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Thai basil can be hard to come by for us but they sometimes have it in our local farm shop which inspired us to cook this delicious duck dish by Neil Perry.

Wine Suggestion: A dry, but fruit forward Pinot Gris was our first thought, but tried the Domaine Bott-Geyl’s Pinot d’Aslace Points Cardinaux, which was to hand, and were delighted with it’s playful nature and depth to match the dish. A blend of all the Pinot grapes, including Pinot Noir this has a vibrant freshness and focus as well as roundness and layers of texture; altogether a good food wine.

Stir-fry duck with coconut milk, Thai basil & noodles – serves 4

  • 600g boneless duck breasts, with skin on
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 stem of lemongrass, pale part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 80ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion, halved and thickly sliced
  • 320ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 20g crispy fried shallots (shop bought)
  • a large handful of Thai basil leaves
  • 200g dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles, cooked and drained (to serve)

Put the duck onto a board, skin side down, and cut into 5mm slices. Put the duck slices into a bowl and add the garlic, lemongrass and chilli. Mix well with your hands.

Heat 60ml of vegetable oil in a wok until smoking. Stir-fry the duck in batches for 1-2 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add more oil if needed, then add the onion and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until light golden. Return the duck to the wok, then pour in the coconut milk and bring to thte boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, tamarind paste, sugar and sea salt. Simmer for another few minutes, then check the seasoning.

Garnish with fried shallots and Thai basil and serve over noodles.

(Original recipe from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, Murdoch Books, 2016.)

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This couldn’t be easier and it’s perfect for a Friday night. We used the curry paste from this recipe but you can use a good quality shop-bought version either. Serve with sticky rice and salad.

Wine Suggestion: we often turn to aromatic wines for Thai food and for this dish was no different as we chose the Korrell Slice of Paradise Riesling. A dry Riesling from the Nahe in Germany this is the youthful cuvée from the more regal Paradies vineyard Martin Korrell makes. Standing up to the earthy and rich peanuts and cutting through the rich coconut milk this is always a joy to drink, let alone pair with food. Light and refreshing, and yet powerful enough to work with meat and complex flavours – we love the versatility this lends.

Panang Beef Balls – serves 4

  • 500g beef mince
  • 60g plain flour
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oi
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil or mint, to garnish

Roll the beef mince into small round balls, about 2.5 cm.

Roll the balls in flour and dust of the excess.

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the meatballs until brown, keep tilting the pan so they brown evenly. Remove and set aside on kitchen paper.

Add the curry paste to the wok and stir-fry for a few minutes over a low heat.

Stir in the coconut milk, the fish sauce, peanut butter and sugar. Taste the sauce and add extra fish sauce or sugar if needed.

Put the beef balls back into the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Garnish with chopped basil.

(Original recipe from Thai Cooking Class by Sami Anuntra Miller & Patricia Lake.)

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These curried noodles have a sourness that we particularly like and the whole dish is power-charged with flavour.

Leave the chicken thighs whole, or cut them in half if they’re big, they’ll stay nice and tender. The curry paste also makes much more that you need but will keep in the fridge for a month, or longer in the freezer. You can of course just buy a paste either.

Wine Suggestion: Despite all the powerful flavours in this dish there is a wine match that works superbly – Dry Tokaji, particularly if the wine is a blend of Furmint and Hárslevelu. Ch. Dereszla Tokaij Dry was at hand, and despite the title is actually off-dry. The Furmint being crisp and creamy with hints of mango and the Hárslevelu, which translates as lime-leaf, bringing a complimentary aromatic lime and peach character. These grapes on their own also work really well with the food so don’t worry if you find a wine with just one of these varietals.

Chiang Mai curried noodles – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 75g red curry paste (you can use a bought one, or make the recipe below)
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 50ml tamarind purée (we make this up using a block of tamarind – put 30g in a small bowl then pour over a little boiling water. Mash with a fork then push through a sieve. You will be left with the seeds which you can discard)
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 700g boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut them in half if they’re huge but otherwise leave whole)
  • 300g egg noodles
  • coriander leaves, shredded scallions and chopped red chillies to garnish

FOR THE PASTE:

  • 2 Mexican dried chillies e.g. ancho/pasilla/gaujilo
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, inner part only, finely chopped
  • 75g small shallots
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 20g ginger, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Thai red chillies, seeded
  • 1 tbsp coriander root or stems
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

TO MAKE THE PASTE:

Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chillies, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 15 minutes until very soft, then drain.

Put the soaked chillies into the small bowl of a food processor with all the remaining ingredients and 90ml water. Blend for a few minutes until very fine – you can add a little more water if needed. Scrape into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge for up to a month or freeze.

TO MAKE THE CURRY:

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the curry paste and fry for 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, tamarind and sugar. When the sugar has melted, add the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, soy and lime juice. Bring to a gentle simmer and add the chicken pieces. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Meanwhile, boil the noodles for about 4 minutes or until al dente. Drain the noodles and divide between deep bowls. Ladle the curry over the noodles and top with the coriander, scallions and some chopped red chilli.

(Original recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, 2018.)

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This is so simple and definitely better than a take away. While we’re not massive fans of baby corn it provides a crunch and texture that would be missing from the dish if not there. Made for Jono’s birthday on a Monday after a weekend of extensive birthday cooking; great flavours and quick for a work day celebration.

Wine Suggestion: We’d opened a Dermot Sugrue Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan, a profound, complex and rewarding English Sparkling for Jono’s birthday and had a leftover glass with this dish. We discovered Dermot’s wines a few years ago and have loved them ever since and it was a super match, standing up to the Asian flavours exceptionally well. We know this particlar wine may be hard to find but look for a good crisp sparkling that has been left on lees for a while or a good Champagne – sparkling should be so much more than a celebratory glass and they make great food matches.

Thai Chicken Stir-fry with Cashews & Chilli Sauce – serves 4

  • 100g baby corn
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, thickly sliced
  • 2 red peppers, cut into thick pieces
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 50g roasted cashews
  • Thai basil or regular basil and steamed rice, to serve

FOR THE CHILLI SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp Thai chilli paste/jam (nam prik)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce

Make the chilli sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, then set aside.

Blanch the baby corn in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water and drain again.

Heat a large wok until hot and add ½ tbsp vegetable oil. Brown the chicken in batches. If you leave them for 2-3 minutes on one side initially they will get a nice colour, then stir-fry for another minute or until golden on all sides. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat another ½ tbsp oil of oil in the wok over a medium heat, then add the garlic and chilli and stir-fry for a minute. Add the peppers, onions, cashews and baby corn and heat for 1 minute. Pour in the chilli sauce and add the chicken. Stir-fry until heated through and the sauce has thickened.

Serve with steamed rice and basil sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, 2018.)

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We don’t think you can covert sprout haters, but if you do like sprouts, you will love this! Serve with steamed rice.

Wine Suggestion: Albariño is not just great for seafood, its has versatility stamped into its very core and can be used for a good deal of food matching, like this dish here. Tonight’s wine was made by Pazo de Señorans, a distinct favourite in our house. Bone dry but with a lovely creamy core from the 5-6 months on lees.

Brussels Sprouts with Thai Flavours – serves 2-3

  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Thai green curry paste, we use the Thai Gold brand
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped, then pounded in a pestle and mortar
  • 175ml chicken stock
  • 450g Brussels sprouts, cut in half, blanch in boiling salty water for 2 minutes, then drain in a colander and refresh under cold running water
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, if you use dried ones you need to soak them in some warm water before using
  • ½ tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 20 Thai basil leaves, regular basil will do if you can’t get Thai
  • 1 large red chilli, roughly chopped, then pounded in a pestle and mortar

Heat a wok over a gentle heat. Pour in 110ml of the coconut milk, then add the green curry paste and the green chilli and mix well.

Next, add the stock, the rest of the coconut milk, Brussels sprouts, kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar, fish sauce, half the basil leaves and the red chilli. Stir constantly over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the sauce boils and foams up. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring all the time to avoid splitting, for about 10 minutes. The sprouts should be tender and the sauce slightly thickened.

Add the rest of the basil, season to taste and serve with steamed rice.

(Original recipe from Cook, Grow, Nourish by Darina Allen, Kyle Books, 2017.)

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We tried this to use up some Thai basil leftover from the weekend. Leftover ingredients are so often our inspiration for trying new things and sometimes the results are great, as was the case with this. Prep all the ingredients before you start cooking and it will be ready to eat in a flash.

Wine Suggestion: The Kilikanoon Mort’s Block Riesling from the Clare Valley in Australia was both suitably dry but full of fruit and freshly aromatic to sit alongside the strong and aromatic flavours here. We suggest something similar when you make this.

Thai pork with basil & chillies – serves 3

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 700g pork fillet, cut into strips (you can use chicken breasts instead)
  • 1 Thai green chilli, finely chopped (deseed if you wish)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, shredded
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced into 8mm pieces
  • 3 scallions, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 1 tsp freshly roasted and ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 7g Thai basil, shredded (you can use regular basil if you can’t find the Thai version)
  • rice or noodles, to serve
  • a handful of chopped coriander, to serve

Heat 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat, and toss in the pork. Add the chilli and garlic and stir-fry until coloured, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with some sesame oil, then remove and set aside. Put another tbsp of vegetable oil into the wok, then add the red pepper, scallions, ground coriander and sugar. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then return the meat to the wok and mix through.

Mix the cornflour with the fish sauce and soy sauce until smooth, pour this into the pan and stir continuously for a minutes or so, until the juice thickens slightly. Sprinkle with the remaining sesame oil, add the shredded basil, season to taste, then remove from the heat.

Serve straight away over sticky rice or cooked noodles. Sprinkle the chopped coriander over the top.

(Original recipe from Grow Cook Nourish by Darina Allen, Kyle Books, 2017.)

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Thai Fried Rice - Khao Pad

We have an Australian cookbook called Thai Cooking that was originally published in 1994. Jono remembers it from home in Melbourne and we know other members of his family who also have a well-used copy. After much searching we managed to pick up a second-hand copy in Books for Cooks in Fitzroy. It’s full of reliable dishes like this simple Thai fried rice. You could have it as a side dish but we prefer to eat a big bowl by itself with some sriracha hot chilli sauce (our own addition!).

Thai Fried Rice – Khao Pad – serves 4

  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 500g cooked peeled prawns, beef, pork, chicken or ham (any combination)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 880g cooked rice, cooked the day before and chilled
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 pepper, sliced
  • 50g green beans, finely sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions
  • coriander leaves (to garnish)
  • sriracha hot chilli sauce, to serve (optional)

Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan over a medium heat. Stir-fry the onions and garlic until the garlic is golden. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve, then stir in the curry paste. Stir in the prawns and meat pieces and push to one side.

Add the beaten eggs. Wait to let them set a little, then slightly scramble.

Add the rice. Stir-fry until heated through. Sprinkle with fish sauce, then add the pepper, green beans, tomato and spring onions. Stir-fry briefly to heat through but don’t overcook.

Taste and add some extra fish sauce or sugar if needed. Serve garnished with coriander leaves and a drizzle of sriracha hot chilli sauce if that’s your thing.

(Original recipe from Thai Cooking Class by Sami Anuntra Miller & Patricia Lake, Bay Books, 1994.)

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Thai beef saladMid-week celebrations can be a bit tricky, especially when work and life are busy. This was Jules’ choice for birthday dinner on a Tuesday in November and we would recommend it for a mid-week birthday at any time of year.

Wine Suggestion: We opened something a bit special given the occassion, the Tyler Dierberg Block 5 Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara county in California. Despite the umami/savoury, hot/spicy, salty and sweet flavours of the salad this was an excellent match providing layers of excitement and flavour.

Thai Beef Salad – serves 4

  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 500g fillet steak

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 3 shallots
  • large handful of Thai basil
  • large handful of coriander
  • large handful of mint

TO SERVE:

  • 5 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts
    • Roast the peanuts on a baking tray for 8-10 minutes at 190ºC until golden, then tip into a bowl to cool.
  • 3 tbsp fried shallots (see below)
    • Finely slice the shallots and fry in a wok or frying pan, in 5mm to 1cm of oil, over a medium heat, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer onto kitchen paper to cool and crisp up.

To make the dressing: peel and crush the garlic and peel and finely grate the ginger, reserving the juice. Remove the outer leaf of the lemongrass stalk and trim the ends, leaving the tender middle section; very finely chop this. Halve, deseed and finely dice the chilli. Squeeze the juice from the the limes to give 4 tbsp.

Put the lime juice, nam pla and sugar in a large bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the garlic, ginger and its juice, lemongrass and chilli and stir again.

For the salad: halve and very finely slice the shallots. Pick the herb leaves and leave whole.

Heat enough oil to cover the base of a heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, then remove and rest for 5 minutes.

Put the raw shallots and herbs into a large bowl. Finely slice the steak across the grain and add to the salad. Add half the dressing and toss to coat everything. Transfer to a serving dish and scatter with the peanuts and fried shallots. Serve the rest of the dressing on the side.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook, Quadrille, 2014.)

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Spicy Thai Fishcakes with Dipping Sauce

These take literally minutes to make and they make a super tasty starter or snack.

Wine Suggestion: our favourite wine with dishes like this is dry Riesling, with the limey, citrus flavours of wines from the Clare Valley, like those made by Pikes, coming to mind first. They are zesty and thrilling in flavour with the bracing acidity working perfectly with the citrus fruit to make a wine that is both thirst-quenching and hunger inducing at the same time. Aperitivo!

Spicy Thai fishcakes with dipping sauce – serves 2

  • 200g raw peeled prawns
  • 2-3 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • a small bunch of coriander, stalks separated
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Put the prawns, curry paste and coriander stalks into a food processor and whizz to a paste. Form 4 to 6 flat cakes.

Heat a non-stick frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil, then fry the cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.

Mix the vinegar, sugar and chilli together in a small bowl.

Serve the cakes with the coriander leaves and sauce for dipping.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, October 2012.)

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Thai red curry with prawns

An easy prawn curry with lots of veg.

Wine Suggestion: we’d actually suggest a red wine to match this dish, despite it being seafood. Our choice is a young, fruity reds with lower tannin like the Paria Grenache made by Domaine Ventenac from the Languedoc, or a lightly chilled Paco Garcia Rioja Seis. A hint of tannin and joyful fruit and juiciness with a lighter body … not too much weight for this dish even if the wines have good length.

Easy Thai Red Curry with Prawns – serves 6

  • 4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 300g butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 150g green beans
  • 12 button mushrooms, halved
  • 400g raw peeled prawns
  • fish sauce
  • coriander and steamed jasmine rice to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a large pan and fry the curry paste for a minute or until fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk and milk and bring to a simmer.

Add the potato and squash cubes and cook until almost tender, then add the green beans and mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the prawns, simmer until cooked through and season with the fish sauce.

Serve with steamed rice and some chopped coriander.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, November 2011.)

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Thai-style crispy Sea bass

This was a  delicious Friday night feast and oh so simple! Serve with some roast new potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: Although not a regular choice we had a Pinot Grigio by Bonotto delle Tezze in our fridge and it was a pleasant surprise in how well it went with this dish. However, we shouldn’t have been surprised as it has all the elements you’d need to look out for: round and generous fruit to work with the spice, and a freshness and texture despite having moderate acidity.

Thai-style crispy sea bass – serves 2

  • 4 scallions
  • ½ a bunch of coriander – about 15g
  • 2 x 300g whole sea bass, scaled, gutted & trimmed
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 lime

Trim and halve the scallions, then finely shred lengthways and put into a bowl of ice-cold water to crisp up. Pick in the coriander leaves and reserve the stalks.

Score the sea bass at 2cm intervals, then rub all over with the curry paste including inside the cavity. Put the coriander stalks into the cavities and season with salt and pepper.

Put a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-heat. When the pan is hot add a tbsp of oil and cook the fish for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until dark golden and cooked through.

Drain and shake the water off the scallions & coriander then pile onto two plates. Place the sea bass on top and spoon over any spicy oil from the pan. Finely grate over the lime zest and squeeze over some juice to serve.

(Original recipe from 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2017.)

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Thai mussels with coconut, chilli & lime

Mussels are a frequent Friday night feature in our house. This Thai inspired method tastes great and it looks very pretty too.

Wine Suggestion: this works with light, fruity and gently aromatic whites and our choice this evening was the Colterenzio Gewürztraminer from the Alto Adige in north-eastern Italy. A dry style but with lovely delicate fruit and subtle aromatics showing its cooler climate roots.

Thai mussels with coconut, chilli & lime – serves 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced finely into long strips
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into strips (or grated zest of a lime)

TO SERVE:

  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into strips (or grated zest of a lime)
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
  • ½ a red chilli, deseeded and shredded

Wash the mussels in a few changes of cold water and remove any beards and barnacles. Discard any that don’t close when you tap them on the side of the sink.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger & chillies. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, sugar & lime leaves. Bring almost to the boil, then add the mussels.

Cover and cook for 4 minutes or until the mussels have opened, give the pan a good shake now and then. Throw away any mussels that haven’t opened and serve in a large bowl with the lime leaves, coriander and chilli scattered over the top.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2011)

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Thai Red Turkey curryAnyone who has followed us for a while will know that we’re very partial to the turkey leftovers. Here’s the concoction we came up with for last year’s bird and it wasn’t bad at all. Similar to the more common Thai duck curry, turkey is gamey enough to stand up to a bit of heat.

Thai Red Turkey Curry – Serves 4 generously

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3-4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 250g mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 180g sugar snap peas
  • 20g pack basil, leaves picked
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 300g leftover turkey (or chicken) – a bit more or less won’t make any difference
  • 1 red chilli, sliced into rounds
  • jasmine rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the curry paste and fry for a couple of minutes. Stir in the coconut milk with 100ml water and the red pepper and cook for 10 mins until almost tender.

Add the mushrooms, sugar snaps and most of the basil to the curry, then season with the sugar, lime juice and soy sauce. Cook for 4 mins until the mushrooms are tender, then add the turkey and heat through. Scatter with sliced chilli and basil and serve with jasmine rice.

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Ripped red pepper duck curry

Ripped red pepper duck curry

The addition of fresh red peppers and cherry tomatoes gives this curry a really fresh and summery feel. Perfect for when you fancy something spicy on a warm evening. It is also equally at home as the nights draw in, like the moment in Dublin and you fancy an open fire to cosy up to.

Wine Suggestion: A good Gewürztraminer makes a surprisingly brilliant match for this dish with enough weight for the richness and texture and plenty of aromatics to compliment the flavours. Our choice this time was the excellent Cave de Turckheim’s Reserve Gewürz, an off-dry wine that balanced perfectly with the heat of the red curry paste.

Ripped Red Pepper Duck Curry – serves 4

  • 4 duck legs
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 stick lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced lengthway
  • 5 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • juice of ½ a lime, plus wedges for serving
  • 12 baby plum tomatoes
  • a handful of Thai or regular basil
  • red chilli and shallots, sliced finely to serve
  • steamed rice, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/Gas 6.

Rub the duck legs with some salt and pepper, 1 tbsp of the fish sauce, lemongrass, crushed garlic and 2 tbsp of oil. Place in a roasting tin, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and add the sliced red peppers to the tin, tossing them in a little of the duck fat. Turn up the oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan/Gas 7 and roast uncovered for another 15 minutes or until the duck skin has crisped and the pepper slices are blistered. Remove the peppers and keep to one side. Pull the duck meat and skin from the bones and keep to one side.

Simmer the bones in 500ml water for about 30 minutes to make a stock.

In a saucepan, fry the curry paste in the oil until darkened in colour. Stir in the coconut milk, then add the stock, fish sauce and sugar and simmer for about 20 minutes or until it has thickened slightly. Squeeze in the lime juice. Stir in the strips of pepper, baby plum tomatoes and the shredded duck – reserving some crispy-skinned pieces for serving – and gently simmer for about 3 minutes or until heated through.

Remove from the heat and stir in a small handful of basil leaves. Ladle into bowls, piling on top the reserved crispy duck, some extra basil and shredded chilli and shallots to taste. Serve with lime wedges and steamed rice.

(Original recipe by Alastair Hendy in BBC Olive Magazine, August, 2014.)

 

 

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Thai salmon cakes with carrot salad

We like to use the Thai curry pastes that come in plastic tubs, Mae Ploy is a good one. There’s always more in the tub than we need which forces us to search for lots of recipes to use it up. This is a bit different for a weeknight, tastes really good and is healthy too.

Wine Suggestion: a light aromatic white is what we’d suggest, like a QbA or Kabinett Riesling from the Mosel. They tend to have a welcome low alcohol (7 to 9 % abv), delicate and vibrant fruit and a refreshing zing to cut through the little bit of residual sugar. A dry Riesling doesn’t work as well; the touch of sweetness helps balance the chilli and curry paste perfectly.

Thai Salmon Steaks with Carrot Salad – serves 2

  • 2 skinless salmon fillets, about 300g in total, cut into large chunks
  • 2 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • small handful of coriander leaves
  • groundnut oil

CARROT SALAD:

  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • a small chunk of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 3 scallions, shredded lengthways
  • 1 red chilli, shredded lengthways
  • handful of coriander leaves

Put the salmon, curry paste and coriander in a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped, then form into 6 fishcakes and chill while you make the salad.

Mix the rice wine vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves, then add the ginger. Toss all the other salad ingredients together with the dressing.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Cook the salmon cakes for 2-3 minutes per side until golden and cooked through. Serve with the salad.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, April 2011.)

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Thai pumpkin & chickpea curry

Thai pumpkin & chickpea curry

A really good veggie curry and yet another use for the never-ending tub of Thai red curry paste. We’re very excited for pumpkin season and not because we want to make lanterns.

Pumpkin & chickpea curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp Thai red or yellow curry paste
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, bashed with the back of a knife
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 piece pumpkin or a small squash (about 1kg)
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 400ml can reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 limes
  • large handful mint leaves
  • steamed rice and/or naan bread, to serve

Heat the oil in a sauté pan and gently fry the curry paste with the onions, lemongrass, cardamom and mustard seeds for a few minutes or until fragrant. Stir the pumpkin or squash into the pan and stir to coat in the paste, then pour in the stock and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, add the chickpeas, then cook for about 10 mins until the pumpkin is tender.

Squeeze the juice of one lime into the curry, then cut the other lime into wedges to serve on the side. Tear over mint leaves to garnish and serve with steamed rice or warm naan bread.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Chiang Mai Turkey Noodles

We really meant to post this recipe before now, but we’re sure some of you still have a bit of turkey lurking in the freezer. Such a revitalising boost to the tastebuds after all the Christmas feasts. If the turkey is all done then try this the next time you have leftover roast chicken. Tone down the curry paste if you’re not so mad on the heat. The recipe comes from our obligatory Christmas cookbook which this year was ‘Food from Plenty’, by Diana Henry, and we highly recommend it!

Chiang Mai turkey noodles – serves 4 

  • groundnut or other flavourless oil
  • 1 onion or 6 shallots, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp red Thai curry paste
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 200ml chicken stock (from a cube or stock pot is fine)
  • 350g leftover cooked turkey or chicken, in chunks
  • ½ tsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 400g egg noodles

To Serve:

  • 2 scallions, chopped fine on the diagonal
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and shredded
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • lime wedges

Put a tbsp of the oil into a saucepan and sauté the onions until golden. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the turmeric and curry paste. Stir for about a minute or until the spices are fragrant. Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the turkey and heat thoroughly.

Season with the sugar and fish sauce to taste (you may need to adjust the amount of lime/sugar).

Cook the noodles according to the pack. Divide between 4 bowls and spoon over the turkey and garnish with scallions, chilli and coriander. Serve lime wedges on the side.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchel Beazley, 2010.)

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This is a really simple fish dish that was a delight to eat; it tastes delicious and is also very healthy. Trout or snapper would also work well if you prefer. The skin was left behind in the tinfoil when we went to serve it which was fine by us (it’s crispy skin or no skin as far as we’re concerned).

Wine Suggestion: this dish begs for a charming Riesling from Germany – look out for ones that are a drier style but without the weight of a Grosses Gewachs (great growth). If you can find one of the estate QbA’s from Helmut Dönnhoff in the Nähe or Johannes Leitz from the Rhinegau you can’t go wrong.

Thai Baked Fish – to serve 4

  • 4 seabass fillets, about 200g each
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
  • small knob ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • handful coriander, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Take 2 large sheets of tinfoil. Place one fish fillet, skin-side down, in the centre of each sheet.

Make a sauce using the remaining ingredients. Spoon half the sauce of the fillets on the tinfoil and set the rest aside.

Sandwich the other 2 fish fillets on top, skin-side up, then tightly seal the foil to create 2 pouches. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes (depending how big your fish are). Serve with the rest of the sauce.

(Original recipe by Gizzi Erskine for BBC Good Food Magazine, June 2005).)

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Tom Yam Gai

We highly recommended this hot, sour and fragrant soup for head colds and other ailments. It probably won’t cure you but it will make you feel better for a short while.

Tom yam gai – to serve 2

  • 1 skinless chicken breast
  • 1 litre fresh chicken stock
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, chopped into short lengths and slightly crushed
  • 3 small red chillies, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 lime leaves
  • 1 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Bring the chicken breast to the boil in the stock, then turn the heat down to simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked, then remove, shred and set aside.

Add the scallions, garlic, lemongrass, chillies and lime leaves to the broth and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar and shredded chicken and keep cooking for another 3-4 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and adjust the seasoning. Make sure the soup is piping hot and stir in the coriander just before serving.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Real Food, Fourth Estate, 1998.)

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This is not a sophisticated Thai curry but is absolutely perfect for a quick mid-week meal. We loved it! We’ve been avoiding butternut squash this year it seems, which is no reflection on how yum it is. Serve with basmati or jasmine rice.

Thai red squash curry – to serve 4

  • 1 small butternut squash, about 700g
  • 200g pack mixed mangetout and baby corn
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1-2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
  • juice of ½ lime

Cut the end off the squash and quarter lengthways, scoop out the seeds, peel, then cut into smallish chunks. Halve the baby corn lengthways.

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Fry the paste gently for 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, stock, soy sauce and sugar. Bring to the boil.

Add the squash and baby corn. Simmer, covered, for about 10-12 minutes. Add the lime juice and mangetout and simmer for one more minute.

Wine Suggestion: We didn’t have anything to drink with this (except water) but if we did it would probably have been a beer!

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, April 2001.)

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