Posts Tagged 'thai'

Laksa Noodle Soup

Laksa

I like to cook without resorting to looking up recipes. As such, I tend to adapt all of my soup recipes to use similar amounts. Nearly all of my soup recipes use one litre of stock as standard and most start off by frying onions, celery and garlic. I’ve given my own Tom Kha Gai soup a bit of a Malaysian makeover using some inspiration from Gordon Ramsay’s Malaysian Curry recipe (from his “Sunday Lunch” book. There’s also a good laksa recipe in Nigel Slater’s “Appetite“). I’ve used a red curry paste here and upped the spicing. Try it, it’s really good.

Ingredients

  • 2 free-range chicken breast fillets
  • 750ml chicken stock (cube is fine)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small courgette, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • piece of cinnamon stick, 3 or 4 cm
  • 2 star anise
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • noodles, enough for 2 people
  • 1 red chilli pepper, thinly sliced
  • fresh coriander
  • fresh basil

Method

  1. Cook your noodles according to the instructions on the packet and refresh in cold water, then set aside.
  2. Bring the chicken stock to the boil, then add the whole chicken breasts. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat and leave to simmer very gently for about 10 minutes while you get on with making the rest of the soup. I find cooking the chicken fillets whole like this gives the meat a softer and more satisfying texture.
  3. Heat some oil in a heavy saucepan and stir-fry the onion and courgette for about 3 minutes, until they’re just starting to colour.
  4. Add the red curry paste, star anise, cinnamon stick and stir-fry for a minute or two to coat the vegetables in the paste.
  5. Remove the chicken breasts from the hot stock and add the  stock to the spicy vegetables. Slice the chicken breasts thinly and add to the soup. Add the coconut milk, lime leaves, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and the juice of 1 lime. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, adding the frozen peas for the last two minutes.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. (At the very least, you’ll need the juice from another ½ lime, but adjust according to your own taste.)
  7. Divide the cooked noodles between two deep bowls and ladle the soup over. Garnish the bowls with the sliced chilli  and a handful of chopped fresh coriander and basil. You could also garnish this with some chopped roasted peanuts.

Serves 2.

Tom Kha Gai

Let’s just say there’s a lot of basil being used in the “Toasted Special” kitchen these days. I’m trying to cope with my first ever glut, and I’m not having a great deal of success. Like I said in a previous post, I sowed a generic variety of basil because it was too late in the year to sow the Genovese variety, at least according to the instructions on the packet. The basil I have is very different, probably closer in flavour to Thai basil, than Italian. It’s got a distinct citrus flavour, so I figured it would work nicely in some Thai influenced dishes. I’ve been making this soup for a few years now, it’s the classic example of how “hot, salty, sour and sweet” work together in South-East Asian cooking. It’s purely a matter of taste, so adjust the lime juice, sugar and fish sauce as you see fit.

I make no apology for using a bought Thai curry paste. I use an authentic brand from Thailand called “Mae Ploy”. If you’re in Dublin, you can get it the Asia Market or Fallon & Byrne. (No prizes for guessing where it’s cheaper!) They contain only natural ingredients and if it’s good enough for Thai people, it’s good enough for me!

Tom Kha Gai

Ingredients

  • 2 free-range chicken breasts
  • 750ml chicken stock (cube is fine)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small courgette, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 red chilli pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • fresh coriander
  • fresh basil

Method

  1. Bring the chicken stock to the boil, then add the chicken breasts. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat and leave to simmer very gently for about 10 minutes while you get on with making the rest of the soup.
  2. Heat some oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the onion until it’s just starting to colour. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the green curry paste and stir-fry for a minute or two to coat the vegetables in the paste.
  4. Remove the chicken breasts from the hot stock and add the stock to the spicy vegetables. Slice the chicken breasts thinly and add to the soup along with the coconut milk.
  5. Add the red chilli, lime juice sugar and fish sauce then simmer for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You probably won’t need any salt because the curry paste will be salty enough.
  6. Chop a handful of fresh coriander and basil and mix into the soup, then serve.

Serves 2.

Thai Beef Salad

Thai food is very special. I love that perfect combination of hot, sour, sweet and salty. This salad is a perfect example of how those flavours work together. The secret of this dish is to use good quality beef fillet and plenty of fresh herbs. Also, the fried peanut garnish provides not only a great taste but another contrasting texture. Try this, it’s excellent!

thai_beef_salad_1

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • finely chopped coriander
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 1 tsp sugar

Salad Ingredients

  • 300g beef fillet
  • sesame oil
  • fresh coriander and mint
  • mixed salad leaves, enough for 4 people
  • ½ cucumber
  • 8 small tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
  • fried peanuts, coarsely chopped

Method

  1. Combine all of the dressing ingredients and leave to stand.
  2. Brush the beef fillet with sesame oil, season and grill for about 3 minutes each side. Meat should be rare/medium-rare. Let the meat rest while you prepare the salad.
  3. Combine the salad ingredients and divide between 4 plates. Slice the beef as thinly as possible, then lay on top of the salad. Pour the dressing over each salad and serve.
  4. Garnish with the fried peanuts.

Serves 4.

Butternut Squash & Coconut Soup

Butternut Squash & Coconut Soup

Any dish that contains chillis and coconut milk is good enough for me. This recipe uses butternut squash as it’s base, enhanced by Thai spices and coconut milk. Spicy and absolutely delicious. I like to add some chopped green beans and peas to add some body to the soup, but you can leave these out if you wish.

I like to serve this with a blob of créme fraiche and some toasted pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 medium size butternut squash, about 1kg in total, cubed
  • 1 tbsp Thai curry paste
  • piece of ginger, minced
  • 750 ml chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lime
  • green beans,  finely chopped
  • fresh coriander

butternut_1

Method

  1. Gently fry the onion and celery until tender and lightly coloured.
  2. Add the curry paste and fry to release it’s flavour; then add the butternut squash and minced ginger. Turn well to coat the squash with the spice mixture.
  3. Add the chicken stock, sugar and fish sauce, then bring to the boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the squash is tender.
  4. Pureé the soup using a stick blender then add the can of coconut milk and the green beans if you’re using them. Bring gently back to a simmer then season with salt, pepper and juice from half of the lime. Adjust the seasoning, it may need more lime juice.
  5. Add a good handful of chopped, fresh coriander and serve.

Serves 4.

Thai/Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Thai/Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-4 hot chillies (depending on your taste), thinly sliced
  • fresh coriander

Combine all of the ingredients and divide between small bowls, depending on the number of guests!