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Thai Trio

Normally (there have been exceptions) we only publish one recipe at a time, but we cooked all three of these Thai specialties to see which might be the best for the recipe of the month and they all were so good we decided to publish all them all together. All these recipes are modified versions of recipes found in The Ultimate Thai and Asian Cookbook by Deh-Ta Hsiung, Becky Johnson and Sallie Morris. The book has a very nice section on ingredients. It is quite common in Thailand and other Southeast Asian cultures to serve several dishes at a time for a meal, not in courses. Even Thai soups are served with other dishes and not before a meal. Many dishes from this area of the world are based on a harmonious blend of sweetness (often palm sugar), sourness (vinegar, limes, lemons and tamarinds), saltiness (salt, soy sauce, fish sauce) and spiciness (hot chilies). Chicken, pork (except in Muslim households), fish and shellfish are the most common protein sources.

A couple of cooking tips: Some of the ingredients, fish sauce, Thai chilies, roasted sesame seeds and galangal root might require a visit to an Asian grocery store like 99 Ranch Market. It's up to you whether you use coconut milk or the thicker coconut cream. Authentic Southeast Asian curries are cooked in "first pressing" coconut milk that is boiled until it is thicker than canned coconut milk. Coconut oil (now available at Costco!) and peanut oil are perhaps the most used cooking oils. Some people use other oils, so if you are dead set on using olive oil, use light olive oil as it has a lighter taste and can be cooked at a higher heat which is required in stir fry cooking. Smoke coming off of cooking oils is quite toxic, so don't heat oil to the point past its smoking temperature. We were quite curious about the cherry tomatoes in the Shrimp curry, turns out they were surprising (you will see what we mean when you try them) and delicious!

Yellow Curry Shrimp Ingredients:

Preparation:

  1. Boil water in a large pot.
  2. Add noodles to boiling water and then immediately turn off heat.
  3. Let noodles stand in the hot water for 5 minutes and then rinse and drain.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of oil on medium high heat until hot (before it smokes!)
  5. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  6. Immediately add pork and chicken and cook while tossing everything about.
  7. When the pork and chick become lightly browned, add shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes. Keep everything moving with your spatula.
  8. Add sugar, fish sauce and lemon juice, and mix everything until the sugar dissolves.
  9. Add remaining oil and then the drained noodles mixing everything very gently as the noodles might break if you are too vigorous.
  10. Pour beaten eggs all over everything and mix gently, cooking until the egg is just about set.
  11. Gently mix in chillies, bean sprouts, 1/2 the peanuts, 1/2 the scallions and 1/2 the cilantro leaves.
  12. Cook for another 2 minutes, gently keeping everything moving.
  13. Transfer fried noodles to a serving dish and garnish with remaining peanuts, scallions and cilantro leaves.

Serve with Jasmine Rice Spicy Thai Fried Noodles>

Ingredients:

Preparation:

  1. Boil water in a large pot.
  2. Add noodles to boiling water and then immediately turn off heat.
  3. Let noodles stand in the hot water for 5 minutes and then rinse and drain.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of oil on medium high heat until hot (before it smokes!)
  5. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  6. Immediately add pork and chicken and cook while tossing everything about.
  7. When the pork and chick become lightly browned, add shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes. Keep everything moving with your spatula.
  8. Add sugar, fish sauce and lemon juice, and mix everything until the sugar dissolves.
  9. Add remaining oil and then the drained noodles mixing everything very gently as the noodles might break if you are too vigorous.
  10. Pour beaten eggs all over everything and mix gently, cooking until the egg is just about set.
  11. Gently mix in chillies, bean sprouts, 1/2 the peanuts, 1/2 the scallions and 1/2 the cilantro leaves.
  12. Cook for another 2 minutes, gently keeping everything moving.
  13. Transfer fried noodles to a serving dish and garnish with remaining peanuts, scallions and cilantro leaves.

Thai Asparagus

Ingredients:

This recipe is also good with broccoli, bak choi or green beans (if using green beans, parboil for 2 minutes before using).

Preparation:

  1. Snap or slice off and throw away the tough parts of the asparagus stalks.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until it is very hot but not smoking.
  3. Add garlic, grated galangal and sesame seeds to the wok and fry for 10 seconds.
  4. Add all of the remaining ingredients (asparagus, chillies, fish sauce, water and sugar).
  5. Toss ingredients and cook for 2-3 minutes until the asparagus is tender. Using two big spoons for this task works well (grab and lift).
  6. Transfer to a plate or serving dish and serve immediately.

Recipe by T. Johnston-O'Neill
Photo by Shari K. Johnston-O'Neill

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