Monday, August 11, 2008

Special Thanks for Special Ones

Pictures above are Fresh shrimp spring roll and peanut butter sauce

This Vietnamese appetizer is one of my favorite. When I was in Thailand, I always take my family to a Vietnamese restaurant and this dish is a popular one. I love all fresh ingredients in this roll which contains many kinds of vegetable, such as, mint, basil, cilantro, cabbage, carrot, etc. Moreover, cocktail shrimps get along very well in this roll, together with a peanut butter sauce, I don’t think anyone can control not to ask for more.
I would like to post this food in my blog to thank Sophie Sexton for her kind support and encouragement. She gave me a good advice to keep up with my blog which I almost quit to work on. I have some difficulties on writing, especially in English. Writing blog became a pressure rather than enjoyment. I love cooking and taking pictures of my food but I don’t know how to express those in words and make no mistake in grammatical structures. But Sophie wrote me a nice note telling me to start from simple sentences describing the picture and convinced me not to worry about the mistakes too much. That made me feel a lot better and I will try to practice more and more. Hopefully, I will be a good blogger in the future. Also, I hope Sophie will like my fresh spring roll.

Another person I owe a lot is my husband, Randy. He started his blog and he likes it so much, so he suggested me to have my own blog. He knows that I love cooking and eating. That’s why cooking blog is in my interest. Many times, I was upset when he pushed me to work on my blog. He made me feel a little guilty for not adding anything new in the blog. I don’t think he understands how I feel when I had to spend hours working on that and I ended up with nothing to put on my blog whereas it takes just 45 minutes for him to write a long story. I was not mad at him for what he did but myself. Anyway, I feel grateful to him for not giving up on pushing me. So I’m here trying to write this story. To thank him, I post the picture below which is his favorite dish. This is not original Thai food but Chinese food. We call “Dim Sum”, a steamed shrimp wrap. He loves a flavor of ginger that I put in this dish. Dim sum can be eaten alone or with sauce which is mixed between soy sauce and vinegar.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Amazing Pad Thai

Pad Thai is one of popular Thai dish. Every time I talk to people here and after they know that I’m from Thailand, most of them told me that they love Thai food, especially Pad Thai. Pad Thai is stir fried rice noodle with sweet and sour sauce. I don’t know how the word “pad thai” is from but Pad means stir fry in Thai language. When I was in Thailand, I had never cook pad thai as there are many ingredients to be prepared. Moreover, it’s easier to go to any street vendors and buy this food. It costs only $ 1 per serving ( approximately 30 bath in Thai currency). I learned how to cook pad thai when I’m here in the States. At first, I used pad thai sauce mix which I bought from Asian market but I was not happy with it much. It tasted totally different from the original pad thai in Thailand. I tried to look for recipe from cooking books and website. Then I adapted this and that until I can have my own recipe.
The key of this delicious dish is a sweet and sour sauce which you can cook ahead and keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Pad Thai Sauce


Shallots, chopped ¼ cup
Garlic, chopped 3 cloves
Palm sugar ¾ cup (** to make it thick but if you don’t have it, you can use ¾ cup brown sugar)
Brown sugar 3 Tbs
Tamarind paste 3 Tbs , mixed with ¼ cup of water
Fish sauce ¼ cup ( or soy sauce)
Tomato sauce ¼ cup
Water ¼ cup
Oil 2 Tbs

#Cook shallots, garlic and oil in saucepan using medium heat. Put the rest ingredient and boil it. Taste as you like. It should be 3 favors ; sweet, sour, salty

Pad Thai

Ingredient ( 2 servings)

Rice noodle, soaked in water for 30 minutes and drain, 2 cups
Eggs 4, divided ( 2 for pad thai, 2 for pan omelet)
Mung bean sprout 2 cups, divided ( 1 ½ cup for Pad thai and ½ cup for decoration)
Garlic, chopped 1 clove
Shrimp ½ cup
Lime, halves
Roasted peanut, cracked 1/3 cup
Green onion, cut 1 inch long ¼ cup
Cilantro, chopped 1 Tbs
Pad thai sauce 8 Tbs
Roasted dry shrimp 2 Tbs (* you can find it in Asian stores)
Oil 1/3 cup
Water ½ cup
Chili powder, optional

# Heat oil in the pan using high heat. Then put garlic and shrimp, cook for a couple minutes till the shrimps turn red. Add rice noodle and then water to soften it. Then put pad thai sauce, dry shrimp, peanut and cook till mix. Put noodle on the side of the pan and put 2 eggs, wait till the egg is partially cooked and stir with noodle. Add the rest of ingredient, except lime. Taste to see if you should add more sugar and fish sauce.

In the picture, you will see how I decorated the dish. I sometimes cook the pan omelet and put it aside or cut it and sprinkle on top.

Hope you enjoy cooking and eating your own Pad Thai!!!

PS. I used my own words trying to describe the recipe. It might be confusing but you can ask me if you have any questions. This is my first one and I will try to make it better. A lot of learning and practicing are needed.

Story and picture by Chaniya Ninbanphot Cole

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thai food and the lady neighbor

The first month I was in US, I was suffering of missing my Thai food. In the morning, my husband fixed me American breakfast; Eggs, Toasts, Milk, Pancake, Ham, Bacon, etc. Actually, I had no problem with that because it was similar to my morning meal in Thailand. I like to have easy and quick food in the morning. But lunch and dinner was very tough for me here. My alternative meals were just sandwich, hamburger, steak, pizza, etc. I had these menus repeatedly for a month. Believe it or not, I lost 5 pounds without any attempt. I really wanted to have some Thai food but there is no Thai restaurant around here. I was trying to cook my own dish but I couldn’t find ingredient for Thai cooking here. Do you wonder where I am? Not really in the middle of nowhere but in the middle of mountains with the closest airport is about 100 miles away. Fortunately, my neighbor is a girl from Thailand. She saved my life with my first Thai dish here. We became very good friends as we have so many things in common. We love spicy food. We love eating and we both love cooking.
“Art” is her name. She is married to an American doctor and has 2 boys. She has been in this town for 2 years and she helped me a lot at the beginning since I arrived US. She told me how to live here, in a different country with different culture. At least once a week, we cook and eat together, making our favorite spicy food. We spent hours chatting and sharing our food. Sometimes she came to my place to help me cook and sometimes she invites me to have lunch or dinner with her. I’d like to show you today the pictures of our favorite Thai food which Art and I love to cook.

No. 1 “Yum Woon Sen” or grass noodle spicy salad which can be served as appetizer or main dish.

No.2 “ Kha Nom Jeen & Naam Yaa” or Thai noodle with hot curry.

No.3“ Som Tum” or raw papaya and carrot spicy salad. It is originally from North-eastern Thailand.

No .4 “ Tom Yum Koong” or Spicy shrimp soup with fresh herbs. This soup is very famous because of its taste, spiciness and good smell.

In the next blog, I will show you the ingredients in my storage. I think there might be something you have never seen before. Exciting? See you.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Welcome to my blog !!!!

(The picture aboved is my lovely kitchen where I enjoy spending my day cooking and eating)

I have to admit that it took me months to start this blog. I might be a bit nervous to write in English. I prefer speaking in English as opposed to writing in English, which to me can be pretty difficult. Anyway, I feel thankful to my husband who gave me a big inspiration and sweet pressure to write this blog. He is also my photographer of the picture you see in my profile.

Spicy Thai – Spicy Me, perfectly reflects my feelings in the food world. Of course, I’m from Thailand, land of spices and tongue fired food. Chili and a lot more spices and herbs have been used in Thai cuisine for thousands years. To us, food is not only an energetic resource, but also medicine. Thai food is considered a healthy food which consists of many nutritious ingredients and less fat.

I’m not an expert in food. I’m not a professional chef. I’m just a food lover. I love eating and cooking. To tell you the truth, I didn’t cook much when I was in Thailand. Why cook when you just find good and delicious dishes easily on every corner in Thailand. Moreover, my mom is the best cook. She spoiled me by cooking me good food upon request. She enjoyed cooking whatever I asked for. Her food is unbelievable. I found no need to learn to cook or even try to. But now I’m in the United States of America where my mom can’t feed me food and I can’t find any Thai restaurant within 100 miles. I don’t think I can survive by just eating hamburger, pizza, frozen food and any kind of fast food. I miss my spicy Thai food.

I had no choice but starting cooking my own dishes. As an eating lover, I know a lot of food. I like reading cooking books and surfing any website for the recipes. At first, I just love looking at beautiful pictures of food and then the curiosity led me to figure it out how to cook those. I enjoy watching cooking shows on TV. I don’t dream of being a chef like them but I just want to eat what they cook. Their food made my mouth water. That is my first start, collecting knowledge and theories without realizing that one day it will be put to the test.

As this Blog progresses, I will tell you more about my experience in learning, ingredient hunting, and of course the food preparation itself. Colorful images will be included. I hope you enjoy what I will have to offer.

Have a nice day!!!