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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Thai Cooking Night

Thai food has to be the most accessible and most popular cuisine in Australia. Or Sydney at least. Ask anyone and they will no doubt tell you about the Thai eatery down in their area (and how it's probably the 'best in the country' =p). And I have to say we're actually quite good at replicating the flavours. Because of this I reckon it's quite easy to make these dishes at home. Of course I already had the opportunity to cook Thai cuisine in Thailand itself when I attended a class at the Baan Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai.

I decided one night to cook a couple of dishes and see if I could create a meal with minimal fuss. To be honest, Thai food is actually quite cheap here (hence it's accessibility) but if you can replicate the flavours in a domestic kitchen, I reckon nothing beats homemade (except in the case of fried rice =p).

So I decided to make the Green Papaya Salad and Penang Curry I learnt at Baan Thai, recipes I know would work since I'd made them before.

Here's what a raw papaya looks like!

And here's the awesome shredding thingymajiggy I picked up in Thailand to give me the beautiful strips of papaya for the salad. Im sure you can get one in a two dollar shop here, but after using one at Baan Thai my friend and I were quite ecstatic when we saw them on sale in a market in Bangkok and just caved and bought one =p.

I love this recipe because it's so flexible and you can be quite liberal or reserved with how much you add of each ingredient, pretty much according to your tastes. So I pretty much loaded the thing with garlic and birds eye chillies haha but of course you don't have to be a heavy handed as I was.

The penang curry also turned out heaps nice. I think it was pretty spicy, I may have added too much red curry paste, so I know better next time to probs stick with the recipe. The curry paste I used was one I picked up at the market from which we sourced our ingredients for the cooking class. It's really potent I think, hence the spiciness of the curry. But yep, tasted heaps good with a bit of steamed rice mmmm.

It was quite easy to cook both recipes, didn't take long for both prep and cooking time. Even though you can easily walk down the street or pick up the phone to get instant yummy Thai food delivered straight to your door, I always think its nice to cook something yourself. You feel immensely satisfied eating something delicious you've cooked yourself. And I'm sure the people your cooking for will agree and highly appreciate it =)

Papaya Salad
Recipe from Baan Thai Cookery School

50g green papaya (or carrot or cucumber)
3-4 garlic cloves
1-3 birds-eye chillies
1 tomato, quartered
1 Chinese long bean, cut into inch long pieces
20g roasted peanuts
2 tbsp fish sauce
1-2 limes, quartered
1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)

1. Place garlic, chillies and Chinese long bean in a mortar and pound together gently

2. Add palm sugar, lime and fish sauce and pound until the palm sugar is dissolved

3. Add the peanuts, tomato and papaya and mix well with a spoon (don't pound too hard or you'll bruise the papaya)

4. Place the salad into a dish and top with more crushed peanuts.

Dad mixing the papaya salad together

Penang Curry
Recipe from Baan Thai Cookery School

75g pork
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 cup coconut milk
3 kaffir lime leaves (tear the stem off)
1 tbsp ground roasted peanuts
25g pea eggplant
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tap mixed spices powder (recipe below)
2 red chillies, sliced
2 tbsp oil

Mixed spices powder
1/6 tsp cumin
1/6 tsp cardamom
1/6 tsp coriander seeds
1/6 tsp cloves
1/6 tsp nutmeg
1/6 tsp black pepper

Pound all the ingredients together (it's fine if you already have these in powdered form, just measure up the same amount of each and mix them together)

1. Place the oil in the wok and heat over medium low heat.
2. Put the red curry paste and mixed spices powder in and stir continuously until fragrant and the oil surfaces.

3. Add the pork and a 1/4 cup of the coconut milk, stir until cooked.

4. Add the remaining coconut milk, pea eggplants, fish sauce, palm sugar and ground peanuts, stirring continuously until the coconut milk becomes thick and the pork is tender.
5. Pour the curry into a dish and top with the shredded lime leaves and red chilli. Serve with fresh steamed rice.

Enjoy =D xx

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