Monday, 6 May 2013

Thai me out

Earlier this year I took an amazing life changing trip to crazy Thailand.
Almost all of the time I was there, I was preoccupied with either eating the superb local food or going to a cooking class to learn how to make authentic Thai food.

Coconut and Chilli crab- Hawt!

Fish cakes, Pad thai, Garlic pepper chicken & Chicken satay

Fresh holy basil, bean sprouts & star fruit.

Chicken noodles with bitter cucumber- Blew my head off!

After the bustle of Bangkok, the go-go girls and lady boys of Patong and the beauty and buckets of Koh Phi Phi, we arrived in Koh Lanta.

Sunset on Koh Lanta

We were sea-sick, sunburnt and crazy smug happy :) We checked into a lovely chilled out hotel in a quiet part of the island and decided it was finally time for me to meet the object of my obsession- Papaya salad et al!

Our destination Lanta Thai Cookery School. After being picked up at our hotel by chef Chien and quickly introduced to a lovely Danish couple who would be our cooking companions for the evening, we wove down dimly lit roads to arrive at what I can only describe as a tree house haven!

Between us and our companions, we settled upon a menu with 4 choices: Chicken satay, Golden bags with Thai sauce, Papaya salad and the classic Thai green curry.
After a lot of smirks and giggles around what golden bags actually were (a circular spring roll type starter) ,  followed by hysterical laughter after the sweet looking danish lady asked me deadpan what morning glory is (A herb! I didn't know! I told her what I thought it meant, cue more hysterics) we finally got our aprons on and got busy!

A lot of the ingredients in authentic thai recipes cannot be found in your local supermarket, I have found using either local thai shops (if you have one) or online thai shops like Thai food direct is the best way to go. They also have a lot of the specialist cookware you need if you want to make any Thai food on a regular basis!

Here is the recipe for my absolute favourite, Papaya salad or 'Som Tam'

Per person, take:

1 tbsp roasted peanuts
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp palm sugar
2 hot red chillies
2 cloves of garlic
1 tomato sliced into 6
1 long bean cut into 1in pieces 

Now place all of this in a giant pestle and mortar (or a heavy bowl with a rolling pin to help!) and proceed to bash the living bejesus out of it :) Taste at this point and decide if you would like a little more lime juice, chilli, fish sauce or sugar- this ensures you have a balance of sour, spice, salt and sweet that you suits your palate.

Now throw in 1 handful of green papaya sliced into fine ribbons, 1 carrot sliced into fine ribbons and about 4 big boiled king prawns. Mix around a little until everything has a good coating of sauce then serve! An amazing easy recipe to create, light, summery and spicy.

I'll get around to posting the rest of the amazing recipes next time I get a chance to cook them at home :)

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