Papaya Salad

The following recipe was featured for my Thai Cooking Class. You can read and view other recipes from the class HERE.

Papaya Salad
Joelen’s recipe
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste or 1/2 shrimp bouillon cube
2 cups shredded green papaya
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons fried garlic
1 medium tomato, chopped & seeded
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped holy basil (Thai basil)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl and mix to dissolve for vinaigrette.
Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette.

Thai on a Gloomy Day

What’s a cuisine I haven’t had in a while? Thai! Rather than hitting up the nearest Thai restaurant (several are within walking distance from me) I decided to make some Thai Basil Beef Stir Fry . It allowed me to use up some veggies on hand and savor some favorite Thai flavors.Here’s my recipe for Thai Basil Beef Stir Fry:

2 beef strip steaks, sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 tablespoons oil for stir frying
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
2 small green bell peppers, sliced
1-2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
5-7 fresh thai basil leaves, whole
1 tablespoon each combined: cold water & cornstarch

In a bowl, combine sliced beef w/spices & cornstarch; allow to sit for 10 minutes.
In a wok or large skillet, heat oil and add onions & garlic.
Cook until softened.
Add beef and brown.
Add soy sauce, water and fish sauce.
Add tomatoes and carrots; cook for 3-5 minutes.
Add peppers; cook for 3 minutes.
Add mushrooms & thai basil; cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in slurry of water & cornstarch to thicken sauce.
Serve over steamed rice.

Soggy, Wet & Drunk

After getting caught in a downpour this afternoon in the Argyle neighborhood of Chicago. Over some sweet and creamy mango ice cream bars, we sat in our car contemplating our dinner options. Rather than hitting up the numerous Thai and Vietnamese restaurants surrounding us, we headed home after being inspired to cook up some Thai food. With some veggies yearning to be used in my kitchen, I went to work and made Pad Kee Mao, also known as “Drunken Noodles.”
Drunken noodles (or Pad Kee Mao, ผัดขี้เมา) is a Thai noodle dish similar to Pad See Ew, but with more flavor. It is made with broad rice noodles, soy sauce, garlic, and usually meat, sometimes bean sprouts, and various seasonings. Chili and thai basil adds to its well known spiciness.

We thought we had enough heat to deal with, so I made Pad Kee Mao without chili tonight. No one knows where the name of this dish comes from. Some believe it is called drunken noodles because it’s an excellent hangover cure. Others believe that it is so hot that the eater has to be drunk to be able to stand it, while some are sure that it’s because one becomes drunk trying to drown out the heat with alcohol. Still others believe that the name comes from the wide assortment of ingredients the dish contains: The chef is drunk enough to throw in a bunch of vegetables and spices without thinking it over. The most probable explanation is that this is one of the only foods available on the streets of Thailand late at night and in the very early morning, the times when drunken partyers are looking for something to eat. It is very possible that the extremely “wobbly” noodles themselves give the dish its name.

Here is my recipe for Pad Kee Mao, but you’re welcome to use various other vegetables you have on hand:

1 pkg flat rice noodles in “shards” or sticks
water to cook noodles
thai basil leaves – whole or chiffonade
assorted veggies such as:
sliced fresh mushrooms
sliced green & yellow bell pepper
2 plum tomatoes, wedged
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, sliced
2 eggs scrambled
1 large chicken breast (or your choice of meat)
cooking oil

Sauce (combine the following in a bowl):
1/2 cup oyster sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

In a pot, boil water and cook noodles until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Drain noodles and set aside.
Prep veggies for stir frying.
In a large wok or skillet, heat oil to cover pan.
Add garlic and onions until it sweats.
Add peppers and mushrooms; cook until softened.
Add tomatoes and cook until softened.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Add oil if needed and fry up scrambled eggs.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Add oil if needed and stir fry chicken.
Season with salt & pepper if you’d like.
Combine all ingredients in pan and add sauce.
Toss until thoroughly coated with sauce.
Garnish with whole or chiffonade basil.
Serve hot.


For the next month, I’m going to be trying to cook with what I have in my pantry and kitchen. Our upcoming move forces me to not buy more ingredients so it might be a little interesting as we get closer to May! Today I made a Thai dish of green chicken curry.

In Thai cuisine green curry (Thai: แกงเขียวหวาน) is one of the spicier variations of curry. The thickness of the sauce varies with the amount of coconut milk used. The main ingredients are coconut milk, green curry paste, eggplant, sugar, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and thai basil leaves.

Its name, “green” curry, is consistent of Thai curry dishes, which are frequently identified solely by their color, other common types being yellow and red curry.

Typically, green curry paste is made by pounding in a mortar ingredients including: shallots, green chillies, garlic, galangal, fresh turmeric, shrimp paste and salt.

The paste is briefly fried in a wok and coconut milk is added, then the meat and vegetables added along with a pinch of brown sugar. Finally, kaffir lime leaves and thai basil are added just at the end of cooking for fragrance.

Thai green curry can be made with meat, chicken, fish or vegetables and is usually eaten as an accompaniment to rice or round rice noodles known as “khanom jeen”.
Here is my recipe for Thai Green Chicken Curry:

1 tablespoon oil
1 chopped onion
2 tablespoons green curry paste (ready made)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cups water
1-2 lbs chicken thighs
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 package frozen asian veggies
1 handful chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a wok or heavy-based pan.
Brown the chicken in the pan – just for color.
Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
In the pan, add the onion and curry paste to the wok.
Cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.
Add the coconut milk and water to the wok and bring to the boil.
Add the chicken pieces back to the pan.
Let chicken simmer in the sauces for about 20 min until cooked through.
Add the fish sauce, lime juice, lime rind and sugar to the wok, stir.
Add frozen veggies and let it simmer in sauce until warmed through.
Sprinkle chopped cilantro in and stir before serving.

I served this with steamed jasmine rice.