Fried Garlic with Chicken (pad khing gai)
We are now on week 10 of our Friday Lunchime Menu,. We are trying to keep below the budget of 100 baht for four people by buying street food. I am afraid I have to say that I didn’t like this first dish. I am not really that keen on the strong taste of ginger and I think the cook went a bit overboard with ginger as you can see. I have had different versions where the chicken was more predominant. But, with this 20 baht dish I had trouble finding any chicken at all! It is easy to cook. Add garlic to hot oil until it is golden brown. Add the chicken and stir it well until it is nearly cooked. Now season with soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, fermented soy beans and lime juice. Then add the onion and shredded ginger and continue until everything is cooked.
Sour Orange Curry (kaeng som cha-om kai)
We have a similar dish to this at school and I always used to call it “orange curry” because of its colour and also because “som” means orange. It was only later that I found out that this word could also mean “sour” which is a good description of this curry. Most Thai curries use coconut milk. However, two notable ones don’t. These are this sour curry and jungle curry. It is really a bit like a soup but it is often thick with vegetables. This 30 baht version was pretty plain, but you can also have ones with shrimp or fish. The sourness comes from the sour tamarind and lime juice. The main feature here is the “cha-om kai”. This is a green vegetable called acacia which is then fried with eggs to make a kind of omlette. It is then cut into squares and added to the curry. I found this one a bit salty but I have tasted good ones in the past. Worth a try if you haven’t tasted it before.
Grilled Pork with Peanut Sauce (moo sa-tay)
The grilled pork is more of a snack than a meal but we added it to today’s menu because we were a bit low on meat. This dish is very popular down the market and you often see long queues at the most popular vendors. It is up to you how many skewers you buy with the pork. As you can imagine, the recipe does vary a bit with both the sauce you marinate the pork in and the peanut sauce that is the dip. This makes or breaks a vendor. One recipe I have says grind galangal, lemon grass, cilantro seed, cumin and kaffir skin until well combined. Next add the pork and then stir in sugar, salt, coconut milk, cumin powder and vegetable and leave to marinate. There are two side dishes. The first is the peanut sauce. Pound together the chili, garlic, lemon grass and turmeric to form a paste. Add this to hot oil. Stir in coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add tamarind water, sugar, salt and crushed peanuts. The second dip is another favourite of mine. Mix vinegar, sugar and salt and stir well over a heat until it boils. Set aside to let it cool. Then add sliced cucumber, red shallots and red-green chilies.
Steamed Banana Cake (khanom kluay)
Growing up in England I was never fond of banana, pineapple and even coconut. It wasn’t until I went to Australia for the first time that I fell in love what what I can only describe as the real thing. Bananas in England are shipped from abroad when they are still green and then artificially ripened. My love affair with bananas has continued since I arrived in Thailand and there are quite a few desserts containing banana that I simply adore. This is one of them. A kind of mashed banana mixed with flour and coconut milk. This is placed into banana leaf cups and shredded coconut is put on top. This is then steamed for about 10 minutes. These only cost two baht each.