Earlier this month I attended a demonstration of traditional Thai cooking techniques at the Food & Hospitality Africa Show.
Chef Kun Bank from Padbok Thai Restaurant in Pretoria shared his top tips for preparing Thai food at home:
- When preparing Thai Curry, start by warming the instant curry paste in cooking oil over a low heat until it is fragrant. Then add the coconut milk.
- Stir fired dishes can be ruined by over-cooking. Blanch thicker vegetables such as broccoli in boiling water for one minute before adding them to the finely chopped vegetables to be stir fried. Two minutes of stir-frying is enough to ensure crunchy vegetables that retain their nutrients.
- Rice noodles should be soaked for 10 minutes in water at room temperature before draining them and using them in a dish. Soaking them in hot water will result in soggy noodles. Non-rice noodles should be prepared in the same way as pasta is, and cooked only until al dente.
Thai food is characterised by its beautiful colours, exotic ingredients and fusion of sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours – all beautifully shown off in Chef Bank’s Thai Spicy Beef Salad:
- 300 g beef sirloin steak
- ½ a small onion
- 1 tomato
- a thumb-long piece of cucumber
- 1 medium carrot
- 100 ml thai spicy dressing
- salt & pepper to season
- coriander, to garnish
- 1½ tablespoons (20g) crushed garlic
- 1 fresh chili, seeds removed and chopped
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (use fresh lemon in limes are not in season)
- 1 tablespoon (25g) palm sugar
- Season steak with salt and pepper then grill or dry fry until cooked. Slice into strips.
- Combine the garlic, chili, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar in a saucepan and infuse together over a low heat stirring until the palm sugar has dissolved.
- Toss the steak in the warm dressing mixture and allow to marinade in the thai spicy dressing while you chop the veggies.
- Finely slice the onion, remove the seeds and dice the tomato, remove the cucumber seeds and cut into long thin strips; and shred the carrot.
- Combine the chopped veggies.
- Add the steak strips, a drizzle of the thai spicy dressing and garnish with fresh coriander.
Remove the seeds from the tomato and cucumber to avoid a watery salad
Use fresh lemon juice in place of lime if not available
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, have no fear – you can easily modify this recipe - just use firm cubed tofu instead of the steak, and nix the fish sauce - switch to soya sauce instead.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, have no fear – you can easily modify this recipe! Just use firm cubed tofu instead of the steak, and nix the fish sauce – switch to soya sauce instead.