Gado Gado,Vegetable Salad With Peanut Sauce

This Malaysian salad is one of my most favorite salads. You may serve it as an arranged salad, or tossed in a glass bowl as it is very colorful and attractive. There are two simple components to this dish , the peanut sauce ,which acts as the dressing  and the vegetables. I use the recipe by Vatch but feel that the vegetables should be blanched first and not left completely raw as he suggests.

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani


Oil for Deep -frying

2 blocks of beancurd, about 2 inch square

4 oz beansprouts

4 oz longbeans, chopped into 1 inch lengths and blanched (optional)

4 oz cucumber , thinly sliced

4 oz white cabbage , blanched and thinly sliced then broken up into strands

 2 hard boiled eggs ( omit if vegan)


2 large dried red chillies, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves , finely chopped

5 small red shallots, finely chopped

1/2 tsp shrimp paste (omit if vegan) or 1 tsp soy sauce

2 tbs oil

3/4 pint coconut milk

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbs sugar

1 tsp tamarind water

4 tbs crushed peanuts


In a mortar pound together chillies , garlic and shallots to form a paste. Add shrimp paste or soy sauce and mix well.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan and stir in the paste. Add coconut milk and stir well. Add all the remaining ingredients together, stirring well. Cook briefly until the coconut milk comes to the boil. Remove at once from heat.


Heat the oil and deep fry Bean curd until golden. Remove , drain and set aside.

Arrange all vegetables in a salad bowl. Shell the eggs and quarter them (if using), then place them in the salad bowl . Thinly slice the beancurd and place the slices in the bowl.

Serve with the sauce , either seperately or poured over the salad.


Hot and sour seafood salad

I have always joked that my kids(and husband) were born with a bottle of hot sauce attached to their hip. On every vacation the children must stop at a local vendor and purchase the hot sauce native to that country. My younger son,on a trip to Africa,dicovered Piri Piri super hot peppers,so it comes as no surprise that the heat in this dish is right up their alley,but feel free to tone the spice down to your level.

Maybe prepared with any combination of seafood.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

Courtsey Vatcharin bhumichitr

Lettuce,parsley,cucumber etc to garnish

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons stock

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

4 prepared Fish Balls (from an oriental store)

4 large Raw prawns,Shelled and deveined

2-4 crab claws

4 pieces sliced squid

2 lime leaves,finely sliced

1 shallot,finely chopped

1/2 small onion,finely slivered

spring of coriander,coarsely chopped.

Prepare a serving dish with lettuce,parsley and sliced cucumber,set aside.

Combine lemon juice,chili powder,fish sauce ,sugar and stockin a small pan. Bring to the boil,stirring all the time. Add the fish balls,prawns,crab claws and squid,and stir and cook for a minute or two until the raw meats are cooked through.

Take off heat and add all the remaining ingredients,mix well. Turn on to the prepared dish and serve

Fried rice with chicken and curry powder.

Fried rice in the Thai culture is served as a seperate meal,never as a substitute for plain boiled rice. As I have previously mentioned the best time to prepare fried rice is when you have day old rice,how economical!!! especially with the price of rice right now. I love this recipe as it does not really require any fancy ingredients but can all be shopped for at most local supermarkets.

2 tablespoons oil

2 garlic cloves,finely chopped

3 oz boneless chicken,chopped or sliced

21/2 cups cooked rice

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

2 tablespoons Fish sauce

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 spring onion,trimmed and slivered into 1 inch lengths

1/2 onion,finely slivered

a shaking of ground white pepper

In a wok or frying pan,heat the oil till a light haze appears. Add the garlic and fry until golden brown. Add the curry powder,stir and cook for a few seconds;add the chicken and cook for a minute or two until the meet is opaque . add the rice and stir throughly. Add the soy sauce,fish sauce and sugar,stirring after each addition.

Cook together for a few seconds until you are certain till you are certain that the meat is cooked and the rice throughly reheated.

Turn onto serving dish,garnish with the spring onion,and lightly sprinkle with pepper.

Coutsey Vatcharin bhumichitr

Fried noodles with crab

I love using crab as often ,rather than cooking it myself, I buy precooked  lump crab meat. This is such a convienent product to buy,but ,be careful and do pick it over prior to using. This recipe uses rice noodle. Another pantry favorite,it is sold dry and needs to be rehydrated and drained prior to using.

2 tablespoons oil

1 garlic clove,finely chopped

1 teaspoon red curry paste

4 oz crabmeat

1 egg,lightly beaten

8 oz rice vermicelli,soaked in water 20 minutes and drained

1 cup bean sprouts

3 scallions,thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 large fresh red chili,chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice

Heat oil in a wok and fry the garlic until golden brown. Add the remaining ingredients one at a time,stirring well between each addition. Cook for another minute or two,then turn into a serving plate and serve.

Coutsey Vatcharin Bhumichitr

Fried noodles with mushrooms

The amusing thing about these delicious rice noodles is that they literally take minutes to prepare and cook.I think the longest part of this dish is the soaking of the rice noodles. Great for a vegtarian week night supper,soak the noodles and then slip into something more comfortable!!! super

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

2 tablespoons oil

2 oz onions,coarsley chopped

4 oz rice vermicilli noodles ,soaked in water 20 minutes and drained

2 oz wood ear mushrooms,soaked in water and drained,then coarsley chopped

2 oz celery,coarsley chopped

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

cilantro leaves for garnishing

Heat oil in wok and fry onions briefly. Add all the remaining ingredients except the cilantro,one at a time,stirring between each addition.

As soon as the ground pepper is stirred in,turn the mixture onto a serving plate, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Courtsey Vatcharin bhumichitr

Crab and coconut cakes with plum sauce

Whenever I entertain I love to serve a variety of finger foods over cocktails . This sets the mood and keeps conversation flowing. This Thai style crab cake is easy to make and just delicious. Another great recipe from Vatcharin Bhumichitr,one of my very favorite restauranteurs and cookbook authors.

8 oz fresh crabmeat (1 cup)

1 oz (1/2 cup) dry unsweetened coconut

1 egg

2 garlic cloves,finely chopped

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

pinch of ground white pepper

Fine dried white bread crumbs,for coating

oil,for deep -frying


1 preserved plum6 tablespoons rice vinegar1/4 cup sugar

2 small fresh red or green chilies,finely chopped

To make sauce,use fork to scrape the plum flesh from the pit. Heat vinegar and add the sugar and plum flesh,stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer until a very thin syrup begins to form,then remove from heat. Stir in the chilis,pour into a bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl,stir together the crabmeat,coconut,egg ,garlic,sauces and pepper. Knead with your fingers,then form into small balls. Roll in the bread crumbs until well coated.

Heat a pan of oil to 400 degrees. Deep fry the patties until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with plum sauce.

Fried Rice with shrimp and green curry paste.

This spicy Thai style fried rice makes a great one pot meal,watch out though depending on the amout of green curry paste you chose to use you can raise or decrease the heat level.

2 tablespoons oil

2 garlic cloves,finely chopped

1 tablespoon or more Green curry paste

4 oz raw shrimp,peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

31/2 cups boiled fragrant rice

1 sweet red pepper,seeded and sliced

cilantro leaves ,for garnishing

In a wok or frying pan,heat the oil till a light haze appears. Add the garlic and fry until golden brown. Add green curry paste ans shrimp and stir quickly. Add fish sauce,sugar and soy sauce,stir and cook for a few seconds until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Add cooked rice and stir throughly. Add the sweet pepper and scallions and stir quickly to mix.

Courtsey Vatcharin Bhumichitr