Thai at Home
8 months after we travelled to Thailand and took an amazing 5 hour cooking class to learn 6 different dishes, we FINALLY tried this at home! We chose a Sunday night where our friend Anastasia comes over to watch Game of Thrones. An extra mouth to feed and try our food with us.
I had her help pick out which kind of curry she wanted, knowing she LOVES curry. She picked yellow curry, and together we picked spring rolls, classic pad Thai, and mango sticky rice. I also am in charge of actually making all this! Keep in mind, I am the pastry chef and have very little patient for cooking, so this was going to be an interesting day. Luckily, Mark is always close by to watch and help out.
We knew after the original cooking class most of these spices were going to be hard to find in America. In hindsight we should've gone to our local Asian Market, Ranch 99, we were just trying to be quick and efficient with our time and shopping since we had to get stuff for the rest of the week that we just went to Safeway and Whole Foods. We made it work though and I will go over all our adjustments per dish. Sunday night we ended up just doing Yellow Curry, Spring Rolls, and Mango Sticky Rice. We got full fast!
Kaeng Ka Ri Gai- Yellow Curry with Chicken
Two of the first ingredients called for dried chili peppers and dried bird eye's chili peppers. I'm betting if we had gone to Ranch 99 we would've found them. We improvised with ground fresh chili paste (2tsp). Second on our list was Galangal (Siamese ginger) and is can easily be substituted for the widely found Ginger Root. The recipe also called for cumin and coriander seeds, we have a massive surplus of spices at our home so I just settled for our already ground spices, since eventually the curry paste ingredients would be ground down.
We also added our own variation of it, homemade chicken broth instead of water. Mark makes his own homemade broth and had plenty leftover. Gave it even more flavor! All in all it turned out great, Although I should've sliced the potatoes. Whoops!
Poh Piah Tod - Spring Rolls
One of the easier recipes to make and find all the ingredients. One minor hiccup though was the recipe says 'SPRING ROLL SHEETS,' here in America there are so many varieties that spring roll sheet usually means rice sheets. On top of it being so long since we made them and I didn't have the recipe book with me with the pretty picture, we grabbed the rice sheets. We did grab the "egg roll" sheets first which is what is actually used in the recipe. When making these and realize there was a mix up and these sheets are so small and easily tear, I get frustrated. Mark had to come in and show me how to do this the proper way. With the technique figured out and dealing with my disappointment, we get to rolling and make the dipping sauce. Saving these in the fridge till we were ready to fry them, which Mark took charge of.
As Anastasia and I are chit chatting after soup, Mark fries up the spring rolls. He comes in nice and proud that he has used the oil we previously had fried French Fries in and guarantees a unique taste. Boy, he was right, the rolls had a hint of potato flavor (probably good to make up for the lack of flavor in a rice wrap). To clarify; the oil we use is canola oil, we save it after each frying since the oil gets so hot it will kill any bacteria in there will also preserving the flavor of the previous food. Much like when you season a cast iron pan.
We ended up making this for dinner Monday night since we had gotten full off of curry and spring rolls. To our misfortune, it did not turn out that fantastic. Mark did not think this was blog or instagram worthy, but, I had to share with you all that this was the one meal that did not taste like we had hoped. This is a very straight forward recipe to follow with not that many ingredients, so how could it go wrong? We believe the sauce wasn't quite right. It was too dark and tasted very dense. Not the light airy dish we all know and love. We couldn't even figure out how to lighten this (Mark loves adding or replacing things in recipes to bring out the right flavors). Despite the sauce not being right, the chicken and tofu turned out great! So partial win on that one! We did use extra chicken and extra firm tofu, they weren't soaked in anything other than salt, pepper, and cooked in a pan.
Khao Neow Ma Muang - Mango with Sticky Rice
Sunday night's dessert, the pièce de résistance, as the french say. I admittedly ate my dinner fast so I could get to this, (HUGE sweet teeth). This is the perfect sweet treat without leaving you feeling guilty since all it is is; fresh mango, sticky rice, coconut milk, and a hint of sugar. I apologize it is not picture perfect this time. Again, not a hard recipe to mess up and it turned out great! You can make it simple or add in a pandan leaf and mung beans for more texture and color. If I could, I'd eat this every night along with Kluay Bod Chii - Bananas in coconut milk, that I made in the cooking class. Taste like a cereal!
This was definitely a good first trial run of making our own Thai food. Maybe next time we'll have Mark make it all and I'll stick to desserts and try other dishes that are in our cookbook. This also may be the only time though that we actually leaves this to the professionals and order from our local favorite restaurant, Lanna Thai, who have my all time favorite Roti! Till next time though... Eat well!
If you have made Thai at home, please leave your comments below on what works best for you!