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Posts Tagged ‘Thai Cuisine’


Two years ago, my daughter and three of her friends went to Thailand  to learn the art of Thai cooking and to know a little of the culture of the place. They stayed there for about a week and enrolled in a Thai school. The other two who are certified chefs  enrolled in an advanced course in Thai cuisine. I am sharing some pics that would give you a closer look at an ordinary day in a Thai kitchen.

At the temple of the reclining Buddha.

The temples of Bangkok…

A typical wet market in Thailand. The vegetables displayed here are similar to what we have in our markets too.

Nissa with her cooking instructor shopping for fresh produce.

Look at those colorful array of veggies and spices and herbs in a Thai kitchen.

Don’t you just love these colorful food covers?

Preparing Thai Pandan Chicken

I love how colorful their dishes look…

She brought home some of these but our local cookies taste better.

A typical floating market selling mangoes. Nothing beats our sweet mangoes here in the Philippines though.

I love Thai food. Months ago, I found some authentic Thai ingredients in a supermarket  near our place and they are  now permanent fixtures inside our pantry. That’s how close I can get to experiencing  a little of Bangkok without actually being there.

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If you’re following my blog you would definitely ask, “what, food again?” I am wondering myself why lately, my blogs are focused on food.  Summer definitely brings that hungry feel, because every time I open our fridge, I often wonder what to prepare for the next meal. So I’m done with the tortilla  but I bought ten pieces of juicy apples which I plan to make as apple crumble. It’s not an immediate plan though because I am still in a quandary whether to use almond nuts which definitely cost sky-high  and which I still have to buy or  the local kasuy which you can buy cheaper.  One can eat the apples fresh  anyway if I decide not to labor again in front of the stove.Gosh, I am getting distracted because I am watching the Binibining Pilipinas Beauty Pageant 2012 while doing this blog.

Yesterday, a neighborhood suki passed by and he offered a bundle of these  young taro leaves which he says taste better than the traditional dried leaves which we make into laing. And he was right because it definitely didn’t need longer cooking  and it even tasted sweeter than the dried ones. We had it paired with pork barbecue , it was a yummy dinner. Sometimes, you don’t need to think of elaborate meals to enjoy eating, right?  You just need to be  a little enterprising , and a little budget goes a long way for one to enjoy home-cooked food.

Today, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. It’s rather late to wish you a happy and blessed  one. Oh yes, I’m rather getting good again from hopping on a tricycle to a jeepney and I spent the afternoon at Metro East mall visiting one of my favorite jaunts, Booksale.  I found hardbound copies of Frank McCourt’s  ‘Tis and Angela’s Ashes but I have to forego buying them (could have been an upgrade on my two old paperback copies, one couldn’t  be too greedy)  in favor of another book by Preston and Child (my third one) and one more book from another favorite author, Barbara Taylor Bradford.

         One could not go wrong with a Bradford book since it always is a good read. And Preston and Child’s books are fast-paced, and never boring. I was actually looking for a book by Mary Oliver since a friend told me that she found a copy in one of her forays at Booksale.  And even the bigger National Bookstore don’t carry it.  Another friend told me that she sent a package with Richard Paul Evan’s book in it and she won’t even tell me the title.  It’s a result of our book discussion once at Facebook  which I put in a blog two weeks ago. It would really be a lovely surprise.

I was looking for some authentic Thai food ingredients since the ones Nissa brought home from her trip to Thailand didn’t last long in the kitchen.  I’ve tried the red curry paste and Pad-Kapraow  and they tasted different from the more popular yellow curry powder which is locally available. This time though I was lucky enough to find two bottles of Thai ingredients, a green curry paste (it has lemon grass) and basil garlic and chili stir fry paste.  I am excited for another experiment in the kitchen, be sure it will be  here soon.

The joys of living can be found in simple things – books, friends, cooking!

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Nissa and I spent the whole day together yesterday, with last-minute things that need to be done and visiting our alma mater, University of Santo Tomas. Definitely good bonding moments with her although it was a bit tiring because the sun was hot on our backs. Anyway, I told her it would be the last time we were going out together before she says goodbye to her single life and embark on a new journey being married to the guy she loves.

Gosh, I can’t believe that in three days, we will all troop to the lovely and beautiful Paco church to witness their wedding vows. We had lunch in a little nook called Pupai’s near UST, reliving our student days while eating the crispy spring chicken we ordered.  We waited for the copies of the misalettes which we brought to the printing shop, Nissa brought her own bond paper, thicker than the regular thing they use for printing.  She said, she craved for Takoyaki so I bought two boxes. When we passed by UST, we talked of our student days, twenty-six years apart. She said she could no longer relate, finding the place a bit too large and spacious compared to the confined office which is her world now.

I can’t imagine myself wearing that again”, she said,  at the same time pointing to the white and blue uniforms of Artlets students .

“Ako rin”, I answered back while looking at some Commerce students in their all white uniforms. Oh, and this is the nicest part of our trip there because we remembered those times that having dirty ice cream for a snack was heaven for students like us. We found the familiar cart of Sto. Tomas Ice Cream and she bought us one cone each. Back in high school, I loved to eat ice cream sandwiched  in a regular hamburger bun. I asked Mang Fidel if they still have those and  he pointed to a separate bag of bread, at the same time telling me that it now costs P15.00 each.  Back in my time (during high school),  you could enjoy it for P.75 cents.  Mang Fidel has been selling ice cream in UST for more than twenty years now, being a part of all the latest developments  in the campus and probably hundred or thousands students who walked the halls of UST. Really, this makes me smile.

We reached Gateway Mall and  had wine tasting at Titania Wine Cellars where we bought gifts for the male principal sponsors on her wedding.  It was fun learning about the difference between a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir. They have lots of Spanish, Italian and California wines.  We had to scour for wine bags at National Bookstore but we were disappointed with the price. One wine bag  which we really like costs P80.00  which was  a bit too much. I suggested that we just buy purple Japanese paper and tulle netting  which a store at the nearby Farmer’s market was selling by the yard. A twist of light and dark purple ribbons and presto, we had  well-wrapped wine bottles  even prettier to look at because the colors are the same as their motif for the wedding.

It was a toss between an American meal at Burgoo ( an all-time favorite) and an Asian food at  My Thai Kitchen and at Pho Hoa at Gateway Mall, my treat to Nissa. Of course, when it comes to food, Asian cuisine is the best for both of us.  We had Goi Cuon (a Vietnamese  spring roll)  and Pad See Ew with Thai tamarind juice and Thai milk tea. I am not really into eating with a chopstick but Nissa said, it’s fun to learn it.  She uses chopstick even at home sometimes but I never learned the feel of using one, always choosing the more convenient spoon and fork.  It was a fun meal for us, something I will surely miss when she gets married.

We went home exhausted but the thrill of being together made us both smile.

(I don’t claim credit to the pic posted here, thanks to the owner)

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I was plain excited when my daughter came home from a five-day trip to Bangkok, Thailand.  She was in the company of some friends and she was so enthusiastic in sharing her experience touring the place and absorbing  the culture.  Five days would not be  enough to see all there is to see  about the place but they went there for the food tour, they enrolled in a Thai cooking school to learn authentic Thai recipes.  More than  anything , I was elated when she brought home several ingredients for Thai cooking.

Two months ago, I bought a cookbook on Thai Cuisine and both of us planned of trying some of the recipes there.  Thai cuisine has a lot of similarities to some Filipino food so it is not so hard to find fresh ingredients in the wet market.  I just told her to source for dry ingredients  which are difficult to buy here. And she came home with several packets of Coriander seeds, dried Kaffir lime leaves, red curry paste, chilli powder, whole white pepper, instant Phad-kapraow paste and hot and sour curry paste, good enough for several experiments in the kitchen.

The richness of Thai cooking is more pronounced through its skillful use of wealthy colors, tastes, textures and smell wonderfully incorporated in every recipe that they use.  Many people think that Thai cooking is a complex process since they use a lot of ingredients and spices.   It is said that  “much of the heat of the  spicy dishes comes from red and green peppers” which we commonly know as chillies. The Thai call it Phrik. Thai food comes in varied forms like soups, fresh vegetable salads, dips, grilled meat, fish or chicken but the most popular   is the use of curry paste.  I’ve been accustomed to using the yellow curry powder so I was surprised that there is a red one too.

Here’s one recipe which is the whole family’s favorite when we eat at a Thai restaurant.  It’s called Chicken Wrapped in Pandanus Leaves.

Chicken Wrapped in Pandanus Leaves (Kai Hor Bai Toey)

You would need:

2 cups of boneless chicken meat

10 pandanus leaves (Pandan  in Tagalog)

Oil for deep frying

Pound Marinade together into a paste:

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp. oyster sauce

1 tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sesame oil

1-2 tsp. pepper corn

3 garlic cloves

2 coriander roots

And the ingredients for the sauce:

1 tsp. white sesame seeds

1/2 cup ( 250 ml.) distilled white vinegar

1 cup (100 grams) sugar

1 tbsp. black soy sauce

1 tsp. salt

Cut chicken meat into bite-sized pieces.  Mix the marinade with the chicken.  Set aside in the refrigerator for three hours. To prepare the sauce, cook the same seeds in a skillet for 2 minutes without oil or until lightly browned. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix white vinegar, sugar, black soy sauce and salt.  Add the sesame seeds and set aside.

Wrap two or three pieces of chicken in each pandanus leaf to form a knot.  Alternatively, wrap each pandanus leaf around the chicken to form a bundle and secure with a toothpick.

Heat oil in a wok or small frying pan.  Deep fry until fragrant.  (about 5 minutes).  Serve with sauce and steamed rice.

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