Snacks, Thai Food

Tod Mun Hua Plee – Banana flower fritters

Tod Mun Pla or fish cakes are popular in Thailand. The most common veggie variety are made with sweetcorn but I prefer Tod Mun Hua Plee made from banana flowers. My friends’ restaurant in Nontaburi Baan Rabiang Nam used to make delicious ones. I picked a banana flower the other day and was thinking of making Yam Hua Plee but decided to make these instead. This will make about 10 – 12.

Start by stripping the outer petals off the banana flower until you come to the lighter coloured centre. Save a couple of the outer petals to serve the fritters in. Prepare a bowl of water with salt and some lime juice in it, this will stop the banana flowers from discolouring. Cut the flower lengthwise into quarters and then cut out the centre core. You can then easily remove the actual flowers leaving you with the petals. Chop these into small pieces by shredding them lengthways and then cutting crossways and put them in the water. There should be about 1 1/2 cups . In a bowl add about a cup and a half of tempura flour, an egg and a (heaped) tsp. of red curry paste. Shred about 5 or 6 kaffir lime leaves and tear up a few sweet Thai basil leaves and add them top the bowl. mix this all together into a paste then drain the banana petals and mix them in. It should form a very thick sticky paste / batter that binds everything together. You can add some water or flour to get the right consistency.

In a frying pan heat about 1cm of vegetable to oil until hot then use a couple of spoons, I use noodle spoons, to form the patties in one spoon and ease them off with the other spoon into the oil. Fry in batches until they begin to turn golden brown  and then turn. When they are done drain them. Serve hot with a dipping sauce made from Thai sweet chilli (chicken dipping) sauce with some finely diced cucumber and crushed peanuts in it, if you like spice than add a bit more chilli powder to the sauce too and garnish with some coriander leaves.

Thai Food

Kale & cashew fried rice

I made this for lunch out of leftovers and things I had in my kitchen. It’s a very simple fried rice but the toppings of crispy kale leave, fried shallots, cashew nuts and chilli really add to the textures and flavours. Fried rice is best made with leftover rice that’s been kept in the fridge overnight, it should not be at all sticky. I used a mix of brown and red rice which tends to retain it’s shape better when cooked than white rice. The recipe below is for 2 portions.

I started by preparing the toppings. I washed a small bunch of Thai / Chinese kale (Pak kana) and took about half of the leaves off and shredded them finely and patted them dry in a tea towel. Then I peeled and finely slice 4 small shallots. I heated about a cm of vegetable oil in the bottom of my wok and then fried a couple of dried chillis until they puffed up and then put them on plate. Next I fried the shredded kale, stirring occasionally, until it started to become crispy. I drained this and put it on a plate and then did the same with the shallots. Finally I fried a handful of cashew nuts until they were golden.

Next I cut the stalks of the kale into small pieces and fried this with 4 chopped cloves of garlic as the garlic started to brown and the kale softened I added a tsp. of cumin seeds and fried a little. Then I added about 3 cups of rice and the remaining kale leaves, chopped up. I stir-fried this and added some light soy sauce, probably about a tbsp. and some white pepper. I fried the rice for a couple of minutes until the kale was cooked. I added in most of the cashews and then divided the rice onto two plates and sprinkled over the toppings and served with a slice of lime. If you like a spicy hit then tear the chilli into small pieces and mix in with the rice as you eat.

Veggie mains

Avocado pasta

This makes a great lunch or light meal and is perfect if you’re not sure whether you want a salad or a hot pasta dish. It’s fresh but creamy and very quick and easy to make. It will be ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. This will serve 2.

So what do you need?

  • 200 – 250 g pasta
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small / 1/2 a large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 / 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • a squeeze of lemon / lime juice
  • a sprig of basil leaves
  • some chilli oil (optional) or some ground black pepper

So what do you do?

First put the pasta on to cook. The chop the onion and start to fry it gently in the olive oil, chop up the garlic and add it. Chop up the tomatoes and them once the onion starts to soften. You don’t want to cook the tomatoes too much just heat them up really. When the pasta is nearly done cut open one of the avocados and mush it in it’s shell. Pour some of the pasta water into the pan with the veggies, probably about 1/2 a cup, turn off the heat and mix in the mushed avocado, a squeeze of lemon juice and a few torn up basil leaves. Stir this to make a sauce. Then drain the pasta and add it to the pan and add the second avocado chopped into chunks. Stir together and serve with a drizzle of chilli oil and garnish with some basil leaves.