Flavours of Thailand

All cuisines are great.

The more cuisines we know, the more creative we can become in the kitchen. You see, the thing about our palate is: it needs practice! And so the more varieties and flavours we allow it to taste, the more mature and knowing it becomes.

When it comes to being creative, and developing the ability to come up with new recipes and flavours, your palate is your best friend. It is therefore worthwhile to approach food with an open mind, and a willingness to try all things new. Getting to know a variety of cuisines will also develop your techniques, and skills as different cuisines use different cooking methods. For those used to cooking traditional  local food, from mediterranean to European, to the Gulf… wherever you are, moving away from only cooking the food you are accustomed to, means you are learning new techniques and trying new flavour combinations. As such, Asian cuisine provides a new playground. The Asian cuisine is so diverse and rich; from produce, to flavours, to cooking methods… it is a foodie’s practical haven!

Besides the technical part of Asian cooking, the cuisine is delicious, especially when done right. By that I mean, the quality of home-cooking, rather than that of the chains – commercial quality – which tends to be full on MSG and other ingredients that mask the tastes of the better quality offerings of this cuisine. So let’s make it a point to experiment with new cuisines, and to learn new techniques. Why not? Nothing beats dedicating some time to learning something new. And what is more rewarding than food? Trust me, you will love it.

Pad Thai…

One of my earliest introduction dishes to Thai food. This dish is not only enjoyed throughout Thailand, but is also celebrated throughout the world. It is one of Thai cuisine’s most popular dishes. I love digging into these classic sour, sweet and spicy noodles, especially after a long day working, tucking into a Pad Thai in front the TV is my ultimate unwinding exercise. When cooked at home, Pad Thai is so much better than that taken out.

It is customary to use dried shrimps in Pad Thai, but I prefer my Pad Thai with fresh shrimps instead. However, feel free to use the dried shrimps, or even chicken if that is your preference. You can also keep it all vegetarian, you know.

Often in Asian cooking you will have to use Tamarind water or Tamarind concentrate. If you do not have access to pre-prepared Tamarind water/concentrate, or if like me, you prefer to cook from scratch, then I have included it for you too. Here we go….


Serves: 2-3
  • A packet of dried rice noodles
  • 250g fresh shrimps, shelled and deveined
  • 1 tbsp Tamarind water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 small red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch Chinese chives, finely chopped
  • a handful of bean sprouts
  • 1 egg
  • 50g firm Tofu, cut into thin cubes, fried till golden
  • 1 tsp white radish, shredded
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp raw peanuts, toasted and roughly crushed
  • lime wedges
  • 3 small spring onions, diagonally chopped.

For Tamarind Water

  • 2 tbsp Tamarind stacked with seeds or 1 tbsp paste without seeds
  • 1/4 cup water

Make the tamarind water

Place all in a bowl, and soak for 10 minutes.

Squeeze the Tamarind with your hands repeatedly to incorporate, removing the seeds if any.

Once the mixture has incorporated, strain reserving the liquid and discarding the fiber.


If using ready to cook noodles, follow packet instructions.

If using dried rice noodles, soak in water for 2 hours until soft, when ready to use drain.

Prepare the sauce

In a saucepan, simmer the sugar, tamarind water, and fish sauce on medium heat.

Meanwhile, in your wok or skillet, sprinkle a little bit of oil and place on the range top. When the oil is hot stir fry the shrimps until just about changing in colour (1/2 cooked). Remove from heat and place in a bowl, to slow down the cooking process. Set aside.

In the same wok/skillet and over medium heat, heat the oil, and fry the chopped shallots just until beginning to colour. Crack in the egg and stir to break the egg apart. Add the fried tofu and white radish. Toss to coat.

Add the drained noodles and stir fry, until the noodles are slightly coloured.

Add the prepared sauce and sprinkle with the red chili powder, toss to mix all. Simmer gently for about a minute. If wok content appears to be dry, add a little extra oil.

Add the half cooked shrimps, chopped chives and the bean sprouts, toss to mix, and cook stirring for 1 minute.

Pile the Pad Thai on a serving plate/bowl, sprinkle with crushed peanuts, chopped spring onions and chives.

Serve with a wedge of lime.


You may also like to try the aromatic and absolutely delicious Tom Yum Kung soup on this link.

You may also like…