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Spicy, sweet and Thai

OF late, there has been growing interest in and appreciation of Thai cuisine among food connoisseurs.

Generally, Thai food is hot and spicy but is also sweet and sour. Various herbs such as lemon grass, basil leaves, coriander and so on, are added as flavour. Coconut is also used liberally. Thailand grows a variety of fruits and vegetables and this ensures that there is always something to look forward to while savouring its cuisine.

Vegetable curry with red gravy

Ingredients:

For the red spice mixture
Red chillies (dried) 6
Sliced onion 1/4 cup
Garlic cloves 10
Roasted cumin seeds 1 tsp
Roasted coriander seeds 1 tsp
Pepper corn 8
Ginger 1/2 inch piece
Salt to taste
Lemon juice 2 tbsps
Brown sugar (Demerara sugar) 2 tbsps

For the curry
Fresh button
mushrooms large 6
Bean curd (cubed and lightly fried) 1 cup
Red capsicum (cubed) 1
Green peas (boiled) 1/2 cup
Sliced carrots and
French beans (boiled) 1/2 cup
Coconut milk 3 cups
A small bundle of lemon grass
Lemon rind 1/4 tsp
Soya sauce 4 tbsps
Basil leaves (fried) 6
Oil 4 tbsps

Method:

Make a paste with the ingredients for the spice mixture. Wash the mushrooms and cut them into four pieces each. Boil the pieces in salt water for two minutes each. Drain. Heat the oil and add the coconut milk. Stir often till it starts to boil. Add the spice mixture paste. Cook till fragrant.

Add the mushrooms, bean curd, peas, other vegetables, lemon grass, lemon rind, soya sauce and three basil leaves. Cook for a few minutes. Remove the lemon grass. Serve the curry topped with the remaining basil leaves.

* * *

Somtam — Raw papaya salad

Ingredients:

Shredded/coarsely grated raw papaya 3 cups
Dry red chillies 3
Cherry tomatoes (halved or full size and cubed) 1 cup
Roasted and coarsely powdered peanuts 1/2 cup
Tamarind pulp 2 tbsps
Brown sugar (Demerara sugar) 2 tbsps
Soya sauce 1 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Lemon juice 2 tbsp
Chopped coriander
leaves 2 tbsps

Method:

Peel the papaya and cut into long thin shreds or grate it coarsely.

Split the red chillies and remove the seeds. Soak in a little water for 15 minutes. Drain and pound the chillies along with the green chillies and garlic and make a coarse mixture.

Mix the papaya, tomato string beans and the other ingredients. Mix well and place in a serving bowl along with the juice that is given off while mixing.

* * *

Thai corn pattice

Ingredients:

For the pattice
Corn (boiled and crushed) 2 cups
Thinly sliced string beans 1/2 cup
Corn flour 2 tbsps
Rice flour 2 tbsps
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Green chilli paste 1 tsp
Ginger paste 1/2 tsp
Soya sauce 2 tbsps
Salt to taste
Oil for deep-frying
For the sweet and sour sauce
Vinegar 1/2 cup
Sugar 1/2 cup
Water 1/2 cup
A small bundle of lemon grass
Red chillies roasted
(deseeded and powdered) 3

Method:

Put all the ingredients of the pattice on a plate. Mix well and make 18 to 20 balls. Roll for pattice.

Heat the oil and deep fry pattice to golden brown. Serve hot with sweet and sour sauce.

To prepare the sauce, put the vinegar, sugar, water and lemon grass in a vessel. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove the lemon grass.

Add the chillies and simmer further till the sauce thickens to a "coating consistency". Allow to cool.

* * *

Thai fruit salad

Ingredients:

Ripe papaya (cubed) 3/4 cup
Ripe bananas (sliced) 1/2 cup
Grapes (deseeded) 1/2 cup
Bite size pieces of lettuce
leaves 1 cup
For dressing
Sugar 1/4 cup
Salt 1 tsp
Mustard powder 1/4 tsp
Vinegar 1/4 cup
Oil 1/4 cup
Grated onion 1 tsp

Method:

Blend all the ingredients of the dressing. Mix with the prepared fruit and chill the salad till serving time.

Spread the lettuce leaves on the serving plate. Heap the salad and serve chilled.

* * *

Khao phat si-ju (Thai Vegetarian fried rice)

Ingredients:

Cooked rice 4 cups
Oil 1/4 cup
Garlic (crushed) 6 cloves
Spring onion (chopped) 1/4 cup
Corn (boiled) 1/2 cup
Chopped tomatoes 1/4 cup
Chopped pineapple
(tinned) 1/2 cup
Beans in tomato sauce
(tinned) 1/2 cup
Soya sauce 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Black pepper powder 1/2 tsp

Method:

Heat the oil and sauté onions and garlic till fragrant. Add the tomatoes and sauté for a minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the rice. Cook for five minutes for the flavours to mix. Add the rice and mix well. Serve hot.

JYOTI N. PARKEH

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