Thai one onChef's Skillet Thursday, August 11th, 2011
The San Diego food scene has quite a few Thai restaurants. I would say more than most cities, which is an indication of our large Asian/Pacific Islander population and more importantly, how great Thai food tastes.
Thai cuisine is from the country of Thailand and is known for its strong aromatic components like basil. Thai food is also noted for its spiciness, which can be super hot or mildly spicy dependent upon your need for heat. The other prominent flavors are sweet, sour and salty.
It is always a joy to experiment in the kitchen, but cooking Asian dishes can be somewhat intimidating. Over the years, I have found that you can make easy, delicious Thai dishes with a tolerable amount of effort and a few exotic staples from the Asian section of the local grocery store. As you get more adventurous and comfortable with the cuisine, there are a myriad of Asian grocery stores in San Diego where you can easily find unusual ingredients like fresh coriander or curry leaves.
Of course, just like with any cuisine there are very complex Thai dishes. However, there are also elegant dishes that have a manageable amount of ingredients and can be made in 20 minutes or less. The first time that you make a Thai dish, you are making an investment in Thai kitchen staples.
For example, many recipes require oyster sauce, fish sauce or curry paste. Once purchased, these stock items can be used over and over again when preparing Thai dishes. So don’t be concerned about buying a bottle of fish sauce, you will get many meals out of it.
For the beer drinkers out there, Thai food is made for you. Beer is the perfect complement for a Thai meal. If you can find a beer like Singha, go for it … it is what many Thai natives drink.
A wine pairing can be difficult to choose due to the complexity of Thai flavors. Generally, a Pinot Grigio/Gris or Sauvignon Blanc works well with the sweet and spicy components of Thai dishes. However, red wines are quite popular in Thailand and offer some good pairings. Always consider a nice Pinot Noir or Merlot when choosing a red wine.
So if you are ready, let’s Thai one on with the following delicious shrimp recipe!
lgbt weekly recipe
Thai red curry shrimp
13 oz can of coconut milk unsweetened
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup Thai, or regular, eggplant cubed
1 Thai chili or Serrano chili thinly sliced (optional)
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 pound shrimp
2 tablespoons basil
Shake the can of coconut milk, open and pour into a large saucepan. Add red curry paste and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 8 minutes. Red curry paste and coconut milk should be completely smooth with no visible chunks. Add fish sauce, brown sugar, Thai chili, eggplant and 1/3 cup water or chicken stock. Simmer until eggplant is soft. Taste the mixture for heat. If not hot enough, add a pinch of red chili flakes. If too hot, add 1/3 cup water or chicken stock.
Add 1/2 pound uncooked shrimp. Cook until all shrimp have turned pink. Stir in basil. Serve immediately over rice, preferably jasmine rice.
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