In 2007, I took a whirlwind trip to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, with a side visit to Myanmar. It’s a long way to go and it’s not for the faint-hearted, especially when you start out with a 3-hour delayed departure in Fort Lauderdale. Then, a 5 hour flight to LA, a 15 or 17- hour flight to Hong Kong and I think a 2-hour flight to Bangkok. I’ve since blotted the actual timeline from my mind — so that I’d remain open to traveling in Asia again. Because it is sooo worth it! But, like my visits to Turkey, it was both a taste and tease. I long to go back. Read More
One month has passed since I returned from Thailand, my digitally printed album of photos was ready to share, and I wanted to practice what I learned in Thai “Cookery” School before I forgot. Aside from the food, what lingered most with me was the ambience (the flowers in Bangkok in particular) so I tried to create a serene Thai mood with the table setting and the lemongrass scented chilled hand towels provided for the guests.
I created the same menu from the cooking school — the soup, the noodles, and the chicken and eggplant green curry — with a few embellishments and a few omissions. For embellishment, I added a small amount of ground pork to the otherwise vegetarian noodle dish and omitted the requisite 4-alarm fire from the chili peppers. One receipe called for 20 chiles in a serving for 4!! Various chili sauces and pastes were on the table for those who wanted to kick it up a notch.
I also added a couple of straight vegetable dishes. I made a carrot, brocoli, chive slaw which I topped with sliced mango and dressed with a wasabi-honey vinaigrette. I served this after the soup with a platter of steamed pork dumplings. I also accompanied the 2 entrees with some simply sauteed pea pods.
Thai cooking is very interesting — lots of ingredients and a fair amount of prep work — but once you get to the stove, every course is cooked in less than 5 minutes. Talk about cooking on all burners!
Dessert was really simple since I purchased everything from an Asian market. In Thailand we were treated to a smorgasboard of after dinner treats – mostly odd connoctions, like kidney beans or gelatinous substances made from beans or vegetables often topped with sweet syrups. I found 5 different varieties to serve. Pumpkin custard was the hands down favorite and I think we were split on the second position – it was either the bean curd paste or the syrupy taro balls.