Whenever I am cooking I like to keep it as simple as possible. I remember when I first came to England back in 1985 finding even the basic ingredients for Thai cuisine was a bit of a struggle. Now, you can walk into most supermarkets and find items like lemongrass, Thai basil and galangal. However, it is still a far cry from my home in Thailand where I could just walk into the garden and pick more or less everything I needed to make my favourite dishes.
My go-to for authentic Thai ingredients is W H Lung Supermarket on Upper Brook Street, Manchester. Make a day of it and enjoy a dim-sum lunch at their restaurant upstairs! Wing Yip Supermarket is equally good if you live on the north side of Manchester. Even good old Sainsbury’s stock a plentiful supply of ingredients.
In my classes, I show students how to fully utilise each ingredient to get the most out of it, and even what you can use in substitution. This kind of information is essential for anyone cooking Thai Cuisine.
If I were to have a favourite dish, it would probably be Pad Thai Noodles. A super versatile noodle dish that you can make with whatever ingredients you have to hand such as chicken, prawns or simply vegetables of any kind.
However, Thai food is really not about an individual dish but rather what dishes you serve as a meal because to a Thai it’s about the overall eating experience. A true sharing culture, where several dishes are cooked for one meal. It’s important to balance the flavours and ingredients of each dish, giving that unique eating experience to every meal. Just to change one of the dishes would completely alter the palate.
I find once someone starts to cook Thai cuisine they will develop their own taste preferences and then they will make a dish as hot or as sweet or as aromatic as suits their taste buds, and that’s the way it should be. Never cook a dish except to the way you like it, that’s what we do in Thailand – and each chef will tell you theirs is the best!
At Food Sorcery I will be offering the opportunity for you to come and learn some truly authentic Thai dishes using simple recipes and natural fresh ingredients, exactly as I would have done back in Thailand. I will show you how to define your personal style of Thai cooking whilst staying true to the cuisine.
One of my favourite snacks, ideal when you are drinking beer or alcohol and you need a strong spicy taste to compliment. Usually eaten without rice when accompanying cold beer. Can be made fiery hot or just plain lip numbing. This is such a simple dish to make even the preparation is not that difficult and the taste is absolutely astonishing. Its true that most people find Thai food rather hot to begin with, but you can get used to the spiciness very quickly and I have witnessed many people developing quite a high pain threshold after eating Thai Cuisine on a regular basis.
Thai Beef Salad Recipe
- 200 grams beef, (top side or similar)
- 1 medium size onion or 4 salad onions
- 2 lettuce leaves
- 2 tomatoes sliced
- 1/2 cucumber
Dressing ingredients (Blend all these together)
- 5 small garlic
- 5 birds eye chillies
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce.
- 3 tablespoons of fresh limejuice.
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 sprigs of coriander
Method for main ingredients
- Peel and slice the onion.
- Cut the cucumber in half along its length, and then into half moon slices.
- Wash the lettuce and use about four lettuce leaves for the decoration and take the coriander leaves from the stalks to garnish the finished salad.
- Grill the beef until medium cooked.
- Slice the beef into mouth sized pieces. Mix with the sauce, cucumber and tomatoes; arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate and place salad on top.
Garnish with a few mint and coriander leaves if required.
Chochaba Harper – Thai Chef
Chorchaba was about seven years when she started cooking and used to sell fishcakes at the local railway station to commuters on their way to work. This meant getting up at the crack of dawn in order to make them fresh each day (no refrigerators in those days!). Her fish cakes must have been popular because she sold out everyday!