Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thai-mazing Tastes

The Director of the library took us out for lunch at the end of the fall semester as a way of saying thank you for our work.  When she asked for suggestions as to where we should go dine our Assistant Director immediately chimed in with "Siam Thai."  None of the rest of us had been there before and so we agreed.  Of the four of us at the library there are two vegetarians and one person with loads of food allergies and so Asian cuisine always seems like a accommodating choice on both accounts.

And I fell in love with Thai food.  Seriously.  Fell in love.  I was blown away by the flavors and smells and textures of every part of my dish--Phad Ma Khuer Jay.  I nearly moaned with pleasure at how good it was.  Every time I got a bite with a basil leaf in it there seemed to be a taste explosion in my mouth.  A taste bud party.  I'd have never thought of putting basil in stir-fry in million years.  And here I thought basil was only for Italian cuisine!!  The eggplants were grilled and blackened on the edges and flavored with the most wonderful garlic-chili sauce.  Amazing.  Just amazing.

So amazing, in fact, that I took my Christmas money from my grandmother and promptly went back a second time.  Matt and I shared our dishes--Drunken Noodles with Veggies for me and Wild Tofu--and both were as equally outstanding as the first time.  The stir-fried broad noodles had soaked up the flavor and the deep-fried tofu was chewy and wonderful.  And, again, oh those basil leaves.  Both dishes were considerably more spicy than my first dish, too, but that isn't really a problem in my book.  The little I knew of it I thought all Thai food was spicy so it seemed quite appropriate.

But, we are not the type to eat out a lot.  I bet it only happens once every few months.  Its too expensive and I prefer to have control over what goes into my food--restaurants have no interest in our health, as a general rule, they lay heavy on the salt and fats because their main concern is that it be delicious.  But, mostly, its too expensive for my taste.

So, I got some Thai cookbooks from the library.  I won't kid myself and say its anywhere as good as Siam Thai, but from what we've tried so far it sure is tasty.  I am willing to spend time perfecting a few recipes.

Thai-style Spicy Peanut Sauce

3 T garlic, minced
1 T fresh grated ginger (or 1/2 t dried ground ginger)
2-4 T honey
1/4 C peanut butter
1/4 C tamari (or soy sauce)
3 T rice vinegar
1 T Thai sweet and spicy sauce
2 T spicy and sweet hot sauce
1 t crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients.
Toss with stir-fried veg and noodles (or rice)

Or use as a marinade for tofu or vegetables.

I can't wait until there is fresh basil growing right outside my front door again so I can try my hand at adding that to my Thai-inspired dishes.  Yum.

2 comments:

  1. Have you grown Thai basil before? It's so good for garnishing hot soups and adding to stir fry dishes! I find it to have a more "minty" flavor than Italian basil....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, or not that I am aware of, but we certainly are this year!! I must have Thai mint!!! :)

      That said, we grew a lime basil last year that I think would work nicely. I was surprised at just how different it was from the Sweet Italian basil we grew. I look forward to comparing the Thai to it as well!

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!