Thai Cuisine for recipes

I love the flavors of Thailand. When I think of Thai cuisine, I think about lemongrass and chillies, the fresh tartness of lime and the heavy flavor of coconut milk. Thai cuisine is unique in that it shares a lot of its influences from its history of invaders and emigration over the years.

You can trace back the roots of Thai cuisine from as a far as the first century A.D., during the ime of the Chinese Han Dynasty to the sixteen century when the Portuguese introduced chillies to South East Asia. Trade with Arab and Indian merchants were important and so it was not surprising to find many Muslims living in what was known as Siam at the time. In 1939 after a long period of political upheavel, 21st century Thai reflects much of her past. Thai people are known for their love of life and their joy in entertaining and eating. Today you can see streets and waterways lined with all types of food vendors selling many different variety of snacks from their stalls, bicycle and boats.

In Thailand, the biggest religious denomination is Buddhism which forbids the killing of animals. However, most butchers in Thailand are usually immigrant workers. The Buddhist religion strictly forbids the eating of meat thought it is often regarded as a special treat such as weddings, birthings and or forth. The humble chicken is perhaps the most common meat, far more comman than beef and it's not unusual to find chicken or pork combined with seafood delicacies such as shrimp or crabmeat. Another bird meat like duck is one of Thai favorite dish to prepare and is frequently grill or roasted with flavorful spices or glazed with sweet glazes, not unlike how the Chinese prepare their ducks.

For breakfast, Thais love making and cooking soup dishes. As for lunch, you would often find a large bowl of soup (thin stock-based broth) loaded with various types of vegetables, fine noodles and sprinkle with fresh red or green chillies. Most soup dishes come with egg strips or tiny fish or meat balls or cubes of tofu. In Thai restaurants, you can find these soups served in large firepots with a central funnel of burning coals to keep the contents pipping hot throughout the meal.

As for dessert, the normal perfecting ending to a wonderful Thai meal usually comes in a basket of fruit. It would not be uncommon to find a mixture of mangoes, mangosteens, jackfruit, lychees and guavas just to name some of these extoic fruits. You can also find sweet glutinious rice and tapioca which are often molded and soaked in beautiful scented syrups. Most Thai drinks are colorful and exotic in flavor and are often served with a dash of whiskey or other spirits. Try the Thai Cocktail Sling for an example of a Thai alcoholic beverage.

One of Thailand's greatest invention is the presentation of food, a source of Thai's pride and joy. Vegetables and fruits are often carved into wonderful, complex shapes for use as garnishes to important visitors. These intricate and elaborate patterns by a skilled artist are an integral part of Thai culture which exhibits an appreciation of all things beautiful. Thai desserts are usually cut up tropical fruits and are simple and refreshing.

The Thai website that I am now offering to share with you will be a mixed of cuisines from region to region. I have coupled a number of cuisines from Burma

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Butter Chicken-software for recipes


1/4 pint Yogurt, plain
1 teaspoon Ginger, crushed
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Red food coloring
3 pounds Chicken, skinless; cut in pieces
2 ounces Butter
1 Cinnamon stick -- 1 inch
6 cloves
6 Green cardamoms
1 Bay leaf
1/4 pint Sour cream
1/4 teaspoon Saffron; crushed
1/4 pint Cream
Salt; to taste
2 teaspoons Almonds, ground
1/4 teaspoon Cornstarch
1 tablespoon Water


Mix yogurt, ginger, salt and red coloring and rub into chicken. Let it marinate overnight.

Place in an ovenproof dish and brush with oil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Save the liquid, if any.

In a saucepan, melt butter and fry cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms and bayleaf for 1 minute. Add sour cream and chicken liquid. Add crushed saffron, and cream. Cover and simmer gently for 5-6 minutes.

Add chicken pieces and adjust seasoning. Add ground almonds. Dissolve cornstarch in water and add to the chicken. Let it thicken. Cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Serving Ideas: Nan makes a pleasant accompaniment to this dish.

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Naan Bread-software for recipes


* 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
* 1 tsp sugar
* 1 tsp fresh yeast
* 2/3 warm water
* 1 tbsp ghee
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
* 1 tsp poppy seeds (optional)

TIP: Yeast can be bought in a package from any good supermarket. Make sure that the water is warm and not too hot or it will kill off the micro-organisms that make the bread. Make sure it is not too cold or the yeast will not activate. You can tell it is working when the mixture is frothy.

* Place sugar and yeast in a small bowl
* Add warm water and mix well till yeast has dissolved
* Let stand for 10 mins till mixture is frothy
* Place flour in a large bowl
* Make a well in the centre and add ghee and salt
* Pour in yeast mixture
* Use your hands to mix well and form a dough
* Add more water if required
* Turn dough onto a floured counter top
* Knead till smooth (about 5 mins)
* Return dough to bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place (1 1/2 hour) or till doubles in size
* Preheat boiler to very hot
* Turn dough out onto a floured counter or board
* Knead for 2 more mins
* Break off into small balls and pat them into circles
* Place dough circles onto a greashed sheet of foil and cook under hot broiler for 7 to 10 mins
* Turn twice, burshing with butter and sprinkle with poppy seeds
* Serve warm immediately or keep wrapped in foil till required

TIP: A tandoor oven throws out a lot of heat so the bread which is traditionally cooked in this oven, is cooled on the side of the wall where the heat is only slightly less than the center. For an authentic effect, try leaving your broiler on for a long time (but keep an eye out!) before the first dough goes under.

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Beef Rendang-software for recipes


* 1 1b/ 500g beef (cleaned & cut into cubes)
* salt & pepper to taste
* 1 1/2pt/ 900ml thick santan (coconut milk)
* 1 stalk lemon grass (crushed)
* 1 turmeric leaf (shredded)
* 4 to 5 kaffir leaves (cut into slivers)
* toasted fine coconut crumbs (optional)


* 12 red chillies
* 1 in/ 2.5cm piece galangal (lengkuas)
* 5 cloves garlic
* 15 - 20 shallots
* 1 in/ 2.5cm piece ginger
* 1/2 in/ 1.3cm piece tumeric
* 2 tsp salt

* Season meat with salt and pepper. Leave aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
* In a pan, mix together the santan (coconut milk) and ground ingredients.
* Place over medium heat and stirl slowly to the boil.
* Add meat and continue boiling for 10 minutes.
* Put in the lemon grass, turmeric and kaffir leaves and seasoning to taste.
* Reduce heat to low.
* Simmer till meat is done and dark brown in colour.
* When the gravy becomes oily in texture, remove from flame.
* Discard lemon grass and turmeric leaf.
* Add coconut crumbs just before serving. Mix well.

Serve hot with lontong, ketupat or lemang. These are different types of Malay compressed rice.

Beef Rendang is very popular amongst Malays

FYI: The typical rendang sauce may contain Coriander Seed, Onion, Cumin Seed, Garlic, Fennel Seed, Ginger, Chilli, Galangal, Turmeric, Cinnamon Quills, Cloves, Black Pepper, Green Cardamom and Lemon Myrtle.

Tumerica leaf is difficult to find. If you cannot find this, omit this herb entirely from the recipe. There is no subsitute for this.

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Malaysian Foods-software for recipes

Malay Food typically uses a lot of coconut milk, chillies and belacan. With coconut milk and cream, you would need to be careful because they contain a lot of calories and is high in cholesterol. To avoid this problem, use coconut milk instead of cream. Nothing is complete without the addition of chillies to the Malay cuisine and I love all types of chillies. Be sure to de-seed and remove the membranes from the chillies (wear gloves!) if you do not wish your food to be extra spicy. Note that dried chillies are actually more potent than fresh ones (except bird-eye chillies). Shrimp belachan is wonderful (see description below in glossary) but the smell can penetrate the house so be sure to open all your windows when you do dry-roast them. Grind them up aftewards then store in an air-tight container and keep in the refrigerator. Examples of Malayan dishes include; nasi lemak, chicken satay, ketupat, beef rendang, Spicy Belchan Prawns and many more.

In the northern states of Kedah, Perlis, Penang and Kelantan, you would find the flavors Thailand in the cuisine. There is a hint of fragrant sourness that is often associated with the use of tarmarind, sour carambola and limes as well as hotness of chillies (Thai) that is so popular in northern Malaysian cuisine. Another popular dish is the Nasi Ulam or Kerambu which is a rice dish that is cooked with pandan, galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and a mixture of other herbs and spices.

Nyonya Food is peculiar to only the Chinese of Penang, Malacca and Singapore. Now I love Nyonya food, having grown up with this cooking. My mother learnt from her mother and I am proud to say that I've learnt quite a lot from these remarkable women. I must say, it does take a lot of getting used to the cooking methods. My mother would be famous is saying 'you just have to guess and get a feel for it'. Luckily, I watched her and measured whatever she put into her cooking so I am now proud to include the measurements in this website. Be aware, though, I may not be exact so you may have to adjust your measurement. Examples of Nynonya style food include; Cendol, Penang Laksa, pie tie, kuih ketayap and kuih lapis.

Chinese Food in Malaysia differs slightly than what you would normally find in a typical Chinese restaurant. In Malaysia, the Chinese cuisine shares many similar cooking method with that of Singapore so it is not unusual to find many dishes that are a blend of both. However, the Chinese dishes of Malaysia is different from that of China or Hong Kong because they are influenced from Malaysia's neighbor to the north, Thailand as well as Malaysian and Indian cuisine. Examples include; ham choy soup, char koay teow, steam fish, black pepper crabs and many more.

The Chinese also place a great importance on the contrast of lively colors, flavors and texture in their cuisine. There are Cantonese, Sichuan, Hokkien, Teochew, Hockchew, Foochow, Hakka, Hainanese and Hunghua influences in Chinese cooking. When travelling to Malaysia, it is often noted that the Chinese people always seem to bea eating. That is because food plays an important role in the Chinese family where meal time is seen as a gathering of family and the renewal of family ties.

Indian Food in Malaysia has a unique and wonderful flavor altogether. It is a blend of southern and northern Indian cuisine with influences from Malay and Chinese cooking alike. I love the Indian curry with its thick coconut flavor and the spiciness of chillies that come with it. Our housekeeper was a wonderful Indian cook who would always make us curry every week and even snuck in a couple of desserts every so often. Examples of Indian food include; lamb curry, mutton kurma, dhal or lentil dish, roti canai and so much more.

If you were to go into an Indian restaurant, you might find yourself at a table where the plate is a banana leaf. Indian cuisine, especially from the south where most of Malaysian Indians originate, share some similarities with Malay cooking. Because they share a lot in common, you would not find pork in most Indian restaurant. Apart from Roti Canai, you can also find great Indian dishes like Indian Mee Goreng, Mee Siam and Mutarbak which is a type of pancake that is filled with onion and minced chicken or mutton.

I hope you will enjoy making Malaysian cooking as much as I do. The recipes below are mere guidelines so feel free to experiment and adjust to your own palate and taste.

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