Category Archives: Thai

Thai Pork Curry

Thai Pork Curry

I enjoy pork but find it difficult to think of new ways of cooking it. I love Indian food and Thai food, so was delighted to find a Madhur Jaffrey recipe for Thai pork curry in her Far Eastern Cookery book. Having bought the pork fillet before deciding what to do with it, I didn’t have all the ingredients, but then I never follow recipes to the T!

This version of Thai pork curry has a similar flavour to sweet and sour Indian vindaloo curry. It can be made from any boneless pork: fillet, meat cut from the loin or shoulder, or even pork chops with the bones removed.

Red Curry Paste for Thai Pork Curry

Madhur’s recipe, which is based on Burmese-style cooking, calls for a homemade curry paste. This is made with 3-8 hot red chillies, a 2 cm cube of fresh ginger or dried galangal (you can also buy galangal minced), 2 sticks of fresh lemon grass or 2 tbsp dried sliced lemon grass, 90 g shallots or onions, 10 large cloves of garlic, 1 tsp shrimp or anchovy paste, 1 tbsp ground coriander seeds, 2 tsp ground cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric.

Crumble the chillies into 250 ml water and add the lemon grass and galangal if using the dry ingredients. Soak for half an hour. If using fresh galangal or ginger peel and chop it coarsely. If using fresh lemon grass, slice crossways and discard the straw-like top. Peel the shallots or onion and garlic and chop coarsely. Put all the ingredients (including the water from the dry ingredients) into a blender and blend till smooth.

Since this curry paste can be frozen, I’m going to be making some soon; but last night I used about 60 g of ready-made red Thai curry paste instead.

Other Ingredients Required

The other ingredients required are:

  • 875 g boneless pork (I used one pork fillet which was about 500 g in weight) cut into 4 cm cubes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce (I used Japanese naturally fermented Tamari soy sauce)
  • 3 x 2.5 cm cubes of fresh ginger (it should be young and easy to cut), peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 10-12 shallots of small pickling onions cooked whole (I used bulbous spring onions trimmed and sliced)

spring onions

  • 10-15 small cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice or tamarind paste (I used lemon juice)
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • salt (I used a fractional amount of pink Himalayan salt, which was a mistake. The soy sauce is salty enough)

How to Make Thai Pork Curry

Marinate the pork in the curry paste and soy sauce for half an hour. The ready-made curry paste was rather dry so I added about 350 ml of water. After 30 minutes put the pork and marinade into a wide, heavy pan. My favourite Sola wok was absolutely perfect for this. Bring to a simmer over medium to low heat and leave to simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Increase the heat a little and stir-fry for about 10 minutes to get rid of the liquid.

Add about 450 ml of water (less if you are using less pork, as I did) together with the ginger, shallots and garlic. Bring back to a simmer; cover and cook for about 45 minutes. Add the lemon juice and sugar (next time I think I’ll use palm sugar rather than cane sugar). Mix and taste; add salt if you really have to. Cook for a couple more minutes to let the flavours blend.

Serve with brown rice and salad. Enjoy.

Cashew Chicken in a Sola Wok

Sola wok

The First Wok-Cooked Meal in My Sola Challenge

Though I’ve never been to Thailand, I am totally sold on Thai cooking. I’ve always enjoyed eating Thai food, but the challenge of cooking it only goes back about five years when a friend returned from a holiday in Thailand and shared her experiences gained in a traditional Thai cooking course, together with some fantastic recipes.

I almost always use a recipe when cooking – and almost always don’t stick to it. This recipe is no exception, but it is based on a traditional Asian recipe.

I have cooked Cashew Chicken many times, and always in a wok. But the Sola wok, challenged Willem Huisamen, isn’t just any wok. So what better way to test this assumption than to cook something I know well?

Ingredients for about 6 people

Sola wok
Dried red chillies
  • 500g (about 1 lb) raw chicken breast off the bone, sliced into strips
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or any other vegetable oil you prefer cooking with)
  • 2 large (more if they aren’t large) cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 or more dried red chillies, chopped (I dry my own)
  • 1 large red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (preferably naturally brewed Tamari)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
  • 4-6 spring onions, coarsely chopped
  • 175 g (about 6 oz) raw cashew nuts
  • Coriander leaves (also known as cilantro and dhania) to garnish (optional)

How to Make Your Cashew Chicken

Sola wok
Heat the coconut oil in your wok and then add the garlic and chillies; cook until golden
Sola wok
Now add the chicken and stir-fry until it changes colour. Add the sliced red pepper and continue stir-frying for a few minutes. You can add a few splashes of water if you need to – but if you’re cooking in a Sola wok you won’t need to.
Sola wok
Now add the sauces and sugar and stir-fry till almost done.

The nuts and spring onions are the last ingredients to add to the Cashew Chicken. I like to use raw cashew nuts and let them cook in the sauces for a short while. If you prefer you can use roasted cashews and simply sprinkle them on top with the spring onions and coriander as a triple garnish.

Serve hot with a mixed salad on the side. You could also serve with coconut rice, or even noodles.

Okay, so I agree wholeheartedly that the Sola wok isn’t just any wok!

Sola wok

 

 

Thai-Style Sweet and Sour Pork

 Sweet and Sour PorkQuite different to popular Chinese-style sweet and sour pork, this Thai take on sweet and sour is a quick and easy stir fry that will have people coming back for second helpings. Although the ingredients call for fresh pineapple, you can sweeten the dish with tinned fruit, or by increasing the quantity of sugar called for. You could also substitute palm sugar for brown granulated sugar. Serve with rice and slices of avocado pear with lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper, or with a simple green salad. Serves four hungry people.

Thai Sweet and Sour Pork

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 sweet red onion, finely sliced
  • 400 g pork fillet or rump, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp grown granulated (or palm) sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, skin on, diced
  • 12 small plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 150 g fresh pineapple, cored and cut into chunks
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • Garnish: 1 spring onion, shredded, and fresh green coriander, chopped (optional)
Sweet and Sour Pork
Cook the ingredients in a wok

Heat the oil in a wok and add garlic. Fry until golden before adding the onion. After about five minutes add the pork. Stir fry until almost done and then add the fish sauce, sugar and freshly ground black pepper. When the pork is cooked through, add the red pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, pineapple and spring onions. Stir fry for another four or five minutes. Meanwhile cook the rice and prepare the salad and garnish. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve. Alternative option You can also serve Thai-style sweet and sour pork with noodles. Cook the noodles, or soak in boiling water (depending on the type you are using) and then stir in with the other ingredients.

Tangy Thai Meatballs With Coconut Rice and Peanut Sauce

Thai meatballsHaving grown up in a home where my British-South African grandmother was queen of the kitchen, meatballs were just an ordinary dish – tasty, but ordinary. And they weren’t on the menu very often. I don’t cook them often either, unless they are part of a themed dish of some sort, in this instance Thai, largely because they do take more effort than other dishes that can be equally delicious.

I was introduced to these meatballs by a friend who visited Thailand several years ago and attended a basic cooking course. Preparation is surprisingly simple, though rolling the balls is undoubtedly time consuming. Fluffy jasmine coconut rice and a flavorful peanut sauce add a dimension that my gran’s homemade meatballs could never begin to touch.

Fragrant Thai Meatballs

To make the meatballs, combine:

  • 450-500 g (about 1 lb) minced beef
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) freshly chopped garlic
  • 1 stalk lemon grass finely chopped (discard the tough outer layers before chopping)
  •  4 spring onions finely chopped
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) chopped coriander
  • 30 mll (2 Tbsp) red Thai curry paste
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) lemon juice
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) fish sauce
  • 1 egg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

You will also need:

  • rice flour to dust over the meatballs prior to cooking
  • oil for frying – the type you use is your choice, my recommendation is coconut oil
Thai meatballs
The mix ingredients for the meatballs

I wash my hands thoroughly and then use my fists and fingers to ensure that the mix is properly blended, but still has texture. Roll and shape the meat into fairly small balls. This quantity of meat should produce about 30 meatballs. You can make them smaller if you wish, in which case you’ll produce a larger quantity. Put them on a plate and pop into the refrigerator while you make the peanut sauce. Like hamburgers (or beef burgers), cooling them effectively stops them from falling apart when you cook them.

Once the sauce is on its way, shake a little rice flour over the meatballs and then fry them in oil until brown. Don’t be tempted to use wheat flour; if you don’t have or can’t find rice flour, there are other options. Apart from its dubious dietary value, wheat flour won’t do the meatballs any justice. I’ve successfully used chana dal flour (made from chickpeas), but explore your options. If you’re on a no-carb diet, just fry the balls without using flour of any kind.

Then there’s the issue of oil. I confess that I cooked these in sunflower oil, even though I’m trying to avoid it. I’m sure that coconut oil would be better, as would light-frying the meatballs, rather than deep-frying them. However you decide to fry them, do so in batches and remove to absorbent paper towel or newspaper to drain thoroughly.

Thai meatballs

Coconut Rice

A relatively rich rice dish, as rice goes, made with coconut milk and garnished with shredded coconut, Coconut Rice is deliciously different.

You’ll need:

  • 500 g (2 cups) jasmine rice washed with cold water and drained in a sieve
  • 250 ml (1 cup) cold water
  • 500 ml (2 cups) coconut milk
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) granulated brown sugar or grated palm sugar
  • shredded coconut to garnish (optional)
Thai meatballs
Rice draining (left) and ready for cooking in coconut milk (right)
Thai metballs
Fluffy coconut rice

Put the water, coconut milk, salt and sugar in a pot with the rice. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice is soft and cooked. Turn off the heat and allow it to rest on the stove for a further five to ten minutes. Fluff up with chopsticks or  fork before serving.

Peanut Sauce

This must rank as one of the easiest, yummiest sauces I have ever mastered. It is also a sauce that can be teamed up with many other basic meat dishes.

You can make the sauce early on and then let it simmer quietly on the side while you prepare, make and cook the meatballs and coconut rice. It really is quick and easy. Just one word of advice; while peanut butter is a relatively unprocessed food, it is not made equal. Avoid peanut butter with added sugar and trans fats, and ideally only buy organic products.

Here’s what you need for the sauce:

Thai meatballs
Ingredients for the peanut sauce from top, clockwise: coconut milk, palm sugar, coconut oil, lemon juice, crunchy peanut butter, and red Thai curry paste
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) oil (preferably coconut oil) heated in a small pan
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) Red Thai curry paste – bought or homemade – fried for a couple of minutes in the hot oil
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) crunchy peanut butter
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) palm sugar
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk

Add the peanut butter, palm sugar, lemon juice and coconut milk to the curry paste and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer gently until the sauce thickens.

Serve separately in small bowls or poured over the rice and meatballs.