This is the continuation of our Friday Lunch Menu where we show you that Thai Street Food is not only cheap but can also be very delicious. The first on the menu is the chicken and wax gourd curry. This is similar to the Red Curry with Pineapple and Mussels that we had for lunch the other week. Wax gourd is sometimes called a winter melon though it is longer in shape. The Thai name sounds a bit like an English rude word which we won’t repeat here. To prepare, peel the gourd, discard the seeds and then cut into one inch chunks. Heat the coconut milk and then add the red curry paste. Next add the chicken and continue cooking for a few minutes. Finally add the gourd. Season with sugar, fish sauce and tamarind juice. This dish cost us 25 baht from a street food vendor.
I am never too keen on dried fish. From the point of view of a housekeeper, it is good because it keeps for many days. But, I found this one to be too salty. Maybe more than it should. After they gut the fish, they rub in a salt mixture. This is then left in the sun to dry for a couple of days. Extra flavour comes from any passing cat that might lick at it or dust kicked up from a passing car. This is then deep fried so it becomes crispy. It only costs 8 baht a piece and is a cheap meal with rice for some people.
I am not too fond of clams, but living in Paknam I know they are widely available at the market. These are fresh water clams which live in the mud. In Paknam Market, a kilo of these would cost only 50 baht. You have to rinse them in water until they open up. Make sure you get all the mud out. The ingredients are very basic. Only garlic, salt and what some people call chili jam (nam prik pao). Sweet basil leaves are added at the end. This dish cost 20 baht.
This is a basic vegetarian dish, though you could also add say minced pork. The vegetables here are carrot, tomato, Chinese cabbage, onion and spring onion. The transparent noodles (wunsen) are first soaked in water. They are then added to the frying pan at the last minute as they don’t need so much cooking. This dish also has egg. You season it with dark and light soy sauce and sugar. A cheap dish for 20 baht.
Our dessert today is this pudding with pearl barley topped with coconut cream. Sugar is first dissolved in a pot of water. Then tapioca flour is added to the syrup. It is stirred until clear. Then the pearl barley is added. Other versions you can add mung beans. The coconut milk has salt added and is brought slowly to the boil until the salt dissolves. This is then the topping. I can’t say I was too keen on this dessert. I suppose it is what you grow up to be used to. This dish cost only 10 baht.
Our meal today was under budget at only $2.70 for four people. All of the food we have bought for this series of food blogs are bought separate from rice. This makes it easy to share with other people and saves money. However, it is also quite common to be able to buy meals for one person from street vendors. For example chicken on rice or a bowl of noodles. These dishes I will tell you about on another day.