Column: Nothing like some Thai cuisine to tantalize taste buds

When we were holidaying in Thailand my taste buds were delighted with the spices and flavours of the country’s food.

When we were holidaying in Thailand my taste buds were delighted with the spices and flavours of the country’s food and also some Lebanese and Italian fare.

I like to taste different foods and Koh Chang Island in Thailand was certainly the place to make the palate dance daily.

We ate late one evening in an Italian restaurant and another evening we had Lebanese food that was interesting.

We had falafels for the first time and learned the ingredients for a very nice garlic sauce that could be used for a vegetable dip, or a variety of other uses.  Basically, it is garlic pounded in a mortar and added to yogurt with a little bit of lemon juice and salt.

Thais tend to cook by feel, taking into account the tastes and preferences of those enjoying the meal.

This way they can always taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.

If you find the food needs adjusting, like adding a little more heat from chillies, you can get the right balance as you work through the dish.  Our Thai food instructor constantly tasted the food as we prepared various dishes when we attended a cooking school.

Thai food is light and fresh with delicately balanced spices along with a harmony of flavours, colours and textures designed to appeal to both the eye and the palate.

Here’s another of the six dishes I learned from a very good Thailand cook by the name of Yaa. She was very pleasant, had a good knowledge of the food and some lore behind some of the ingredients we were using.

Chiang Mai Noodle Soup

• Two-and-one-half cups of coconut milk

• Two tbsp red curry paste

• One tsp ground turmeric

• One pound chicken thighs, boned and cut into bite sized chunks

• Two-and-one-half cups chicken stock

• Four tbsp fish sauce

• One tbsp dark soy sauce

• Salt and freshly ground pepper

• Juice of one-half lime

• One pound of fresh egg noodles, blanched for a short time in boiling water

In a large saucepan, add about one third of the coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring often until it separates. Add the curry paste and turmeric, stir to mix well and cook.  Add the chicken and stir-fry for about three minutes to coat the chicken. Add the remaining coconut milk and chicken stock, fish sauce and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

Move from heat and add lime juice. Reheat the noodles in boiling water, drain and put in individual serving bowls.  Divide the chicken between the bowls and ladle in the hot soup. Top each serving with a little of each of the garnishes:

• Four green onions chopped

• Four red chillies, chopped

• Two shallots, chopped

• Four tbsp spinach leaves

• Two tbsp dried sliced garlic

• Coriander leaves

This is pretty easy to make and will perhaps take a few purchases that are available in supermarket stores in Williams Lake. I picked up some red and green curry paste last week, along with red chillies, dried red pepper flakes, fish sauce and coconut milk.

Try some Thai this summer. It’s easy to make and lots of taste.

Bye for Now and GOOOD COOKING!

Ken Wilson is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.

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