Monday, January 18, 2016


By Katie G.

I'm sure you've taste-tested your fair share of Thai dishes: Pad Thai, Penang Curry, Tom Yum Soup, Peanut Duck Lettuce Wraps. Need I say more? If you're anything like me, you've ordered takeout or sat in a trendy restaurant, lounge music blaring, and thought to yourself, man, I wish I could cook like this. Well, the short answer is, you can. You don't have to be a top grade chef to cook these dishes (true story, I've cooked both on a hot plate as I wait for my landlord to replace my stove) All you need is a sense of adventure, a little time to prepare, and an open palette. Are you ready to impress with these project: CLEAN FOOD recipes?

Without going too hard on the puns, I can vouch that both of these dishes are seriously appe-THAI-zing (ha!). Each can be eaten as its own meal or served as subsequent courses at a dinner party. They're also completely vegetarian friendly – although I am going to give our non-veg friends a break with some meat alternatives, because I get it. They are also full of fresh veggies, are completely dairy and gluten-free, and definitely fall under the category of clean eating. #CleanFoodies unite!

The secret to cooking well is twofold: first, organize yourself up front so that your actual cooking time isn't stressful; and two, think about what you like and personalize the recipe from there. Do you like your veggies chopped thin? Do that. Do you like your dishes a little spicy? Add more chili. Have fun and don't be afraid to experiment. 

Course I. Coconut Thom Kha Gai Noodle Soup
This delicious soup gets its lovely tangy flavor from the quintessential Thai food staples: lemongrass, coconut milk, chili paste, ginger, and cilantro. Traditionally, it is made with chicken, but this can easily be replaced with tofu. We've added glass noodles to make it a bit heartier.

The Starter.
1 can (14 oz.) light coconut milk
1 can (14 oz.) chicken or vegetable broth (Veg)
1 Pack Glass Noodles
6 quarter-sized slices of fresh ginger
1 Stalk Lemongrass (chopped into approx. 1-inch pieces)
1 lb. Ground chicken or 12-oz Extra Firm Tofu (Veg)
1 cup Sliced Mushroom
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tablespoon Thai Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Thai Red Curry Paste
1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
Fresh Basil (4 leaves)
Fresh Cilantro (1/4 cup)

Cooking Instructions:

Step I. The Prep
  • Chop the ginger, lemongrass, mushroom, and cilantro 
  • In a large pot, boil water
  • If you're making chicken, cook it in a medium sized skillet with a little peanut or sunflower oil; once it's cooked all the way through, set it aside in a dish
  • If you're not making chicken, slice the tofu into cubes
Step II. The Base
  • Add the noodles to the boiling water (note, these cook relatively fast, so mind them)
  • In a medium to large sized saucepan, combine the coconut milk, vegetable broth, ginger, and lemongrass and bring it to a boil over high heat
  • Once it's boiling, add the chicken (or tofu), mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, and chili paste
  • Turn down the heat and let it simmer; discard the lemongrass, add the cooked noodles (note: make sure the noodles are cut, since they're long)
Step III. The Garnish:
  •  Add the cilantro
  • Serve hot; Garnish the soup with basil

 Serves 4; Approximate Cook/Prep Time: 20 minutes
Course II. Thai Red Curry with Homemade Coconut Rice
This variation of the dish combines lots of fresh veggies with signature Thai chili spice. It's very easy to make and cooks fast!
The Main Dish!
1 Small Yellow Onion
2 Cloves Garlic (4 if using Garlic Press)
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1 Stalk Lemongrass (minced)
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Zucchini
1 8oz. Can Bamboo Shoots
1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms
3-4 Tablespoons of Thai Red Curry Paste
1 Can Light Coconut Milk
1-2 Tablespoons Thai Fish Sauce
1/2 Fresh Chili Pepper, minced
1 Lime
2 Chicken Breasts or 12-oz Extra Firm Tofu (Veg)
Fresh Basil (8 leaves
Jasmine Rice/Coconut Milk

Cooking Instructions:

Step I. The Prep
  • Mince the onions, garlic, and lemongrass
  • Grate the ginger
  • Chop the bell pepper, zucchini, and chili pepper
  • In a large pot, boil water
  • If you're making chicken, cook it in a medium sized skillet with a little peanut or sunflower oil; once it's cooked all the way through, set it aside in a dish
  • If you're not making chicken, slice the tofu into cubes 
Step II. The Base
  • Cook the onion, garlic, and fresh ginger in a large skillet with a little vegetable broth and allow to soften; about 5 minutes or until the onions turn translucent
  • Add in sliced veggies (pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, bamboo shoots)
  • Add in curry paste and make sure veggies are evenly coated
  • Add the coconut milk and fish sauce, stir until evenly mixed and past is dissolved into the liquid
  • Add in the chicken or tofu, stir
  • Squeeze the juice of one fresh lime into the liquid
  • If you'd like a little extra spice, add in the chilies, stirring often
  • Allow to simmer for 15 minutes
 Step III. The Rice:
  • Cook instant rice according to directions (I know but it's just so much easier)
  • Add coconut milk and stir, until absorbed by rice; let simmer
Step 4: The Garnish
  • Serve curry over coconut rice; garnish with fresh basil

 Serves 4; Approximate Cook/Prep Time: 25-30 minutes
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