Thai food

Peppery garlic asparagus stir fry

Yep, it’s asparagus season!

And after a visit to the local Farmers’ Market I had enough asparagus to just get creative with - which is really what I love to do with food: get great ingredients and then just have fun, playing around and trying out new ideas.

First I made a Thai soup with coconut milk, a tom kha - I’ve usually had this with chicken or seafood, but I made it with asparagus and really liked it.

Next up this peppery, garlic stir fry.

In my head I’d wanted fresh green peppercorns but I was definitely too lazy to go out and get the bus up to the Thai supermarket to buy some, so I tried a mix of black, and pink peppercorns (that I had whole and ground) and some white pepper (ready ground).

I’ve since made it again with just white pepper to see what it was like, and it was still good.

Quantities are kind of vague (as they often are!) but here’s what I used to make this super simple peppery asparagus stir fry.


A teaspoon of cooking oil - sunflower, rapeseed or grapeseed will be best

Just over a teaspoon of ground peppercorns - your choice as to what you use but on the first occasion I used a mix of black, pink and white and on the second just white pepper on its own

1 garlic clove, minced

1 red chilli, diced finely (the chilli is optional and when I made this a second time I didn’t put one in and probably preferred it without - instead I had the asparagus as a side dish with a spicy chicken stir fry and rice)

A handful of asparagus spears - I LOVE how when you bed the asparagus it just KNOWS where the right place is to snap off - woody stalk snapped off and sliced

2-3 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Fresh coriander leaves, chopped (if liked - if not just leave out)


Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil and swirl to cover the pan.

Add the pepper and garlic (and chilli if using) and cook for 20-30 seconds, stirring all the time, until it smells good. Add a splash of water if it looks like it’s going to stick or burn - it needs to keep moving.

Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus
Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus

Then tip in the sliced asparagus and stir to cover with the lovely oily peppery garlicky mixture and then add the water, fish sauce and sugar.

Do adjust the amount of water if you’d like more of a sauce or if at any point in the cooking time it looks like it’s run out of water and is going to stick.

Cover and simmer for about four minutes until the asparagus is cooked but still has a crunch - or to your liking of course. If you prefer it softer, cook it a little longer.

Add the coriander leaves if using and stir to mix it all together.

Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus
Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus

Serve on its own with rice for a delicious light lunch or supper, or have alongside other dishes in a multi-dish meal.

Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus
Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus


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Fried egg spicy salad

Easiest little lunch, just a couple of eggs and salad made that bit more special with a hot and sour dressing.

For one person, you’ll need:

Some lettuce, shredded - I had Little Gem

A tomato, hard core removed then diced

Some thin slices of red onion

The juice of one juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1-2 birds eye chillies (depending on size of chillies and your preference)

cooking oil

2 eggs

Make the salad by combing the lettuce, tomato and red onion in a bowl.

Mix the dressing ingredients (lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chilli) together in another little bowl and set aside.

Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil and then crack in two eggs.

Fry the eggs, once to cook the yolks through (I didn’t quite manage this and my yolks are still a little runny - for this dish they’re better cooked through).

Take the eggs out of the pan when cooked and allow to cool.

Cut the eggs into squares or small pieces then add to the salad.

Top with the dressing and toss carefully to combine.

Rachel Redlaw fried egg spicy salad
Rachel Redlaw fried egg spicy salad

And that’s it!

Super simple,nutritious, easy, tasty little lunch for one …. done!



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Mango + pineapple red Thai curry

I’ve always had a bit of a thing about not liking fruit in my food … but over the last year or so I’ve been slowly changing my mind.

Last summer, I made - many times - what’s now one of my favourite salads, chicken with watermelon and sweet chilli sauce. It’s so good!

And then I’ve been just experimenting more and more - and now this red curry with chicken, mango and pineapple is another favourite.

It’s so easy to make too, and just feels really special, so a great one to make when you’ve friends round - as I did on Friday for six of us at our book club!

Anything that’s made in one pot is good with me, really.

So, for two, you’ll need:

cooked rice - cook and then leave with a lid on to keep warm so it’s ready to go

a little coconut oil or vegetable oil

a good red curry paste - I get mine from my local Thai supermarket

one chicken breast, cut into small pieces

a tin of coconut milk (I always use the full-fat one, I don’t think the ‘light’ versions work as well)

one big slice of pineapple, core removed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4-1/2 mango, depending on size peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

some vegetables - I had mushrooms, peppers, carrot and cherry tomatoes, all cut into small pieces

fish sauce

two spring onions, chopped, and a handful for baby spinach leaves if liked and you have it

Thai sweet basil or chopped fresh coriander leaves if you can’t get the basil

1/2 lime

Rachel Redlaw mango + pineapple red Thai curry
Rachel Redlaw mango + pineapple red Thai curry

Get everything prepared and ready to go, then put a saucepan on a medium heat and add the oil.

Add a tablespoon or walnut-sized amount of red curry paste and stir into the oil for a few seconds until you can just start to smell it release its fragrance.

Then add the chicken and a splash of water if needed and stir to seal the meat.

Tip in the coconut milk, stirring, and bring to the boil.

Add the fruit and vegetables (but not the spring onions, spinach or herbs) and cook on a medium boil for six minutes.

Next add a good dash of fish sauce and add the spring onions and spinach if using and cook for another minute or two.

Throw in the herbs, squeeze in the lime juice, remove from heat and stir to combine everything.

Rachel Redlaw mango + pineapple red Thai curry
Rachel Redlaw mango + pineapple red Thai curry

That’s it! Serve with the cooked rice and just enjoy this lovely nurturing, warming curry.

These below are just more photos fro when I made this again as I used broccoli this time and just wanted to show that it’s so easy to adapt to whatever you have.

I also like the photo of the ingredients as I really like that the meat is just another ingredient in this dish - there’s about the same amount of chicken as there is of some of the other additions.

I hope you like this one!

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Chicken with ginger + onions

Well, I’d had this in my head for a while and had intended to make it with white fish - a couple of pieces of cod perhaps, fried in the pan, then removed while the sauce is made.

And I do still want to make this ….

But when there’s no white fish in the shop, what to do? Make it with chicken instead!

So I’ve made this twice now to test it out - once last night when I fried the chicken first in thin sort of escalopes - and then once today for lunch when I thought I’d try just cooking diced chicken in the pan and then adding the sauce ingredients to it (that’s why the uncooked chicken is in my ‘ingredients’ photo, but ignore that).

Both were good, but there’s something that just works that little bit better in cooking the chicken separately then slicing and adding to the sauce.

You could fry it, poach it, roast it, griddle it … anything really, but I think griddled looks prettiest.

Just have the chicken cooked and hot and ready to go … oh, and the rice too of course.

To make the sauce - enough for one or two people, you’ll need:

cooked hot chicken, ready to add

cooked hot rice, ready to add

cooking oil - I used light olive oil as this dish wasn’t cooked at a high temperature

2-3 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, peeled, squashed and minced

Rachel Redlaw chicken with ginger and onions

1 small red chilli, finely sliced (this is optional, I’m just a chilli fiend - but I think the dish would have more purity with fish instead of chicken and without the chilli - so when I do get some cod fillets I’ll be trying it like that)

2 teaspoons demerera sugar

the juice of half a juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

half a white onion, thinly sliced

a big handful of spinach leaves

fresh coriander leaves to serve, if liked

Get everything ready … the ginger, garlic and chilli (if using) in one dish, and combine the sugar, lime juice and fish sauce in another.

Put a good slosh of oil into a non-stick pan, probably about a tablespoon, into a non-stick frying pan and cook the aromatics over a gentle heat, stirring, for a couple of minutes - don’t let it stick, so do add a little splash of water if it needs it.

In another pan add more oil and put the onions on to fry - keep an eye on these, stirring regularly , and cook until golden - probably 5-6 minutes over a medium heat.

Add the lime juice mixture to the first pan and bring to a low simmer, and simmer for another couple of minutes - again add a little water if you prefer it to be a thinner sauce, or if it’s looking too thick or sticking at all. You want to keep it loose as it’s the sauce.

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Rachel Redlaw chicken with ginger and onions

Slice the hot cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan, then add the spinach leaves and cook for a minute to wilt.

Remove from heat and stir so it’s all completely combined and the spinach wilted.

Rachel Redlaw chicken with ginger and onions
Rachel Redlaw chicken with ginger and onions

Serve the chicken mixture with cooked rice and top with the fried onions and some chopped fresh coriander leaves, if liked.



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Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Comfort food extraordinaire!

Perfect, perfect perfect for a grey, rainy winter London day’s brunch.

Quantities are up to you really - I used one sheet of dried vermicelli noodles and one chicken breast for two, but hey - sometime’s I’m hungrier than others and would have eaten it all to myself.

So just choose how much looks and feels right to you. It’s all going to be good (and taste delicious).

For two today, I used:

1 sheet of dried rice vermicelli noodles, soaked in hot water (bring to the boil, add noodles, remove from heat) for 5 minutes

a few dried porcini mushroom, also soaked in hot water until needed - I used a ladleful of the water from the saucepan that the noodles were soaking in

pork mince, about 200 - 250g

a handful of fresh coriander leaves

white pepper

1 red birds eye chilli

1 clove of garlic

1 piece of ginger

cooking oil - I like to use a spray oil

water

about 1/3 of a Knorr chicken stock cube

fish sauce

light soy sauce

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Once the noodles have soaked for about five minutes, drain, rinse with cold water and keep to one side to add at the end.

Scrunch the pork mince with about half the coriander leaves, chopped finely, and about 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and then - using wet hands - shape into small meatballs and set aside.

Mince the chilli and garlic, peel the ginger and either cut into slices or grate finely (I had slices today but tried grating it the next time and preferred that as it’s a stronger ginger flavour).

Also remove the mushrooms from their liquid (keep the liquid!) and cut into small pieces.

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Put a non-stick over a medium heat with a little cooking oil (I used 20 sprays of my spray oil) and add the chilli and garlic. Add a splash of water too to stop it from sticking and then add the meatballs and cook, stirring, so they are sealed on all sides - add another splash of water if needed.

Pour in enough water to make whatever quantity of soup you want and bring to the boil.

Reduce to a simmer and throw in the ginger, crumble in the piece of stock cube and add a tablespoon of the reserved mushroom water (and now discard the rest). Also add a good slosh each of light soy sauce and of fish sauce.

Simmer until the pork is cooked - probably 6-8 minutes but do pull one of the meatballs apart to check.

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Throw in the noodles and cook for another minute, stirring, to combine and ensure it’s all heated through.

That’s it! Serve topped with the rest of the fresh chopped coriander, if liked.

This is my current favourite warming winter dish - I hope you like it too.

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork


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Chilli squid with noodles

I've been experimenting this week with how I make sauces, just simple sauces I mean, I suppose just the flavour element really - usually I'll add the flavours straight to the pan, but then I got to wondering if sometimes it would work better to have them separate.

So instead of adding the chilli, garlic, ginger etc to the sea bass I made the other night, I fried the sea bass first and then made the sauce to pour over it.

It worked so beautifully, I thought I'd next experiment with adding the sauce to the pan, but combining the flavour ingredients together first rather than adding directly one at a time.

Oh and I thought I'd also give my rice noodles a little flavour bath to infuse even more layers of flavour!

And this chilli squid with noodles dish is now my current favourite thing to make.  I know it might look a lot of ingredients, or steps, but don't be put off, because it's actually really simple.

To make a huge bowl for a greedy one, or two smaller portions perhaps to have alongside something else, you'll need:

a couple of raw squid tubes - I always have a bag of frozen ones from the supermarket in the freezer and just defrost for ten minutes or so in a bowl of cold water

FOR THE NOODLES

a layer of dried rice noodles, soaked in boiling water (off the heat) for a couple of minutes

1/4 a cup or so of boiling water

1/3 or a piece of a chicken Knorr stock cube

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

FOR THE STIR FRY SAUCE

1 tsp demerara sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 tsp chilli paste in oil (if you don't have a local Asian supermarket, it's easy to make your own chilli paste)

THE STIR FRY FLAVOUR INGREDIENTS

a piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 red birds eye chilli, finely chopped (use less or more to your taste of course)

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

THE VEGETABLE INGREDIENTS

some vegetables - I had green beans which I cut into smaller pieces and carrot, again cut into smaller pieces - but you could add red or yellow peppers or sugar snap peas or whatever you like

a few cherry tomatoes, halved - I added these just because they needed eating but I really liked them in this dish, so will definitely include in future too

PLUS ...

a few sprays of cooking oil, or a tablespoon or so of cooking oil


Cut open the squid tubes when defrosted (if frozen) and pat dry with kitchen paper then score on both sides to create a criss-cross effect before cutting into smaller pieces - rectangles, triangles, whatever you like!

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Add the boiling water, piece of stock cube and dark soy sauce to a little pan, bring to the boil, stir to make sure the stock cube is mixed in well, remove from heat and add the noodles and then just leave them to soak up additional flavour while you prepare the rest.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Add all the stir-fry-sauce ingredients to a little bowl and stir to combine so it's ready to use, and prepare the ginger, chilli, garlic and the vegetables. Keep the tomatoes separate as they'll go in last.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the cooking oil and then the ginger, chilli and garlic. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds until it smells good - keep stirring so it doesn't stick and add a splash of water if needed.

Add the vegetables and cook for two minutes, stirring - add a little more water if needed to stop it sticking.

Then add the squid and cook for another couple of minutes - some of the pieces will roll up into tubes and they'll all look lovely where the diagonal pattern was made.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Add the stir fry sauce and the tomatoes and cook for two minutes more, then add the noodles from their 'bath' - but leave any liquid that doesn't come with them behind, you don't need all that liquid.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Cook for another minute to get the noodles hot and everything stirred together - and then just tip out into a bowl to eat! 



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Red curry with crispy pork belly + noodles

I love pork belly and have it often in a really spicy sour salad, or in this lovely soft noodle dish.

And today I thought I'd make a red curry with it ... I didn't actually mean to have this with noodles, but I'd somehow - outrageously somehow - run out of rice!

I didn't even know that was a THING, to not have rice just always there in the cupboard!

ANYWAY.

Cook the pork belly first (as much as you like - I had two slices per person) as that will take longest.

I drizzle my pork belly slices with a little light soy sauce and then cook until crispy and gorgeous - it usually takes longer than I think, anywhere from 40 - 60 minutes - and I turn them every 15 minutes or so. 

Once cooked, remove from heat and cut into chunks. I also remove some of the fat at this point as I just don't want it all, but that's just personal preference and entirely up to you. 

For a crispy pork belly Thai red curry for two, you'll also need:

rice or noodles, so cook the rice so it's ready to go, or prepare the noodles according to pack instructions

cooking oil (I use a spray oil)

a good dessertspoon of good red curry paste

1/2 - 1 tin coconut milk (I really do think full fat is better than 'light' versions)

whatever vegetables you choose, or happen to have! I had broccoli and asparagus - and I do like adding a few halved cherry tomatoes to this too

1 tsp sugar

a slosh of fish sauce

the juice of a lime

Thai sweet basil leaves if you can get them (don't use Mediterranean basil, it's totally different)

a few slices of red chilli to garnish, if liked

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

OK, so we've got our pork belly cooked and chopped, and our rice keeping warm in a pan with a lid on it, or - like me - soaked noodles ready to add at the end.

Next, just put a non-stick frying pan over a heat, add a few sprays of cooking oil, and then go in with the red curry paste.

Stir this just for a few seconds really, enough to start releasing the fragrance, and then pour in the coconut milk (how much is how thin or creamy you like the consistency - personally I go for half a tin for two).

When it comes to a simmer, throw in the vegetables and simmer for five or six minutes.

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

Then add the pork belly pieces and the noodles (if using), stir to combine well and add the sugar, a good slosh of fish sauce and squeeze in the lime juice.

Cook for another minute and then remove from heat, stirring in the Thai basil if you have it.

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

It would have looked nicer with the green basil, so I tried to pretty mine up a bit with a couple of slices of red chilli.

That didn't really work but what this lacks in prettiness it certainly makes up for in the most comforting deliciousness and combination of textures and flavours!



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Coconut milk, noodles + eggs (perfect for a cold day)

And then from what seemed like finally spring ... we were blasted back to winter overnight, and it snowed all day.

So I wanted a really warming, nourishing brunch and came up with this - I'll definitely be having it again too! 

Quantities are kind of up to you and how much you want to eat of course, but I had leftover from the night before half a tin of coconut milk and half the nest of rice noodles (ready soaked and in the fridge) so that's what I used.

Cook eggs by carefully lowering into a saucepan of boiling water (with a pinch of salt) and boil for exactly six minutes, then drain and pour lots of cold water in to stop them cooking any further.

Into a non-stick frying pan with a spray of cooking oil, I added:

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1 green chilli, diced very fine (use more or less chilli of course, to your taste)

1 piece of ginger, peeled and grated

Cook for just a few seconds, stirring all the time, until you can start to smell the delicious flavours, and then add the coconut milk and 1/2 teaspoon garam masala.

Rachel Redlaw coconut milk, eggs and noodles

Bring slowly to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add vegetables - I had some asparagus tips and broccoli - cook for another couple of minutes and then add the rice noodles.

Add a tiny pinch of sugar, a dash of fish sauce and cook for another minute or two, stirring often, until the vegetables are done and the noodles hot all through.

Tip out into a bowl and top with the eggs and a few drops of light soy sauce.  I added a slice of red chilli too but just to make it look pretty really! 



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Eating for overwhelm // white fish with ginger + onions

A lovely soothing dinner to ease a stressful day.

Working under stress, at a fast pace, can mean feeling nauseous and dizzy - and here's where ginger can help.

Onions are good for the heart and reducing high blood pressure, but my belief is also that eating for your heart also nurtures the heart emotion, that overwhelm that can come with stress.

And white fish is soothing on the digestive tract, soft and soothing to eat too.

Serve with a little white rice (which is easier to digest than brown) and with a green vegetable stir-fry, with a little chilli and soy sauce, to give hope and vibrancy  ...

This is a good choice for a dinner to wind down, take some time, allow yourself to relax, let all that jumpiness and tightness unwind a little.

I use my beloved remoska electric cooker for this, but you could put the fish into foil parcels on a baking tray or just straight into an ovenproof dish with a lid - and cook in a medium heat oven.

Here's what you'll need for two:

2 white fish fillets (cod, hake, haddock - up to you)

cooking oil

2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon light brown demerera sugar

4 teaspoons fish sauce

the zest and juice of a lime

1 onion, peeled and finely sliced

coriander leaves to garnish, if liked

Put the fish into the remoska, foil or oven-dish and add a few sprays (or a couple of teaspoons) of oil, then the ginger, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, lime zest and juice and a splash of water and cook in a medium oven for 20 minutes or so - check that it's cooked through.

Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions
Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions

Cook your rice and any vegetables you'e serving with this ready for when the fish has cooked.

Five minutes before the end of the fish cooking time add a few sprays or a little oil to a non-stick frying pan and cook the sliced onion until soft and golden.

Serve the fish with rice and vegetables and topped with the fried onion and coriander leaves.

Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions
Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions


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Gai pad pong karee / chicken curry stir fry

 

It's a curry, kind of, a stir-fry, kind of ... and just a good, easy comfort-food dish really.

It uses curry powder rather than paste plus some nam prik pao - chilli paste in oil - for the heat, and it's all finished into a scrambled egg mixture.

OK, I can't say it's the prettiest dish ever, but when you need something warming, comforting and easy ... this would be a good choice, whether for brunch or a simple supper.

Serve with lovely hot fluffy rice and do cook the rice first - so it's ready to go.

For two, you'll need:
 

one egg

1 teaspoon mild curry powder

2 teaspoons chilli paste in oil (buy in Asian supermarkets or it's easy to make your own)

a good splash of fish sauce

a good big blob of oyster sauce

a good splash of almond milk (or use cow's milk if you prefer) - maybe 50-100 ml

cooking oil spray plus 1 teaspoon of the oil from the top of the chilli paste in oil

1/2 an onion, sliced

a few slices of red chilli, if liked

1 garlic clove, minced

1 chicken breast, cut into very small pieces

some vegetables, whatever you have and like really - I made it once with red and yellow peppers and spinach and then again with orange pepper, asparagus and broccoli - all cut up small


Mix the egg, curry powder, chilli paste, fish sauce, oyster sauce and milk in a bowl and set aside.

Rachel Redlaw Gai Pad Pong Karee chicken curry stir fry
Rachel Redlaw Gai Pad Pong Karee chicken curry stir fry

Add some sprays of cooking oil and the oil from the top of the chilli paste to a non-stick frying pan and then add the onion, chilli (if using) and garlic and cook, stirring often, over a medium heat for a couple of minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add a little splash of water if needed.

Rachel Redlaw Gai Pad Pong Karee chicken curry stir fry
Rachel Redlaw Gai Pad Pong Karee chicken curry stir fry
Rachel Redlaw Gai Pad Pong Karee chicken curry stir fry

Then add the chicken and cook for another three minutes or so, again add a little splash of water if it's too dry.

Next add the vegetables and cook again, stirring all the time, for another two minutes or so.

Then tip in the egg mixture and stir to cook and scramble - it'll take another couple of minutes or so until scrambled.

I forgot to take a photo of when the eggy mixture first went in! I'll add one next time I make this.

Rachel Redlaw gai pad pong karee - chicken stir fry curry
Rachel Redlaw gai pad pong karee - chicken stir fry curry

And that's it!

Rachel Redlaw gai pad pong karee - chicken stir fry curry

Something a little different and really easy - I hope you try it.



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