Tag Archives: Thailand

Thai-style Green Apple Salad

Thai Green Apple Salad by The Aimless Cook

This Thai-style salad is a lot like som tam, but uses green apples instead of green papaya. Since green papaya can be hard to find, the green apple provides a nice tart flavour and crisp texture that’s incredible in this type of salad. I hope you love it!

You will need:

 

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 large shallot, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 small handful grape tomatoes, quartered
  • ¼ cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts
  • the juice of ½ lime
  • fish sauce, to taste
  • sugar, to taste
  • 2 Thai chilies, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

In a mortar and pestle, add the green beans and about 6 grape tomatoes cut in half. To that, add the shallots, chilies, a tablespoon of dried shrimp, and a clove or 2 of garlic. Pound that mixture together until the tomatoes are crushed and the green beans are bruised.

Season your mixture with about a teaspoon each of fish sauce and sugar and continue to lightly mix in the mortar and pestle until the ingredients are combined. Finally, add a ¼ cup of roasted peanuts and crush them coarsely.

If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can do all of this with a ziplock bag and a rolling pin.

Combine the contents of the mortar and pestle with the apple and carrots in a large mixing bowl. Add the shallots, toss everything together and give it a final taste. Balance out the flavours if you have to and finish by adding a handful of fresh chopped cilantro. Traditional som tam is made entirely in the mortar and pestle, but I wanted to preserve the crunchy texture and look of the apples and carrots.

This salad is great on its own, or as a side with some fish or this home-style fried chicken which I’ll show you in the next episode.

When was the last time you used a fruit as a vegetable?

Thai – Inspired Poutine Recipe

Thai Poutine by The Aimless Cook

Today, I’m taking a Canadian classic and giving it a little bit of Thai love. I’m making a Thai-Inspired Poutine with sweet potato fries, fresh cheese curds, a rich coconut curry gravy and crispy skin chicken. There are a lot of beautiful things going on in this recipe that you are gonna love. Let’s cook!

You will need:

  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 package of cheese curds (Bothwell makes a brand called Squeekers)
  • 2 chicken thighs, deboned and flattened (skin on)
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh lime
  • sweet potato fries (or regular fries)

In a wok, start by heating a couple tablespoons of oil. Add the shallot and garlic and stirfry for about 30 seconds. Add the curry paste and powder, combine and cook for about 3 minutes until the mixture darkens and becomes aromatic.

Once the curry mixture is ready, add the coconut milk and chicken stock. Whisk it all together, then add the fish sauce and sugar. Let it come to a boil, turn down to medium, and let simmer uncovered for about 15 – 20 minutes.

You can make your fries from scratch if you like, and you can find the recipe right here. For convenience sake, I went the way of buying them at the grocery store and baking them in the oven.

For the crispy skin chicken, I simply de-boned the thighs and laid them out flat like cutlets, preserving the skin (of course). Season well on both sides with salt and pepper and heat up a small skillet with oil on high heat. Lay the chicken down on the hot pan skin-side down and cook until golden brown on both sides. Since it’s thin, it won’t take long to cook (about 4 minutes per side). When they’re done, take them out and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes.

After the curry sauce has been simmering for 15 – 20 minutes, you’ll notice it has reduced by about a third. Test the consistency with a spoon. It should coat the back of a spoon. Give it a final taste and season to your liking. Now it’s time to assemble!

Grab a nice big bowl and put down a layer of fries with a few cheese curds on top. Add some gravy on top, then continue with another layer of fries and cheese curds. Add the crispy skin chicken (sliced into strips), then ladle more gravy on top. Make sure you get gravy on the cheese curds so they melt. Finish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

If you’ve had poutine before, then you’ll love this new twist. All the flavours of classic Thai cuisine are here with the gooey cheese and rich flavourful sauce. The crispy skin chicken has a wonderful crunch and is tender and juicy. Enjoy this recipe and have fun in the kitchen!

What is your favourite melty cheese dish?

Sesame Shrimp Toast

Sesame Shrimp Toast

We’re making a popular item from the dim sum cart. You can also find this item if you’ve ever found yourself at a snack house late at night with your friends. I’m talking about shrimp toast, and this Thai version of sesame shrimp toast features the flavours of fish sauce, lemongrass and fresh limes for a bit of a cool twist. Enjoy this as a nice, crispy snack with an ice cold beer or serve as a fancy appetizer for your next party. Your friends are gonna love this one!

You will need:

  • 14 oz. raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced lemongrass
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 or 2 red Thai chilies, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 egg
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 8 thick slices of white bread, crusts cut off
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro
  • fresh limes, to garnish
  • oil for frying (canola or peanut)
  • sweet Thai chili sauce, for dipping

Start by putting the shrimp in a food processor. To that, add 1 egg, lemongrass, garlic cloves, Thai chilies, fish sauce, the juice from the grated ginger and a pinch of salt. Process until the mixture forms a thick paste. Check the mix. If it’s too thin, add the cornstarch to tighten up the mixture. When that’s done, set aside.

Cut the crusts off the bread. Spread about a tablespoon of the shrimp mixture on the bread slices and dip the shrimp side into a saucer of sesame seeds.

In a cast iron skillet, heat up a couple inches of oil until you can fry a small piece of bread in about 30 seconds (350F). If it cooks too fast, carefully take off the heat and wait until it’s the right temperature. If the oil is too hot, the shrimp won’t cook. If the oil is too cool, the bread will absorb the oil and you’ll get greasy toast.

When the oil is ready, carefully place the toast in the oil, shrimp side down. Cook for about 30-45 seconds or until its golden brown. Turn over and cook the other side for the same amount of time. When done, gently take it out and drain on a tray with paper towels.

To serve, cut into triangles or sticks, garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and enjoy with Spicy Thai Chili sauce and fresh lime wedges.

Shrimp toast is one of my favourite Asian snacks and I hope you enjoy it too. Take this recipe with you, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

What is your favourite dim sum item?

J’s Fusion Grilled Chicken

J's Fusion Grilled Chicken Recipe

This recipe for grilled chicken uses Portuguese and Thai flavours in a bright and spicy marinade that is reminiscent of Piri-Piri and Gai Yan. Lots of garlic, lots of chili peppers and a touch of lemongrass gives us a very aromatic and spicy mix that tastes incredible on chicken. So fire up the grill and get ready because it’s all about to happen right now on The Aimless Cook.

For the marinade, you will need:

  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Thai chilies, minced
  • 2 red chilies, minced
  • a couple stalks lemongrass (tender end), minced
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • a pinch of kosher salt


All you need to do is put all the ingredients into a container and shake it til well combined. Set aside for at least 30 min to overnight to let the flavours mingle.

You will also need:

  • 1 whole chicken, or chicken pieces (2 ½ lbs)


Just take the chicken and score it all over both sides with a sharp knife. Season both sides with salt, then liberally massage the marinade all over the meat, making sure you get it into the cuts you made. Place the chicken on a hot grill on medium heat and cook, turning every 5 minutes or so. Baste with the extra marinade and continue to cook until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches at least 165F.

Since you have the grill on, you can grill up some nice asparagus or carrots tossed in olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt. Carrots are incredible on the grill. Just grill them until they have a little charring on the edges, then serve.

*notes:

You can adjust the spiciness factor of this dish according to your taste. The amount I used in this recipe seems like a lot, but it’s not. Of course, the type of chilies you use will have a great influence on how it will turn out. Just remember, the smaller the chili, the hotter it will be. If you don’t have fresh chilies, you can use cayenne, chili flake or sambal oelek.

Halibut with Spicy Mango Salad – Thai Cooking

Halibut and Thai Mango Salad

Today, we’re making a Thai style spicy mango salad. To go with it, I’m cooking up a mouth-watering pan-fried halibut from my friends at Dor-Bel Fine Foods. Dor-Bel is the only retailer in Alberta that sells sustainable seafood carrying the Oceanwise brand. This mango salad is very simple to prepare and is a prime example of the flavours that are typical to Thai cuisine.

For the mango salad, you will need:

  • 1 green mango (firm, not ripe)
  • a slice of watermelon
  • 2-5 thai chilies (adjust to your tolerance)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar (or brown)
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup green onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

For the halibut:

  • 2 (8 oz) portions halibut fillet
  • 1 thai chili, finely minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt, to season

Start by drizzling some extra virgin olive oil on both sides of the watermelon. Put on a grill on high heat and grill them til they have those nice marks. Watermelon tastes incredible when grilled. The surface sugars caramelize and take on a honey flavour that will complement the other flavours in the salad. When the watermelon is done, cut into cubes and set aside.

Peel the mango and cut it into julienne. No fancy tools needed, just make parallel cuts into the fruit by hacking it with a knife and shave the strips off into a large mixing bowl. If you have a mortar and pestle, pound the Thai chilies to release the oils and fragrance. Alternatively, you can use a knife handle, mallet or a rolling pin. Add the chilies to the mango, then add the fish sauce. Toss lightly to combine then the sugar. The sugar will balance out the flavour of the fish sauce and chili. To that, add the shallot, cilantro and green onion. Finally, add the juice of 1 lime and the watermelon and toss everything together until combined. Set aside in the fridge and let’s cook the halibut.

On a cutting board, evenly sprinkle on 1 or 2 chopped chilies then drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil. Add a touch of kosher salt, then put the halibut on the board. Flip them over to get the seasoning all over both sides.

From here, you can either pop them on the grill or panfry in a hot skillet with a couple tablespoons of oil (I prefer pan-frying because I like to get that nice crust). Fish takes very little time to cook, so you’ll only need to cook until the meat is golden brown.

To finish, simply plate the fish and put the mango salad right on top. Serve right away and enjoy!

If you don’t have halibut, you can use any kind of meaty fish that’s not too fatty like catfish or red snapper. My halibut today was donated by the fine folks at Dor-Bel Fine Foods, who are partners with the Oceanwise organization. Oceanwise is a non-profit organization that researches and compiles information on fish and shellfish stocks in an effort to educate retailers and restaurants on what seafood to buy or avoid.

This simple fried fish goes well with the spicy, sour and sweet Thai flavours of the mango salad. Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen.

Do you like seafood? If so, what is your favourite kind?

Thai Beef and Basil Stirfry – Thai Recipes

beef basil feature

This recipe for Thai Beef and Basil is incredibly quick to prepare and very tasty. The key to this dish is using the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on, so if you can’t find the Thai Holy basil, use your local basil, as it will bring some impressive aroma to your finished meal.

  • 250 g of beef, sliced skirt steak or ground
  • 1 red chili, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large chili sliced
  • 1 handful of green beans
  • canola oil for cooking

Start by pounding up a roughly chopped red chili pepper and 3 cloves of garlic in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of kosher salt til they release their oils and fragrance. The coarse grain of the salt will help season as well as provide some texture while you pound the chile and garlic.

Next, in a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce. Mix well and set aside.

In a wok or frying pan heat up 1 tablespoon of oil on high til it starts to smoke, then add the chilli garlic mix. Stir well for about a minute until it starts to smell really fragrant. Add 250g of sliced skirt steak and keep everything moving as you continue cooking for another minute. Next, add the sauce mixture and combine.

Next, stir in a handful of green beans (or long beans) and a sliced chili pepper. Finish off with adding 1 cup of fresh basil leaves. Mix to combine, then give a final taste. You shouldn’t need salt since you have fish sauce, but if it’s a little too spicy, balance it out with a touch of palm or brown sugar. When it’s tasting perfect, plate up on a fresh bed of steamed rice and top with a crisp fried egg if you have them.

IMG_2857

The skirt steak is much like the flank, but with a coarser fibre. When you slice it thinly across the grain, you will get a really tender stirfry meat that cooks very quickly. As for the basil, the purists will insist on using Holy basil which is a Thai variety. Since I live in Canada and there are so many great places here that make some incredibly fresh and fragrant basil, I’m using it. With simple dishes, the freshness of the ingredients is crucial. Go out to your local Farmers Market or community garden and make good use of the bounty that’s available for you. It’s simply a waste if you don’t. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

So my question of the day for you is: What are your favourite fresh herbs to cook with?

Thai Inspired Beef Salad with Rice Noodle Recipe

Southeast Asian flavour is a playful balance of sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter. Using ingredients like fresh lime juice, red Thai chiles and fish sauce, you can create something pretty incredible. This Thai-inspired beef salad uses some simple ingredients brought together with amazing results.

for the dressing, you will need:

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon chile garlic paste (sambal oelek)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • salt to season

the rest:

  • 1 lb baby bok choy, trimmed and rinsed
  • 225g thick rice noodles (banh pho)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 lb flank steak
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • crushed peanuts
  • fresh lime wedges, for garnish

In a small bowl, mix all of the dressing ingredients together, salt to taste then set aside. Boil the rice noodles until tender, rinse in cold water, strain then set aside. 

Blanch the baby bok choy in the boiling water for about 1 minute. Take out and rinse in cold water then set on a baking tray lined with kitchen paper to dry. Set aside.

Drizzle the flank steak with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Ensure your steak is room temperature before you grill. Sear the steak on an oiled cast iron skillet on high heat or on a grill on high for about 3 minutes per side. You want a nice brown crust, but don’t let it cook too long. Once the steak is seared, set aside for at least 10 minutes to let the juices re-distribute through the meat.

Flank Steak from Hoven Farms

After the 10 minutes, slice the steak into 2 inch strips along the grain then across the grain into thin slices. Now we’re ready to assemble.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice noodle, bok choy, the dressing and the beef and toss until combined. Add the chopped cilantro and get ready to plate.

*the cilantro bonus dressing

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt
  • wasabi to taste

In a blender start with the liquids, then add the rest of the ingredients. Pulse til well blended. This is a great dressing that you can use for a lot of different things. You can also add different ingredients depending on the dish.

Thai inspired Beef Salad

Plate the salad on a small plate or small bowl. Drizzle the cilantro dressing over the top and garnish with chopped Thai chiles. This recipe makes a great lunch for the next day since you don’t have to heat it. The beef is juicy, lean and hearty. Of course, if you want to omit the meat, you can. Make this recipe yours and have fun in the kitchen!

Nam Prik Ong – Spicy Thai Pork Dip

Nam Prik Ong

Nam Prik Ong is a spicy Thai ground pork dip served with pork rinds and fresh vegetables. The textures and contrasts going on here are intense for such an unassuming dish. It’s an incredibly refreshing and tasty starter or snack that you can make at home fairly easily. The flavour is complex with the classic Thai flavour combinations that I have come to love. Let’s get started!

  • 1 thumb sized piece galangal, finely julienned
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 or 5 red Thai chilies
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 dozen cherry tomatoes, halved
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp kapi (fermented shrimp paste)*
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, minced
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • palm sugar, or brown sugar
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced
  • pork rinds

With a mortar and pestle, start by pounding the galangal then add the garlic, onion, chilies. You want to make yourself a nice paste. Next, put in the tomatoes (watch for flying juice!), kapi and lemongrass. That is your paste. Let’s start cooking!

Heat up a wok on high heat with a Tbsp of oil and add the paste. Stir fry until the paste is aromatic, then add the ground pork. Continue to cook until the pork is done and add lime juice and sugar to balance. You shouldn’t need salt since the kapi is salty, but give it a taste and see for yourself. Toss in the cilantro to finish and serve in a nice big bowl for dipping with sliced cucumbers and pork rinds. 

You will be amazed by the refreshing taste and contrast of the spicy dip with the cool and crisp cucumber. Nam Prik Ong is great for sharing and perfect for potlucks and parties. Have fun in the kitchen and take care!

Tips:

*kapi, or belacan is very punguent. Use sparingly if you never used it before. If you don’t have it, you can also use fish sauce.

Some recipes for Nam Prik Ong have you pound the pork in the mortar with the paste. This adds even more flavour into the meat.

If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can make your paste in a food processor. If you enjoy making Southeast Asian food though, I recommend you get one. The bigger the better!

Thai Style Chicken Salad

IMG_8102

This past weekend, I made this incredibly easy and super flavourful Thai style salad based on the taste of Laab Gai. You can also say ‘larb’ if you wanna be specific. It’s a lot like a Lao style meat salad you typically see in that region of Southeast Asia but everyone has their own take on this great dish. Let’s see what we need:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1T ginger, chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 3 Thai chilis, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1T fish sauce
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2T Thai basil, shredded
  • fresh lettuce leaves, for wrapping

Start with a tablespoon of oil in a pan and heating it on high heat. Add the ginger, lemongrass and chili and cook for about 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked (about 5 min). Remove from heat and put the chicken into a large mixing bowl to cool slightly. Once your chicken has rested (you want it warm) dress by adding the lime juice and fish sauce. To that, add the cilantro, basil and sliced red onion. Toss until combined and season with a little salt and sugar to balance the flavours. Serve in individual bowls with a plate of lettuce leaves for wrapping. Enjoy!

Gai Haw Bai Toey: Chicken Fried in Pandan Leaves

Gai Haw Bai Toey

Gai Haw Bai Toey is a Thai dish that uses the aromatics of the pandan leaf to breathe life into chicken. Add the flavour of coconut milk and lemongrass and you have something very beautiful and delicious. You can find pandan leaf at the Asian grocery in the produce section. If you can find whole leaves, even better. You can make some awesome presentations by wrapping the chicken in clever little packets. Since the leaves I bought were cut into sections, I simply wrapped mine and secured with bamboo skewers.

You will need:

  • 1 lb chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1T chopped garlic
  • 2T shallots, minced
  • 1T ginger, minced
  • 1T fresh cilantro
  • 1T lemongrass, lower tender part of the stem, finely minced
  • 1T ground black pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2T soy sauce
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1T brown sugar
  • fresh pandan leaves (pandanus)
  • oil for frying

Start the marinade by combining the shallot, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, cilantro, sugar, soy sauce, coconut milk and S&P in a medium mixing bowl or ziplock bag. Cut the chicken into hearty bite-sized chunks and add to the marinade. Let sit in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.

When the chicken is done, shake off the excess marinade and make a nice clean area to assemble your packets. Take a piece of chicken and place it on the end of the pandan leaf. Roll the leaf around the chicken, wrapping it like you’d wrap a scallop in bacon. Secure with a toothpick, or like in the video, a bamboo skewer, using 3 packets per skewer.

Heat a couple inches of canola oil in a cast iron skillet  on about 350F and fry the chicken for 2 or 3 minutes per side. Serve in the leaves with rice and enjoy!