Recipes from Thai Food Made Easy


Thai fishcakes with cucumber pickle color

This is a great street food dish and perfect to greet your guests with a drink at the beginning of a meal.

serves 6 (makes 24)
preparation 10 minutes
chilling 30 minutes
cooking 10 minutes

500 g firm white fish fillets (such as cod or ling)
2 garlic cloves
2 coriander roots, washed and chopped
4 shallots, finely sliced
4 long red chillies, halved, seeded and finely chopped
4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
5 kafir lime leaves, finely chopped
60 g green beans, finely sliced
1 cucumber, finely sliced
juice of 1 lime
4 coriander sprigs, leaves picked and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
75 ml rice vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons toasted crushed peanuts
vegetable oil, for deep-frying

1. Mince the fish in a food processor or blender for a few seconds: a little texture is good, so it doesn’t have to be blended until completely ne.
2. Pound the garlic, coriander roots, 1 of the shallots, 3 of the red chillies, ginger and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt using a mortar and pestle until you have a smooth paste. Add to a bowl with the minced fish, fish sauce, kafir lime leaves and sliced green beans. Thoroughly mix everything together, kneading the mixture with your fingers.
3. Knead the mixture following the instructions on page 47.
4. Lightly oil your hands and roll the mixture into 24 small balls and place them on an oiled tray. Transfer to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
5. While the fishcakes are chilling, make the cucumber pickle. Warm the vinegar, sugar and salt together in a non-reactive saucepan to melt the sugar. Simmer for 1 minute, then leave to cool. When the vinegar is cool, add the cucumber, remaining shallots and chillies and stir gently. Add the lime juice, chopped coriander and toasted peanuts. Set aside until needed.
6. When ready to fry the cakes, pat them into at cakes about 5 cm wide and 1 cm thick. Fry the fishcakes following the instructions
on page 47. Drain the fishcakes on paper towel and serve with the cucumber pickle.

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RedChickCurry colored

This is one of my favourite curries as it has everything in one mouthful: roasted meat, spices, heat, herbs such as Thai basil, then the sourness of pineapple and tamarind. It is a delicious combination of flavours.

serves 4–6
preparation 5 minutes
cooking 10 minutes

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 portion of Red curry paste (see page 223)
3 grilled skinless and boneless chicken breasts
½ fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 Thai basil sprigs (or use regular basil), leaves picked
1 large red chilli, seeded and finely chopped, to serve
4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks, to serve

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
250 ml coconut cream
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon grated palm sugar

1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over medium–high heat. Fry the garlic until golden brown, then stir in the curry paste and heat through. Add the coconut cream, stirring constantly, and bring to the boil.
2. Turn down the heat. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add the grilled chicken and coat in the sauce. Add the pineapple and tomatoes and stir in the Thai basil. Garnish with chopped red chilli and ginger and serve with rice or noodles.

Page 223: Red curry paste

This is a classic red curry paste that can be used for many types of curry, from fish or prawns to roasted duck.

serves 6
preparation 15 minutes
cooking 40 minutes

5 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 lemongrass stems, tough outer leaves removed and stems chopped
4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves
6 coriander roots, washed and chopped 
3 red onions, coarsely chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped 
4 kaffir lime leaves
juice of 2 limes

½ teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon prawn paste (see page 18)
1 teaspoon salt
660 ml coconut cream
2 tablespoons fish sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Mix all of the fresh ingredients, except the kaffir lime leaves and lime juice, together in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread out the mixed fresh ingredients on the tray.
3. Spoon the prawn paste into one corner of the tray: it is very pungent when it is raw, but turns nutty and savoury once roasted. Roast in the oven for 8 minutes until the ingredients are fragrant and aromatic and starting to caramelise.
4. Remove the tray from the oven, then place the roasted ingredients in a food processor or blender. Purée all the ingredients with the salt and white pepper until smooth. Start with the most fibrous and hard ingredients: purée the lemongrass, ginger and coriander roots first, then add the remaining roasted ingredients. Add 100 ml of water to loosen the paste.
5. To cook the paste, heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat. Cook the mixture slowly for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking. Add the turmeric and kaffir lime leaves and cook for about 20 minutes until aromatic and fragrant. Add the coconut cream and simmer until reduced by half. Add the fish sauce and lime juice and mix through.
6. Divide the paste into 3 portions. It is now ready for other ingredients, such as meat, fish or vegetables to be added to it (see page 156) or to be frozen for future use.

Tip: It’s important not to add the turmeric to the food processor or blender as it will dye everything yellow! Only add the turmeric when you are cooking the paste.

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pad ki mow color

You can use any meat and vary the ingredients and also the heat content of the dish to suit your taste. The noodles will double in weight when they are soaked.

serves 4–6
preparation 5 minutes
cooking 3 minutes

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
400 g beef rump, cut into thin strips
4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
2 Thai basil sprigs (or regular basil), leaves picked
3 coriander sprigs, leaves picked and torn, to serve
lime wedges, to serve

¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
½ teaspoon five-spice powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
½ teaspoon grated palm sugar
125 g sen yai noodles (see page 17), soaked in warm water for 20 minutes until soft, then drained

1. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute or until golden. Add the chillies and stir-fry for 10 seconds, then add the beef and stir-fry for about 20 seconds to seal the meat.
2. Add the fish sauce, palm sugar, shredded kaffir lime leaves, half the basil leaves and the dried chilli and five-spice, stir-frying all the time.
3. Add the soaked and drained noodles and stir well. Keep stir-frying for about 1 minute, then taste the noodles to check that they are cooked.
4. Turn out the noodles onto a serving plate and garnish with torn coriander leaves, the remaining Thai basil and lime wedges.

There are numerous widths of rice noodles that are bought dried. They need to be soaked in warm water for 20 minutes before using. 

SEN MEE are very fine and wiry when dried and are also called rice vermicelli. They are used in spring rolls, soups, stir-fries and salads.
SEN YAI are broad in width (about 2–3 cm wide) and are also called rice river noodles and rice sticks. When they are bought fresh they can be quite sticky and need to be separated. Good for a stir-fry such as Pad thai (see page 176) where there is lots of sauce.
SEN LEK are a thinner rice noodle (about 1 cm in width). They are commonly sold dried and are probably the most widely available. Soak before cooking and they will only take a couple of minutes to cook.
BA MEE noodles are made with egg and rice flour so they are a mid-yellow colour and similar to Italian spaghetti. These are often used for stir-fries and soups.
WUN SEN are very fine — almost translucent — in colour and are made with soya flour. They are called cellophane or glass noodles. They will not need a lot of cooking and are great for salads and cold noodle dishes with prawns and seafood.

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