Tag Archives: thai

Asian style Chicken Fried Rice

First of all, a big apology for putting up this post so late. Many of you have been asking the recipe for this Chicken fried rice for a while now and I have been chirping away the phrase, ‘it will soon be on the blog’ to all.

It’s just that too many things have been going on, both personally and professionally. Sitting down to write out the recipe has taken me the longest time. But today I was determined to get the post published so that all of you can try out this absolutely lipsmacking Chicken fried rice.

On the personal front, most of you would be aware of the Kerala flood situation and the trail of destruction and devastation it has left behind. While my own family was affected less, there have been members of the extended family and friends, many of whom had to be evacuated and put up in shelter homes and many others who have lost everything they have including homes, businesses, properties, agricultural land etc….

It’s a difficult time that everyone’s going through back home. Almost the whole of last week was spent in just trying to communicate with family and in many instances, it took us almost 4-5 days just to establish communication with our loved ones. Work was the last thing on my mind so except for some client projects, I hardly updated the blog.

Getting back to today’s dish, this Chicken fried rice is one of the best I have ever made. It’s totally different to the Indo Chinese style or the typical Chinese style that I often make at home. Adapted from a Marion Grasby recipe, this is more of a modern Thai style chicken fried rice.

It’s quite simple to put together but the flavours are incredible and I loved the fact that turmeric is a key ingredient which adds so much depth and flavour to the rice. Another key ingredient is belachan or shrimp paste, adds that umami hit which really comes through in the final dish.

I usually have a menu plan ready by the end of each week for the following one, so whenever there’s fried rice on the menu, I try and prepare the rice a day ago as the texture of one day old rice works best. But don’t fret about it if you can’t find the time; just make sure you prepare the rice first, drain and spread out to cool before going ahead with the remaining dish.

This chicken fried rice is all about the toppings and condiments too. Fried eggs, fresh coriander, cucumbers, fried shallots, sambal oelek all create this wonderful texture and layers of flavour to the final dish. Requires no other side dish to go along, but you can indulge yourself by adding a stir fry to accompany.

So let’s get cooking this Thai inspired chicken fried rice; and if you make it do tag me #thespiceadventuress in your social media posts so that I can see it too. Or leave a comment below; I love hearing from all of you.

Asian style Chicken Fried Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 5 cups cooked medium grained rice
  2. 4 eggs
  3. Vegetable oil; (for frying the eggs and making the rice)
  4. 500 gms chicken thigh (skinless & boneless); thinly sliced
  5. 1 large brown onion; finely sliced
  6. 3 garlic cloves; finely chopped
  7. 1 long red chilli; finely sliced
  8. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 ½ tsp shrimp paste
  10. 3 baby bok choy; slice the light green part and tear the leaves coarsely
  11. 3 tbsp soy sauce
  12. 2 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy)
  13. Salt, to season
  14. Fried shallots
  15. 4-5 sprigs fresh coriander leaves
  16. Sambal oelek, to serve
  17. Lebanese cucumber; to serve

Method:

  1. Heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a large wok till smoking hot. Add the chicken pieces and season lightly with salt. Cook till the chicken is just about done; remove and keep aside.
  2. In the same wok (add more oil only if necessary), add the onions, garlic, chillies and sauté on medium heat till the onions are softened.
  3. Lower heat and add the shrimp paste and turmeric. Break down the shrimp paste using the back of the ladle and mix well to combine. Cook for about 1 minute till it gets aromatic.
  4. Next add the cooked chicken pieces along with the light green stalks of the bok choy; toss and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the cooked rice, soy sauce and kecap manis. Toss well to combine and finally add the bok choy leaves. Mix well and stir fry for about a minute.
  6. Once the rice is done, fry the eggs to your individual preferences.
  7. To serve, place the fried rice in a bow and top with fried egg, cucumbers, coriander, sambal oelek, shallots and kecap manis.
  8. Tuck in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Massaman Curry

It’s Friday guys! Time to put up the tired feet and get some much needed rest or catch up time with family and friends. Not so much for me as we are currently house hunting and the whole thing is slowly beginning to get on my nerves. We just can’t seem to find a decent place especially with the zillion demands we have. Hopefully something comes up soon and then the herculean task of moving houses will begin. Telling you guys, I have amassed a ton of props and I know I am going to freak out during the packing and shifting process.

I am sure you will hear me whining more about that later but for now, let’s just feast on this deliciously comforting Beef Massaman Curry.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are familiar with Thai food, then you would have definitely heard of Massaman curry. It’s a staple curry from the region and often made with chicken, with beef and lamb not being far behind.

Massaman curry has a very interesting history to it. Also known as Matasaman curry, it is believed that this dish was introduced to Thailand by Persian merchants and soon became an integral part of the Thai Muslim cuisine. Infact, historical writers believe that the name Massaman could also have been originated from the word ‘Mussulman’ which is another word for Muslim. But there are many others who believe that it is more of a Southern Thai dish with influences of Malay and Indian cooking since the curry relies heavily on the use of spices and coconut.

Traditionally, this curry was always made using chicken given the Islamic dietary laws. Beef and mutton were also popular but hardly ever made with pork. But in the West, you can find all sorts of protein being used including pork. Personally, I prefer lamb or beef; hence I have made a Beef Massaman Curry today.

The recipe I have used today has been adapted from the Chin Chin cookbook (remember the copy I won for last year’s Social Feeds competition). The recipe is not just detailed out well but more importantly; there is also a recipe for making the Massaman curry paste from scratch. Now this paste is where the magic lies – a medley of spices and aromatics blended together to create a spicy, sweet and heavily aromatic blend.

Massaman Curry Paste - a spicy and highly aromatic curry paste from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Let me tell you straight ahead, this is not your ordinary quick fix weekday dinner. The Massaman Curry takes time, effort and a whole lotta love to make it from scratch. But believe me guys, it’s so worth it. And when you make the curry paste, make sure you prepare a larger quantity and freeze in small batches.

Coconut cream is another main component of the Massaman curry. Though I generally prefer to use homemade coconut milk, the weather at the moment made me quite lazy so I used store bought ones. Also look out for coconut cream rather than milk when you are buying for that thicker and creamier consistency.

The braising liquid for the beef is another crucial step for this dish. The meat is just so tender and once strained, this flavourful liquid becomes the stock for the curry. The whole recipe is about adding layer after layer of flavour to yield that rich, sweet and spicy curry that warms your souls and tummies.

Do not get put off by the long list of ingredients or steps involved. Prepare the curry paste one day ahead so that you have enough time on the day of cooking the curry. Substitute with lamb shanks or chicken or even mixed vegetables with tofu for a vegetarian version. Make it folks, I promise you will love it.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

Massaman Curry Paste

(yields more than 2 cups)

  1. 60gms large dried red chillies, seeded; soaked in warm water and roughly chopped
  2. 1 medium red onion
  3. 1 ½ heads garlic
  4. 1 large galangal knob
  5. 3 stalks lemongrass (only the pale part)
  6. 4-5 coriander roots with a bit of stalk
  7. 60gms roasted peanuts
  8. 1 ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  9. ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  10. ½ tbsp cloves
  11. ½ nutmeg
  12. 3/4th tbsp mace powder
  13. 1 large cassia/cinnamon bark
  14. 3 green cardamom

For the braising liquid:

  1. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1 large knob galangal; roughly chopped
  3. 1 stalk lemongrass (pale part); roughly chopped
  4. 2 large red chillies; seeded and sliced
  5. ½ red onion; chopped
  6. 300ml coconut cream
  7. 2 cups water
  8. 1 cup homemade chicken stock
  9. 1/3 cup fish sauce
  10. 100gms palm sugar

For the curry:

  1. 1 kg beef (chuck steak); cut into 5-6 large pieces
  2. 1 cup kecap manis
  3. 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  4. 200ml coconut cream
  5. 5-6 tbsp massaman curry paste
  6. 2 shallots; diced
  7. 70gms pineapple; diced
  8. 1 tbsp palm sugar
  9. 2 tbsp fish sauce
  10. 2 large potatoes; boiled and cubed
  11. 1-2 tbsp tamarind water
  12. ½ cup toasted peanuts; crushed
  13. Crispy shallots; for garnish
  14. Coriander leaves; for garnish

Method:

Massaman curry paste:

  • Blitz the chillies, onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, roasted peanuts and coriander root to a coarse paste.
  • Grind the spices and add this to the paste along with a good pinch of salt.
  • Blitz again to get a smooth paste (you may need to add water).
  • Freeze in small batches.

To make the curry:

  • Marinate the beef pieces in kecap manis for a few hours or overnight.
  • Wipe off the excess sauce and keep aside to be braised.
  • To get the braising liquid going, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large vessel and add the onions, chilli, lemongrass and galangal. Cook to release the aromas for a couple of minutes and then coconut cream, water, stock, fish sauce and palm sugar.
  • Bring to boil and add the beef pieces to this. Cover and slow cook on the lowest heat possible till the beef has become really tender (took me about 1 ½ hours). Alternately, braise in the oven at 150°C till the meat is tender.
  • Meanwhile, 2 tbsp oil and coconut cream along with a good pinch of salt in another heavy based pan. As the cream separates and the oil starts to split, add the massaman curry paste and cook on high (with frequent stirring) for about 10 minutes. The aroma as the paste starts to cook is so aromatic. Reduce heat a bit and continue to cook the curry paste with frequent stirring till the oil starts to separate. Takes a fair bit of time so be patient.
  • Once the meat has cooked, allow the pieces to cool in the liquid, remove and cut into bite sized pieces. Strain the braising liquid and reserve the stock.
  • In another pan, heat the remaining oil and cook the shallots till golden. Add the pineapple pieces and continue to cook until it has softened and cooked out. Then add the palm sugar to get a caramel like mixture.
  • Add this to the curry paste and continue to cook till the oil starts to separate again. At this stage, add half of the strained braising liquid along with the fish sauce and tamarind water. Taste and season with salt if necessary; also balance out seasoning with fish sauce, tamarind water etc….
  • Add the boiled potatoes and the beef pieces and simmer on low heat. Add the remaining braising liquid and simmer till the meat and potatoes have warmed through.
  • To serve, spoon into a large bowl and garnish with crushed peanuts, crispy shallots and coriander leaves.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

Bang Pop, South Wharf (Melbourne) – a Review

Every month, I team up with a couple of my girlfriends for a bit of ‘our’ time minus the hubbies and kids. A couple of hours that we spent over good food experiences, chatting, venting, giggling…basically having a great time re-fuelling ourselves for the daily grind before we meet again the following month.

And this month, we decided to check out Bang Pop on South Wharf, a restaurant specializing in Thai hawker style food and with a breathtaking view of the Yarra. The perfect spot for a summer lunch!

The location is just perfect and you have a great outdoor space to soak in the view. It is best to make reservations ahead, especially if you want the outdoor seats. Colourful, vintage bicycles line the entrance and the whole restaurant has a colourful, vibrant contemporary edge with a warehouse setting.

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As soon as we arrived, the staff greeted and guided us to our table. The drinks and food menu were bought out swiftly. Lemon lime bitters seemed to be the beverage of choice among the ladies but I wouldn’t just settle for that, would I? Especially when there is a Thai inspired cocktail on the menu. So I had the Tom Yam Siam, a delicious and cool blend of Absolut vodka, lychee, fresh lime, red chili (yes!) and kaffir lime leaves. Delicious, as I already mentioned, but also perfect with the food and weather.

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Lemon lime bitter

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Tom Yam Siam, a delicious and cool blend of Absolut vodka, lychee, fresh lime, red chilili and kaffir lime leaves

The cuisine at Bang Pop is a contemporary spin on traditional Thai hawker style dishes.

For starters, we began with Tod Mun Pla or Thai style fish cakes. Absolutely delicious and perfectly cooked barramundi cakes spiced with red curry paste paired beautifully with nam jim pla grop (dipping sauce). Definitely recommended!

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Tod Mun Pla or Thai style fish cakes

We also got Larb Kai which is a poached and then ground chicken salad spiced with shallots, mint, roasted rice and chillies. Not at all spicy (though the menu states so); in fact it was light and refreshing but packed with loads of flavour.

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Larb Kai (ground chicken salad spiced with shallots, mint, roasted rice and chillies)

The quantities are generous so sharing is recommended and a great way to sample many dishes. With a table full of Pad Thai fans, we had to give it a go. So we ordered two bowls of Pad Thai, a chicken and a vegetarian version. The noodles were perfectly cooked and stir fried with the sauces and finally topped with tofu, garlic chives, bean sprouts, shrimps, peanuts, chillies and crisp shallots. Absolutely delicious.

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Chicken Pad Thai

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Vegetarian Pad Thai

The next dish to arrive was the Gaeng Daeng Phed or Red duck curry. I am an absolute fan of red curries and this one was really good though not the best I have had. The duck was absolutely spot on, so tender and juicy but I would have loved the red curry to have more punch, more flavour. It was good but not the best but I would happily buy it again for the duck.

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Gaeng Daeng Phed or Red duck curry

The final dish made a grand entry and created a bit of a stir at the table. Pla Song Rodchart or a deep fried whole baby barramundi with two different salads, lemongrass, chilli, coriander, mint and spring onions. I loved it but I am not sure if everyone else at the table would agree on this and I did notice that I seemed to eat most of it. Well, the flavours were distinctly Thai but if you are not used to having seafood this way, the sight of a whole fried fish with its mouth gaping might put you off. But for a seafood lover like me, it was culinary bliss. I loved the crispy bits of fish with the punchy, vibrant and refreshing salads especially the one with green apple in it.

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Pla Song Rodchart or a deep fried whole baby barramundi with two different salads, lemongrass, chilli, coriander, mint and spring onions

Overall, a great experience if you are looking for good Thai food with an amazing view to accompany.

My rating – 8/10

BangPop
35 South Wharf Promenade
South Wharf
Melbourne, Victoria 3006
Phone no: 03 9245 9800

Website: http://www.bangpop.com.au/

Timings:

Monday: Midday – late
Tuesday: Midday – late
Wednesday: Midday – late
Thursday: Midday – late
Friday: Midday – even later
Saturday: Midday – even later
Sunday: Midday – late

 

Disclaimer – Not a sponsored post; all the food and drinks were paid for by me and my friends.

 

BangPop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

D’Elephant Thai Restaurant, Chadstone – a Review

If you read my restaurant reviews, you would have figured out by now that Chadstone is one of my fave shopping destinations in Melbourne. Yes, it is pricey….not that I have a lot of moolah or spend it either (a considerable amount is spent window shopping)! But, there are shops/brands/boutiques that fit right into your budget; it’s just a matter of figuring out the right ones. And no; this is not a sponsored post for Chadstone shopping centre.

This introduction is just to give you an idea how I end up eating at the many food joints/restaurants in Chadstone in comparison to other places. And last week, it was the D’Elephant Thai Restaurant that I walked into after a rather satisfying shopping experience.

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Situated in the vicinity of Pappa Rich and Oriental Town, D’Elephant has a distinct feel to its décor and ambience. It is modern Australian with a touch of Asian interspersed. There is a beautiful al fresco dining space; make sure you get seated there if the weather permits. It’s really a great spot.

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There isn’t a great beverages list but there is a good one especially with some Thai favourites which go really well with the food. We chose from the cold pressed juices selection; Pina Colada and Berry Thai. Delicious, refreshing and matched well with the food.

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I wasn’t coming away without having a taste of their Tom Yum, so got a single serve seafood tom yum. Delicious! Everything that I hoped it will be – a medley of all kinds of flavours with a good kick of heat. I would go back and eat just this again. Truly recommended.

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I wasn’t coming away without having a taste of their Tom Yum, so got a single serve seafood tom yum. Delicious! Everything that I hoped it will be – a medley of all kinds of flavours with a good kick of heat. I would go back and eat just this again. Truly recommended.

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The deep fried barramundi sounded delicious so we ordered a Pla Sam Sa Hai (deep fried barramundi fillet with lemongrass, chilli and garlic). The barramundi was cooked to perfection and I loved the tangy, sweet and sour flavours with just the right amount of chilli to boot. Again, totally recommended.

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And to satisfy the carbs craving, we also got the Thai chicken fried rice. Again, quite delicious and flavourful; especially recommend it for children as it is a complete meal with the meat and veggies.

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A thoroughly delicious and satisfying experience that left us hardly any room for dessert. The D’ Elephant is definitely worth a visit; it might not be the most authentic Thai experience but it is pocket friendly and delicious with good customer service. What more could you ask!

Rating – 8/10

D’Elephant Thai Restaurant

Chadstone Shopping Centre
1341 Dandenong Rd Chadstone,
VIC 3148

Phone no: 03 9568 6600
Website: http://delephant.com.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/delephantthai

Opening Hours:

Monday – Wednesday: 10.30am to 9.00pm
Thursday – Saturday: 10.30am to 10.00pm
Sunday: 10.30am to 9.00pm

D'Elephant Thai on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post; all the food and drinks were paid for by me.

Derby Thai (Caulfield) – a Review

I love walking into random restaurants and cafes, without any prior reviews or suggestions, and willing to get surprised. More often than not, it has been a disappointment but sometimes, I end up finding little gems (which I hear that Melbourne has a lot) along the way.

I wouldn’t call Derby Thai a gem but it didn’t disappoint either. Our visit here was totally random; we were on our way to the CBD by the Metro but due to technical issues, the trains were stopping at Caulfield. We were advised to proceed to the CBD by trams and that’s how we ended up outside Derby Thai. It was lunch time and we were ravenous, so instead of catching a tram to the city, we paid a visit to this Thai eatery.

It’s a small, unassuming restaurant but given its location right opposite the Caulfield railway station and a stone’s throw away from the Monash University campus, it enjoys quite a crowd following.

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Walking in, you notice that there are just 5-6 tables so takeaway is greatly encouraged which works well with the University students. There were free tables when we walked in but within 5 minutes, the place got filled up. So be prepared to wait for a table especially if you are visiting during the lunch hours.

We started with the fish cakes which are basically fish patties blended with curry and spices, served with a sweet chilli sauce. The fish cakes were good and flavourful but nothing to rave about. A decent starter to the meal.

Fish cakes (Spicy fish patties with blended curry and spices)

Fish cakes (Spicy fish patties with blended curry and spices)

Next, was the Tom Kha which is a spicy, hot and sour coconut milk soup (ordered the prawn version; chicken and seafood combo are the other alternatives). The Tom Kha was delicious, just as I prefer a coconut milk based soup. Fresh, spicy, hot yet with a balance of all flavours. Totally recommend this one. On a less hungry day, this could be a meal in itself for me as it came loaded with prawns and veggies.

Tom Kha (Prawns)

Tom Kha (Prawns)

For mains, we went with the Thai beef fried rice. Again a good dish but nothing spectacular. It was more of a fusion fried rice which appeals to the masses here rather than a traditional Thai rice. Again, the quantity was good and could be a meal in itself with a dash of chilli on the side.

Thai fried rice (Beef)

Thai fried rice (Beef)

To go with the rice, we also got a Thai green curry (chicken; alternatives are beef and pork) which like the Tom Kha ticked all the right boxes for me. The heat was perfect and there was a good balance of the flavours in a delicious coconut milk base. Again, came loaded with veggies and chicken.

Thai Green curry (Chicken)

Thai Green curry (Chicken)

The prices were good and service was fast and efficient.

In short, Derby Thai is a good place for a quick lunch if you are in the area or a student at the nearby Monash University. I would go back again for the Tom Kha, loved it.

My rating: 7/10

Derby Thai

4 Derby Road, Caulfield East 3145
(03) 9571 1306

Hours:

Monday – Friday: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 12:00pm – 10:00pm
Delivery Available 7 days: 5.30pm-9.30pm

Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored review; all the food and drinks were paid for by me.

Derby Thai on Urbanspoon

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