Thai Food, The Basics

Thai omelette ‘Kai-jiew’


One of the simplest Thai dishes that can be eaten as a quick meal or as part or a larger Thai dinner. You can put different things in it, the classic veggie version would have some sliced onion and tomato in it but my favourite version is with Thai sweet basil ‘horapah’ leaves and some chopped spring onions. It’s traditionally severe with Siracha sauce but also like it with soy sauce with some chill powder in it.

It’s best not to try to make a massive omelette as it’ll be difficult to cook. If you just want to eat it with rice then a couple off eggs per person is fine. I normally don’t make an omelette with more than four or five eggs. They are quick to cook and best eaten fresh from the wok so just make more if you have a crowd to feed. If I’m cooking for two and having another dish or two I’d probably use 3 eggs.

In a wok heat about a half cup (75ml) oil for a two egg omelet, probably 100mls for a larger one. A Thai omelette is almost deep fried so you do need quite a bit of oil. If you don’t use enough oil it won’t puff up well, or get as crispy.

While the oil is heating crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them well. Then add a good splash of (light) soy sauce and a splash of water and beat this in. Next add a good handful of Thai sweet basil leaves and a chopped spring onion (optional) keep beating the mixture until you pour it into the hot oil. Use the back of a spatula to push the outer, uncooked egg mixture into the centre until it starts to cook. (This will help cook the omelet evenly.) Then allow the underside to cook. Shake the wok a litle once the omelette moves easily it should be ready to turn over with your spatula. Cook on this side, it should puff up nicely and begin to get a bit crisp around the edges. As soon as it’s cooked lift it out of the wok, draining off any excess oil, and serve.

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Veggie mains

Courgette ‘kinda’ carbonara

This is based on Rachel Roddy’s Linguine with courgettes, egg and parmesan in The Guardian last week. I’ve been noticing, and liking, her column and this is the first time I’ve made something from it. I’ve adapted it a little upping the veg a bit and using leeks instead of onion. This will serve 2.

So what do you need?

  • 1 or 2 leeks (about 200g)
  • a couple of courgettes (about 300g)
  • a knob of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 whole egg plus one yolk
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 200-250g linguine / spaghetti
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • salt and black pepper
  • a few basil leaves

So what do you do?

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile slice the garlic thinly and fry in the olive oil until crispy and golden, and lift out of the oil. Then finely slice the courgettes and leeks into small strips about 5- 6 cm long and 3mm thick.  Now add the butter to the oil and fry the courgettes with a pinch of salt for a couple of minutes as they begin to soften add the leeks and fry until soft and then cover the pan and turn off the heat. Next put on the pasta. While the pasta is cooking beat together the eggs and most of the cheese with a generous grinding of black pepper. When the pasta is almost done heat up the vegetables again. Drain the pasta reserving about half a cup of the water. Turn the heat off the vegetables and add the pasta then pour in the egg mixture and stir / toss with the pasta so the egg starts cooking then add about half of the reserved pasta water. Stir again so everything is coated in the creamy egg mixture, if it seems too dry / not glossy add a little more of the pasta water. Tear these basil leaves and stir them in. Serve garnished with the remaining cheese, the fried garlic and some basil leaves.

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Baking, Brunch, Veggie mains

Savoury bread & butter pudding


This is a great way of using party leftovers, particularly bread and cheese. It makes a comforting meal either served with a simple salad or can be the centerpiece of a veggie roast dinner as it quite stuffing-like. It’s also good for brunch too.  It has great textures, soft fluffy custard at the bottom and a crispy cheeses top. This will serve 4 and is easy to scale up or down.

What do I need?

  • A leftover French loaf (or equivalent 0f bread)
  • 300g mushrooms
  • 3 leeks (or a couple of onions)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • Olive oil & butter
  • 300ml milk (or 100ml cream 200ml milk)
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 200g cheese (whatever you have)
  • Herbs
  • 1tsp mustard
  • Nutmeg (optional)
  • Salt & pepper

What do you do?

Start by steaming the leeks for a couple of minutes, chopped into pieces about 2-3 cm long. Meanwhile in a large frying pan fry the chopped mushrooms in some olive oil and add the garlic, as they begin to brown add the leeks and add a couple of knobs of butter, next add some herbs (dry or fresh) and some salt and pepper. Then tear the bread into chunks and add them to the frying pan and mix them around so they soak up all the butter and oil and turn off the heat. To this add about 150g cheese, I used Brie, but goats cheese or anything flavoursome you have will be fine. Then put the bread mix into a greased ovenproof dish.

Next you need make the savoury custard. Break the eggs in a bowl and beat them, add the milk (& cream), mustard and some grated nutmeg, a pinch of salt and beat them together. Pour this over the bread mix and allow to stand, while you heat your oven to 200 degrees F / 400 C, this will allow the bread to absorbe some of the custard. Then grate about 50g of hard cheese, I used mature cheddar, on top and season with freshly ground pepper. Bake in the oven for 30 mins until golden brown and crispy on top.

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Thai Food

‘Kai toon’


This is a great, simple and healthy way to cook eggs for a change. These savoury steamed eggs are silky smooth, a bit like a baked egg custard, and make a great accompaniment to a Thai meal that’s more typical of home cooking than restaurant dining.

First heat up some water in the base of a steamer. For two people beat two large free-range eggs in a bowl and then add a measuring cup of water and about 1 1/2 tsp of light soy sauce and beat that in. Finely chop a spring onion and a couple of mushrooms (I used a handful of golden needle mushrooms) and add this to the mixture and pour it into a dessert bowl so it’s about 3/4 full then sprinkle some ground white pepper on top. Cover the bowl with foil of cling film and steam for 15-20 mins until the eggs are set through to the middle. Covering with cling film makes it easier to see if they are cooked or not. While the eggs are steaming chop up a couple of cloves of garlic and fry them in a tbsp. of (sesame) oil in a wok until golden brown. When the eggs are cooked pour the garlic and oil on top and garnish with some coriander leaves. It while it’s hot with rice and any other Thai dishes you like, it’s a good counterbalance to spicier dishes.

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Brunch

Savoury sesame eggy bread

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I seem to be having this for breakfast quite regularly at the moment so thought I would share it. I also wanted to use my new tea towel, thanks Tom! I love ‘eggy bread’ but really like the  extra flavour and crunch the sesame seeds bring to it.

For one I beat two smallish free range eggs in a bowl and add a splash of light soy sauce, and a small crushed clove of garlic (optional) and some pepper and then I mix in about a tablespoon of sesame seeds, black or white or a mix. Then I heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and cut 2-3 thickish slices of bread and cut them in half and then dip them in the egg mixture coating them and pop then in the pan. You can drizzle any leftover mixture over the cooking bread.

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Fry on each side until golden brown. I serve them hot with my homomade tomato sauce and a cup of tea. It’s good with Siracha sauce too!

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Thai Food, Veggie mains

Devilled pumpkin & eggs

Pumpkin fried with eggs is a popular Thai side dish.  Here I make it into a main dish for a quick meal by combining some other Thai flavours and ingredients. This recipe will make enough for two and is a great quick meal.

Start by putting your rice on and I guarantee the meal wiIl be ready by the time the rice is cooked. Then in a steamer steam a good dessert bowl full of cubed pumpkin (about 500-600g) for about 5 minutes until it softens. While this is cooking heat some oil in your wok, a reasonable amount (about 4 tbsp I guess) and fry a couple of handfuls of cashew nuts until they are golden, and put these aside. Then fry a couple of large dried chillies (they are not spicy) until they go crisp, but not black! Put these aside too and chop an onion and fry it in the oil and then add a few cloves of crushed garlic and a tsp of cumin seeds if you like them. Fry until the onions soften and then add the pumpkin and a couple of eggs and two heaped spoons of standard (Indian style) curry power, a splash of light soy sauce and a couple of hopped spring onions. Stir fry and add a splash of water to stop the pumpkin and egg drying out, you can use coconut milk instead of you like. The mixture will kind of mash up. Finally add most of the cashews and some coriander leaves. Serve with organic rice, the red / purple one goes well with the orange pumpkin and garnish with the remaining cashews, the chilli, crumbled, and some coriander leaves.

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Eggs, Veggie mains

Spanish omelette / tortilla

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I know that this is a dish that is sacred to many Spaniards and I’m sure I don’t do it justice but I do love it and as I don’t live in Spain I do make it myself occasionally and have served it to a Spanish friend before (and he ate it). This is a 10 egg omelette and will serve about 8 people.

I start by peeling and slicing about 300g of red onions which I fry on a low/medium heat in olive oil until they begin to caramelize.

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While these are cooking I peel about 600g of potatoes which I slice quite thinly and then parboil in salted water for about 5-7 minutes. I then drain and cover these, to stop them discoloring. Once the onions begin to caramelize I add the potatoes and fry for a while so they are coved in oil and absorb some of the onion flavours. You may need to add some more olive oil at this stage.

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While they are cooking I crack and beat 10 free range eggs and season them with salt and pepper. I level out the potatoes and onions in my frying pan, which is about 24cms across, and then pour over the eggs and agitate the pan a bit to make sure the egg seeps through to the bottom of the pan. I then turn down the heat to low and allow the omelette to cook slowly. For smaller omelettes I turn them over by turning the omelette out onto a plate then flipping it on to another plate and putting it back in the pan for the other side to cook. For large omelettes like this one I finish the top of under the grill then turn it out onto a serving plate once it is cooked through. You will need to run a knife round the side of the pan before turning it out. I served this with aioli (mayonnaise with crushed garlic) to which I added fresh dill. It’s great with some fresh bread and a good salad, I served it with a vegetable and lentil salad, and white sangria.

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