Posts Tagged With: asia

Raw Green Thai Soup

Thai soup – in the mix

Here is a classic Thai soup, only this time served cold.  This is without doubt the finest chilled soup I have ever tasted.  You just have to look at what goes into it to realise that it is going to be a taste sensation!  Coconut, lemon grass, chilli, lime and ginger.  That’s the taste of food heaven.

If there is any food which mirrors a country, it is Thai.  Vibrant, colourful and unique. The combination of ingredients and fresh, fresh flavours make my mouth water.

Jane and I met not far from Thailand (well the Philippines, but close enough!) We both love Asia for many reasons, but the people and food really stand out. Thailand cannot be beaten for food. A bold statement, but anyone who has visited and trawled the street food and markets will agree. Great food made simply but with super fresh ingredients. The soups alone are almost alchemical, their vapours can revive the soul and the flavours dance in your mouth like a dragon.

Thai’s love food. In a way that us Europeans cannot comprehend. For example, my friend Toum took me to a local market in a suburb of north Bangkok and I have never seen such care taken in the selection of produce. I was reprimanded for holding some green leaves the wrong way round, and soon realised that I had much to learn in the respect and handling of food… we carried our vegetables home as if they were newly born babies.

You can see the real identity of countries and cultures coming through in what they eat. Most Thais eat very well, regardless of social standing.  In fact, they seem to eat the same things, in the same places. Namely the street. There is a movement towards a more westernised capitalist culture in the upper and middle classes, but it’s all done in a very Thai way.  I can never see the big mac taking over from the pad thai.

This will be very refreshing come summer (it is coming I hope), the flavours are as intense and fragrant as you would expect from things Thai.

Bangkok Street Food

The Bits

There’s lots of bits in this one, but that’s what makes it so very tasty!

6 mushrooms, 6 tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, 1 cm fresh ginger (or 1cm galangal if you can), 1 lemon grass stick, 1 red chilli, 4 dates, 6 lime leaves, juice of 2 limes, bunch of coriander, 120g fresh coconut chopped, 125g spinach, 1 apple, 2 tbsp tamari

Do It

Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender and keep your finger on the button until all the herbs have been blitzed.

Serve

In a big bowl with a few sprouts and coriander leaves on top, a whole heap of love, and the biggest spoons you have!

We Love It!

It is such a taste explosion and takes us back to happy memories of a wonderful land (just one spoonful of this and we now want to go back!).  This is authentic thai, without the jars of paste.

Thai Lotus Flower

Foodie Fact

So essential to Thai cookery, coriander (celantro to some) is actually native to the Mediterranean and is rich in anti-oxidants that help against heart conditions.  It also contains high levels of vitamin C and many different minerals.  It  is one of the richest sources of vitamin K and has a very high vitamin A content.  Quite a herb!

Categories: Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Soups, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Coconut & Sweet Potato Polenta with Asian Vegetables

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Mwynhewch eich bwyd! (Bon appetit in Welsh)

The East meets Wales with a stopover in Rome.

This is a rich polenta dish that adds a full-on Eastern flavour to this very European dish.
We served this dish with pan-fried Asian vegetables, flavoured with sweet chilli. We kept the veg organic and as local as possible, so we made some substitutions here. Instead of water chestnut, we used chunks of jerusalem artichoke, instead of pak choi, we used swiss chard, instead of spring onion, we used leek.  You can use any mixture of veg here, preferably a good mix of colours and textures.

This is luxurious modern dish that takes little time to prepare and was inspired by chef Paul Gayler, who’s recipes I find extaordinary.

This makes enough for two hungry people with leftovers.

The Bits

Polenta

1 large sweet potato (peeled and chopped)

1 1/2 pint of veg. stock

1 1/2 cups of coconut milk

4 cups of polenta

salt and pepper

 

Veg

3 cloves of sliced garlic

1 leek sliced

2cm cube of ginger sliced

1 teas chilli flakes or fresh sliced chilli

1 small head of broccoli chopped

4 jerusalem artichoke chopped into chunks

1 large carrot

1 large handful of chopped swiss chard

splash of veg stock

4 tbls sweet chilli sauce (we use Linghams brand)

splash of veg oil

 

Do It

Polenta – Simmer veg stock in pan, cook sweet potato in stock until tender, around 15 minutes.  Blend with stock to a smooth paste in a blender.  Put mix back into a pan, add coconut milk, bring to a gentle simmer and add polenta gradually whilst stirring.  Texture should be that of a wet mash.  Season.  Cover and leave on a low heat until serving.

Veg. – Move onto veg, all pre-chopped and ready to go (important when cooking in an asian style, which is quickly cooked and immediately served, fresh and crunchy).  Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok, add garlic, ginger and chilli, fry for 30 seconds, add all veg and toss together for a couple of minutes, then add the splash of stock and chilli sauce.

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The new Beach House herb garden

Serve

In big warmed bowls, polenta poured into the base topped by the veg., spoon on the sauce  Serve and eat asap.

We Love It!

This is a really new take on Polenta for me.  The coconut adds a real luxurious finish to the polenta, which the sweet sauce compliments perfectly.  YUM.

Foodie Fact

Ginger, a pungent root with incredible properties.  Famed throughout the ages for its soothing effect on the intestines.  It can ease intestinal gas and relax the digestive tract.  Ginger is very effective at eliminating the effects of motion sickness and can generally help against nausea.  It contains gingerols that are a powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, aiding ailments like arthritis.  Gingerols also help us to fight off the big ‘C’.  Ginger boosts the immune system, which is why it seems so good on a cold morning with a little hot lemon and honey.  What a root!

Boozy Bit

Light white, medium bodied wine.  I would recommend a nice German White like a Riesling or Gewürztraminer.  Good German whites are not cheap, but well worth it, especially with spiced Eastern dishes.

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Jane outside the Beach House, the day after the spring blizzard.

Categories: Local food, Recipes, Special Occasion, Vegan, Wales, Welsh produce, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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