Thai vegan green curry


Of all the Thai coconut based curries,Green is my favorite. It is spicy but not explosive as the paste is made with green chilis as opposed to red which  is a really acquired taste. I often buy a can of Maseri brand paste which does not contain any shrimp paste typically contained in store-bought pastes. Any number of vegetables can be added to the curry and it goes surprisingly well with green vegetables such as snow peas,peas or green beans. For protein I often add firm tofu or mock duck. In Thailand the curry is either served alongside Jasmin rice or hot Indian bread called rotis.

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Serves 4

1 can Green curry paste or 3 tbsp home-made curry paste

2 cups coconut milk

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1/3 cup vegetable stock

1 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar

2 cups cooked vegetables of your choice,such as green beans,mushrooms,baby corn,snow peas etc

1 block firm tofu, drained,dried and cut into cubes

6 kaffir lime leaves

1/4 cup fresh Asian basil,torn

Heat a wok and add in 2 tbsp of thick coconut cream.Allow the cream to heat and add the curry paste.Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes,stirring. Add in the rest of the coconut milk, the stock, soy sauce and sugar. Allow to come to a simmer while you add in the torn kaffir lime leaves.Stir well and allow to simmer (DO NOT BOIL) for about 5 minutes.

Gently stir in the vegetables and tofu. Simmer 2 minutes ,more.

Check for seasoning and adjust.

Pour into serving bowl and garnish with basil.Serve with a bowl of steamed Jasmin rice or hot Indian Chapatis.

Thai crab salad with fresh mango


In the summer I am obsessed with freshness,from fruit to seafood. I adore the simple abundance of herbs in my small herb garden,especially the fresh green chilis,cilantro and Thai basil.Wish I could grow tropical fruit such as Lychees and Mangoes but….the market will have to supply those. While away at college,yearning for a home cooked meal,my son,Ashish e mailed me a list of items he would love to eat during his summer home,this crab salad was one of the first requests.It is best to prepare this with the freshest of ingredients,as it is a simple salad and each ingredient contributes to its explosion of taste in your mouth.

Chef Tony Wrigley,Rockfish restaurant,Phuket Thailand

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

Serves 1

1/2 cup cooked crab meat

1/2 diced mango

2 to 3 sliced Thai chilis

2 green onions,sliced

a few sprigs cilantro,roughly torn

a few Thai basil leaves,roughly torn

1/4 cup ry roasted peanuts

2 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp canola oil

juice of 1 fresh lime

some chili sauce for presentation

Gently toss all ingredients so as not to break the crab meat. Taste to adjust seasonings. Serve.

Thai Crying Tiger Chicken


Today was our first really warm rainfree day of the season,so, of course, we had to grill . I had a super busy day and needed something with big impact and little effort,this was perfect. The Thais love their red-hot chilis,so, naturally the milder the sweeter the title. The hotter the sauce you prepare the more the tiger “roars”. So weeping tiger to crying tiger to howling tiger .My family enjoys medium heat ,so this is perfect. I serve this along with a fragrant coconut jasmine rice and some simple green beans  and cucumber…perfect for a summer day !

Serves 4

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

1  1/2 lbs skinless boneless chicken filets

1/4 cup thin soy sauce

1 tablespoon Fish sauce

1/4 tsp white pepper powder

6 Kaffir lime leaves,shredded

Wash and dry the chicken filets. Place in a non reactive container and pour on the rest of the ingredients. Cover and allow to marinade for at least 1 hour . Grill over charcoal till done.

Dipping sauce

4 cloves garlic,grated

2 tablespoons or more of  chili paste or 15 red Thai chilis , pounded to a paste

Juice of 1 lime

1/8 cup fish sauce

1 to 2 tablespoons palm sugar

1/2  teaspoon ground coriander seed

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Combine and serve alongside grilled chicken

Pork Satay with perfect peanut sauce


During the warmer spring months my family loves to spend time outdoors for various activities, especially grilling. Pork satay is a family favorite. I get my butcher to slice the meat as super thin as possible,then, once marinated,skewer the meat onto presoaked bamboo skewers and grill on a really hot flame of about 500*F. As you can see the family really loves slightly charred ,crisp satay, but you could easily flip them more frequently and,perhaps lower the heat if you prefer a less charred  satay. This recipe works on all kinds of meat, so do not feel compelled to use pork.

Serves 4

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Adapted from Su-Mei-Yu

1 tbsp dry roasted cumin seed,ground

1 tbsp dry roasted coriander seed,ground

1 tsp dry roasted white pepper,ground

1 stalk lemongrass,green parts and hard outer leaves removed, minced

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup fresh unsweetened coconut cream

1  1/2 lbs meat of your choice,sliced super thin,then cut into strips

Bamboo skewers soaked in water

one 6 oz can pineapple juice

Vegetable oil spray

Perfect peanut sauce, for serving (recipe found on http://www.dolcedente.com)

In a medium bowl combine spices,salt,lemongrass and coconut cream,stir to blend. Add meat and stir to coat . Cover well and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature prior to grilling.

Thread meat onto skewers, place on a platter as you fire up the grill.

Dip each meat skewer into the can of pineapple juice, then spray the meat generously with vegetable spray . Lay the skewers close to one another, to keep the meat moist, on the grill and cook,turning frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, until well done.

Serve alongside Perfect peanut sauce

Spicy Thai lemongrass and mint lamb chops


Lamb is an acquired taste , it can have a strong , overwhelming aroma , if not allowed to marinate in the right herbs and spices for at least 4 to 6 hours . This marinade is so flavorful and lends itself beautifully to this succulent piece of meat . I serve 4 pieces per person with a flavorful and simple Gado Gado salad with peanut sauce and a stir fried vegetable rice noodle . This is perfect food for summer and grills up to perfection . If the chilis are too much for you simply omit or tone down the amount.

Serves 2

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

8 lamb rib chops

2 sticks lemongrass , inner tender portion only

1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves

1 large clove fresh garlic , peeled

juice of 1 medium sized lime

2 red Thai chilis , minced ( optional )

2 tbs palm or brown sugar

2 tbs fish sauce

2 tbs vegetable oil

Clean and defat the lamb , place in a plastic freezer bag. Set aside.

Combine in a food processor the rest of the ingredients to blend well . Pour over the chops in the bag and massage well to distribute evenly making sure each rib is coated . Seal bag and rest in refridgerator for at least 4 to 12 hours .

Light grill to about 450*F . Oil grill or spray with non stick cooking spray . Place chops on grill removing excess marinade . Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side , depending on how well done you prefer your ribs .

Remove to a platter and serve . I have often taken the excess marinade , boiled it in a small saucepan and serve it along side the rigs as a dipping sauce .

Easy vegetarian Tom Yum soup


Tom Yumis one of the most popular Thai soups , revered both for its health benefits from its potent herbs and spices and the lightness of the simple flavorful broth .I use a Tom yum paste available from Asian stores , makingquick work of this delicious soup . If you prefer you could add some seafood such as fresh shrimp , but mine is vegetarian .

Serves 2 to 3

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

3 -4 cups water or vegetable stock

2 stalks lemongrass , tender parts only

4 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves shredded

2 small red chillies  sliced

Comercially prepared Tom Yum paste ( use as directed )

Choice of fresh vegteables , such as fresh thin sliced mushrooms , baby corn cut bite sized , fresh baby spinach

Fresh coriander

1 tsp palm sugar

squeeze of fresh lime juice

2 scallions , sliced

Place kaffir lime leaves , lemongrass and chilis in a pot and cover with water or stock . Turn to medium high.

Stir in Tom yum paste and boil 2 minutes more .

Stir in  palm sugar and mushrooms. Cook for 2 more minutes . Stir in baby corn , cook till done. Off heat .

squeeze in lime juice .

Serve , garnished with cilantro and scallions.

Prawns in Garlic Sauce


Prawns , commonly known as ( Jumbo ) shrimp , are a staple in my freezer . They are a quick , delectable  and easy to cook , making it just great for any weeknight dinner .  This sauce is a cross between Thai and Chinese with some Indian influence , ofcourse , as it comes from famed Indian chef and cookbook author , Nita Mehta. I did add some Sriracha hot sauce to the sauce as my family loves spicy food , I also added 2 tbs of sherry in the very end as a finishing touch to the dish.

Serves 6

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

12 prawns , shelled and deveined , tails intact

Oil for frying

MARINADE

1 egg lightly beaten

1 tsp salt

1/2 -1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp MSG ( optional )

1 tsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 cup cornflour

SAUCE

2 tbs garlic paste ( 10 to 20 flakes of garlic , crushed to a paste )

2 tbs oil

3 tsp soy sauce

2 tbs ketchup

1  1/4 tsp ground white pepper

3/4 tsp salt

2 tbs cornflour mixed with 1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp MSG ( optional )

2 tbs sherry ( optional )

1 tsp sriracha ( optional )

Beat egg lightly with salt , sugar , msg  , oil , pepper and cornflour.

Add prawns to this mixture , stir and leave to marinate for 30 minutes .

Heat plently of oil in wok . Drain off excess marinade from prawns and fry them for 2 to 3 minutes until golden .

Drain well and place on paper towel .

SAUCE

Heat oil and fry garlic on low heat till it starts to change its color.

Add ketchup , pepper , salt and soy sauce . Cook 1 minute .

Add sugar( and msg and sherry)Add water . Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes .

Add cornflour slurry , stirring all the time , until the sauce thickens . Remove from heat .

Add the fried prawns and heat through . Serve hot garnished with sliced spring onions.