It is difficult to decide upon just one compelling reason for visiting Thailand. Is it the stunning scenery, the warmth and hospitality of the people or the delicious cuisine that beckon? Fortunately you don't have to pick just one - feel free to enjoy all of them!
Walking on the pristine white sand beaches surrounding Phuket or snorkeling in the warm waters while curious tropical fish nuzzle your feet is an exhilarating adventure. Following it up with a dinner of Pad Thai, satay skewers and green chicken curry at an open air restaurant overlooking the turquoise Andaman sea completes an experience that will live in your memory forever.
My love of Thai cuisine began long before I visited the country, nurtured in the many great Thai restaurants I regularly visit in Toronto. Enjoying the same delicious foods in Thailand made me realize how good they taste when eaten freshly cooked, on the beach with the setting sun in the background!
Eating Thai food always gives me a sense of déjà-vu. The flavours, tastes and aromas are very similar to South Indian cuisine, yet still unique and individual enough to stand apart. The coconut milk, garlic, ginger and fresh coriander, combined with the toasted spices always takes me back to Kerala, where i spent a good part of my life, while the lemongrass, galangal, Thai basil and mint are what make Thai cuisine distinctive.
The curry powder used in Thai cooking could easily pass off as Indian, given the similar list of spices used. Toasting the spices gives them a unique Thai flavour, adding smokiness and depth to the curry.
Home made curry powder is fun to make and can be used in numerous other dishes. Even a pinch of it livens up the food immensely. Once you've tried your own home made version, store bought just won't have the same appeal!
My recipe for curry powder, given in below link can easily be doubled or tripled and extras can be stored for up to a year in an air tight jar. Play around with the recipe by adding some green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon to the mix. Use it to make Thai or Malaysian dishes. It works really well with Indian food too!
Thai Chicken Satays
You can substitute shrimp, fish or any other meat for the chicken. Even cubes of paneer taste fantastic in this marinade!
The peanut dipping sauce on the side is a must to bring all the flavours together. you can find the recipe for it here.
For the satay marinade:
2 tsp Thai curry powder
½ inch piece ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp fish sauce
4 tbsp coconut cream (skimmed off top of canned coconut milk)
Salt to taste
1 lb boneless chicken breast
2 tbsp oil for brushing
In large mixing bowl, combine all marinade ingredients together. Mix well. Slice chicken lengthwise thinly into strips. Add to marinade in bowl, mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight. Soak bamboo skewers.
Preheat outdoor barbecue to medium high. Thread chicken strips onto skewers and grill briefly until just cooked through, about 4 min per side. Brush lightly with oil just before taking them off the grill. Serve with peanut sauce for dipping.