Wow. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I last posted on here! It’s been a mad 14 months with a few ups and downs but I’m back feeling positive and ready to get stuck into cooking, eating and sharing my adventures along the way with you.
So, back in December I decided it was time for me to take a big holiday abroad and step out of my comfort zone. I did a fair bit of research (Girl About the Globe & The Blonde Abroad offer great advice for any solo female travellers out there) and decided Thailand was the place for me. Driving home from work on New Years Eve I knew if I didn’t book the holiday now I never would, so on the last day of the year I parted with a couple of hundred pounds, booked my flight and Contiki tour around islands that looked like paradise and started to get excited about what 2016 could hold for me.
Fast forward to March and after a week of packing, shutting down at work and last minute workouts in an attempt to salvage a bikini body I was off – nervous but excited about what was the other side of the 12 hour flight (hello catching up on all the films from the last 6 months that I hadn’t seen yet) I was about to get on.
I spent the next 2½ weeks sightseeing, sunbathing, and eating my way around Bangkok, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and Krabi and met some amazing people on the way. Before I went I’d been told by several people that Thailand’s street food was up there as the best and believe me I was not disappointed. Everything from £2 Pad Thai and Mango Sticky Rice to Spring Rolls, Fried Insects and the some of the freshest seafood I’ve ever eaten, the food was one of my favourite things about the trip. I don’t even feel guilty that I had to crack into my spare money so I could have seconds at nearly every place I ate at (I mean all the name of research right..)? Anyway, Bangkok was the start of my trip and after 3 days of sightseeing and taking in everything the capital had to offer, I spent my last full day in Silom, relishing in the shade from all the sky scrapers and relaxing in Lumphini Park before heading over to Silom Thai Cooking School to learn how to cook a proper Thai feast.
I would thoroughly recommend the cooking school for anyone who is looking for something fun and a bit different to do for an afternoon in Bangkok – the instructors English was amazing and she made every effort to get everyone stuck in at some point during the class. We started the afternoon with a tour of the local market, learning about ingredients that I’d never even heard of before making our way to a cosy kitchen to spend the afternoon cooking our way through 6 Thai classics. All the dishes were amazing but I’ve shared my favourite 2 below, keep your eyes peeled for the other 4 over the next few months!
I’ve managed to find all the ingredients needed for both recipes in Tesco (their ‘Ingredients‘ range is great) and my local Asian supermarket.
Tom Yum Soup
Ingredients (Serves 2 as starter or 1 as a main)
1 Stalk Lemongrass
1 Piece Galangal Ginger, sliced
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves, torn in half
8 Straw mushrooms (I’ve struggled to find these back in England but standard closed cups mushrooms work just as well)
3 Chillies, sliced (if you like it hot!)
1 Tomato, cut into quarters
1 Cup Water or Stock
8 King Prawns, raw
2 Tbsp Coconut Milk
¼ Lime Juice
½ Tbsp Fish Sauce
½ Tbsp Tamarind Paste
1 Tbsp Chopped Coriander Leaves
1 Spring Onion, chopped
Add the lemongrass, galangal ginger, kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms, chillies (if using) and tomato into the water or stock and cook for 3 minutes on medium heat until tender.
Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink.
Finally, add the coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce and tamarind paste and give everything a stir together.
When the soup is hot, remove from the heat and serve immediately, garnishing with the spring onions and coriander.
Thai Green Curry
Ingredients (Serves 2)
Green Curry Paste (makes 2 cups)
15 Green Chillies, chopped
4 Green Birds Eye Chillies, chopped
4 Red Birds Eye Chillies, chopped
2 Tbsp Lemongrass, finely sliced (only the thick bottom 1/3, with the outer layer removed)
1 Piece Galangal Ginger, finely sliced
½ Tsp Kaffir Lime rind, finely sliced
½ Shallot, finely sliced
2 Cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 Tbsp coriander root, chopped
1 Tsp Turmeric
½ Tsp Roasted Coriander Seeds
½ Tsp Roasted Black Pepper
1 Tsp Shrimp paste (don’t add if veggie)
1 Large Chicken Breast, sliced (tofu or mushroom can be used as a vegetarian alternative)
1 Tbsp Green Curry Paste
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Coconut Milk
20 Leaves Sweet Basil
3 Kaffir Lime Leaves
2 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, grated
½ Tsp Palm Sugar
½ Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Tamarind Paste
For the paste:
Pound everything together in a pestle and mortar until smooth (I use a pestle and mortar rather than a blender as this allows the ingredients to release their flavours better).
This can be kept in a jar (with a little vegetable oil on top) in the fridge for up to 4 months
For the curry:
Put the oil to a wok and heat on a low heat, before adding the curry paste and stirring until fragrant.
Add the chicken and fry until it’s fully cooked and white throughout.
Add the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, aubergine, sugar, tamarind paste and fish sauce and stir constantly until the sauce has reduced and is thick.
Finally, add the sweet basil and remove from heat, serving with jasmine rice and coconut water for an authentic Thai dinner.