Tag Archives: thai

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup: Disaster to Success!


Recently, B arrived home from tour and I decided to make a nice dinner for his first night home.

Word of advice: Homecoming meals should be recipes you with which you are familiar! Otherwise, there’s pressure for a great meal because it’s a special evening and when things go wrong, tempers flare and suddenly F*^k! becomes the theme of the evening!

Okay, it didn’t get THAT bad…but it could have.  So next time your Lovely returns home from a trip, make grilled cheese sandwiches or a veggie platter. Don’t stress yourself out.

My friend Jen sent me a link for a Thai Coconut Soup that she had found on the Food Network and made not too long ago. She told me it was restaurant quality soup and since I love Thai food, I thought I would try it!

It wasn’t as easy as it seemed, but after a few hiccoughs, we figured it out…added a few things and had an awesome soup to go with dinner!

Rather than reprinting the recipe here, I figured I’d simply leave the link for you to click on: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/thai-coconut-chicken-soup-recipe/index.html

I did, however, add some ingredients and do a few things a bit differently than called for in the recipe so feel free to read on! Continue reading


Thai Stir-fry – Confirming a Food Photography Rule



I love Thai food.  I think this fondness is rooted in the coconut milk that tends to be in most Thai food that I have had.  It adds a lovely creaminess to the dish, and really just liking coconut doesn’t hurt 😉

It was during a Thai food craving that I decided to try making my own Thai-inspired stir-fry, complete with coconut milk!

Click here for the recipe I used or scroll to the bottom of the post.

A good stir-fry is a great idea for a quick meal.  You can pretty much chop up whatever veggies you have on hand, search your freezer for some frozen ones if you want to offer even more variety, add some spice, some sauce and  you’re ready to go.  Vegetarian or laced with meat, it all works!

This stir-fry turned out to be quite easy and therefore, I have few pictures to share.  I got so involved with the creative aspect of adding whatever I had on hand that I forgot about the camera. 

This is a good thing though.  

I’ve heard that brown food doesn’t necessarily photograph well.  It is said that such food doesn’t look quite as appetizing as bright fresh greens, reds, oranges.  I can’t disagree….See for yourself….


It was honestly really, really good!  But the picture just doesn’t do it justice….

Preparation?  A lot of chopping.  I bought a few things to add to the stir-fry such as fresh ginger and eggplant, not necessarily items I always have on hand.  In addition to those, I chopped up zucchini, onions, celery, peppers, garlic, and bok choy.

I sauteed the onion, garlic, chili flakes and ginger in a bit of oil for a few minutes to soften them up and, while they were frying, I mixed up my sauce.

Again, brown goop…not so photo friendly, but still delicious!

It was easy to mix initially, but it then took some time to perfect.  The ingredients included coconut milk, soy sauce, lemon juice, chili flakes, and brown sugar.

I had to keep tasting and adding more soy or lemon juice to get the flavour just right.

When my onions were translucent, I went ahead and added all my chopped vegetables, including a little bit of my sauce into the fry pan, and let it continue to saute for another 4-5 minutes to bring out the taste in the veggies and allow them to brown slightly…yeah, there’s that “brown” theme happening again!

Sauteeing the veggies

Once the veggies were somewhat sautéed and smelling good, I added my remaining sauce, covered the pan and let it simmer. I let it go for awhile while I waited for my rice but the simmering time will vary…depending on how tender you want your veggies.

So, in the meantime, steam up some rice and slice up your basil leaves.  

Put on rice.  Top with basil and eat!

The result is a fast, easy, slightly creamy, slightly spicy awesome stir-fry!  Just avoid taking pictures ;P


THAI STIR-FRY

    • 1/2 purple onion, chopped
    • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
    • 1-2 thumb-size pieces ginger, sliced into long, skinny pieces
    • 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
    • 1 medium-size carrot, sliced
    • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
    • 2-3 sticks of celery, chopped
    • 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
    • 1 small eggplant, cubed
    • 2-3 cups baby bok choy (leaves left whole if not too large, otherwise cut in half or thirds)
    • fresh basil leaves
    • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
    • STIR-FRY SAUCE:
    • 2/3 cup coconut milk
    • 3+ Tbsp. soy sauce
    • 3+1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    • 1/3 to 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
    • 2+1/2 tsp. brown sugar

    Preparation:

    1. Combine all ‘stir fry sauce’ ingredients together and be sure to taste the sauce.  The coconut milk should kick in at the end, with the salty or spicy noticed first. I ended up adding more soy and lemon juice as I found my sauce to be somewhat creamier than I wanted, but really preference is up to you.
    2. Saute the onion, garlic, ginger, and chili flakes over med heat for a few minutes, then add your vegetables, allowing them to brown just slightly.
    3. Add your stir-fry sauce and bring to a simmer.  Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes or so (my time varied as I simmered the mixture until my vegetables were tender). The mixture will remain pretty saucy, but it is meant to.
    4. Finally add the bok choy. Continue to simmer until bok choy is cooked but still bright green with some crispness (2-3 minutes more).
    5. Remove from heat and do one last taste-test. Top with fresh basil and serve over rice.
NOTE: The original recipe which was my reference can be found HERE.

Last min decision = Some amazing Thai food! Buppha Thai Restaurant


I didn’t start this blog to review restaurants but as my food interest gains momentum, I find myself wanting to blog about my experiences in various locations…whether they were amazing meals or not!  The other night, I had a wonderful experience at a last-minute, randomly chosen restaurant and I decided to share it here.

A couple of nights ago, after running some errands, my friend Jen, and I were in downtown Toronto looking for a place to eat.  It was just after 4pm and we both had to work at 6:30 in the Yonge/Queen St area so we didn’t want to stray too far for dinner.

As we drove, we discussed what kind of food we were in the mood for.  She was much more familiar with the area than I, so I was the one throwing out suggestions and Jen would try to remember whether a restaurant in the area matched.  At one point, I suggested Thai food.  I hadn’t had any since my birthday in January and I realized as it came out of my mouth that, yes, I was REALLY in the mood for Thai!  Luckily, so was Jen but neither of us knew of any nearby restaurants.  Out came the Blackberry and we began to search the area.  In a couple of minutes, I  came across a listing for Buppha Thai Restaurant.  I mentioned it to Jen and she said that in the years she had spent in the area, she had never eaten there.  So we decided to check it out.

From the reviews online, we didn’t expect the outside of the restaurant to be overly striking.  Many people said that the outside didn’t do the food and service justice so we followed their examples and overlooked it.

Buppha Thai

Buppha Thai Restaurant 110 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON

http://www.restaurantica.com/on/toronto/buppha-thai-restaurant/23002244/

There were no customers in the restaurant when we entered so we were able to sit wherever we wanted.  The server was kind and attentive, bringing menus to us pretty much immediately and taking our drink orders.

First things first…I glanced at the list of available beverages and I saw…a 6 oz glass of house red wine for $3.70!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a cheap price before!

I wondered about the actual size and quality of the wine I would receive but figured, what the heck, and ordered a glass.

Sadly, I neglected to ask what wine it was but, regardless, it was a nice dry red that went well with my meal.  Not so dry that I found it tart (I generally dislike extremely dry reds) and low enough in alcohol content that it didn’t set off the spice of the food overmuch.

Thai Spring Rolls

We were given as much time as we needed to peruse the menu and we decided on a couple of appetizers to start.  First, we ordered the traditional Thai spring roll.  We received 3 rolls for $3.95 that were described as follows:

“Glass noodle, mushroom, carrots, bamboo shoots, wrapped in Thai pastry, served with sweet and sour sauce”

They were delicious.  They arrived hot and freshly made, wrapped in a delicate, crispy pastry with perfectly cooked vegetable stuffing.  I have tried many spring rolls in many places.  I’ve had scary rolls that seemed mushy or overcooked and I have had awesome ones that make me desire a second order!  If I hadn’t already pre-ordered my meal…I may have considered another order of these lovely little appetizers!

Coconut Soup w/Chicken

We also decided to split on an order of Coconut Soup with Chicken.

“An aromatic blend of coconut milk, lemongrass, galangale” $6.95 (with Chicken $7.95)

When the soup arrived, I thought it looked absolutely gorgeous.  It had a somewhat creamy scent with spicy undercurrent and I couldn’t help but inhale deeply of the fragrance as I spooned out my serving.  The soup was chock full of chicken!  Happily, I noted that all the chicken was white meat and quite tender.  (Not a big fan of dark meat if I have the choice).

The broth was lovely, especially if you’re a fan of coconut, which I am!  Quite creamy at the start with a slightly tangy mid-taste from the galangale and a splendid lemongrass finish at the back of the palate.

I tried both a piece of the galangale and the lemongrass; the former tasted at first bite similar to a carrot, which quickly evolved into a piece of ginger and the latter was as you would expect, a lovely bouquet of lemongrass, but stalky and fibrous.

Soup Cast-offs: Galangale and Lemongrass

I asked and the waitress told me that some people eat them, but I took the time to remove them from my bowl after my initial taste.  Their addition to the broth rounded out the dish nicely but on their own, I didn’t really like the texture or taste of either.

In hindsight, the only improvement I might have made to the soup would have been to add more vegetables.

Pad Thai

For our main course, we both ordered Pad Thai.  Jen noticed they carried both regular Pad Thai and a Curry Pad Thai.  Being a curry fan, she didn’t think twice about ordering the latter.  I spent a few minutes perusing the menu and eventually settled on the regular Pad Thai…since I’d been going on about wanting it for an hour at that point!

“Pad Thai: Thai rice noodle with tiger shrimp, tender chicken, tofu, eggs, tamarind sauce, sprinkled with roasted peanuts, served with bean sprouts and lime

– Mild, Medium or Hot” $9.95


 

Yummy tiger shrimp!

It was delicious!  The chicken was the same as the chicken served in the soup…all white meat, quite tender and well cooked.  The pieces of tofu were perfect, wrapped delicately in a thin, crispy skin and the shrimp were quite large!  (Each pad thai came with two shrimp.)  The noodles were cooked as I like them…not too chewy but with a nice texture and slight firmness rather than being mushy.

I chose the medium spice and it too was perfect.  I’m not one for a lot of hot spice and the medium remained a light burn or warmth on my tongue.  Just enough to set off the flavours.

 

“Curry Pad Thai: Fried rice noodle with chicken and shrimp, egg, tofu, green onion, peanuts, served with bean sprouts and lime in yellow curry sauce”  $9.95

Curry Pad Thai w/Chicken

The two dishes were pretty much identical minus the sauce.  Jen loved her meal and upon having a bite, I understood why.  The curry was light, not overpowering and as already mentioned, the shrimp were large and well cooked, the chicken was tender and the noodles were a wonderful texture.

The desserts weren’t mentioned in the menu at all so I asked our server what they had to offer.  The moment I heard the words “deep-fried banana”, my mouth started watering and we ordered a plate to share.  We received six golf ball sized banana spheres for $5.95.

Their version of deep-fried banana wasn’t the best I’ve had…but it was still pretty damn good!  And to be fair, it was the texture that I didn’t appreciate…another may love it!  I found the banana centre a little mushy and the crispy outside a little greasy…I get the sense that had they been removed from the deep fryer just a tad earlier, all would have been great!  Regardless though, as I said, they were slightly incredibly yummy…a soft, light banana flavour drizzled with a light coating of honey.  Heavenly!

Deep Fried Banana

So, overall?  An incredibly delicious, filling experience!  The servings were a good size, I had pad thai for lunch the next day.  (It reheats it quite well for the record!)

Feedback and room for improvement:

a) They were playing some random radio station over the sound system.  Personally, when I go for cultured food, whether it be Thai, Indian, what-have-you…I prefer to eat while listening to authentic traditional music.  My meal was somewhat tainted by random interruptions of hip hop and rap.

b) Around 5pm, I noticed that the server, there was only one, was dealing with a number of phone orders.  People were arriving fairly consistently to pick up their orders and that caused us to have to wait both to ask about dessert and to get our bill.  So, if you go, be aware that they do get busy, even if there are no actual customers on site.

Overall though, a pleasant experience in a nicely decorated, clean establishment.  We split the bill, each paying about $25…not bad for the amount of food we received!  I would recommend Buppha Thai as a cozy, casual place to go for some above average kick-ass food!


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