One Plate Dishes

Tom kha is a well-known and much-loved Thai soup: a creamy, soothing coconut blend, a warm, silky broth in which chicken, mainly, is simmered with young galangal, mushrooms, and, at times, charred-grilled banana blossoms. In other versions, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves are added, blurring the boundaries between tom kha and the coconut-based tom yam soup (tom yum kati; ต้มยำกะทิ).

However, in the late 19th century, tom kha was not a soup at all: it was a dish of chicken or duck simmered in a light coconut broth with a generous amount of galangal. The coconut broth added sweetness to the meat, and the galangal helped to mellow the meat odor. It was then served with a basic roasted chili jam as a dipping relish seasoned along the salty-sour-sweet spectrum.

Khao mao bueang and khao Mao Mee (ข้าวเม่าหมี่) are the only two known savory dishes from antiquity made from pounded unripe rice grains (ข้าวเม่า; khao mao). While khao mao mee (ข้าวเม่าหมี่) is still a well-known and widely available dish, very few people remember khao mao bueang. Therefore, we are pleased to reintroduce into the Thai culinary repertoire the delicious khao mao bueang.

The dish was introduced to me by a street vendor in forsaken part of town some twenty years ago. Auntie Yai was a true character. She was wearing intensive makeup and I still remember her talkative hilarious manner. I and other customers waiting in line were regularly subjected to nonstop "interrogations" or "interviews". I must admit I enjoyed the peek into other people lives while waiting over an hour for her mouth watering curried rice croquettes. I loved how the pungent, vibrant swirl of ginger was setting off the fermented pork sourness just perfectly, how the nutty crunch of those peanuts was balanced by the vivid tone of fresh herbs.

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).

You would probably be surprised to learn that despite the diversity and richness of produce Thailand has to offer, the basic pillars of Thai cuisine are simply made of rice, salt, chili, and some proteins from fresh water fish. In the central and southern regions of Kingdom, fermented shrimp paste (gabpi), originally made as a preserved, is also part of the very grounds of Thai cuisine. In the early days, rice and fermented shrimp paste (gabpi) were an essential part of every traveler's personal gear.

And so it happened that on his second trip to Europe in 1907, on the way back from Italy, King Rama V, Chulalongkorn the Great, dreamed one night that the his royal grandmother prepared for him one very delicious plate of khaao khlook gabpi. A senior official and a close aid to the king at the time, maha sawek ek phrayaa boorootrat rachaphanlohp (มหาเสวกเอก พระยาบุรุษรัตนราชพัลลภ), wrote in his memoirs "Booroot Rat" (บุรุษรัตน) that king was so moved by the dream, feeling somewhat homesick, asked him to fix him with a plate of khaao khlook gabpi, and so he did.

The dish captures the eye with its vivid color – It is beautiful! It is bright! It is happy! - and it fits well within the comfort zone of most westerners. It is not surprising that this dish has made its way to the top of the charts, consistently ranked among the top ten tastiest Thai dishes served abroad.

Simple dishes are sometimes more of a challenge to master. Fired rice falls into this category. In many cases leftovers are used to prepare it. There is nothing wrong with that. Fried rice can be an elegant dish with fresh ingredients and careful preparation as is presented in this video or as a fast solution to what leftover you have in the fridge. In any case, the result fried rice should be a Proud Dish! Each and every one of the rice grains should have its self esteem intact and infused with flavors. If your fried rice tend to come out mushy and oily, or if you have hard time to get a balanced taste, this video tutorial is for you!....

Page 1 of 212