Thai Food, Veggie mains

Tofu pad prik sod

Another vegan stir-fried tofu dish made with fresh chillies. It doesn’t need to be that spicy if you use large chillies which are mild and sweet when cooked..

I cubed a 275g block of tofu and then shallow fried it until golden. I then put this to one side and stir-fried a sliced medium-sized red onion until it began to soften. I then added 3 cloves of roughly chopped garlic, 3 large sliced red chillers, 3 bird’s eye chillies (optional) and 200g of  Enoki mushrooms and a couple of sticks of celery, cut into chunks, you can use a handful of green beans instead. I stir-fried this for a couple of minutes then added a splash of soy sauce and a couple of tbsp. of veggie (mushroom) oyster sauce. I fried this and added a splash of water to make a sauce to coat everything. Finally, I added a couple of chopped spring onions a few celery leaves and fried until the celery leaves began to wilt. You may need to add another splash of water if it becomes too dry, the sauce helps to distribute the flavours. Serve with rice and any other Thai dishes of your choice.

 

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Thai Food, Veggie mains

Tofu Pad Pong Karee

This is a dish usually made with crab in a creamy Indian style curry sauce, popular in Thai seafood restaurants. It often includes eggs, you can add a couple with the curry powder if you like and you may then need a little less coconut milk.

So what do you need?

  • 250g tofu
  • 200g sliced mushrooms (oyster mushrooms work well)
  • a slice onion
  • a small bunch of Chinese celery or a stick of regular celery (chopped finely with the leaves separated)
  • a couple of chopped spring onions
  • a large sliced red chilli
  • a few coriander leaves
  • a few curry leaves (optional)
  • 150 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. mild / medium curry powder
  • coconut / vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce

So what do you do?

Start by frying the tofu in cubes in about 3 tbsp. of oil, you can use either soft or firm tofu here. Once the tofu has browned a little take it out of the pan and fry the mushrooms and onion in the oil until they begin to brown a little. Then add in the chopped celery stalks, chilli and the curry leaves, if using. Fry and then add the soy sauce and curry powder. Stir fry so everything is coated in the curry then add the coconut milk and reduce to make a thick sauce. Finally, add the celery leaves and spring onions quickly stir fry and then put on a serving plate and garnish with some coriander leaves.

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Thai Food

Tofu and mushroom Pad Prik Gaeng

This is a quick and easy dish that I used to order often as a one-plate dish at a street stall near my house in Bangkok. These days I make it as a quick meal at home. It can be served with other Thai dishes and is good on rice with a fried egg, if you eat eggs.

I started by cutting a block of firm tofu into pieces and putting it in a bowl with a couple of tsp. of soy sauce on it. Meanwhile I chopped a smallish onion and crushed a couple of cloves of garlic and chopped up some mushrooms (a small bowlful) into similar sized pieces as the tofu. I also cut a handful of yard beans into pieces about 4 – 5 cms long. I then heated about 3 tbsp. of coconut oil in my wok and fried the tofu in it, I didn’t add the soy sauce, until it was staring to go golden brown. I then put it back in the bowl. In the same oil I fried the onion and mushrooms and then after a couple of minutes or so I added the beans and garlic and stir fried everything for a couple of minutes and the added the tofu, soy sauce and a good tbsp. of red curry paste, the amount of paste you use is up to you. I added a few torn kaffir lime leaves and added a little water to stop the curry paste burning. One the beans are just cooked but are still nice and crunchy you I add a splash or coconut milk (optional) just to make a sauce to coat everything. Serve with rice.

 

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Thai Food

Kanom jeen nam ya

Kanom jeen, or rice noodles, are a kind of Thai spaghetti served with various sauces such as green curry served with fresh veggies. Nam ya is a southern style sauce made from a variety of herbs and spices normally with ground fish to thicken it and give flavour, this veggie version is made with ground oyster mushrooms which give a similar consistency. Note that the krachai (fingerroot) is a key ingredient in this dish. It’s not easy to find veggie version but a friend of mine made one at a party recently and it was really good. This will make about 4 portions, it’s easy to scale up to feed a crowd.

So what do you need?

For the curry paste

  • dried chillies
  • galangal
  • turmeric
  • krachai (fingerroot)
  • shallots
  • garlic
  • lemon grass
  • a little salt

For the sauce

  • oyster mushrooms
  • coconut milk
  • mushroom soy sauce / or regular soy sauce
  • tamarind paste
  • palm sugar

To serve

  • fresh rice noodles (600 – 800g)
  • Thai sweet basil (horapa) / lemon basil (mengrak)
  • veggies such as bean sprouts and green beans
  • pickled mustard greens (optional)

So what do you do?

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Start by making your curry paste. I used about 8 – 10 large dried chillies which I cut into pieces and soaked in hot water to soften. Smaller chillies will make a spicier paste but you don’t want the chilli to overpower the other flavours. You can make it either in a blender or a pestle and mortar. If you make it in a pestle and mortar then it’s a good idea to chop / slice everything up quite small to start with as it will make it easier to pound. I put the drained chillies in the mortart and added about 5 discs of glangal, a couple of the bulb (tender) part of lemon grass stalks, a piece of turmeric about the size of a finger, about 5 / 6 krachai ‘fingers’, 4 / 5 shallots and 4 / 5 cloves of garlic. I added a couple of pinches of salt and pounded everything together into a paste, it takes a bit of elbow grease to do this. Any left over curry paste can be kept in the fridge.

I used fresh coconut milk which has a creamy head and a thinner part when it separates. I put about half a cup of the head into a saucepan and added 3 tbsp. of the chilli paste. If you’re worried it might be too spicy then start with 2 tbsp. I heated this through and added the rest of the coconut milk (about a litre in total). If you are using coconut milk from a carton / can which is richer then I would use 500mls and make the rest up with water. I then ground about 200 g of mushrooms in a food processor until they were quite fine, but not a pulp, and added them to the pan along with about 1/2 tbsp. of tamarind paste and 1 tbsp. palm sugar. I then brought the sauce to the boil and cooked for about 10 – 15 minutes, uncovered. It will thicken up. Taste the sauce it will probably need more soy sauce and perhaps more curry paste or sugar, balance the flavours to your taste. If you add more curry paste at this stage cook it through for a couple of minutes.

Serve over the rice noodles and garnish with the veggies, the horapa basil really helps bring out the flavor here so this is essential.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Thai Food, Veggie sides

Yam Tua Plu wing bean salad

yam tua plu

This ‘Yam’, or Thai spicy salad, is very similar to the banana flower salad the eggs are optional and obviously not for vegans. I really enjoy these yams made with chilli paste and coconut milk as they are less Next make the dressing, for this in a saucepan mix together about 1tbsp of palm sugar, 1 -2 tbsp of vegetarian Thai chilli paste, 2-3tbsp of light soy sauce about 5-6 tbsp of coconut milk and warm these up until they all combine. than the standard yams that are made with fresh chillis.

So what do you need?

  • 200g wing beans
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 -3 dried chillies
  • vegetable oil
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • a lime
  • 2-3 tbsp. peanuts
  • 75ml coconut milk
  • light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. veggie chilli paste
  • some lettuce leaves
  • some coriander

So what do you do?

First steam the wing beans for a few minutes and then put them in a bowl of iced water. While they are steaming dry roast the peanuts in a pan and then leave them to cool. Next peel and finely slice half of the shallots and heat some vegetable oil in a wok and fry them until brown and crisp and put to one side, quickly fry the chillis too.

To make the dressing heat up the coconut milk in a saucepan and then mix in about 1tbsp of palm sugar, 1 -2 tbsp of vegetarian Thai chilli paste, 1-2 tbsp of light soy mix until they all combine and turn of the heat and squeeze in a coupe of tbsp. of lime juice. Taste the sauce it should be a balance between sweet, spicy and sour. You can adjust it to your taste. Crush the peanuts in a pestle and mortar and add them to the sauce.

Then drain the wing beans and slice them into  slices about 3-5 mm thick, they will resemble stars, and put them in a bowl, add the carrot and slice the remaining shallots and cut the tomatoes into quarters and add them. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix everything together. To get any remaining dressing out of the saucepan add a little water and then pour this into the bowl too, you want to make sure you have enough sauce / dressing on the salad.

To assemble the salad put some lettuce leaves on a plate and then spoon the salad over them pouring on any extra dressing. You can add the hard boiled eggs to the plate if you are using them. Then sprinkle over the fried shallots and garnish with some coriander leaves and the fried chillis.  Anyone who likes extra spice can crumble some of the chilli over their salad.

 

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