If you are looking for a special way to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day then perhaps a romantic dinner for two, created by Carol Taylor from some of her most popular recipes from the last couple of years, incorporating wonderfully warming and spicy Thai ingredients.
Tom Yum Soup with Prawns (Tom Yum Goong)
This is one of my favourite Thai soups and the first time I made it from scratch I questioned the colour as in many restaurants it is a bright orange colour. It is because a Tom Yum paste or stock cube is used…This one is made from scratch it also doesn’t have that sharp taste but is more mellow and I think more pleasant.
- 2 litres of water
- 4 stalks of lemongrass
- 1 inch chunk of galangal
- 10 kaffir lime leaves
- 10 Thai chillies
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 500gm Prawns
- 300 grams of oyster mushrooms
- 2 medium tomatoes cut into quarters.
- 2 white onions (medium-sized) cut into large chunks.
- 1 and half teaspoons of sugar
- 7 – 10 tablespoons of fish sauce (depending on your taste)
- Juice of 5 -8 limes.
- Handful of cilantro ( Coriander)
N.B Next time I will use shallots instead of white onions and I recommend using lowest amounts of limes and fish sauce and Taste! Adjust if necessary as everyone’s taste varies.
First thing to do is put about 2 litres of water in a large pot to boil. Then I like to start by squeezing my limes. This is not the first step of the recipe, but it’s best to have your limes squeezed so when you need them later, you don’t need to rush to squeeze them all.
Take your stalks of lemongrass, and first tear off the outermost leaf and throw it out. Then, I like to use a rolling-pin or the handle end of a knife to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavours. Then just slice it diagonally into 1 inch strips or so.
Take about 1 thumb sized chunk of the root part of galangal, and chop it into slices.
Coarsely break about 10 kaffir lime leaves – no need to cut them, just tear them – which is going to help release their flavour.
Peel about 5 cloves of garlic.
I used about 10 Thai bird chilli for this recipe, but you can use however many you like. First, take off the stem, and then you can either just slice them in two pieces, or give them a little pound on your cutting board like I did (just be careful of flying seeds). You can also remove the seeds if you’d still like the chilli flavour but not as much heat.
Throw the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chillies into the water.
- You can put the lid on just so it starts to boil which releases the herb flavours quicker.
- Now prepare your prawns I remove everything except for the tail…..others put in whole peeled prawns…personal preference.
- Boil your soup with all the herbs in it for about 10 minutes.
- Then add your mushrooms, which you should pre rinse beforehand.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and onions.
- Cook for further 6-8 minutes.
- Now add prepared prawns and cook for 2-3 mins max (if overcooked the prawns will sink to the bottom of the pan. If you get any scum on the surface of soup it’s from the prawns then just skim off with a spoon.
- Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.
- Taste and adjust if necessary. This delicious soup is now ready to serve.
Orange pork with watercress rice. Serves 2/3 people
- 1 1/2 cups of rice
- 1 ¼ lb Pork tenderloin cut into cubes
- 3 cups of coarsely chopped watercress reserving a few sprigs for garnish.
- 4-6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp of oil
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2/3 cup Orange marmalade
- ½ cup of finely julienned ginger
- Salt and pepper to season
- Cook the rice and toss in the watercress with ½ to 1 tbsp oil, cover and leave to stand for at least 10 minutes.
- Season the pork and with the pan on a medium heat add the oil and add half of the ginger and cook until the ginger is golden, drain and set to one side.
- Add the pork and brown for 3-4 minutes and then remove from the pan. Add the remainder of the ginger and the garlic and cook for 30 seconds add the marmalade, fish sauce and lime juice bring to a slow rolling boil stirring until it is syrupy then return the pork to the pan simmer for 1 minute and serve over the rice.
- Garnish with the crispy ginger and watercress sprigs.
This was very nice I wasn’t sure about watercress but the heat of the rice just wilted the watercress and it was very nice even hubby liked it….Me, I might add some chilli flakes next time…Just saying…
I hope you have enjoyed this little foray into the world of the watercress aquatic plant species its health benefits and recipes…
And for dessert…..Green tea Ice-cream
- 4 cups half & half or 2 cups whole milk + 2 cups heavy cream.
- 5 tbsp matcha green tea powder.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch sea salt salt
- Start by freezing the ice cream bowl for at least 12 hours.
- In a medium saucepan whisk together your cream, sugar and salt.
- Then over a medium heat start to heat the cream mixture and add the green tea powder stirring often and making sure all the powder has dissolved and there are no lumps.
- Heat until the mixture reaches a soft rolling boil.
- Remove from the heat and place in a bowl which is sitting in water filled with ice. When the mixture is cool, cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer.
- After about 45 minutes check and if it has started to freeze around the edges then remove from the freezer and beat it to break up any frozen pieces then return to the freezer.
- Check the mixture about every 30 minutes stirring vigorously as it is freezing.
- Obviously if you have an ice cream maker then follow those instructions I don’t I have to use elbow grease or you can use a hand held mixer.
- Keep checking and repeating the above step until your ice cream is lovely and smooth…It should be ready in 2-3 hours.
©Recipes Carol Taylor
I hope you will enjoy putting this three course meal together and Carol will be back again next week with her regular column and a new series of Cook from Scratch 2019.
About Carol Taylor
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS
You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE
Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/