Cooking With Bwog: Thai
Written by Bwog Staff
Welcome once again to Cooking With Bwog, bringing you simple recipes you can cook in your dorm kitchen. If you have any great recipes to share or requests for Bwog’s culinary team, write us at [email protected] This week: Thai food!
Bwog tried to find recipes that were as simple as possible, but the fact is that what makes Thai food Thai is the specific spice palate used while cooking. If you can’t find any of the rarer ingredients listed below, feel free to omit them. Bwog is pretty sure they can all be found at Fairway. Also, some of these may be Americanized meals of Thai influence, not authentic Thai food. A good collection of authentic Thai food recipes can be found here.
If you’re really lazy and you have a bit more pocket money, Bwog suggests you check out these almost instant items from FreshDirect, which will deliver right to your door for a minimal price:
Cascadian Farms Thai stir-fry: $2.39
Organic Classics Thai Chicken Curry: 4.59
Actual recipes including tofu and peanut sauce, pad thai, and thai iced tea after the jump.
Fried tofu with peanut sauce
There are two routes to go with tofu – you can either buy pre-deep-fried tofu or you can buy fresh tofu. The pre-deep-fried variety is a bit more expensive, but easier to prepare.
For pre-deep-fried, warm it up in a toaster oven for a few minutes. If you like it crispier, heat it at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time.
For fresh tofu, buy extra-firm. Drain the water off and cut tofu into 2-3 cm cubes. If you have the means to deep fry in 3-4 cm oil, do so. Heat the oil in a deep skillet or saucepan as hot as you can, then add tofu cubes frying until golden brown. Wikipedia has an interesting article about deep frying. If you don’t have the means to deep fry (you need a lot of oil and a good pan), you can always just heat the tofu in a pan with a bit of oil (sesame or vegetable oil work) until they get slightly toasted – the goal is to remove some of the water and warm the cubes up. You could probably throw them in the microwave on a plate, too, though this wouldn’t toast them.
There are ready-made peanut sauces available at supermarkets. Check the Asian food section. If you want something a little nicer, here’s a recipe:
Ingredients: 1 tbsp. vinegar (steal from salad bar at John Jay), 2 tbsp. sugar, pinch of salt, 1tsp. ground, fresh chili paste, 5-7 sprigs of cilantro, ¼ cup of peanuts or cashews
Throw peanuts into an ungreased pan on high heat and toast until slightly browned. Crush them: you can use a knife or you can put them in a Ziploc bag and throw your Calc textbook on top to break the nuts into pieces. It doesn’t really matter how small you make them, somewhere between rice-sized and grit-sized. In a microwavable bowl, mix sugar, chili paste, salt and vinegar. Microwave for a minute. Mix in cilantro. Top with crushed peanuts.
(Pad Thai can be found in an instant style as well – it cooks faster than mac and cheese!)
Ingredients (these 8 are all required): rice noodles (thicker is better), 4 tsp. fish sauce (sub mix of 4 tsp. soy sauce and a bit of ketchup for vegetarian), 3 cloves garlic, ½ tsp dried chili pepper, 2 tsp veggie oil or sesame oil, 1 shallot or ¼ onion, 2 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp tamarind pulp.
Optional: lime, meats or seafood, tofu, a banana flower, Chinese chives, bean sprouts, preserved turnips, egg (1), nuts.
Soak the dry rice noodles in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes. Mince shallot and garlic together. (This means cut them up as small as you can. If you have a good knife, cut off the ends of the shallot and garlic, which are the parts you won’t eat, then smack the broad side of the knife on the garlic cloves to flatten them. Then cut them up). Pour oil into a big pot – wok or anything else will do – and heat on high. If you’re using nuts, fry them first, then remove without removing oil. Add shallots and garlic (and tofu) and cook until brown. Then drain the noodles and add them. Add tamarind, chili pepper, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir and test a noodle to see if it’s done. You’re done at this point if you’re not adding optional ingredients. To add egg, push the noodles to one side of the pan and crack the egg right into the pan. Scrabble it around until almost done, then fold it into the noodles. If you’re adding vegetables, do this after the egg, stirring them into the noodles until they’re warm and coated with sauce. Cook any meat separately and add at the end.
Serve with nuts sprinkled on top and garnish with banana flower, Chinese chives, and lime.
Thai Iced Tea
Ingredients: Sugar, black tea, milk or evaporated milk (this comes in cans), ice, cinnamon (steal from John Jay).
The trick is to make the tea (buy it in bags) very concentrated. Boil 6 cups of water, turn off the heat and add 8 tea bags (take the tags off if they have them). Seep until it has cooled to about room temperature – this could take a while. Then, put ice in cups to serve, pour in tea until ¼ of cup is left. If you’re using evaporated milk, add ¼ cup evaporated milk, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon. If you’re using regular milk, add milk until the cup is full, 3-4 Tbsp sugar (to taste), and 1 tsp cinnamon.
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