Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"The Asian Vanilla"

or a.k.a. Pandan Paste

Experiment with this Asian paste, familiarly called “The Asian Vanilla” that is used all throughout Asia, particularly Thailand. The smell and flavor is truly addictive because it smells so good! Its alluring aroma is a little nutty and similar to freshly-cooked jasmine rice. You can add this to cookies or icing for holiday cakes.

Right now, Import Foods ( is having a sale – I recommend checking it out!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey Tom Yum with your leftover turkey from Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and enjoyed many delicious servings of food.

It's incredible how one can even imagine being hungry after a giant feast like Thanksgiving supper...but think about trying this with all your leftover turkey when you do get hungry and want to figure out a new, easy recipe. Turkey Tum Yom!

It is just like the class Tum Yom Goong but use turkey instead of the shrimp. My husband has been looking forward to this soup for weeks now.

Tum Yom is best known for its hot and sour flavors and fragrant herbs. This soup delivers an intricate weave of spicy, invigorating flavor with its blend of ingredients including galangal, lemongrass, kiffer lime leaves, lime juice and cilantro. Try it out and let me know how it goes! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thailand for the Holidays

Did you know that you can purchase gift certificates for my cooking classes? Yes you can! You can never start too early to buy gifts for friends and family for the holidays. And the earlier, the better so you have more time to enjoy the holidays because your shopping will be out of the way.

You can buy the certificates in any denomination and we can either mail or email the certificate to you. This way, you can add the certificate in a card. What better way to give your friends and family a Thai treat this holiday season.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Experimenting with measurements

Many of my students notice that while I teach a lesson, I don’t necessarily measure out exact proportions for my recipes. Why is this? It is because much of the Thai cooking technique relies on being able to create the recipe to your personal liking.

Thai cooking is much more lenient as it allows cooks to customize a dish to make it as sweet, sour, salty or creamy as you like. For instance, I usually vary the amount of sweetness (sugar) and saltiness (fish oil) in each dish.

For beginner cooks, I still recommend you follow my recipes’ proportions and measurements but as you grow more confident and experienced in your cooking, try to vary your measurements to learn how to let your taste wander.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin in Coconut Soup with Shrimp

Now that Halloween is over...what are you going to do with all your pumpkins?? Try out this new soup.

This looks a lot like a rich buttery French style cream soup, but it's a velvety smooth, creamy Thai-style coconut soup with hearty chunks of squash.

It goes well with jasmine rice, but it also tastes great with some noodles or even western-style pasta if you prefer. It especially hits the spot if you're a pumpkin lover, the combination of ingredients really highlight the pumpkin flavor.

If you want to spice the soup up a bit, feel free to add Thai ground chile pepper, and/or add more lime juice so it's more sour like tom kha. Try to use the largest shrimp you can find too!


3 1/4 cups squash, prefer Kabocha or Buttercup variety, cut into large cubes
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut cream (see note below)
1 1/2 lbs large shrimps or prawns, peeled and deveined, tails on
1/4 cup shallot, sliced
2 tablespoons shallot, coarsely chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
12 whole white peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons palm sugar
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups soup stock
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4-6 kaffir lime leaves, whole, torn to release flavor


In a mortar and pestle pound the peppercorns, sliced shallot, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until it forms a nice paste.

In a large soup pot, heat coconut milk over medium-high heat, then add the peppercorn mixture and bring to a boil. Add soup stock and pumpkin, stir and let cook for about 10 minutes or until pumpkin starts to get soft. Add shrimp, season with salt, palm sugar and lime juice. Stir in chopped shallots. Let it cook to a mild boil, stirring soup with a circular motion.

Gradually drizzle the egg into the soup, stirring gently until the egg is cooked. Add coconut cream (see below) and kaffir lime leaves, stirring quickly. Remove from heat, ladle into a bowl, serve hot and enjoy!

To get coconut cream, remove the lid from a can of coconut milk and, without stirring the contents, remove the top cream and discard the thin liquid.

Recipe Source: Thai Supermarket

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How to make real coconut milk - video!

Check out this quick video on how make make "real" coconut milk!

Of course, since it's much easier to buy the canned version...we won't be squeezing out the milk like this in my class too soon....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thai Chicken and Ginger Soup

This soup is really known as "Gai Joo Khing", and is particularly good for mothers who just gave birth has it helps heal much of the body.

You can use chicken for this tasty dish or fried fish. To make good Gai Joo Khing, you must fry the chicken with garlic and ginger until the aroma and flavor of ginger is prominent in the chicken before you add water.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chicken, cut into bite size
1 half head of garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup sliced ginger
2 tablespoons yellow bean sauce (soybean paste)
2 cups water or soup stock
1/2 tablespoon thin soy sauce
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Thai pepper powder
1/4 cup spring onion cut into one inch long
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
fresh red chili pepper cut into long strip for garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a wok on medium heat until hot. Add chicken stir fry until start to cook, add garlic and ginger cook until aromatic. Stir in yellow bean sauce and water, bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Season with thin soy sauce and white pepper powder. Add spring onion and cilantro remove from heat.

Transfer to serving bowl top with red chili pepper. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Recipe Source: Thai Supermarket

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mommy & Me Classes

I am about to host new Mommy & Me classes soon! Enjoy this class with your child and learn 3 easy dishes tailored to include and engage your child so both of you can experience the joys of cooking together. Your child will be exposed to basic cooking techniques that are hands-on, safe and fun for everyone.

I know the types of things that kids like (noodles, sauces) but if you have any suggestions for this class, please feel free to tell me! This class is for you and yours to enjoy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

News on the 4-week course and a New Discount

**Four-week Course**

My new 4-week course is about to begin and I cannot wait! We have a great turnout so far and there is still room to sign up. Same day each week for only 2 hours for 4 weeks...and you learn 12 me to sign up or for any questions!

Students will enjoy the casual, fun environment of the class and earn a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course. The 4-week course is also in October. Class size is limited to 5 students. Hurry and sign up!

**Discount News**

Any former student can receive a discount by taking a new class with their friends. Bring two or more of your friends and get a 20% discount and all your friends get a 10% discount. This is starting immediately so get to that new Noodles & Rice class you want to take.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thai Basil vs. Holy Basil

What are the differences between these two types of basil that is so prominent in authentic Thai dishes?

Thai basil is the sweeter of the two and grows on purplish stems, topped with pretty, reddish purple flower buds. The flowers are edible and both leaves and flowers are sweetly perfumed with a mix of a distinctly basil scent--that of anise or licorice. As such, it is sometimes referred to as "anise basil" or "licorice basil," but are not to be confused with the Western version.

You can put handfuls of Thai basil in dishes. It is used in everything from curries, salads, soups and stir-fry.

Holy Basil, or also known as Hot Basil, is spicy, not sweet. There are two varieties: a white (light green) and a red, which has a reddish purple cast around the stems and the underside of darker green leaves. The lightly hairy leaves of both kinds are jagged along the edges and are smaller and more fragile than Thai sweet basil.

The peppery combination of zesty mint and basil flavors of Holy Basil enhance when cooked and therefore, it is better to use this type of basil cooked than to eat it raw. It is mostly used in simple stir-fries and the famous Pad Ke Maw.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lets do some cooking this summer !!

Hi everyone!

Summer has been flying by but many wonderful things have been happening in my kitchen.. for instance, I have added new classes to teach. That's right, you can learn up to 28 dishes! I've included some Thai favorites like Drunken Noodles, Pad See Ew, Thai Chicken Basil and some seafood favorites as well. Check them out and make sure to remember that summer won't last for long so my group discount won't be here forever.

To learn more about Thai food, try my Thai Cooking Classes

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Instant Thai Breakfast

People usually eat lunch or dinner at Thai restaurants, so they have their favorite Thai dishes for the day. But noone seems to know that Thai people also eat breakfast, and they surely dont' eat cereal! so what do they eat? And what can you make for a quick Thai breakfast to complement the rest of your Thai craving?

Kao Tom Jao, or "instant Thai breakfast" as I call it, is what we usually make for a quick breakfast to get us going. It kind of like chicken rice soup, only Thai style. You can add what you'd like to it, shrimp, chicken, pork, or fish.

Use the following ingredients:

Steam rice 1 1/2 cups
Ground chicken, pork, or turkey 1 tablespoon
Galic (minced) 2 cloves
Cilantro (minced) 1 teaspoon
Spring onion (minced) 1 teaspoon
Salt or fishsauce 1 teaspoon
Soy sauce

And here's a quick way to make it:

1. boil water and garlic wait for a few minute add salt, ground chicken or (other meat).
2. add steamed rice after ground chicken is fully cooked
2. Let pot boil for 5 minutes add cilantro, spring onion and soy sauce and serve
4, add chili or lime juice or white vinegar for seasonning

See, that was fast right? and sure tastes better then cereal! Much more healthy too! Its also a good food for young children.......sure bets giving them cornflakes!

To learn more about Thai food, try my Thai Cooking Classes

Sour for the pregnant ones

(this was written last year, when Chef Saithong was pregnant)

Why does everyone think pregnant ladies want to eat sour food? I recently got to find out as I finished my first trimester of my own pregnancy. Yes, your very own Chef Saithong is pregnant (these things happen even to Chefs!) But the first 3 months I never felt any of this sour urge. Now though, things have changed.

Suddently as I hear people talk about pregnant women eting sour food, my mouth is full of saliva. So I walked around my home garden, and looked at all the fruit trees that my husband had planted for us years ago. The little furry neighbors must have stolen all the apricots from one tree, but our old plum tree was full. The plums were half red, half green, but I couldn't wait for it to ripen...I grabbed one! It was sweet and sour. I thought, hey, this is perfect to eat with Prik Klua. The unripe fruit with Prik Klua helps to wake me up now.

In Thailand, Prik Klua is a popular tangy dipping sauce. You can dip many kinds of fruit or veggies in it, like tomato, green mango, lemon, lemon, lime, strawberry, apple and even guava. The dipping sauce is easy to make, here's how to make the Prik Klua:

Salt 1 teaspoon
Sugar 2 teaspoon
Crushed chili - 1 teaspoon

Crush well with a mortar and pastel, and your dipping sauce is ready. Eat with your favorite fruit or veggie!

To learn more about Thai food, try my Thai Cooking Classes

Galangal - the unknown ginger

The first thing my cooking students ask me, when looking at the list of ingredients, is "what in the heck is galangal?" It is a white brown root that looks like ginger bcause it comes from the same family. When you slice its side, you will see a clear white color and smell that's different from anything else! It is the most common ingredient in Thai cuisine. Galangal is grown most Southeast Asia countries. Its used in many Thai dishes such as Tom Kha, Tom Yum, and many curry paste.

I prefer fresh galangal root for cooking. Luckily, the weather in some parts of California will permit growing it in your garden. Galangal loves tropical weather though, so don't expect the best results here. Galangal was first harvested for use in cooking and medicine in China and the Java Island of Indonesia. It traveled to Europe in 1098 and was used to treat everything from deafness and heart disease to indigestion. There are many countries using galangal such as in Turkey where they use it in tea and Arab nations, as a stimulant for their horses. Europe and Asia used it as a appetite stimulant and aphrodisiac, Russia of course used it for making liqueurs.

Galangal is commonly prescribed today by homeopaths, veterinarians, and other health care professionals and natural healers. It has been found effective as a remedy for the following ailments and conditions:

* indigestion and stomach complaints
* motion sickness and nausea
* ulcers and inflammation of the stomach
* rheumatism
* colds, flu, and fevers
* dementia
* bad breath
* diarrhea
* poor blood circulation
* tumors

To learn more about Thai food, try my Thai Cooking Classes

Growing your own lemongrass

All us Thai cooks know that Lemongrass is an essential ingredient to many dishes. But why keep running to the store to buy it. You can easily grow fresh lemongrass at home without using up much space.

In California, I grow my own Lemongrass in both pots of soil and straight in the ground in my front yard (that way I just lean over from my kitchen, open the front door, and grab a few!)

Is it really that easy? Yea, try it out! First you have to buy lemongrass at grocery store or farmer market. Then put lemongrass in a vase or jar, add water to about 4-5 inches, and keep checking the water in the vast. Make sure your lemongrass never dries out because of no water.

For a few months you will see white roots grow from the bottom of the lemongrass, wait until the roots get longer and become brown in color. At this time your lemongrass is ready to be planted in a pot with mixed soil or in your garden. Don't forget to give water everyday and put it in the place that is full of sun. Summer is the best time for lemongrass to grow and multiply.

Try it out and you'll have fresh lemongrass to cook with! Let me know how it goes.

To learn more about Thai food, try my Thai Cooking Classes