Skewed Pork, Thai Style

I’m so happy to announce that I made another Thai dish that turned out well!


It’s a skewer recipe which is pretty difficult to fail at, but I don’t care. I haven’t had the best luck with this Thai cookbook and I’m taking this win no matter small of a win it is.

As you may have guessed this Skewered Thai Pork recipe comes from The Everything Thai Cookbook. Now, sit back, relax, and let me regale you with how to make this wonderful little pork snack.

What you’ll need

  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • t tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1 pound of pork, thinly sliced into long strips
  • 20-30 bamboo skewers soaked in water for 1 hour

First step is to get a mixing bowl and pour in the sugar, salt, garlic, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Mix all those guys together and then toss in the pork and mix it until it’s skin is glossy and shiny.

Then cover this mix, stick it in the fridge, and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes. If you are able to be more patient, it’s recommended to pull an overnighter. I do recommend this,  because when it comes to marinating good things truly come to those who wait.

Once your marinating time is over, you can thread that sweet, sweet meat onto your skewers.

The cookbook calls for bamboo skewers and advises that you should soak them in water for at least an hour to avoid a fire hazard. I do not own a grill and was too lazy and cheap to buy bamboo skewers. If this is also your reality, then ignore everything I wrote just now. Especially the part about me being lazy.

Whether you have metal skewers or bamboo, grill those puppies for about 3-5 minutes on each side and you should be good to go.

But Rachel, I don’t own a grill! What do I do?

Listen friends, neither does this girl but the internet is full of solved mysteries. If you don’t have a grill, you can get a similar effect when you set your oven to broil.

It’s that easy folks. The mystery is as complex as when you figured out your uncle wasn’t stealing your nose, but using his own thumb to fool you.


Good things come to those who marinate let me tell you! I tried several sauces of mine with my skewers and honestly I preferred just eating it plain because the meat was so flavorful.

What is this flavor that is so enjoyable you ask! Well, fish sauce is an aggressive ingredient that is pungent and a little salty, but when you combine coconut with it, it tends to balance those flavors out.

You can’t taste the milkiness of the coconut either, it’s almost like multiplying two negative numbers and getting something positive. Although I personally love the taste of coconut. This is more of a comment on how both have distinctive and powerful tastes and I’m not saying anything negative about either ingredient!

Away with you internet trolls!

Anyway, what you’re left with when these flavors combine is a juicy tender meat that somehow reminded me of honey glazed ham. Why and how, I can’t explain. That just might be an unsolved mystery for the internet.


Spicy Ground Pork in Basil Leaves

Good news everyone! I have another winner from The Everything Thai Cookbook! 

I made this with my LA bestie one Sunday afternoon at her home in the deep north of the valleys of Los Angeles.

Conditions were fair that afternoon, so fair that I don’t have any notes of interest about our cooking process. I can only say we both liked this recipe and had fun making it together.

Let’s get straight to the punch then!

What you’ll need

  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tablespoon ground dried chili pepper
  • 5 sprigs cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted rice powder
  • Lettuce and/or large basil leaves

The first step is to squeeze half of the juice of a lime on the pork. Let it marinate in the juices as you slice your shallot and chop your cilantro.

Now get a skillet out and heat it on high. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and stir in the pork. Cook it completely through then remove the excess fat.

We are now ready to combine everything but the lettuce and basil into a bowel. Do so and  feel free to adjust lime juice to taste.

Once everything has been throughly mixed you will be ready to serve and eat!

The consumption and serving protocol is a lot like chips and salsa only with meat and lettuce. Lettuce being your chips and the pork being the salsa. Both require scooping and placing in your mouth!

As I mentioned earlier, this turned out extremely well. My bestie and I were pleasantly surprised. Even my bestie’s husband liked it and he can be a little picky in comparison to the two of us.

Taste wise it reminds me a lot of Vietnamese noodle bowls only without the noodles. I think this is because both use ground pork, basil, and light fish sauce.

The ground pork gives both dishes a grainy and chewy texture that is complimented with a slight tang from the fish sauce.

All in all I am so pleased to have another win from this cookbook and look forward to the next recipe.

Hope all of you enjoy this as well!





Spicy Scallops

I am pleased to announce that I finally made something from The Everything Thai Cookbook that I actually liked.

Prepare your trumpets and your drumrolls,  cause that recipe is…. Spicy Scallops!!!

*The author of this cookbook recognizes that her food tastes are not refined enough to appreciate some of the previous recipes she has cooked in this book. She means no offense to Thai cuisine or people. She enjoys meals she’s had at Thai restaurants and recognizes that the issue lies with her and possibly her cooking skills.

What you’ll need

  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 (1/2 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 8 large scallops

The first step is to prepare your sauté pan by placing that veggie oil in it and heating it up. Even food needs some foreplay guys. That is purposely directed towards guys in case you’re wondering as well.

Add the garlic, jalapeno, and ginger to your hot oil and cook for about a minute.

Next add the coriander, soy sauce, and water. Stir it together and allow it to simmer for about 2-3 minutes.

Once cooked, strain the liquid and set aside for later.

Add the scallops once the pan has cooled for a bit and drizzle the strained sauce on top. Increase the heat to medium-high and cover the pan with a little bit of wiggle room for steam to escape. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

At this point your scallops should be ready to eat!



Mmmm…spicy scallops

The final result is Thai restaurant quality. That’s saying something, becasue I like scallops, but am not a die hard fan. This recipe almost made me one.

The sauce is simple, with a bit of that salty bitter soy sauce taste, but it just glazes over those scallops and makes you want to slurp every last bite.

I think this soy, ginger, and jalapeno combo would make a great marinade for other meats as well. I look forward to making this again and hopefully you will too.

Fish Cakes or the Optimist’s Crab Cake

Fish cakes, they’re like crab cakes only with fish.

They kind of look like meat patties.

This recipe is from The Everything Thai Cookbook. 

I like to imagine there’s some sort of optimist club or new age group out there that feels crab cakes invoke too many negative emotions with their crabbiness so they have to substitute with fish. That’s just my quirky imagination, though.

What else do you want me to say? I’m just going to list the ingredients now, ok?

What you’ll need.

  • 1/4 cup of chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup of chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup of chopped lemongrass, inner portion only
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon of grated lime peel
  • 1 tablespoon of shrimp paste
  • 5-10 dried chilies, seeded, soaked, and shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 pound of boneless whitefish steak, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 pound of French beans, trimmed and finely chopped.
  • Vegetable oil

The first step, is to get your handy dandy food processor out and grind up the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, peppercorns, lime peel, shrimp paste, chilies, and salt. Blend til you get a smooth operating paste.

Once properly smoothed, add your fish to the food processor and mix until it matches the paste consistency. Finally add the egg to this food processor mixture.

When all of these elements have been combined, switch over to a mixing bowl and stir in the green beans for more mixing.

We are now ready to make our patties. Do so, by spooning a tablespoon’s worth of the mixture and forming that into a round cake. Repeat this process until all of the mixture is used up.

The final step is to fry the patties and to do so, we need to heat 1/8 to a 1/4 inch of vegetable oil over medium heat. Once you reach a temperature of 350, fry the fish cakes until golden.

Pat the grease out with a paper towel once fried and then you are ready to eat!


Positive thinking pescetarian cake

It looks like chicken doesn’t it? It kind of tastes like chicken too. I would say that’s odd but everything tastes like chicken, except beef and pork. That’s the real oddity there. Why does that meat taste so different? Are they more bold?

These thoughts actually kind of bother me, because I love animals, but I also like eating some of them. Now I feel like a jerk!



Coconut Bundle of Burnin Shrimp

The Everything Thai Cookbook truly has everything Thai. I thought I liked everything Thai, but sadly this cookbook is proving me wrong.

I don’t think it’s the cookbook’s fault. When I originally got this book, circa 2006, I only cooked the stir fry recipes. Those I can tell you are delicious. The appetizers are more traditional and some are difficult to make. I’m positive when I get past the appetizer section, I’ll be more pleased.

That being said, I almost didn’t want to write about Coconut Bundle, because I got a nasty comment about my views on  Mee Krob . I thought it was gross and my cooking experience of making it was not pleasant.

If you read that entry, you’ll see I did what I normally do with a recipe I fail at. I make fun of myself, it, and more. I have discovered that not everyone understands my, (what I thought was harmless) sarcasm.

So let it be known, dear readers, that I enjoy most Thai dishes. I especially enjoy stir fry with eggplant and basil. I have no problems with Thai people or Thailand. The only Asians I don’t like are North Koreans and that loathing is reserved for their government. I’m sure most North Korean citizens are a-okay.

Now that I have that disclaimer out-of-the-way, here’s what you’ll need for the coconut bundle.

  • 1 cup of shredded fresh coconut
  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of shrimp paste
  • 1/2 cup of diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped lime segments
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup of dried shrimp
  • 1-2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced
  • 20-25 medium sized spinach leaved, washed and patted dry

The first step is easy enough for an American who is a novice cook.

Hey! That’s me!

That step is to saute the coconut over medium heat until it has browned. This should take 20 minutes.

While the coconut is browning, make some sauce by melting the brown sugar in a pan. Once it’s halfway melted, add the shrimp paste.

By the way, I could not find shrimp paste. I looked at two different Korean grocery stores, as wells as Vons. One of my best friends is from Japan and told me that she wasn’t surprised by this. She said shrimp paste is truly more of a Thai and Vietnamese specialty. So, if you decide to make this, I recommend going to a Thai grocery store because you’re probably not going to find it anywhere else.

I ended up substituting with fish sauce and it came out chewy and stringy. I’m guessing this is not what’s supposed to happen.

When your coconut has properly browned, you can move on to the next step which is mixing it with onion, lime pieces, peanuts, dried shrimp, and jalapenos. Mix it by gently tossing in a bowl.

There’s an ingredient in this that I don’t understand why I don’t like it. Dried shrimp. I like shrimp, but dried shrimp is an oddity for me. It kinda freaks me out. It doesn’t have much of a taste, so it’s not disgusting. I just feel like I’m eating a dried bug instead of shrimp. It’s a psychological thing I guess.

My Japanese friend assuaged my feelings of being an uncultured dumb American by revealing to me that she is also not a fan of dried shrimp. She says it’s a common snack to feed kids in Japan, but she never liked it. I’ve seen her eat some other kind of dried seafood snack. I think it was octopus. I don’t really remember because we were on a road trip when I witnessed this event. I was driving, so I only got a rear view mirror look.

Moving on, to serve this dish you place an appropriate amount of spinach leaves on a plate. An appropriate amount would be enough to hold a good-sized bundle of coconut. When you’ve assessed the serving size most appealing to you, you’ll sprinkle the bundle with your sauce.

Consume the bundle by scooping it up with the spinach leaves and popping it into your mouth.

Thankfully, I liked this recipe much better than Mee Krob, but I still thought it was weird. The lime segments are juicy and tend to overtake the flavor. I actually liked that, but a friend of mine found it a little jarring. The coconut tastes fantastic and pairs well with the rest of the ingredients.

The elements I did not enjoy about this dish was the sauce and the dried shrimp. We already know my feelings about the shrimp. The sauce, I screwed up and that made consuming the dish a little daunting. I felt like I was eating the La Brea Tar Pits.

I’d be curious to try this again without the dried shrimp and either making the sauce correctly or with a different kind.

The good news is that I did try this on a fish taco when a friend of mine had a fish fry party. It was actually pretty good as a topping. I’m thinking about opening up a taco truck in Silverlake and charging hipsters $12 for tacos.

Those hipsters will eat anything they think is odd. I can say that because I’m part hipster.


The Bundle






Thai Freedom Fries

This next recipe and recent current events reminded me of the days when the leaders of my country were being haters towards the French. Remember that?

Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather we be one with France then having a pissing contest with them. I just can’t help but remember how amusing it was to me that people were actually referring to French Fries as Freedom Fries, in addition to other items with the title French in them.

It also just occurred to me, did people call French Bulldogs, Freedom Bulldogs? Was that a thing ever?

Boycotting French Bulldogs would make sense, since they actually are French. Well French and British, but so is most British Royalty and no was calling The Queen, Freedom Queen.

The whole thing was silly and amusing to me, since most French named food items aren’t necessarily French. In fact there is a heated dispute between Belgium and France as to who invented fries.

Oh my god, is that why Belgium has become a hotbed for terrorist plots? Maybe we should call them Freedom Fries. Freedom from grudges and violence that is.

I’m being facetious if you’re having trouble denoting my intentions here. I’m a big fan of coping with crisis and deflecting hostility via humor.

Thai people have their own version of fried freedom and The Everything Thai Cookbook has shown me the way with the following ingredients.

You will need, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 4 green plantains, 1 pound of taro root, 1 cup rice flour, 1 cup of sticky rice flour, pepper, salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 3 tablespoons of black sesame seeds, and 1 14oz bag of shredded coconut.

Before we begin, let me recommend going to an Asian Food Market to buy most of these ingredients. If you can specifically go to a Thai one, that is even better. I went to a Korean market at first and they did not have taro root, but the Thai market did. If you don’t have that resource, however, it’s not necessary to have taro root. You can substitute with another type of veggie. In other words, the taro is one of the items being fried. It’s not an ingredient per se.

The first step is to peel the potatoes, taro, and the plantains. Cut each of them into fry like shapes of your choice. I went with the traditional long and skinny style.

Once that’s done, you will make your fry batter by combining both flours and a 1/2 cup of water. Continue to add a 1/4 more of water intermittently until the mixture resembles pancake batter.

Next add the remaining ingredients you haven’t used yet.

You are now ready to freedom fry!

I’m still terrible at frying, by the way. I never seem to get the right temperature and the batter tends to slide off. So, if you have a cooking thermometer and are challenged like me, you should use that thing. I should use that thing, but I don’t have one and I’m too cheap and lazy to go out and get one.

I digress.

The cookbook says to fill a frying pan with vegetable oil a third to a half full and to heat it over high heat, but not too high. Whatever that means.

When it’s just Goldilocks right, fry those veggies! Be careful, though, cause you could burn your foot like I did. It was not a pleasant experience, trust me.

Anyway, you’re going to fry those veggies until they are golden brown and the best way to do so is to turn them over once in awhile. Once they have browned, place them on a bed of paper towels to soak up excess oil and then they’ll be ready for consumption.

Despite my frustrations with frying, these turned out well. The coconut is the most assertive taste and it sweetens up the greasy oil taste you normally have with fried foods.

The fried plantains were a little strange for me. It tasted fine, but I wasn’t a fan of combing that kind of mushy texture with fried batter. The taro was a little stiff too, but still tasty. I’ll admit the sweet potato was my favorite, even though it makes me a little sad  to admit it. I feel uncultured.

Oh well, you like what you like right?

Flavored Rice Sticks

Thai food is a favorite ethnic food of mine, or so I thought. The more I cook out of The Everything Thai Cookbook, the more I question this.

Perhaps, it’s time to admit to myself that I’m not cultured. I generally prefer the fusion of American and fill in the blank of ethnic foods and not the authentic stuff.

It’s exhausting trying to find “authentic” places anyway. Personally, I think you should work with what you’ve got. When immigrants moved to this country, they had to improvise and substitute certain ingredients that they couldn’t find here. They knew they couldn’t ask their relatives to send them some obscure food ingredient from back home, because it would probably taste bad by the time it crossed the ocean and had rats crap all over it in the holds of the ship.

It’s like when I’m in Indiana, I don’t like grilled fish that’s from the ocean, because it’s not as fresh. So I get that fish fried or I slather it in seasoning and sauce, because otherwise it’s just not good.

This is my way of saying, “Back off foodies! Leave me be, you snotty hipsters who’ve traveled all over Asia! I have good reasons for not liking authentic cuisine!”

As you might have guessed, I didn’t really like this recipe. It wasn’t gross. It tasted good, actually, but the texture was too crunchy and rice sticks tend to get everywhere. They break and get stuck into crevices all over the place. It’s irritating and for me, not worth the trouble.

The one thing I can say, is that this one of the easiest recipes I’ve had to make. All you need are a package of rice sticks, vegetable oil, salt, curry, and cayenne.

The only real step is to fry them in 2-3 inches of vegetable oil. Once they puff up, you transfer them to a towel and soak up the oil. Then you divide into three groups and sprinkle one group with salt, one with cayenne, and one with curry.

That’s all there is to it.

I am embarrassed to admit that I still managed to make a mistake though. I didn’t realize I was supposed to break the sticks into three-inch segments.

Oh well.


Meh Sticks