Day 26: Spices

I had trouble choosing just one favourite. Here are a selection of dried spices from my cupboard:

Top row: paprika, Adobo all purpose seasoning, seasoned salt, sage leaves, rosemary leaves, Italian seasoning

Bottom row: white pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, thyme, red chilis, chives

Pad Thai from Relish Cooking Studio

When you think of Thai food, Pad Thai is probably the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, when I mentioned that I had attended a Thai cooking class many of the responses were “Did you learn how to make Pad Thai?!” Yes, I did learn.

Will I be making it at home? I’m not sure. Maybe if I have a Thai-themed dinner at some point I will attempt this at home. I’m not very good at stir-frying in large quantities, so maybe I’ll make half the recipe the first time I try to make it myself.

A few things I took away from the course are that Thai food doesn’t take a long time to cook, but takes a very long time to prep. And the noodles can be a bit finicky (the water needs to be boiled first, tap water isn’t hot enough for soaking the noodles).

If you’re adventuresome enough to make Pad Thai at home, this recipe was delicious!

Pad Thai

Recipe by Akeela Rabley from Relish Cooking Studio

Ingredients

  • 1/2 package of Thai rice stick noodles – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/3 cup boneless, skinless chicken pieces (or super firm tofu if you’d like to make this dish vegetarian-friendly), cut into strips – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 1/2 cups Chinese chives, chopped into 1 inch pieces (optional) – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 1/3 cups bean sprouts, rinsed well (optional) – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 pound shrimp (optional) – approximate cost $5.00
  • 1 shallot, minced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.30
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons tamarind paste – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or palm sugar) – approximate cost $0.10
  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper, dried and ground – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 tablespoons roasted, unsalted peanut pieces (optional) – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 bunch of Thai basil – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Boil water in a large pot.
  2. Remove from heat and add dried noodles to the water (noodles should be flexible and still fairly solid after soaking, if the noodles are over soaked, they will become soft and mushy).
  3. In a wok (or large pot), heat the vegetable oil on high heat.
  4. Add the shallot, garlic, and chicken (or tofu) and cook until the chicken is browned and cooked through.
  5. Drain the noodles and add to the wok (stirring frequently so nothing sticks).
  6. Add the tamarind paste, sugar, fish sauce, and chili pepper and continue stirring. (Note: If there is a lot of liquid in the bottom of the wok, it’s not hot enough and turn the heat up!)
  7. In a separate frying pan, scramble the egg and remove from heat.
  8. Fold the scrambled egg into the noodles.
  9. Test the noodles (if the noodles are chewy, they’re done! If the noodles are crunchy, add a bit of water to cook them).
  10. Add the shrimp and stir.
  11. Add white pepper, bean sprouts, and chives and continue stirring for anther another minute or so (the noodles should be soft, dry, and very tangled).
  12. Pour generous amounts onto serving plates and garnish with peanuts and black pepper.
  13. Serve hot with a lime wedge and Thai basil on the side (Optional: have additional raw bean sprouts and Chinese chives available as garnish).

Makes about 4 servings  (approximate cost: $4.15 per serving).

Goog Kratiem (garlic shrimp) from Relish Cooking Studio

Last week I attended a cooking class at Relish Cooking Studio. I had purchased the class as a deal from Living Social a few months earlier and eagerly anticipated the class. The class was definitely worth the wait! I learned a lot about cooking Thai food including how to:

  • Recognize and choose ingredients
  • Remove the seeds from a hot pepper
  • Juice a lime
  • Adjust the spiciness of a dish

In fact, the class helped to ease me into the idea that I too could prepare Thai food at home. I don’t have to eat out to enjoy Thai food. The class instructor, Akeela Rabley, has generously allowed me to share all of her recipes here on this blog. Thank you Akeela and Relish Cooking Studio!

The next few recipe posts will highlight foods I learned how to make in this class. (Please forgive the pictures, I forgot my camera at home and had to rely on my cellphone camera).

Goog Kratiem (garlic shrimp)

Recipe by Akeela Rabley from Relish Cooking Studio

I could eat this as a meal as opposed to an appetizer. I’m sure it would be delicious served over a bed of rice or noodles.

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced (stems and leaves) – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar (or brown sugar) – approximate cost $0.25

Shrimp

  • 1 pound of shrimp (shelled and de-veined) – approximate cost $10.00
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thinly – approximate cost $1.25

Method

  1. Prepare the marinade by combining the garlic, cilantro, white pepper, salt, fish sauce, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the shrimp to the marinade and set aside for 10-30 minutes.
  3. Preheat a frying pan (with vegetable oil) over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the shrimp and sautee until cooked through (the shrimp will turn pink).
  5. Remove shrimp to a serving plate and garnish with tomato and cucumber pieces.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $3.43 per serving).

Egg Drop Soup

I usually avoid cooking Asian foods at home. The recipes often call for a variety of exotic sauces and spices that I don’t keep on hand. That, tied in with the perceived complexity of the recipes usually discourages me from even trying.Last week, I came across a recipe on The Kitchn for Egg Drop Soupthat looked so simple I had to try it for myself. It really was easy to make! From start to finish, I think it took 20 minutes to prepare (and I might even be over-estimating!).egg drop soupWe needed a quick dinner with a few leftover in case our guests were hungry when they arrived. Our friends assured us they weren’t hungry, but a few hours later one of them gave the soup a try, saying they just wanted a small taste. As I filled the soup bowl, he commented that it would be way too much because he wasn’t very hungry. When we cleared the table, the bowl was empty. As you can imagine, I was very glad that our guests enjoyed the dish as much as we did.This soup is so simple and tasty that it could easily be served as the main course on a busy weeknight or as an appetizer when you have guests.

Egg Drop Soup

Adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chicken broth – approximate cost $4.00
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch – approximate cost $0.10
  • 8 large eggs – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons red miso – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 package of firm tofu, diced into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 bunch bok choy, thinly sliced – approximate cost $1.50
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 8 teaspoons of sesame oil – approximate cost $0.20
  • 2 teaspoons of white pepper – approximate cost $0.10

egg drop soup

Method

  1. Pour the chicken broth into a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add miso and soy sauce. Stir until miso dissolves.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium-low (so the mixture simmer for 15 minutes)
  4. Taste and add more soy sauce as needed.
  5. Add the tofu pieces and bok choy slices.
  6. Whisk together the eggs in a small bowl and add the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch to the eggs. Mix well until there are no powdery lumps. Set aside briefly.
  7. In a separate bowl or cup, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with a small amount of cold water. Mix well until there are no powdery lumps.
  8. Slowly mix the cornstarch and water mixture into the stock and let it simmer for a minute or two until the broth no longer tastes starchy and begins to thicken.
  9. Ask a friend to help you with this part. Have your friend to hold a fork over your pot of soup.
  10. Slowly pour the eggs through the fork while constantly stirring the soup. Let the soup stand for a few seconds to finish cooking the eggs.
    Note: If you don’t want to invite anyone to assist, work in batches. Pour a small amount of the eggs through the fork and take a short break to stir the soup. Repeat until you run out of eggs.
  11. Serve immediately. Provide green onions, white pepper, and sesame oil on the side as a topping and allow others to add these items to taste.

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.25 per serving) as an appetizer or 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.50 per serving) as a main course.

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