Thai Food and Thailand Travel

Favorite Thai Recipes


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  • posted on 11/7/2017

    Kanom Sai Sai Recipe

    kanom sai sai  recipe

    Kanom Sai Sai or Kanom Sod Sai, is a dessert traditionally steamed and sold in banana leaf packets. The name means "filling", emphasizing the importance of the sweet chewy filling. The palm sugar sweetened ball is covered with a chewy wrapper and surrounded with thick creamy salty coconut milk. The salty-sweet smooth flavor and the soft and crunchy mouthfeel makes the dessert delicious. 

    When I was a little kid, some staff of the house I grew up in made and sold Kanom Sai Sai in a Sukhumvit neighborhood. I ate them all the time -- so many that I got sick of them and it's only been this week that I've tried them again. Now, coming back to them is like coming home. I quit eating them because they were overpoweringly sweet, so in this recipe, I dialed back the sweetness and balanced out the flavors. These are so much better than the ones I remember. Each bite is like an improved version of the past.


  • posted on 1/9/2015

    Steamed Pumpkin with Shredded Coconut Recipe

    steamed pumpkin with shredded coconut recipe

    My mother makes this snack/dessert when she finds a great pumpkin. Her criteria for picking a pumpkin is that the flesh has to be very dense to the point where it's hard to remove the cutting knife from the pumpkin because there was no air space.  In Thailand, a vendor would gladly cut up a wedge of pumpkin to show you how great it is. This pumpkin is gummy not fluffy when cooked. The mouth feel should be creamy and nutty. And when you have such a great pumpkin, it's the star of the show.

    The pumpkins here in the US that comes closest to my mother's criteria is kabocha. Added bonus is that you can eat the kabocha skin and the green line of the skin looks so beautiful against the bright yellow flesh

  • posted on 7/13/2014

    Corn with Shredded Coconut Recipe

    corn with shredded coconut recipe

    One crop that I'm looking forward to in the summer is fresh corn. I love yellow corn which is hard to come by now; most of the corn available in the local supermarket is white corn. Yellow corn, in my opinion, is chewier and creamier. Now, many farmers grow bi-color corn. The complete sweetness from the white kernels and the chewy texture from the yellow kernels bring the best of both worlds in one ear.

    When I feel like having corn, usually plain boiled corn which is so boring.  My mind zooms back to Thailand and craves a snack that is simple and tasty.

  • posted on 7/12/2014

    Shredded Coconut

    shredded coconut

    Before you see coconut milk in a can at supermarkets, the coconut has to dodge a few stages where it can be eaten. With the green coconut, we drink the sweet juice and scrape the tender, gel like, white meat and eat it just like that. We also shred the tender meat and add to desserts and drinks.

    When the coconut shell outside is brown, the juice is not as sweet as young green coconut and the white flesh is no longer tender, it is not quite ripe yet.  The white flesh is firm but not hard and brittle like ripe coconut which makes it easy to shred. It's ideal for shredded coconut.  The grated white flesh is perfect as a sprinkle on top of desserts and snacks.

    At the end of the coconut life span, it's perfect for coconut milk.  The finely grated white meat is packed with milk, ready for the squeeze.  

  • posted on 5/8/2014

    Eating Like a Local

    Often as I would walk through my neighborhood, I'd catch a whiff of delicious aroma coming from my neighbors kitchens. When it gets dark, as I'd glimpse people eating inside, I'd wonder what they’re eating, what are they talking about, who are these people and what kind of lives do they have.

    When coworkers or friends bring delicious food from home that’s been cooked by their mothers or spouses, I want to invite myself to their houses to enjoy more food. When I go to the restaurants, I wonder what the kitchen staff is really eating.

    In Thai restaurants outside of Thailand that cater to both Thais and locals, if you know Thai, you ask for a hidden Thai menu. That’s when you get the gems reserved for those who truly appreciate the food.

  • posted on 1/8/2014

    Namya Curry Paste Recipe

    namya curry paste recipe

    Namya or fish curry is eaten with thin rice noodles and assorted vegetables. Traditionally, there is no namya curry paste. Namya curry paste and curry is all made at the same time. With the new modern life style and more Thais living aboard, namya paste was born. To make it like in the old days, all the ingredients are boiled first, fished out of the pot then pounded into a paste.

    Now, Namya curry paste is made similar to all the other Thai curry pastes by pounding all the ingredients in a mortar before adding to the coconut milk.

    Like all other recipes, Namya recipe is passed down from generation to generation. My recipe came from a family cook that could claim that her Namya made it all the way to the Thai parliament. During one of the many military coups in Thailand in the 70's, her namya made it to the table of the coup leader. However, saying that the namya curry made it to the Thai parliament was a stretch because the general was the only military coup leader who refused the prime minister position after the successful coup.

  • posted on 8/7/2013

    Watermelon Rind Sour Curry Recipe

    watermelon rind sour curry recipe

    I didn't grow up eating Watermelon Rind Sour Curry and I wish I did because it's so good and so accessible. I'd heard of Watermelon Rind Sour Curry from a friend and decided to give it a try. My family loves it. Now when we buy a watermelon, a Watermelon Rind Sour Curry is expected.

    The watermelon rind works so well absorbing spices and strong flavors in the sour curry. The dense texture keeps the rind from falling apart during cooking. With mild flavor, the rind absorbs and tone down the sharp spices and flavor. Every bite of the watermelon rind is full of flavor.

    Gang Som or sour curry is more common at a Thai's dining table than red or green curries. It uses core Thai ingredients, shallots, shrimp paste, dried peppers, tamarind and fish. No need for coconut milk. It's extremely easy to make and can last several days. Several types of vegetables and vegetable combinations are common such as yardlong beans and daikon, Chinese water spinach, drum sticks, green beans, green papaya, bean sprouts and napa cabbage. Adding shrimp or big chunks of fish is also a favorite of restaurants as a way to give oomph to the homey curry.

    The term 'som' has 3 meanings: orange as in the fruit, orange as color and a sour taste. In this case, som is an old term referring to the sour taste. If you ever run into a recipe for 'gang som' and it calls for an orange, please note that something was lost in the translation.

    Sour Curries are native to central Thailand. The south has their version which includes fresh turmeric and seafood. Try a Southern Sour Curry, it's another of my favorite dishes.

  • posted on 8/4/2013

    Sour Curry Paste Recipe

    sour curry paste recipe

    Sour curry paste is one curry paste that most people don't buy, but make it themselves right before making sour curry. The core ingredients in sour curry paste are dried chili peppers, shallots and shrimp paste. Other added ingredients such as garlic, Chinese keys and fresh turmeric depends on the region and personal preference.

    I add garlic to mine. The amount of garlic should be minimal compared to shallots. Many people, including my mother, add Chinese keys to tame the fish flavor and add a nice aroma to the curry. Southern Sour Curry Paste is made with fresh turmeric and garlic.

  • posted on 8/2/2013

    Watermelon Rind

    watermelon rind

    People from the south of the US pickle watermelon rinds, while Thais cook them in curry. The texture and mild flavor are perfect for absorbing spices. Next time when you have a watermelon, try watermelon rind sour curry.

    I didn't think about watermelon rind being edible until a friend was talking about it. When the green skin is removed, the light green rind is still hard, but can be bitten. It's texture reminds me of cucumber or winter melon but much denser, while it's taste is simply slightly sour, perfect for cooking or pickling.

  • posted on 7/25/2013

    Pork Rice Porridge Recipe

    pork rice porridge recipe

    Pork Rice Porridge is such a comfort food in Thailand that serves well as breakfast or late night snack. It's filling but easy to digest since it's mostly water. The sick loves a bowl of hot porridge as well.

    When the Thais travel, they often pack instant rice porridge anticipating the unavailability of the food that they like. Instant rice porridge is handy, just add hot water which is usually available at most hotels.

    Rice porridge is an easy dish to make. You can make it from left over rice (great way to modify left over!) or start from uncooked rice.

    My tradition of eating rice porridge is rushing to eat all the crispy fried noodles before they turn soggy from the steam.  The crunchiness of the noodles is almost as satisfying as the warm bowl of porridge with runny yolk.  The julienne ginger brings extra heat to the tummy.  Ahh...a warm bowl of rice porridge...a perfect comfort food.

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