Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Let's Do Thai Tonight...

Long before Korean cuisine became my favorite, Thai cuisine was reigning at the top spot.
I was exposed to Thai food when I was somewhere between 17-18 years old. I love Thai food so much that I even learnt the language.

Yesterday, having heard that Jo was going to the Golden Mile Complex to run some errands, I begged & pleaded & cajoled with her to get me some Thai spices ….Ha! Ok! I was just exaggerating here, I’m sure she did it with pleasure.

Made a trip to the supermart earlier to get the needed ingredients for tonight’s dinner. Cooked two of my best-loved dishes, that’s the Tom Yum Soup & Basil Pork.


Tom Yum Soup

What U need:

  • 500g Prawns - shells removed and butterflied (save shells for soup stock)
  • 2 Squid - sliced
  • 2-3 stalks Fresh lemon grass
  • 4 cups Water, or mild soup stock, salted with fish sauce to the desired saltiness
  • 6 slices fresh Galanga
  • 6 fresh or dried Kaffir lime leaves
  • 12 whole Thai chillies - stem removed and bruised with the back of a cleaver
  • 1 small Onion - halved and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
  • 3 tbsp Tom Yum Paste
  • 1 can whole Straw mushrooms, drained
  • 3 small Tomatos - cut in bite-size wedges (optional)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes, to desired sourness
  • ½ cup Coriander leaves


  1. Cut the bottom tip off the lemon grass stalks and discard the loose outer layer(s).
  2. Then cut each stalk into 3 sections and smash each piece with the side of a cleaver to bruise, this will help release the aromatic oils.
  3. Place the cut lemon grass along with the prawn shells and the water or stock in a soup pot.
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer with a lid on for 15-20 minutes to draw out the flavors.
  5. Strain out the shrimp shells and some of the lemon grass.
  6. Add the sliced galanga, kaffir lime leaves, bruised Thai chillies and sliced onion.
  7. Simmer a couple of minutes and then add the Tom Yum paste and straw mushrooms.
  8. Heat stock to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  9. Stir in the tomato wedges, prawns and squid.
  10. After 20-30 seconds, turn off heat; add lime juice to the desired sourness and the coriander. Do not let the prawns or shrimps overcook. Serve immediately.

Basil Pork

Thai Basil Pork

What U need:

  • 3 tbsp Peanut oil for stir-frying
  • 12 cloves Garlic - finely chopped
  • 500g Pork - minced
  • 10 Thai chillies - cut into very thin rounds
  • 2 small Kaffir lime leaves - very finely slivered
  • 2-3 tsp Black soy sauce (the semi-sweet kind)
  • 2 tbsp - Fish sauce
  • 1 cup Fresh Thai basil leaves and flower buds


  1. Prepare the ingredients as instructed.
  2. Leave the fresh basil leaves whole; the flower buds may also be used. Pull off leaves and discard the stems.
  3. Heat a wok until its surface is smoking hot. Swirl in the oil to coat the wok surface. Wait a few seconds for the oil to heat and then stir in the garlic.
  4. Stir another 15 to 20 seconds before adding the pork. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until most of the pork has changed color on the outside and is no longer pink.
  5. Toss in the chillies, slivered kaffir lime leaves. Sprinkle black soy sauce over the mixture and stir-fry for another 15 to 20 seconds.
  6. Season to taste with fish sauce, then stir in the fresh basil.
  7. Toss well. Stir-fry another ½ to 1 minute, or until the basil is wilted and the pork is cooked through. Stir and transfer to a serving dish or spoon directly over individual plates of plain steamed rice.

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