deSiam.)
6. Add your mint or basil to taste. If you haven’t tried using these in cooked dishes before, just add a few because there’s a chance you might not like how it tastes.
7. Add your Chili Peppers.
8. Bring to a boil. Serve hot.
Second Recipe: Thai Fresh Spring Rolls
1/2 kilogram Medium-Sized Shrimps, sauteed, head removed, and body cut in half (lengthwise)
500 grams, Good Life (brand) Sotanghon, soaked and boiled
Cucumber, peeled and cut in lengthwise pieces
Celery Stalks, peeled and cut in lengthwise pieces
Carrots, peeled and cut in lengthwise pieces
Thai Rice Paper (I’ve used the Real Thai and the Fat and Thin brands. The former breaks easily and may not be ideal if you’re doing this for the first time. Fat and Thin holds up better.)
For the Peanut Sauce:
1 small bottle of creamy Peanut Butter (I’ve used Lily’s and it tastes fine but, the problem is it will not incorporate well even after you’ve taken out the oil and boiled it with the other ingredients. So, let me know if you happen to try it with another brand of peanut butter that will hold up better as a peanut sauce)
1 can, Suree Thai Coconut Milk
2 tbsp, Grated Ginger
*Optional: You can always use a Thai Peanut Sauce if you can find one, of course!
To make the Peanut Sauce:
1. Heat the Suree Thai Coconut Milk in a sauce pan. Bring to boil in low heat.
2. Add grated ginger.
3. Add Lily’s Peanut Butter devoid of the oil that sets on top.
4. Blend everything together. Keep your sauce from burning by mixing constantly.
5. Once sauce thickens, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
To make your rolls.
1. Follow the instructions indicated on your rice paper.
2. Quickly assemble your shrimp, cut vegetable ingredients, and sotanghon over it, leaving about a fourth at the bottom to fold later.
3. Fold the bottom end then, roll. If you know how to make Lumpia Shanghai, this should be easy, except you have to work faster or your rice paper will break. It takes a while to get used to wrapping your rolls but, you’ll get the hang of it.
4. Refrigerate. Serve chilled.
Enjoy with your family and friends — always the best way to savor Asian dishes.