Thai desserts are usually made from common ingredients and therefore very popular. However, it was only during the 17th century that desserts and sweets actually became part of everyday meals. In the old days, they were served only at auspicious occasions and ceremonies.
During wedding ceremonies, for example, four kinds of sweets are usually served, collectively known as “the four plates dessert” (ขนมสี่ถ้วย ; khanohm see thuay). The ancient Thai expression “To eat four cups of dessert” (กินสี่ถ้วย ; gin see thuay ) used in the central region of the kingdom as an idiom referring to a wedding banquet.
Lemongrass chili relish – The citrus aromatics of the lemongrass are preserved almost intact and go very well with the peppery aroma of pungent fresh chilies. It is served with a range of blanched vegetables, steamed or fried fish, sweet pork and of course, a bowl of rice – a balanced meal, full of nutrients and health.
This old-fashioned Thai coconut curry dish is a simple expression made with ingredients commonly available to Thais, it features steamed mackerels – the fish that Thai people probably love the best and the stems of the lotus flowers – one of Buddhism’s most recognized motifs.
The fish together with peeled lotus stems are boiled in coconut milk, to which a simple yet very aromatic curry paste, made only of white pepper corns, shallots and fermented shrimp paste is added.
I love this straightforward grilled Thai fish curry in banana leaves because it packs a punch with its aromatic curry mixture that embrace the white and tender fish meat with great flavors. It is a great addition for any Thai meal and very easy to prepare.
Snakehead fish, traditionally caught from irrigation ditches or flooded rice fields, benefits from the aromatic curry paste because it helps to eliminate unpleasant odors which wild caught fishes might acquire from their muddy habitat. Nowadays though, it is commercially farmed and one can safely cook it in various ways with no risk of those undesirable odors.
This recipe would probably change your perception about the term “salad”, maybe because its dressing has a multi layered, curry-like personality, rather than the common sour vinaigrette-like dressing, or maybe because it takes some good few hours to prepare, somewhat longer than simply opening a bag of hydroponic greens.
This salad is the fruit of the dedication of court ladies from aristocratic households, that for centuries perfected and elaborated on the art of cooking through detailed and calculated process, to create sophisticated dishes that are not only delicious but also very healthy and visually pleasing.
These ladies made a very large commitment for small things, and they attended all their time and efforts to make minor things better and getting the small things just right.
Do you remember hearing the ocean through a large conch shell when you were a kid? This stylish yet simple dish is made from only a few ingredients and will dip your taste buds in flavorful, rich and creamy ocean’s essence, like that conch shell.
In the southern provinces of Thailand, those bordering the sunny beaches of the Andaman sea, one can find yet another type of fermented shrimp product, “liquid fermented shrimp” (gabpi naam ; กะปิน้ำ).
It is believed that this dish was introduced to the Siamese royal cuisine in the middle of the seventeenth century by Portuguese traders. Later, along with other egg yolk-based golden sweets like the golden drops (thong yot ทองหยอด), golden flowers (thong yip ทองหยิบ) and golden threads (foi thong ฝอยทอง), these royal desserts were passed to commoners outside the court.
For the marzipan filling I am using, beside the mung beans, both the flesh and the water of fragrant young coconuts. It gives a rich, sweet and almost nutty flavor which works perfectly with the silky texture of the mung beans and the creamy golden egg yolks coating.