30 Mins Home Cooked Dinner Challenge

The abundance of good street food in Thailand has helped many Mothers buy in quick dinners at affordable costs.  Noodles, Rice, Congee and other local delights are available in every suburb and neighborhood. 10 Hour working days are more than enough to make any work and homebody cringe.  I accepted a challenge to create a quick dinner within 3o mins as a replacement for the usual street eats that we buy in.

I thawed my frozen pork chops in the fridge before i left for work, these i marinated in a bit of mirrin, salt and pepper the week before.  Please cook with thawed chops cooking from frozen makes it hard to ensure even cooking inside the pork chops.  Place them a 2-3 mins on each side to get a nice sear, add in 1/3 cup of water and close lid.

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High Heat for Nice Sear

I placed a pork chop on a toasted thick toast (Crispy on outside and pillowy soft inside) and place a in a warm oven to wait for other ingredients.  Good for allowing the juices to return to the pork chop.

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Thick English Toast

Tam leung or aka ivy gourd is a hand picked vegetable sold in local markets in Thailand and other neighboring SE Asia.  The taste and texture is similar to a mild spinach,a good training for kids who are vary of spinach.  For those who do not have XO sauce – a died scallop (conpoy), dried shrimp garlic and chilli sauce popular with Hongkong Cuisine just use the tomato puree, salt,pepper and garlic..  I had some in my fridge which i briefly stir fried with some tomato puree. Top on pork chop and return to warm oven.

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Tam Lueng Water Veggie aka Ivy Gourd

Top with a free range organic fried egg with runny insides and cheese if preferred.  I sprinkled  a mix of mozzarella and gouda when the it was resting in the oven which melted when i finished my fried egg.

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Comfort Food at it’s best!

There you have it a quick home cooked dinner which was quite enjoyed by everyone in the family.

Japanese & Italian Inspired Udon

Looking through the fridge there was an assortment of leftovers bits of this and bits of that.  Some udon, pumpkin, roasted eggplant and bacon.  Dinner time in 30 mins let’s create a semi healthy stir fry.

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30 Mins yummy dinner!

Started with the bacon, I tried to remove as much fat as possible and then added in the pumpkin which i cut into small pieces to mesh into a thick gooey sauce to coat the noodles.  A quick spin of Kampot pepper, salt and olive oil and the piping hot udon which i boiled for 5 mins was added in.  It still had some water in the noodles so i it helped make the sauce more light, quick chopsticks and wrist action to coat the noodles.  Last sprinkling of pepper, chilli flakes, and a quick snip of spring onions from my pot and ready to go.

I think quick meals are possible, incorporating vegetables into our diet is also quite important, I can’t claim to be miss healthy but I think baby steps!

The udon was firm and chewy, the pumpkin added a nice sweetness to the dish while the bacon helped with the savory and salty.  The eggplant was just another texture, spongy mushroom like.  The spring onion was the bit of green, i didn’t use any garlic or onions as i wanted each of the flavours in the pot to shine, garlic and onion usually dominates in simple dishes and i wanted only flavours of the 5 ingredients to really have their own part.  Everyone liked the colors and balance of flavours.  Leftovers done, let’s see next week!

 Happy Eating!

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Turned out better than expected!

Complex Tastes of Northern Thailand

During our work in Northern Thai province of Chiang Rai last month, we had some time to sample the local delicacies.  Now for those not familiar with Chiang Rai, it is the northen most part of Thailand if I’m not mistaken bordering Laos and Burma commonly known as the Golden Triangle before a high influence on the trade of opium.  Now it’s a great tourist attraction for those who like nature since Chiang Rai is still quite quiet and peaceful.  With being so close to many other countries I think the food is largely influenced as well.  There is quite an Muslim population here which is why many spices not normally seen in Traditional Thai Cooking plays a huge role here.

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The usual laarb or minced por, chicken or beef yam or thai salad is usually, fish sauce, lime, int, roasted rice, shallots, spring onions, thai basil and chillies.  It’s spicy and fresh and sour.  However the Northern Larb is more heavy on the non traditional spices, i think cumin, saltier not sour version.  I feel it’s a more dry and meatier version.  I’m not sure of all the spices but it feels more indianish than thai.

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The Sai Oua or northern thai sausage is not different, the meats and pork fats are chunkier and loosely packed not minced sasages like we are used too.  I’m sure there is cumin or tumeric present in here, chunks of lemongrass, thai basil, chillies and other herbs.  It’s hot, meaty and very very flavorful.  You can taste all the spices, saltiness, porkiness of the entire mouthful.  It’s fantastic served with sticky rice and some side veggies. Not to be missed when travelling there!