Posts Tagged: thai food

Apr 11

Time for Thai


As regular readers will know, Thai food is amongst my favourites from around the world. The fiery, heady mix of spice, the soothing warmth of coconut milk, the crunch of tiny crisp anchovies and punchy fresh lime juice…just thinking about it gets me hungry. 

Thai food has several cornerstones. Some might argue a mire-poix (carrot, celery and onion) for the basis of much of French cookery, but Thai cuisine is more about the balance of hot, salty, sweet and sour accomplished most commonly sugar, lime juice, chillies and fish sauce which turn up in almost every dish.

Indeed, in good Thai restaurants you’ll be offered these to customise a dish to your particular taste. This includes nam prik pow (chillies in vinegar), naamtam (sugar), prik pon (chilli flakes) and nam plaa (fish sauce, often with chillies) – referred to as ‘The Four Flavours’.

It’s Thai New Year from the April 13-15 – known as Songkran or the Water Festival – which is an ideal time to start cooking Thai food at home.

Once you’ve got a few basics in your store cupboard you’ll be knocking out red and green curries, spicy salads and soups in no time.

Click here to read the recipes for

Vegetable pad Thai

Thai fishcakes

Thai beef salad

Salmon with sticky chilli sauce

Thai Green chicken curry

Jul 09

A Rick Stein twist on smoked fish


Having had the opportunity to interview the fantastic Rick Stein recently, I left just a wee bit inspired – and just about all my food since has been South East Asian in influence. I was just reminded of the zing, the freshness, the delicious combination of hot, salty, sour and sweet, along with the textural pleasures of crunchy vegetables and peanuts, rice, noodles and crispy shallots.

I was inspired by the idea he suggested for making a salad with our very own smoked trout and decided to give it a go myself. But the fishmonger had sold out of trout so I went for some incredible home smoked mackerel.

So I have no shame in admitting this is straight from the Rick Stein school of cookery – and a teatime treat it was too. The idea of frying the smoked mackerel gives it a wonderful texture.

Green mango salad with crispy smoked mackerel à la Rick Stein

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 4 smoked mackerel fillets or 2 whole smoked mackerel
  • 1 green mango
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • ½ a cucumber, seeded and julienned
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • A large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • A large handful of mint, roughly chopped
  • A large handful peanuts, roughly chopped

For the dressing

  • 2 limes
  • 3 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs palm sugar
  • 2-3 bird’s eye chillies

For the crispy shallots

  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 10 thai shallots or 1 red onion, finely sliced


Cut the mango into matchsticks – if you can’t find green mango you could leave it out or use a regular one, but it is worth seeking out. Mix with the rest of the salad ingredients and set aside.

Make the crispy shallots by heating the oil in a high-sided saucepan until a cube of white bread browns in a minute. Add the shallots (you may need to do this in two or three batches). Fry until crispy, a matter of a minute or two. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Make the dressing by finely chopping the chillies and mixing with the rest of the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved.

Fry the mackerel in a frying pan in a few tablespoons of peanut oil (groundnut), turning once, until crispy – roughly five minutes. Drain and set aside for a few minutes.

Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to combine. Flake the fish into the salad in 2 cm chunks, turning gently so as not to break up the flakes of fish.

Place onto a serving dish and garnish with the peanuts and a few more chopped herbs.

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