After a recent trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand we were inspired to make a couple of dishes at home that we enjoyed during our travels. Here are three top recipes* we’re adding to our collection of delicious Asian cuisine.
Braised Pork Belly and Sticky Rice Recipe
In particular, we loved this pork curry recipe, called “Hung Lay Pork.” It was our favorite dish that we tried at a traditional buffet dinner featuring local Thai dancers.
This week I learned something new: the recipe calls for pickled garlic, a condiment I thought I was familiar with that I’ve used in Mexican cooking in the past. It’s not the same product here; in Thailand I found jars of the picked garlic that included small onions in vinegar. They are widely used in recipes and similar to, but not exactly the same as, white cocktail onions I’ve purchased in the states. Don’t leave them out; they add a nice texture element to the final curry.
- This recipe calls for pork belly as well as pork collar; I purchased pork neck in place of the collar.
- I also learned that using fresh ginger is a good thing! I assumed that adding an entire 1/2 cup of fresh ginger strips would be overpowering to the dish, but that’s definitely not the case; if anything, you could add more ginger. I used a slow cooker to make this recipe, and over time the ginger got sweeter.
- Since I used a crock-pot rather than simmering the curry on the stovetop the liquid did not cook down to the consistency I wanted. To achieve a more thick and shiny sauce, I removed the braised meat and vegetables, and reduced the remaining liquid by half on my stove; then I added 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. You can omit the cornstarch if desired; I just like the rich consistently it gives to the sauce.
- In place of Hung Lay curry powder you can use any yellow curry powder of your choosing.
Asian Sticky Rice Recipe
To accompany the curry, I made Asian sticky rice using this recipe. The method calls for steaming rather than boiling. The rice should not touch the water and needs to be turned over half way through cooking. Also note that the short grain rice should be soaked in plain water for at least six hours or overnight to achieve the proper consistency.
You can serve the rice plain, or mixed with sesame seeds and salt, as in the recipe I provided. This is a good recipe to use a small mortar and pestle. I am finding this to be an essential tool in my Bangkok kitchen.
Chiang Mai Fries Recipe
When I made these Chiang Mai Fries I used a prepared red curry paste. I did not make my own curry paste this time, as it is easily found here at my local market. The dipping sauce, Red Curry Mayo, is a delicious sauce for the fries as well as a great condiment for grilled or baked fish.
This recipe is a great side dish with grilled meats. You can use any kind of seasonal squash; I used Japanese kabacha squash. Half of the squash made three servings.
- I found that it’s best to coat your squash pieces first in rice flour and then dunk the pieces in the batter before adding the pieces in to the hot oil. This will help with batter adhere to the squash.
- Use a high heat oil of your choice:
- Coconut oil
- Grape seed oil
- Peanut oil
- Rice bran oil (a favorite here in Thailand)
As you can tell, I’m having a fantastic time learning to make all sorts of new foods while I’m in Thailand! What’s your favorite Thai dish? Have you found a recipe to make it yourself?
*Recipes courtesy of True Thai: Real Flavors for Every Table by Hong Thaimee (Fun Fact: she was a competitor on Iron Chef America against Chef Bobby Flay).
Mary Hathaway, owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to Dinner-Diva.com for more info.