Tag Archives: Thai

What I used to call the “Stinky Fruit”: The Durian

The memories are still vivid in my mind. Coming home from a long day of school, the last thing I’d really like to smell as I step foot into my house is durian. No need to go into the kitchen to smell the fruit. I’d be in my room, which was in a far corner upstairs, and the deadly smell would travel up to my room and creep though the cracks of my door and then BAM. It would hit me right smack dab in the face.

For those of you who have never smelled the fruit, that is no exaggeration. It all depends on personal preferences, so if you believe it smells amazing, I applaud you! video-travel-durian-articleLarge

 

So what exactly is this fruit? Why does it have such an intimidating appearance? In Southeast Asia, durian and a variety of other tropical fruits are consider to be the “Kings of Fruits”. Some of the fruit’s relatives are the hibiscus and okra, and it is originally from Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Durian are EXTREMELY popular in Thailand, and the popularity has lead to decades of tasty recipe with the star ingredient being this “stinky fruit”. There are durian chips, durian paste, durian cake… You name it! One of the most popular Thai desserts is the sticky rice and mango. When the durians are fresh and in season, most often times than not, they may be used as a substitute for mangos, and the vivid flavors of the fruit complements the sweet sticky rice well.

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Although the strong odor of the fruit may turn off some individuals, the durian actually offers a variety of health benefits. Listed below are some!

  1. Durian contain very high levels of dietary fiber,  aiding our digestive system. Not only does sufficient amounts of fiber help reduce constipation, but fiber also can actually help the reduce cholesterol!
  2. Speaking to one of my relatives just this past week about the fruit, he told me that eating durian can actually help reduce the chances of premature aging. No wonder my 50 year old uncle, who LOVES durian, looks like he’s only in his 30s!
  3. If you’re unable to sleep, eat some durian! According to OrganicFacts.net, durian contains an immense amount of tryptophan, a chemical which relaxes the body and leads to sleep. The effect caused is known as a “food coma”.
  4. Durian is packed with a variety of vitamins and organic chemicals that can kick cancer in the butt! Although there isn’t a cure to cancer, any way to prevent it is great.
  5. The fruit contains Potassium and several other types of minerals. These minerals can least to strong bones and can prevent osteoporosis from forming. Got milk? Psh, more like GOT DURIAN?!

Although the odor is vicious, there are several other health benefits to durian. If interested, although the fruit may be hard to find here in the US, check it out and give it a try! I’m not a big fan myself (besides the durian chips because you can’t smell anything and it’s FRIED), but the rest of my family loves it and you may too!

Thanks to Organic Facts for the awesome facts regarding durian’s health benefits!

Tea? Thai Tea Please.

It wasn’t until a couple years ago did I discover the refreshing goodness of Thai iced tea. I can honestly drink gallons and gallons of the tea, and my family members know my obsession with it. For a potluck at my best friends house last summer, I attempted to make my own Thai tea for the first time, and lets just say, it turned out perfectly! (Not to toot my own horn or anything tehehe)

Not only is the beverage amazingly delicious, it also has several health benefits! Check out the article below and maybe you’ll start drinking Thai tea as much as I do!

What Are the Health Benefits of Thai Iced Tea?

How To Make the Easiest Thai Dish: The Thai Omelet

One of the first dishes my father taught me how to make was the Thai omelet, called ไข่เจียว, or kai jieow. There are several variations to the simple dish, such as a stuffed Thai omelet. However, here is a basic recipe of the simple but satisfying dish!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 to 2 tsp of fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 drops of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of sliced green onions (optional)
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable for frying

Instructions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan until the oil is extremely hot and slightly smoking.
  2. While the oil is heating, lightly whisk the 3 large eggs until bubbles begin to appear. Add the fish sauce of light soy sauce to the lightly whisked eggs. If desired, add the sliced green onions into the mixture.
  3. In order to help the omelet rise and fluff up once it hits the oil, whisk in the lemon juice into the egg mixture.
  4. Continue to whisk the mixture until bubbles cover most of the surface of the egg mixture. I like to whisk the eggs a lot, as I believe it increases the eggs’ fluffiness!
  5. Immediately after whisking the eggs, slowly pour the mixture into the pan. If you add the mixture all at once, you are guaranteed a flat and dull omelet, as the eggs aren’t able to rise. While pouring the mixture, tilt the pan around so the egg comes in direct contact with the oil.
  6. Once all the eggs have been poured in the pan, lower the heat to medium and wait for the bottom side to become golden brown and the top side is almost dry.
  7. This is always the most difficult step for me! Flip the fluffy omelet over with a spatula that is large enough to stably hold it. You are welcome to use a fork or spoon to assist with the flip.
  8. Once flipped, let the now bottom side to become a beautiful golden brown,  and BAM! Plate the fluffiness on to a plate with a nice portion of rice, and you have an easy but extremely satisfying meal!

It took me a lot of trials to finally make my version of the perfect Thai omelet. Give my simple recipe a shot, altering ingredients and process to your personal desires, and let me know how it works out!

TOP THREE MYTHS ABOUT THAI FOOD

Often times when we are unfamiliar with things, we find ourselves creating assumptions, some of which don’t even make sense. Being fully blooded Thai and receiving authentic Thai food all of my life, several individuals have approached me with some of the most interesting questions and assumptions regarding Thai food. Here are some I have been approached with the most!

Myth #1: “Thai food is a type of Asian food. Use chopsticks!”

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Yes, Thai food is definitely one of the many delicious types of Asian foods. However, when eating Thai food, it is extremely rare that one will use chopsticks. Unless that individual is enjoying some noodles, in that case, it would make sense to do so.

A lot of us have been accustomed to eating rice with chopsticks, due to the popularity of Chinese food, and in some cases, I have seen several individuals become offended when given a spoon and fork when dining at a Thai restaurant. Traditional Thai dishes often require a spoon and fork, as these two utensils help ease the process of getting the small long-grain rice in your mouth. My parents have always told me that the main function of the fork is to get food onto the spoon, and well, the spoon is used to get the food in your mouth.

 

Myth #2: “I’d like Thai food if it all wasn’t so spicy!”

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My junior year of high school, one of my good friends asked me to describe Thai food in one word. For some odd reason, the first word that popped in my mind was SPICY. If I were asked that question now, I would have to say Thai food is very… Bold. I might be biased, but I would have to say that Thai food possesses a very good balance of all the different flavors. Nothing is too sweet, too sour, too salty, etc. It is a grand mixture of a variety of flavors and ingredients that makes my mouth water every single time.

When considering authentic Thai cuisine, I would have to say that it is extremely rare that a dish will be spicy enough to have you running for something to distinguish the fire in your mouth. It all really depends on one’s personal preference, and overall, Thai chefs use a reasonable amount of spice in their dishes to bring out all the possible flavors. When dining at authentic Thai restaurants, most often times than not, you will find several condiments for you to alter your dish’s flavors as you please. If you want more spice, feel free to add the chili powder. If you want a more intense sweet flavor, feel free to add sugar. It really all depends on one’s personal preference.

The assumption of ALL Thai food being spicy is obviously not true. Yes, the spiciness of a majority of dishes presented in menus can be altered, and I believe that the option to do so makes individuals believe that the small selection of dishes represents all. However, there are so many different soups and dishes that have no spiciness at all whatsoever, and I will surely be sharing the easy recipes with you all very soon!

 

Myth #3: “I added peanuts to this dish. It’s Thai now.”

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This myth makes me laugh nonstop. A couple years ago, as I was making pizza with one of my friends, she turned to me and said, “I used a peanut sauce for the pizza, and I sprinkled some peanuts with the chicken. This Thai pizza will be awesome!”

Her excitement made me refrain myself from bursting her bubble and telling her that just because you add a peanut sauce and some actually peanuts to a dish does not make it any more Thai than it was before. Although our pizza didn’t come out the way we anticipated (it was more like chicken and peanut butter pizza), I often think back and laugh at the widely accepted assumption.

Peanuts can be a viable characteristic of Thai cuisine. However, it isn’t a necessary ingredient in all dishes. A lot of Americanized Thai dishes are called that solely because it has peanuts in it. If I added peanuts to my tomato soup, it wouldn’t make my soup any more Thai, would it?

 

What other myths have you heard about Thai food?! Share them by commenting below!

Growing up…

Being born and raised in a traditional Thai family, I have been surrounded by Thai cuisine from a very young age. More than half of my family members are involved with the restaurant business somehow, and I have spent countless hours in the restaurants myself, learning and thoroughly enjoying the food. I often call my father my own personal chef and his cooking skills are literally out of this world! Being very close to my parents, their love for cooking and eating has definitely been embedded in me!