Archive | South East Asian RSS feed for this section

Thai Coconut Rice with Salmon

27 Jun

recipe-image-legacy-id--4334_11This is a sure winner. Easy to make and yummy to eat. It’s also good that some can be prepared in advance so that you don’t have to spend all your time by the stove while your guests are waiting!

For a little extra kick, I quickly fry spring onion, garlic, ginger and chilli (all chopped finely) and sprinkle on top of the salmon. This leaves it up to each guest to decide how much of a chilli kick they want as it’s sprinkled on at the table. Saves you having to judge/guess everyone’s preferred spice level!

I don’t always follow the instructions for cooking the fish. I have shallow fried it to get crispy skin and also steamed it from time to time. I have also done this dish using sea bass and it works equally well.


20g pack of fresh coriander
3 limes
2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
2 tbsp light olive oil
25g butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
90g jar Thai red curry paste (we used Bart’s spices)
500g basmati rice
4 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or freeze dried
6 skinless salmon fillets, each weighing about 140g/5oz
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp golden caster sugar
4 spring onions
1 plump red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
simple green salad, to serve

Serves 6.


  1. You will need a wide-based shallow casserole about 30cm in diameter, or a deep-sided sauté pan, with a tight-fitting lid as the salmon needs to steam in a single layer. Pick the coriander leaves off the stalks, finely chop the stalks and put the leaves in a bowl. Grate the zest of one of the limes. Set aside. Pour both cans of coconut milk into a large jug, then fill one of the empty cans with cold water and stir this into the jug.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in the pan over a lowish heat, tip in the shallots and sizzle gently for about 5 minutes, stirring, until they start to turn golden. Stir the curry paste in and cook for another minute.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and add the lime zest, coriander stalks, rice and a heaped teaspoon of salt, then mix everything together until the rice is coated in the curry paste. (You can prepare this up to two hours ahead.)
  4. Pour the coconut milk mixture over the rice and stir. Bring to simmering point on a medium heat, stirring gently now and then. Get the spoon right to the bottom of the pan so the rice doesn’t stick to it. Scatter in the lime leaves and leave everything to simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir the rice once more, then lay the salmon fillets on top. Cover and leave to barely simmer over a very low heat for 15-20 minutes until the salmon looks cooked and the rice is tender. Cook everything very gently or you will have crunchy rice on the bottom and no liquid left.
  6. While the fish is cooking, juice two of the limes (the grated lime and another) and in a small bowl mix the juice with the soy sauce and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Trim the spring onions, then split lengthways and slice into thin strands on the diagonal. Mix the spring onions and chilli with the coriander leaves. Cut the third lime into six wedges.
  7. When the rice and fish are ready, take the pan off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes. To serve, scatter a third of the coriander salad over everything in the pan. Spoon some coconut rice on each plate, then, using a fish slice, put a salmon portion on top. Drizzle with some of the soy and lime dressing and scatter a spoonful of the coriander salad on top. Give everyone a lime wedge to squeeze over it. Serve the remaining dressing if anyone wants extra, and a side salad.

Thai Style Chicken Noodle Soup

2 Oct

Chicken Noodle SoupMy poor little hubby was down with a cold which inspired me to create this little dish. Perfect to chase away a pesky cold and clear the airways. It’s a bowl full of goodness – and is delicious too! It’s also a good way of using up leftover roast chicken.




  • 3 spring onions chopped/sliced (whichever you prefer)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 medium hot red chilli deseeded and sliced finely (or more if you want it really spicy, not just ‘warm’)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 pint of chicken stock
  • left over chicken, shredded (equivalent to a breast and a half or so)
  • noodles (I use the medium width variety, but any would do)
  • a splash of soy sauce (to taste)
  • the zest of one lime
  • 1 whole (slightly crushed) lemon grass stick
  • a few pinches of sugar
  • salt & pepper( to taste)
  • extra water to accommodate the noodles


Just chop everything and throw into a sauce pan. Let the ingredients cook for 20-30 minutes to let the flavours blend together to a lovely broth. Add the noodles towards the end of the cooking (see instructions on pack) or cook them separately and just add them to the soup. Voila!

Chicken & Prawn Pad Thai

6 Apr
pad thaiThe key to perfect Pad Thai is in the cooking (or “not” cooking) of the noodles – learn how to get them chewy-perfect with this recipe. Included is a simple, but authentic pad thai sauce which is tangy and a little spicy. When it’s all put together, you’ll find there isn’t a noodle dish better than world-famous pad Thai!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes



  • 225g Thai rice noodles tagliatelle-width (available at Asian/Chinese stores)
  • 250g chopped chicken breast or thigh
  • 250g prawns
  • Marinade for Chicken & Prawns: 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 fresh red chillies, minced
  • 6 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh coriander
  • 1/3 cup crushed or roughly chopped peanuts (or other nuts, such as cashews)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • vegetable oil for stir-frying, and wedges of lime


  • 1.5 Tbsp. tamarind paste dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (look for tamarind at Asian/Chinese or Indian food stores)
  • 6 Tbsp. fish sauce, + more to taste
  • 2-4 tsp. chili sauce, or substitute
  • 1 tsp. or more dried crushed chili or cayenne, to taste
  • 6 tbsp. brown sugar
  • Ground white pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of pot to a boil and dunk in your rice noodles. Turn down the heat to low and keep an eye on them: you will be frying the noodles later, so you don’t want to over-soften them now. Noodles are ready to be drained when they are soft enough to be eaten, but still firm and a little “crunchy”. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  2. Make pad Thai sauce by combining the sauce ingredients together in a cup. Stir well to dissolve tamarind and brown sugar, and set aside. Note: this may seem like a lot of sugar, but you need it to balance out the sourness of the tamarind – this balance is what makes Pad Thai taste so amazing!
  3. Place chicken and prawns in a small bowl. Stir together the marinade and pour over. Stir well and set aside.
  4. Warm up a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus garlic and minced chili, if using. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds). Add marinated chicken. When wok/pan becomes dry, add a little chicken stock, 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, to keep the chicken frying nicely (5-7 minutes, until cooked is cooked).
  5. Add the noodles, and pour the Pad Thai sauce over. Using two utensils, use a gentle “lift and turn” method to fry noodles (like tossing a salad). Stir-fry in this way 1-2 minutes. If you find your wok/frying pan too dry, push noodles aside and add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the bean sprouts and and continue frying 1 more minute, or until noodles are cooked.Noodles are done to perfection when they are no longer “hard” or crunchy, but chewy-sticky wonderful! Taste-test for seasoning, adding more fish sauce until desired flavor is reached (I usually add 1 more Tbsp. fish sauce). Toss well to incorporate.
  7. Lift noodles onto a serving plate. Top with generous amounts of fresh coriander, spring onion, and crushed/chopped nuts. Add fresh lime wedges to squeeze over each portion.

Pad Thai Tip: For even more flavor, I’ll often make a double batch of the pad Thai sauce. Then, as I’m stir-frying the noodles, I’ll add more sauce until I’m happy with the taste (I also add extra fish sauce). Any leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Nigel Slater’s Thai Green Curry

28 Feb

Thai Green CurryThis recipe was a real eye opener for me. Up until I tried this, I always thought that making your own curry paste wouldn’t be worthwhile and that the store bought pastes are just as good. Well, after making this for the first time a few years ago, I haven’t bought a single jar from the store! Being able to taste each individual ingredient in the paste makes it so fresh and very exciting.

For the curry paste

  • 4 lemongrass stalks, tougher outer leaves discarded
  • 6 medium-hot green chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 5cm/2in piece of galangal or ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chopped lime zest
  • 1 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • ½ tsp ground black peppercorns

For the curry 

  • 750g/1lb 10oz free-range chicken breasts or thighs, bones removed
  • 3 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 200g/7oz chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 400ml/14fl oz tin coconut milk
  • 400ml/14 fl oz homemade or ready-made chicken stock
  • 8 lime leaves
  • 1 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • 1 tbsp bottled green peppercorns, drained
  • leaves from a large bunch (about 20g/0.7oz) basil, shredded
  • 15g/½oz fresh coriander (leaves and stalks,) roughly chopped


For the curry paste, slice the lemongrass finely. Put it in a food processor with all the remaining curry paste ingredients and whiz to a thick paste, pushing the mixture down from time to time with a spatula. Transfer to a glass or china dish, cover tightly (otherwise it will taint everything in the fridge) and refrigerate.

For the curry, cut the chicken into finger-thick strips.

Warm the oil in a casserole and, when hot and sizzling, add the chicken strips and let them colour slightly on all sides. You will need to do this in batches to avoid crowding the pan.

Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the casserole with a slotted spoon. Add the quartered mushrooms to the casserole and fry until golden-brown, adding more oil if needed.

Pour in the coconut milk and stock, then add the lime leaves, four heaped tablespoons of the curry paste, the fish sauce, peppercorns and half of the chopped herbs. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Return the chicken to the casserole with a further tablespoon of the paste and simmer for five to six minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the last of the herbs and serve.

Thai Basil Chicken

19 Jan

Pad KrapowThis has to be my favourite Thai recipe by quite a distance. It has everything you could ever want in flavours and is dead easy to make as well.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 300g chicken sliced breast (I prefer chicken thigh fillets for flavour)
  • 1/2 medium red or green pepper (sliced)
  • 5tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 6 chopped deseeded chillies (or to taste)
  • 1tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp water (I usually add more as I LOVE the liquid this dish creates)
  • 20 whole fresh basil leaves (use Thai basil if you can find it, but Italian basil works fine too)
  • 1/2 cornstarch


Heat oil in a wok (or large frying pan) on high until it is just about to smoke. Add garlic and chillies and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add chicken strips and fry for another couple of minutes until lightly browned all over. Add fish sauce, sugar and soy sauce and fry for another minute. Add oyster sauce and water cook for 30 seconds. Finally add the peppers and the basil leaves and cook until the peppers have started to soften. Dissolve cornstarch in water, add to work and fry for a minute or so, until the sauce has thickened a bit. Take off fire and serve immediately with steamed rice.

TIPS! Make sure you’ve done all the prep work (slicing, chopping etc) as once you start cooking, this moves really fast. I’ve very often added both chestnut mushrooms as well as aubergine/eggplant (cut into sticks) as they add a bit more ‘meat’.