Thai recipe

Thai grapefruit salad

I love spicy full-of-flavour salads eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves, from my favourite laarb to a a recent recipe for Thai coconut peanut prawn lettuce wraps.

And this recipe has that same coconut and peanut combination but is really fresh and light and tangy …. it’s a beautiful summery dish.

I saw it on my instagram friend Gena’s feed back in June, made it pretty much instantly but then totally forgot to post it!

So I hope you see this and have a chance to make it before the end of the summer.

I think next time I’ll make it I’ll use little gem lettuce ‘cups’ with the grapefruit salad already spooned in, but for this one I used bigger lettuce leaves to tear off and wrap around the salad.

I chose this pink grapefruit as I like the sweetness of pink grapefruit and of course for how pretty it is! Plus red and pink grapefruit contain more antioxidents than yellow.

This is a great anti-aging dish as everything is fresh and nothing cooked, so you get all the hydrating benefits possible.


To make a lovely starter for perhaps four, or a light lunch for two, you’ll need:

1 large grapefruit, torn into small chunks

2-3 dessert spoons of dessiccated coconut

2 -3 dessert spoons of peanuts (I used salted ones as that was what was in the shop), crushed or chopped very small

1 small red onion, or half a larger one, sliced very finely

1 handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

1/2 tablespoon demerara sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce (or a light soy sauce to make this vegetarian)

the juice of 1/2 - 1 (depending on how juicy it is and how you like it!)

2 red bird eye chillies

lettuce leaves, to serve


I like to toast the coconut and peanuts, but you can add them just as they are too - that’s how it was in the original recipe.

To toast, put a non-stick pan over a medium heat, add the coconut and chopped peanuts and toast until a light brown. Stir constantly and watch it closely - it’ll be the one second you look away that it suddenly burns!

Remove from the heat and set aside.

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Make the dressing by pounding the chillies in the mortar with the pestle into small pieces, almost into a paste, then add the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice.

Mix together and taste to see if you need more sugar, fish sauce or lime juice so it’s perfect for you - and bear in mind the sweetness or tartness of your grapefruit too.

Tip the dressing into a larger bowl and add all the other ingredients, adding any juice that’s come out of the grapefruit too, and mix to combine.

Serve with the lettuce to make little bite-sized wraps of salad.

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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, lime + coconut chicken (or mushroom)

This one came about by accident ... on an evening when I'd been planning to make my quick beef rendang, but then realised I was missing several ingredients including, pretty crucially, the steak.

Also, I didn't have any lemongrass, but did have lime leave so decided to play up the lime flavour and see what I could make.

It's now a favourite, made for itself.

I think it would work well with mushrooms in place of the chicken for a vegetarian version.

Cook some rice while you prepare the ingredients, and it can then sit and steam while you cook the curry.

I made this just for me, so portions are for one, but it's easy to scale up and not an exact science anyway really, more about what you've got in, how hungry you are, and what tastes good!

But I used:

a small piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1/2 a teaspoon turmeric powder (when I first made this, I didn't have any, so just leave it out if you don't either)

a couple of lime leaves, torn from the stalks and chopped into very small pieces (if you don't have lime leaves try the zest of a lime)

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1-2 red birds eye chillies (depending on your taste - I like it spicy!), finely sliced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 whole cloves, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 onion, peeled and sliced

1 small chicken breast

2 teaspoons cooking oil or use a spray oil

1/2 tin coconut milk (or like me, find a cute mini-tin!)

1 stick of cinnamon, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 - 1 juicy lime (to your taste - I like lots of lime)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

a few cherry tomatoes, halved

Thai sweet basil, if you have it, or if not perhaps a small handful of baby spinach leaves (or just leave this out)

Put the ginger, turmeric, lime leaves, garlic, chillies, coriander, cumin and cloves into a mortar, add a splash of water and use a pestle or rolling pin to pound into a beautiful paste.

Slice the onion and the chicken so they're ready to go.

Add the oil to a non-stick pan and when hot tip in the spice mixture so it sizzles.

Stir for maybe 30 seconds to a minute - until it releases that beautiful fragrance - and add another little splash of water if you think it needs it.

Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken
Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken

Then add the onions and chicken - and another splash of water - and cook, stirring often, until the chicken has sealed  - about three minutes.

Tip in the coconut milk then add the cinnamon, lime juice, sugar and salt.

Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken
Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken

Stir to mix and then simmer for ten minutes, stirring regularly, then add the tomatoes and cook for another five minutes.

Throw in the Thai basil or spinach, if using, remove from the heat and stir in to wilt.

Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken
Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken

Serve with rice and a couple of slices of a milder red chilli - I just do this because it looks nice and because I love chilli, so don't add it if you don't want to!

If I don't have the Thai basil or spinach, I might also top with some fresh chopped coriander leaves, but I know a lot of people don't like coriander, so this is only if you like it of course!

Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken
Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken

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Salmon with a very good hot, sweet, sour sauce

Salmon's not my favourite fish, I have to say; I often find it too bland.  But is is good for us, being an oily fish, and  I'm experimenting beyond my staples of white fish and - more often - seafood.

And this is a fantastic dinner - full of flavour and goodness, easy to make and, importantly, quick. 

All you need to serve two is a couple of skinless, boneless, salmon fillets, whatever you want to serve with it in way of rice or noodles and vegetables, plus the ingredients for the sauce.

If you have any sauce left over, it'll keep in the fridge in a jar for at least a week so you might like to double the quantities and eat this again soon.

Make this simple sauce by combining: 

1 clove of garlic, chopped finely

1 birds eye red chilli, chopped very finely

a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1.5 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice (probably half a good juicy lime)

1 tablespoon water

Just stir it all together to dissolve the sugar, then set aside.

And cook your rice, if you're having it, so that it's ready to go as the fish cooks quickly.

I'm making some vegetables cooked on the griddle - strips of courgette, some broccoli and asparagus. I just drizzled these with a very little oil and a tiny amount of toasted sesame oil and cooked on a hot griddle for three minutes each side. I also added a grind of salt and a big squeeze of fresh lime juice while they were cooking.

This means that the griddle pan is really hot when I came to cook the fish and I cooked the salmon for four minutes one side and two the other.  I love watching the fish change colour as it cooks through!

Timings will vary a big depending on the size of the salmon pieces, your frying pan or griddle and how you like your salmon cooked!

I sometimes like it a bit more pink in the middle than I made it today and to get it like that I use a non-stick frying pan with a few sprays of oil and cook it four minutes one side then turn and cook a minute more on the other ... but today I felt like having it cooked through and also wanted those lovely charred lines from cooking on the griddle.

Serve with your rice and / or vegetables and just spoon the lovely sauce over it all.

Rachel Redlaw salmon with a good hot sweet sour sauce
Rachel Redlaw salmon with a good hot sweet sour sauce
IMG_7671.JPGRachel Redlaw salmon with a good hot sweet sour sauce


LIKE THIS? YOU MIGHT WANT TO TRY THESE ...

Ruam mit gratiem - pork + seafood stir fry with garlic

II'm not sure about these Thai words - except gratiem meaning garlic.  But having looked them up, I think it means 'all together' something to do with 'friends' .. and garlic.

I like to think - as pork and seafood are such great friends - that it's along the lines of the pork and seafood being friends and inviting the garlic to join them!

This recipe was sent to me by a friend fluent in both spoken and written Thai who has translated it from a Thai cookbook for me.

I tried it for the first time a couple of years ago - and somehow have forgotten to make it again.

But that's now been remedied as I've made it twice this weekend. 

It's delicious.  And easy.  And quick.

And all the things I wanted it to be.

As always, cook your rice first as the dish itself comes together very quickly.

For a lovely, quick and simple dinner for two you'll need:

cooking oil

about 100-200g pork - tenderloin would be best as the Thai instructions were to cut into 'spoon-sized' pieces, but I only had a loin piece and so chopped into 'bite-sized' bits (and I've since made with a pork belly slice, chopped small)

5 or 6 prawns, defrosted if frozen, and de-veined (I had huge jumbo prawns so two each was perfect)

two big cloves of garlic, finely chopped  (a dessert spoon of minced garlic)

2 squid,, defrosted if frozen and cut into tubes and scored, or sliced into rings

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons ground chilli powder (I used flakes)

a splash of water

2 spring onions, finely chopped (optional)

white pepper, sliced cucumber and coriander leaves to garnish

Put some oil in a wok or frying pan and heat until hot and then add the pork and garlic and fry over a medium heat (not so hot the garlic burns), stirring all the time for two-three minutes.

Add the prawns and squid and turn the heat up a bit at the start until it's really hot, then reduce again to medium and cook for a further two-three minutes until the pork is cooked (cut into a piece to check).

Tip the meat and seafood onto a plate or into a bowl and then tip away any juices from the pan.

Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic
Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic
Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic

Then return the pan to the heat adding a little more oil if necessary to cover the bottom.

When the pan and oil are hot add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and chilli flakes plus a splash of water, and the spring onions - and stir fry for about a minute until mixed and sticky.

Return the pork, squid and prawns to the pan and cook for a minute more.

Serve with rice with a shake of white pepper plus sliced cucumber and coriander leaves to garnish.

Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic
Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic
Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic

I hope you try this - I think it's so much nicer than I can describe, and so simple too!



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Chicken stir fry with yellow bean sauce

I love this recipe - actually I love all recipes that are super-simple to make but feel somehow really special.

This is definitely good enough to have when entertaining friends - and also easy and quick enough for an everyday midweek supper.

I usually try to avoid using specialist ingredients in the recipes I share, but I don't have a substitute for yellow bean paste I'm afraid. It'll be available in Asian supermarkets or I'm sure will be online too.

Do try to get hold of some - it's got a lovely savouriness that just makes the dish delightful.


OK, so for dinner for two, you'll need:

2 teaspoons dry sherry (optional but good)

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

a small chunk of fresh ginger, grated (about 1-2 teaspoons)

1/2 - 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (to your taste!)

1-2 skinless chicken breasts, depending on their size and your greed/hunger, cut into small pieces so it cooks quickly - or firm tofu. I tried tofu recently when my vegetarian niece came to stay and it was really good.

Cooking oil spray

2 peppers, sliced into strips - either red or yellow (not green which is too bitter) or a combination would be prettiest - I only had red when I made it this time.

2 tablespoons yellow bean sauce (decant the rest of the tin into an airtight tub and keep in the fridge for a day or two)

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

 1/3 of a Knorr chicken stock cube 

2 teaspoons cornflour mixed into 2 tablespoons cold water, stirred until smooth

about a tablespoon of flaked almonds or sesame seeds - toasted quickly in a hot dry pan - to serve


Put all the marinade ingredients - italicised in the list about - into a bowl with the chicken. Mix and leave to marinate for 15-30 minutes.

Then put a frying pan on to a medium heat, spraying with the spray oil (I use about 20 sprays) and add the chicken - cook for 3-4 minutes stirring all the time so it doesn't stick, and add a little splash of water if needed.

Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside, and add the peppers to the pan and stir fry for a couple of minutes over a medium-high heat, again stirring all the time so they don't stick and add the tiniest splash of water if needed.

Rachel Redraw chicken story fry with yellow bean sauce
Rachel Redraw chicken story fry with yellow bean sauce
Rachel Redraw chicken story fry with yellow bean sauce

Add the chicken back to the pan, reduce heat to medium, and add the yellow bean sauce (I've used two varieties now and both good, but it's great having found the big bottle of paste as I can keep it in the fridge for longer) - cook for a minute or so, stirring every now and then.

Rachel Redraw chicken story fry with yellow bean sauce
Rachel Redraw yellow bean sauce

Next add the soy sauce, crumble in the piece of stock cube, and add the cornflour and water mixture - stir in, simmer for another minute or so until the sauce has thickened a little.

Serve with rice and sprinkle with the toasted almonds or sesame seeds.

cHICKEN STIR FRY WITH YELLOW BEAN SAUCE AND TOASTED SESAME SEEDS

cHICKEN STIR FRY WITH YELLOW BEAN SAUCE AND TOASTED SESAME SEEDS

TOFU STIR FRY WITH YELLOW BEAN PASTE AND TOASTED ALMONDS + SESAME SEEDS

TOFU STIR FRY WITH YELLOW BEAN PASTE AND TOASTED ALMONDS + SESAME SEEDS

I really love this and hope you do too! 


Prefer to watch how to make it? Here's the video ...



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Thai-inspired meatballs + rice noodles

Some dishes are prettier than others and this isn't a very pretty one.

But it tastes MUCH better than it looks and it's really simple (as always) too - so do give it a try.

I made it with beef mince as that's what I had in the fridge, but pork and chicken would both be good and change it up a bit.

Also, I used lovely fresh rice noodles as I'd been to the Thai supermarket and these are my favourites, but dried rice noodles are good, or you could have the meatballs with rice, or even with pasta. All going to be good! Prepare your noodles or rice first so it's all ready to go.

So, for meatballs for one, I used: 

approx 100g mince

half a carrot, shredded and diced

a little piece of ginger, diced

1 birds eye red chilli, also diced

(If I'd had parsley, I'd have added a small handful of that too, finely chopped)

one little lime leaf that was in the salad drawer - I just removed the stalk and chopped the leaf into very fine slices and diced. If you don't have lime leaves, then I'd grate some lime zest in

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and then scrunch it all up to combine and shape into little meatballs.

Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs

Then prepare the sauce ingredients.  

You'll need:

1/2 cup boiling water with about 1/3 of a knorr stock cube (I used chicken)

another little piece of ginger, diced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 birds eye red chilli, finely chopped (use just half if you don't want it too spicy of course)

2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal to look nice

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

 
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
 

And then you just put a frying pan over a heat and either add a tablespoon of cooking oil or, if you're losing weight like me, 20 sprays of that 1-cal-per-spray cooking oil and put the meatballs in.

Keep turning until they're browned all over and if using the spray oil, you'll probably need to add a splash of water too. It takes a few minutes.

When browned, add the chopped ginger, garlic and chilli and fry for a few seconds, then tip in the stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook for around 5 minutes, then add the soy sauce, fish sauce and toasted sesame oil.

Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs

Cook for another minute or so, tasting to check you're happy with the balance of flavours, and that's it. 

Ready to serve!

Some parsley or coriander, chopped and scattered over, might have looked nice, but I didn't have any ...

Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs


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Yam plaa - crispy fish salad

My nephew bought me a Thai cookbook for Christmas, one I haven't seen before.  It's called ... hold on ... The Little Thai Cookbook - and there's some great recipes in it.  I love reading cookbooks so am thoroughly enjoying working my way through this one.

When I find any recipe in any cookbook I like the sound of, or that I've eaten before, I then think through if there's any changes I'd make or what else I could make with it. 

So, with just a very few Tiniest Thai changes, this absolutely delicious crispy fish salad has shot to the top of my current home-alone favourites - when I'm cooking just for me, this is EXACTLY what I usually want to eat. 

It's spicy + sour and crunchy + salty, full of flavour and texture 

And the basic salad and dressing is so simple to adapt to other toppings if you're not in a crispy fish kinda mood.  

I've made it with a chicken, prawn and red pepper topping, stir fried in a little soy sauce and also with prawn and squid. 

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad

I absolutely love hot and sour salads and hope you give this a try

So, crispy fish salad for one ... you'll need .. 

a piece of white fish (I had cod)

1 tspn salt

1 garlic clove

1 red bird eye chilli (or more if you have milder chillies, or want it spicier!)

1/2-1 tablespoon fish sauce

juice of one lime

1 tspn sugar

1/4 red onion, cut into chunks

2 spring onions, sliced

3 or 4 cherry tomatos, halved, or 1 tomato, chopped

1 carrot, julienned or diced

small handful each of fresh mint and coriander leaves, chopped

a tablespoon peanuts, chopped (or use other nuts, I toasted almond flakes today, but peanuts are best!)

cooking oil 

Heat the oven to gas mark 4, 180C.

Rub the salt all over the fish and get all the other ingredients together.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa

Put the fish on a rack over a baking tray and pop in the oven for 20 mins.

While it cooks, start the dressing by roughly chopping the garlic and chilli then crushing into a paste with the mortar and pestle. Don't pulverise it but do be aware that you're going to be eating whatever sized bits of chilli and garlic you end up with, so adjust to your taste! 

Add the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa

Chop and prepare all the salad ingredients and put into a big bowl. 

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
 

Tip over half the salad dressing, stir or scrunch (with clean hands!) to combine - and set aside.

Take the fish out of the oven and flake with a fork, or with your hands, until it has the consistency of large breadcrumbs.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa

Pour quite a lot of oil into a wok and heat until a tiny piece of fish dropped in sizzles on hitting the oil.

Then add the fish 'breadcrumbs'.  Leave to cook in the very hot oil for 30 seconds and then stir, and leave again.

Mine took longer to cook than I'd thought it would and actually I'll leave it longer next time as it's so good when it's really crispy!

Keep cooking and stirring (very carefully) then remove the fish with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper or strain into a bowl (and then dispose of the oil when it's cold).

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad

Put the salad onto a plate, add the crispy fish (or other topping) and mix.

Pour the remainder of the dressing on top and mix again - before eating ... 

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai hour and sour crispy fish slad yam plaa


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Spicy steak salad / yum neua

The most delicious and simple lunch for one.  

I'm a big believer in making meals special and I hate the thought that you might eat purely for sustenance 'just' because it's only you you're cooking for.

So today, home alone, I made myself this salad and I highly recommend you sometime soon do the same!

Or make double and have it with someone else of course - I'm not saying keep it to yourself, just that it's as easy as heating a tin of soup to make yourself something that tastes incredible.

Steak salad with a hot and sour dressing for one then it is.  

Coming right up.

You'll need:

1 steak - whatever you like.  My preference is for rump, but sirloin would work too.

light soy sauce

fish sauce

1 lime

sugar

1/4 - 1/5 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 spring onions

one little gem lettuce, or other lettuce leaves

coriander leaves

mint leaves

a red chilli, to garnish 

 
Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai
 

Get the steak out of the fridge half an hour before cooking and put on a plate or in a bowl with a slosh of soy sauce.  It cooks better from room temperature. 

I made the dressing first, before cooking the steak, and it's so easy! 

In a bowl put 1 tablespoon fish sauce, the juice of a lime (should be about 2 tablespoons so you may need a little more or less), 1 teaspoon of sugar and the dried chilli flakes (note - weirdly half tsp was fine when I made this for one, but one tsp way too much when I made it for two, so go cautious).

Stir to dissolve the sugar and then add your sliced spring onions.

Shred some lettuce and put it on a plate, and chop some coriander and mint. Prepare a few slices of red chilli ready to serve.

Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai
Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai

Cook the steak to your liking.

I usually griddle it for a few minutes each side, but today cooked it under the grill, much more slowly than if cooking a steak to eat whole in a pan or griddle.  I cooked mine 7 minutes each side.

Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai
Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai

Let the steak rest for 4 or 5 minutes, then slice crossways into thin slices.

Add the steak to the bowl of dressing and stir or scrunch (get your hands in there!) to combine.

Put the steak mixture on top of the lettuce and pour over all the dressing.

Top with the coriander and mint leaves, and a few slices of red chilli (if liked). 

Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai
Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai

SO delicious.  

Please please try this one and let me know what you think! 



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January salad

January food, to me, is ALL about freshness.  

After a lot of rich food over the Christmas period I absolutely crave a return to spicy fresh tastes and I really want salads ... and chillies too!

I want spicy and sour and sharp and completely zingy, plus crunchy and fresh.

So I've been making variations of my 'January salad' all week.

 
Rachel Redlaw January salad
 

So easy, it's just a simple basis from which to experiment - and a great way to use up things in the freezer - which is the other thing I'm doing in January.  No more buying what I feel like on the way home when in the freezer I found chicken, pork mince, scallops, squid and prawns!

To go with the salad I cook rice and a quick protein-based stir fry.  

One night it was strips of chicken sprinkled with a little soy sauce and some black pepper and stir-fried.  Another night it was prawns and squid stir-fried with sliced red and yellow peppers and a dash of oyster sauce.  Anything easy and quick and just what you have really.

Just don't make it spicy as the salad is hot! 

And, onto the salad part itself then.

I KNOW this is going to sound a bit of a faff for a salad but bear with me - it's honestly not, there's just a few components, but they are really simple to make and they make your salad something special. 

Read through right to the end before you start making it - and see what you already have that you could use! 

These are the approx quantities I use to make 'January salad' for two (greedy) people, but you really do have to taste as you go with this one and get it to your liking.  

The more often you make it, the easier and more instinctive it gets of course.

First, make the sweet part of the dressing that will balance out the spicy and sour flavours. 

Put two tablespoons (measure them!) of light brown sugar (use white if you don't have light brown) into a small saucepan with three tablespoons of water and slowly bring to a boil, simmer gently for literally just a minute and then remove from the heat.

Rachel Redlaw January salad

Next put all your salad-y things in a big bowl with room to toss it all together later.  

I used about 3/4 of a bag of 'crunchy' salad from the supermarket so it was crunchy lettuce and red cabbage and carrots.  I added thinly sliced green pepper and white onion.  

All of these are good: white onion, red onion, spring onion, carrots, courgettes, cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, peppers and anything else that's crunchy.  Just slice it nice and finely so it looks lovely as well as tastes good.

Put a few cherry tomatoes to one side to add later, or quarter a tomato or two (remove the core! no one wants to eat the core!).

I also really like a bit of added crunch to the texture so some nuts are good if you have them.

A small handful of peanuts would be perfect.  I didn't have any in the cupboard, so quickly toasted some flaked almonds in a hot dry frying pan for a few minutes.

Now the fun bit.  

Put a roughly chopped clove or two of garlic (depending on size) and a roughly chopped chilli or two (I used two birds eye chillies) into a mortar and crush them up with the pestle - you want them in really small pieces but not a total mush. 

Next my 'secret' ingredient - dried shrimp.  This is optional but if you can get hold of it (at an Asian supermarket or online) it keeps forever in the freezer, takes only minutes to defrost and makes your pad Thai authentic too ... 

 
Rachel Redlaw dried shrimp January salad
 

If you're using dried shrimp, add a small handful to the chilli/garlic mix and give it a bit of a bash then add the nuts (if using) and crush a bit more.  

Then add peanuts - if using - and bash a bit more.  (I was using more delicate toasted almonds so just added them at the end rather than over-crushing them now).

 
Rachel Redlaw January salad
 

Then the tomatoes go in to be squished and THEN tip everything from the mortar into the bowl of crunchy salad and stir it all in and maybe give it a bit of a crush with the pestle to make sure it's all mixed.

Pour in the sugar syrup, add 1.5 tablespoons of fish sauce and squeeze in the juice of a lime.

Use your (clean!) hands to scrunch and toss it all together and add a handful of chopped or torn coriander leaves too, if you have them and if you like coriander (I know a lot of people don't).

And, this is the really important bit, TASTE it and see if you need more fish sauce or more lime juice.

 Personally, I like my salads very spicy and very sour, but I've learnt to tone it down a little bit if I'm sharing - haha - so I think the quantities I've given should be right for most people, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to taste and make sure it's right for YOU.  

It's YOUR dinner so it needs to suit your palate.

And that's it.  

Honestly, I love this and right now eat a variant of it several times a week  - and often take leftovers in to work too for lunch the next day (with an extra chilli to add slices of and an extra lime to squeeze in).  

 
Rachel Redlaw January salad
 

I love the sharp flavours and the freshness, the soft chicken or prawns and the steaming rice with beautiful spicy sour salad.

Really want to know what you think of this one, so please do comment if you make your own version! 



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Delicious, different & easy NYE cocktail party ideas

I have SO many recipes and ideas for things that are easy and delicious to make for a party that I thought it would be useful to do a quick round-up now just ahead of New Year's Eve.

These are not only easy and delicious but will be something a little bit different to normal canape fare - and I also believe that by this stage in festive proceedings, most people are more than ready for some fresh flavours and spice after a few days of rich - but bland - food.

Here's two of my favourite cocktail recipes: 

Lemon prosecco punch and lemon vodka sours (yes I like lemon and citrus flavours!).

And my very favourite snack to have ready and warm when guests arrive is spicy cashew nuts.

Raachel Redlaw spicy cashew nuts

Really easy to prepare ahead - chop and slice everything and then just fry before serving warm - is this larb gai.  It's a spicy warm salad and if you serve small portions in little gem lettuce leaf 'cups' it's a fresh and different canape.

A really nice veggie version are these mango, chilli and lime cups.  Just make sure to only prepare an hour before serving so they don't go mushy! 

Rachel Redlaw larb gai spicy salad
Rachel Redlaw mango salad

These pork and prawn balls are a guaranteed winner! Serve just two on a cocktail stick and with a dipping sauce - honestly, everyone loves them! 

Rachel Redlaw pork and prawn balls
Rachel Redlaw cucumber dipping sauce

No Name are delicious vegetable fritters - make ahead of time and then just fry before serving with a sweet chilli sauce

 
Rachel Redlaw No Name vegetable fritters
 

And I love chicken or pork stir fried with garlic and served (again) on little lettuce leaves.  Really tasty and different! 

Rachel Redlaw pad gratiem

Oops! Can't believe I nearly forgot these pork and prawn sesame toasts! Classic - and easy to prepare ahead and then fry just before serving with a little soy sauce for dipping.

Another winner! 

Rachel Redlaw pork and prawn sesame toasts

And to end ... how about these little balls of deliciousness, pimped up however takes your fancy?!

Rachel Redlaw bits of deliciousness

But the main thing is to host a party with love and spirit - so I'm sure your guests (and you) will have a great time no matter if you just put out bowls of crisps!

If you do try any of my recipes, I'd love to hear if you and your guests liked them so please comment below or come over and chat at my FB page.



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Thai-style pork ribs

I made these this week (for the first time) for a Tiniest Thai supperclub and they were really very good and, as importantly for me, very easy too.

And I was absolutely delighted when one guest instagrammed them with this description:

Rachel Redlaw Tiniest Thai Thai-style pork ribs
Tender, juicy and full of sweet, sticky, salty, zesty, spicy fresh flavours
— Lucy B

The ribs need time, more than effort - and will need marinading from the night before.  I'd wanted to make ribs for some time but couldn't quite get a recipe that I liked - I googled and googled and read so many but they just didn't even read as if they had the flavours I was looking for.  

Eventually I came across a recipe on BBC Good Food and have based mine on that. 

You'll need ...

(and I can't tell you how many this feeds as I made it in the week as a starter course as part of a bigger menu for four and am making it today as a light lunch for three with rice.  So it entirely depends on what else you're having and how hungry you are).

 
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
 

around 500g / half a rack of pork ribs (mine were frozen, so I cut them into individual ribs at home when they had defrosted, but you could ask your butcher to do this.  I'd also wanted them halved into shorter pieces but even with this big cleaver I only managed to cut down around half of them so that's another job to ask the butcher to help with if you want them short too)

For the marinade:

3 birds eye chillies, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

small bunch of coriander (keep a small handful of leaves to garnish) - if liked.  If you don't like coriander, just leave it out, or try a handful of parsley instead

a small piece of ginger, chopped

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

4 tablespoons soft brown sugar

For the sauce:

100g or around half a mug of white sugar

around 125ml or a small wine glass of water

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 red birds eye chilli, finely chopped

1 scant tablespoon fish sauce

the juice of 1/2-1 limes

Put all the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor and whizz up until it makes a rough paste.  Tip into a bowl and add the ribs, rubbing to coat them all the marinade. Put in the fridge overnight. 

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Then make the sauce.  Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring very slowly to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. 

 
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
 

Remove from heat and stir in the garlic, chilli, fish sauce and squeeze in half a lime.  Then taste! Limes vary a lot in juiciness so you'll just have to taste and decide if it needs more.  To be honest, I nearly always think things need more lime, so I just squeezed in a whole one!

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Cool then keep in the fridge overnight too.

When you come to cook the ribs the next day, pre-heat the oven to warm so Gas 3 / 160C and tip the ribs and the marinade onto a baking tray.  

Cover loosely with foil and put in the oven for an hour.

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Turn up the temperature to Gas 6 / 200C, remove the foil, turn the ribs and cook for another 20-30 mins, until the meat just easily pulls away from the bone and they are brown and sticky.  If they need browning and stickying up, switch the grill on instead of the oven and keep them under there for a few minutes - watching all the time as they will easily catch and burn.

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Put out onto a plate, drizzle over a little of the sauce and then serve with rice and with more of the sauce if liked (it soaks into the rice beautifully, but if you're not having rice you probably don't need it).  

Some stir fried green vegetables would have been nice, or a spicy salad ... but today it's just ribs 'n' rice.

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs
Rachel Redlaw Thai-style pork ribs

Oh and my top tip.  Put the baking tray in to soak immediately.  I completely forgot the other night and left it in the oven for two days - and it was then a much harder job to get clean!

Let me know what you think of the ribs.



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Chicken stir fry with chilli paste and Thai basil

So, first the chilli paste in oil, or nam prik pao.  If you like cooking Thai food, you may have a jar of this in the cupboard or fridge already.  

If you don't - and you fancy making it - I've a very simple version that's super-quick to make right here.

 
nam prik pao chilli paste in oil Rachel Redlaw
 

You can use the nam prik pao in a tom yum soup, or in this lovely squid stir fry.  It's also just a really versatile condiment and I just might have been known to scoop a little on cheese on toast or have with shepherd's pie too ... 

If you've got some nam prik pao, and you've made the rice to serve with this in advance, then you're basically ready to go - as this stir fry is quick to make.

For two, you'll need: 

cooking oil 

2 cloves of garlic, flattened and chopped

1 chicken breast, minced (in the food processor, or chopped as I prefer to do it)

1 heaped tablespoon chilli paste in oil (nam prik pao)

1 teaspoon fish sauce

some chopped veg (I had red and yellow peppers, a mushroom and a few spring onions)

a tablespoon or so of water

a big handful of Thai sweet basil leaves, or 1.5 teaspoons of jarred Thai basil

dried chilli flakes (to serve)

 
Nam prik pao stir fry chilli paste in oil Rachel Redlaw
 

Put your pan on a medium heat and when hot add a good slosh or two of oil and when that's hot add the garlic.

As for many Thai recipes, stir fry the garlic for perhaps up to 30 seconds over a medium heat, making sure it doesn't burn, until it 'smells good'. (Yep, that's the instruction on most recipes!).

Then add the chicken, nam prik pao and fish sauce and stir fry for a few minutes until the meat is nearly cooked. 

Add the chopped vegetables and a splash of water and stir, then add the jarred basil (if using jarred) and cook for another 4-5 minutes until done. 

 
Nam prik pao stir fry chilli paste in oil Rachel Redlaw
 

If using fresh basil add right at the end just before turning off the heat and stir in until wilted.

Serve with the rice and with a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes (if liked).

Nam prik pao stir fry chilli paste in oil Rachel Redlaw
Nam prik pao chilli paste in oil Rachel Redlaw

I really love this simple stir fry - I think it has unexpected depth from the nam prik pao.

What do you think?





Stir fried chicken & broccoli w/ oyster sauce & sesame seeds

Oh, this is very nice!  And very simple. And good.

One of my sisters emailed me a recipe for 'broccoli in oyster sauce' yesterday and it looked great, so I tried it tonight - adding a few other things along the way - and very good it was too. 

I've a feeling it's going to become a new favourite.

It's also a great vegetarian dish, well, pescatarian, as it has oyster sauce.  Just leave the chicken out if you're pescatarian!

Many a time a reader of my recipes has laughed at my vague or slapdash-seeming approach to measurements.

And when I say 'reader', you know I mean 'friend', but I'm being polite (but you know who you are).

It's just really difficult with this sort of cooking - different soy or fish sauces have different strengths and one lime will have more juice than another.

Plus I think the best bit about cooking is using your own palate and what tastes good to you. 

This recipe is possibly - to date - the MOST vague and slapdash when it comes to quantities. 

You're really going to have to guess and guage and taste!

To be honest, it doesn't include any ingredients you have to be careful with and is pretty much guaranteed to taste pretty awesome no matter what you do.  

So do give it a go! 

You'll need: 

 
Rachel Walder recipes - chicken and broccoli in oyster sauce with sesame seeds
 

cooked rice, to serve, if wanted

broccoli, the long stemmed sort is nice, but any sort will do - quantity is however much you feel like eating of it

cooking oil - I like my coconut oil at the moment but any oil that cooks at a high temperature is good for stir frying so vegetable, grapeseed, rapeseed etc (NOT olive oil which cooks at a lower temperature and will burn)

1-2 garlic cloves, depending on size (and your taste!)

1 chilli, or quantity to your taste

a couple of spring onions

a piece of fresh ginger 

one small-ish chicken breast, or however much you'll want to eat

dark soy sauce

oyster sauce 


Cook the broccoli first so it's ready to stir fry by steaming or boiling for a few minutes.

 
Rachel Walder chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce
 

If you're cooking rice to serve with this then just pop a steamer over the top for the last 4-5 minutes - or you could just put the broccoli into the rice to boil with it for a few minutes of course (no need to over-complicate).

Remove from heat and keep warm until needed.

Then toast some sesame seeds (I'd say around a tablespoonful) in a dry pan for a few minutes, shaking all the time and again, when toasted, set aside until needed.

 
Rachel Walder chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce
 

Chop the garlic, chilli, spring onion - cut it on the diagonal for this dish so it looks nice - and ginger.  Cut the chicken into very small pieces so that it will cook quickly. 

Heat a wok or frying pan over a medium-high heat, add some oil and only when it's hot tip in the chopped garlic, chilli, spring onion, ginger and chicken - it should sizzle when it goes in.

Rachel Walder chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce
Rachel Walder chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce

Keep stirring and turning until the chicken is sealed and if you need to turn it down a little to prevent the garlic burning, then do! If it looks like it's going to stick, add a tiny splash of water.

After a few minutes, when the chicken's cooked, add the broccoli.

Rachel Walder chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce
Rachel Walder chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce

I think the long-stemmed broccoli very elegant but once I'd added it to the pan tonight, I decided to chop it up a bit to make it easier to eat! Up to you what you do. 

Cook for a minute, stirring, then add the soy and oyster sauces.  I used a scant tablespoon of each. 

 
Rachel Walder chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce
 

Stir and continue cooking for another minute. 

Then put the rice onto a plate, spoon the stir fry around and sprinkle everything with the toasted sesame seeds. 

Rachel Walder chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce
Rachel Walder chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce

Very good indeed! Let me know what you thought.

Next time I might try half a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil right at the end too, just before it's removed from the heat ... 



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Yam ruam mit - hot sour salad with pork, prawns and squid

It's interesting, that zeitgeist-y sort of thing when you realise that everyone seems to be talking about the same thing.  

And right now, whether they're food editors, stylists, charity fundraisers, branding people or online entrepreneurs, it seems everyone is all about 'authenticity'.  Authentic voices, authentic people, authentic experiences, authentic you. 

I mean, I haven't tested this by asking all professions (note to self: must track down some lawyers, doctors and maybe politicians to get their views) but it's a collective seeping into the subconscious and I just love how these moments happen.  

It must be like when you name your baby a really original name and then realise four years later when they go to school that there's tons of 'em.  

Or for me, all the time, when I have a 'brand new' idea and blog it and realise EVERYONE's on the same tip. 

This also happened to me way back, back, back when ... at uni when I wrote my long essay for my degree. I can't remember it now properly but it was something to do with identifying English Romantic poets as part of a big philosophical movement 'taking in' German philosophers Kant and Hegel and the French existentialist movement.

For a week or so, I thought I was/were (yes, I actually wrote the dissertation for my language element on the use of the subjunctive) totally original and maybe even a genius.  Thank goodness this was before the internet was invented and it was so much easier to feel like a genius.

Anyway, I'm not sure I've ever gone so completely off topic in writing a recipe.  Oops. 

So ... segue-ing 'seamlessly' into my salad recipe, this salad is ALL about authenticity.  

And if you don't like very spicy hot and sour salads ('yam' actually means a 'hot and sour salad), don't make this.

The recipe is from a Thai cookery book, written in Thai, that a friend of mine who lived in Thailand for years and years and years, got in touch to tell me he'd found and ask if I'd like him to translate any recipes for me.  

Er, YES PLEASE! 

I made it for the first time this week for two friends who came to celebrate The Tiniest Thai's first birthday, and absolutely loved it.  

These are some of my favourite flavours and tastes, and it's really simple to make too.

Great served with rice to mop up the spicy, salty, sour dressing so do make the rice first so it's all ready to go.

Quantities are up to you really, so use more or less as you think will work best, but the recipe (enough for two with rice) is this:

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder yam ruam mit

50g prawns (shelled and de-veined)

100g squid (I don't know why I cut mine into rings as it would have been much nicer looking I think in tubes)

1/4 cup of Asian mushrooms (I couldn't find any in the supermarket so just used sliced button mushrooms)

50g diced pork (I used a piece of tenderloin and put it in the food processor to dice really finely)

1/4 cup shredded carrot (I just used a whole carrot rather than measuring it)

1/4 white onion sliced finely 

1 sliced tomato

1 stick sliced celery

1 sliced spring onion

4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice 

3 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon caster sugar (or just normal white sugar if you don't have any)

4-7 birds eye chillies, squashed and crushed, so they can be removed easily rather than eaten if you prefer

Get all the ingredients together and then prepare and slice the seafood, meat and salad. 

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder yam ruam mit

By the way, I LOVE my julienne peeler that makes salads so easy!

Put all the vegetables into a bowl. 

Pan fry the diced pork in a little oil for a few minutes and then let cool slightly before mixing with the prawns, squid and mushrooms.

Put a pan of water on to boil and, when boiling, add the prawns, squid and mushrooms and boil for a minute or so until cooked. Drain and set aside.  Pan fry the diced pork in a little oil for a few minutes and then let cool slightly before mixing with the prawns, squid and mushrooms. 

Make the dressing by mixing the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and chillies and stirring to dissolve the sugar.  

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder yam ruam mit

Mix the meat, fish and mushrooms with the vegetables, tip in the dressing and toss together to combine. You could also add cooked, cooled glass noodles now if you'd rather use noodles than having it with rice. 

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder yam ruam mit

This is going to be a summer favourite for me - do let me know if you try it and what you think! 

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder yam ruam mit


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Cucumber dipping sauce

A really lovely sweet-spicy dipping sauce, perfect for serving with Thai fishcakes or these fried prawn balls, or anything else you like!

Easy too; all you need to make a bowl is:

one red chilli (a normal milder one not a bird eye chilli)

white granulated sugar

white or rice vinegar

salt

cucumber

coriander leaves (optional)

crushed peanuts to garnish (optional - I didn't have any today but they are good)

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder cucumber dipping sauce

So ... chop the chilli finely.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder cucumber dipping sauce

Then put 3/4 cup of sugar into a saucepan ...

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder cucumber dipping sauce

... along with 1/2 cup white or rice vinegar ... and the chopped chillies plus a tiny pinch of salt.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder cucumber dipping sauce

Bring very slowly to the boil - it'll take a good five minutes - and then boil on a medium boil for three - four minutes.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder cucumber dipping sauce

Take off the heat and cool.  You can now keep this in the fridge for a week or so until using if you're not eating it right away.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder cucumber dipping sauce

If you ARE using now then, while the sauce cools, peel a chunk of cucumber, remove the seeds with a teaspoon and dice the flesh.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder cucumber dipping sauce

And also prepare a small handful of coriander leaves to garnish.  If you have peanuts then do crush a few as they're great to add as well.

When you're ready to serve, pour the sauce into a bowl and top with the cucumber, peanuts (if using) and coriander leaves (if using).

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder cucumber dipping sauce

It's so good a guest at a recent Tiniest Thai supperclub was eating it straight from a spoon!



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Pad keemao gai - drunken noodles with chicken

I love pad keemao (drunken noodles) - and no surprise there as it has my same favourite pad krapow flavours but in a rice noodle dish and with some more veg.

So the same rules apply! If you can get krapow - Thai holy basil - then that's the best. If you can't but you can get fresh or jarred horapha - Thai sweet basil - then definitely do that! And if you can't get either then honestly I would still make itanyway.

Another thing ... whilst pad keemao should be made with rice noodles, you could use whatever noodles you like. I often make it using leftover cooked pasta with shapes like penne - and it tastes amazing still.

So - this is really versatile and up to you how you pimp it basically!  Oh, and you can also use any meat or seafood of your choosing of course or have just with vegetables.

Ok, so to make a couple of portions you'll need ...

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

about 1.5 chicken breasts, chopped small so it cooks quickly

a few garlic cloves and bird eye chillies, skins and stalks removed and bashed in a plastic bag with a rolling pin. The chilli pieces should still be large enough to remove easily if you don't want to eat them.  I used three garlic cloves and six chillies

I had a few slices of white onion, chopped, but this isn't traditional and I'm only adding it as I had a piece of onion that needed using up. Entirely up to you to include or not.  If not I would definitely include spring onion in your vegetables

half a chicken knorr stock cube

selection of veg, chopped - I've got spring onion, a piece of carrot, red pepper, fine beans and mange tout

rice noodles, ready to stir fry, or other noodles or pasta cooked ready to add

fresh or jarred Thai basil

white sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce

handful of spinach leaves (optional but nice)

Heat a frying pan or wok, add cooking oil and when hot add the chicken, chillies and garlic and onion (if using).

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

Stir fry over a medium-hot heat until the chicken is completely sealed, then crumble in half a stock cube and a splash or water and stir fry until it's all mixed in.

Add the veg and stir ... then add a teaspoon of jarred Thai basil (or half a good handful of Thai sweet basil leaves).

Stir again and then add a good pinch of sugar, a few dashes of soy sauce, a glug of oyster sauce and a small splash of fish sauce.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

Cook for a minute and then add your noodles - and yes, I've got too many noodles or too small a pan really!

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add half a teaspoon more Thai basil from a jar (or another handful of fresh Thai basil leaves) and a big handful of spinach leaves (if using).

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

Stir until the leaves begin to wilt and then turn off the heat and continue stirring until the leaves are completely wilted in.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

Hope you like this recipe: it's an everyday favourite here! Let me know what you think ...



LIKE THIS? YOU MIGHT WANT TO TRY THESE ...

Thai salted eggs - kai kaem

Exciting! I made these last year - something that I'd never made before and not sure I'd ever eaten before - and it took 30 days' patience until they were ready to try.

Salted eggs. Originally brined as a preserving method, they have a salty white and a rich yolk and are boiled before being used in recipes or cooked to have with rice or congee.  You can just cook them with the rice for the last few minutes in the saucepan or in a rice cooker - sounds like the simplest meal ever to me and I can't wait to try it.

I have to say there wasn't anything immediately appealing to me about 'salted eggs' until I applied a little logic - which is that I love eggs and I always always put salt on them.  But the main reason I'm making these is because there are so many delicious sounding recipes that call for them.

My friend Kevin, who is fluent in Thai (both spoken and written) recently volunteered (and I bet he'll soon wish he hadn't) to translate some recipes for me from a Thai cookbook.  He sent me the translated  list of contents to choose something from.

I was going to start with the Fish Stomach recipe (still intend to give this a go at some point) but decided on 'squid fried with salted egg on rice', not realising that the salted egg was an ingredient in itself.  However instead of setting off for the Thai supermarket to get some I thought I'd investigate making salted eggs at home.

Once made, I'll be cooking the fried squid dish as well as trying cooking my salted eggs in the rice cooker, and I want to make a spicy sour salad with them too.

You'll need:

1-2 cups of water depending on the size of your jar

1/4 cup of salt

a piece of star anise

3-6 duck eggs preferably as the yolks are bigger and richer or chicken eggs like me (too impatient to wait to get to a bigger shop for duck eggs I bought chicken eggs from the corner shop this evening)

a jar in which the eggs should fit quite snugly

 

Put the water, salt and star anise in a saucepan and bring to the boil.

When boiling stir until the salt has fully dissolved and then immediately remove from the heat and cool completely.

 

Rinse the eggs and pat dry with a tea towel ...

 

... and check for cracks (don't use cracked ones) before putting them carefully into the jar.

 

Pour the cold brine over the eggs. They all need to be submerged in the liquid so if any float above the surface a good trick is to put some water in a sandwich or freezer bag and lay this on top to push the eggs under the brine. I actually didn't have quite enough water so just topped up the last inch with tap water (hope this works ok).

Put a lid on the jar and store at room temperature.

Leave for 30 days, then remove and keep in the fridge until using. 



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Brunch invention - ruam mit gratiem/kao pad

There was rice left over from cooking dinner last night and I'd been planning a kao pad gai - fried rice with chicken - for brunch this morning.  I don't know why I'm saying it like this was an accident - I had deliberately made more rice last night than was needed just so that I could have kao pad today!

But I was also thinking about the ruam mit gratiem I'd made and thinking I'd like to make it again as I'm not that familiar with it yet and it was so easy and so good.

The conversation I had with myself went like this:

'Oh good! Favourite fried rice today!'

'But I kind of fancy making that stir fry again - I could try it with chicken this time.'

'If you make a stir fry though you're going to have to make more rice and there's already cold rice sitting there.'

'But I don't know which to choose - I want both!'

'Well then have both! Mix them together into one!'

So that's what I did.  I love cooking just for myself - I can experiment away and also make things as spicy as I like.  And that's generally pretty spicy.

Note that you do need cold cooked rice for this as freshly cooked hot rice is just too wet to stir fry.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Here's how to make my hybrid brunch dish.

Chop a piece of chicken breast into small pieces and also chop a nice big clove of garlic.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Get a pan hot, add some cooking oil and when hot tip in the chicken and garlic.

Cook over a medium heat - hot enough to seal the meat quickly but not so hot the garlic burns - for four or five minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Remove the chicken and garlic to a bowl, tip out any excess oil and return the pan to a medium low heat.

Quickly add:

2 x teaspoons oyster sauce

1 x teaspoon fish sauce

1 x teaspoon thin / light soy sauce

1 x teaspoon sugar

1 - 2 x teaspoons dried chilli flakes (I'd suggest just one - I put in two and it was a bit too much)

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Stir for a few seconds until mixed and thick and bubbling.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Then return the chicken and garlic to the pan and mix with the sauce.

Add the cold leftover rice and cook for a few minutes on a medium heat, stirring all the time, until the rice is hot right through.

Push the mixture to one side, add a little oil into the space and when hot crack in an egg.

Leave to cook for around 15 seconds until scrambling and combining with the rice and chicken mixture.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Stir fry until everything is mixed and the egg cooked.

Remove from heat and prepare any garnishes you like - I'm using a shake of white pepper, some coriander leaves and a few slices of red chilli.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Turn out the rice and chicken mixture onto a plate, or pack into a plastic bowl first to make it look nice, and add a few slices of cucumber too if you have it.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

A very good brunch and I'm glad I made it, but I do still prefer a 'proper' kao pad I think.

What do you think? Let me know if you try this - or any other variation of it.

And I'm off now to make more coffee :)

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice


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Pad Thai (no further description needed!)

I love Pad Thai - who doesn't?! Ultimate comfort food.  But I've had a mental block about making it. Actually, that's not quite right as I've been experimenting and experimenting and trying out different recipes but none I felt confident enough in sharing, until I came across a recipe for Pad Thai on Chez Pim's site.  I then started making it slightly more regularly (I still have weird Pad Thai nerves!) and adapting slightly until I now have a recipe I know by heart and that I feel I can happily pass on.

If you'd like the original, you can find it here.

And here's how I make it.  The absolute key thing is to make the sauce first.  Most recipes tell you to add the tamarind, fish sauce etc into your wok whilst cooking and I just find that impossible. As, I think, do most people.

To make this dish easily, you do need to get everything together first.  And, again as usual, just cook 1-2 portions at a time - it'll just become a gluey noodley mess if you try and do too much in one pan.

Here's what you'll need to make a portion for two ...

 For the sauce:

1/2 cup tamarind paste/pulp/puree - this is often available in supermarkets now although I did get mine from the Thai supermarket and it looks like this

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder tamarind
 

1/2 cup fish sauce

very slightly less than 1/2 cup light brown sugar (or white if you don't have any)

1 tsp chilli powder

Other ingredients:

vegetable cooking oil

about a handful of fried or other hard tofu, sliced into bite-size pieces.  The tofu my local Thai supermarket recommended looked like this (but I'm sure any firm textured tofu would work).  The tofu's optional though so don't worry if you can't get it

The Tinest Thai Rachel Walder tofu for Pad Thai

one clove of garlic, minced

wide rice noodles, cooked or soaked according to instructions, ready to stir fry - enough for two people

one egg

dried shrimp - optional.  If you can get them they keep well in the freezer to use as needed.  If you're using them, you need about a tablespoon and use a pestle and mortar to fluff them up slightly (this will make sense when you do it!)

raw prawns, maybe 6-8 per person, deveined and defrosted if frozen

a small handful of peanuts, chopped or ground

as many beansprouts as you like! I use just a handful but I'm not a huge beansprout fan so you may like more

a handful of chopped garlic chives, or just normal chives if that's what you have

To serve:

wedges of lime

some more chopped peanuts

sugar

chilli flakes

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad Thai

OK ... start with making the sauce.  Put the tamarind, fish sauce and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil very, very, very slowly and when it starts to simmer add the chilli powder.  Taste and see if you need to adjust the flavours - it'll taste a little odd yes, but what you're after is salty first, then the sour tamarind, then a little sweetness and ending with just a touch of spicy.

When you're happy with it - and if you can't tell then just follow this the first time and adjust next time if need be when you're more confident as YES it's hard always to tell - turn the heat off and just leave the pan to one side.  This does make more than you'll need for a couple of portions but it'll keep in the fridge for a week or two.

Now you need your noodles and you want them nice and unstuck.  I tend to play with mine for a bit, gently puling them apart.  You really don't want a noodle glue and you definitely don't want to be accidentally chopping them in half.  If you can start coaxing them into lovely shiny individual noodles now it's all going to be better in the pan!

So - heat your pan and when hot add quite a bit (3-4 tablespoons) oil and then add the tofu, a tablespoon of the Pad Thai sauce and the garlic and cook for a minute or so over a medium high heat stirring all the time.

Then add the noodles and a nice ladleful of the Pad Thai sauce. Stir all the time, keeping everything moving and break up the noodles so they're not in a lump. I'd turn the heat down just a touch now. Add a little water if it becomes dry or a tiny bit more sauce - if the noodle is really sticking add a touch more oil. Cook for a few minutes until the noodle is warm and lovely and perfect (taste it).

Push the noodles to one side and crack the egg straight into the pan.  Count to about 10-15 until it's setting then toss everything together to combine.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad Thai

Add the dried shrimps, raw prawns, peanuts and beansprouts and fry, stirring all the time.  Add a little more sauce if need be.  Keep it moving!

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad Thai

When the prawns are cooked - it'll only take a few minutes - take the pan off the heat and stir in the chives.

I love to serve this with the additional flavouring you add to taste just on the plate itself - so add some lime wedges and a small pile each of chopped peanuts, sugar and chilli flakes for people to add as they like.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad Thai

Confession: I not only had a mental block about MAKING pad Thai, and then about WRITING the recipe but I've also had one about POSTING it and this has been sitting here waiting for me to press publish for ages!

Well, here goes.  And I hope you like it. Please let me know.

PS. due to the mental block, there's also very few pics on this post (I'll add some more of the steps soon).

UPDATE: I've now got a couple of beautiful pics, thanks to a photographer who came to a Tiniest Thai recently - thank you Viktoria! 

www.viktoriakuti.com



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