Thai food is generally not “quick and easy” as there are many different ingredients in most dishes and most of them require lots of chopping and preparatory work before actually making the dish. However, with slight adaptations to old time favorites and planning ahead, you can create genuine Thai dishes quickly and easily.
I like to make a Thai stew in the crock pot. I can cut vegetables the night before and then toss it all together in the morning so that when I return home after work, we can easily sit down to a gourmet meal. I do the same with fried rice; cut and prepare in advance, then simply fry it all together just before serving. In fact, I often make Thai fried rice at the end of the week so I can use various leftover ingredients from previous meals. If I make something with chopped onions on Tuesday, for example, I simply chop some extra and bag up what I don’t use so it is ready for fried rice on Friday.
Following are two family favorites: chicken and coconut stew, and fried rice. Both are adaptations from recipes I got from Thai friends years ago. I simply changed some of the ingredients and found a few shortcuts to make them quick and easy.
Chicken and Coconut Stew
1 – 2 cups chicken broth
2 cups (more or less) of cut chicken *
* You may use boneless breast, wings, legs, whole chicken parts, any combination
1 large onion either chopped or sliced
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
¼ cup fish sauce
Fresh Lemon Grass cut into 1 inch long pieces
Fresh coriander sprigs finely chopped
Thai chili paste
Thai curry paste
1 can coconut milk
2 – 3 potatoes cut into bite sized chunks
3 large carrots cut into bite sized chunks
A handful of fresh spinach (optional)
Any other vegetables you have on hand (optional)
A handful of peeled shrimp (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, brown the onion and garlic.
Add the shrimp if using.
Transfer to a crock pot on low heat and add all the other ingredients. Cook over night or all day long (at least 6 hours).
Thai Fried Rice
Left over rice (2 – 4 cups)
1 medium or large onion either sliced or chopped
Small portion of meat – approximately 4 – 8 oz. bacon, pork, shrimp, chicken, beef, or any combination
1 – 2 eggs, beaten and scrambled
2 cups mixed vegetables
4 green onion, bulb and leaves thinly sliced
½ cup frozen peas
4 T fish sauce
4 T soy sauce
3 T sugar
1 T Worchester sauce
Fresh coriander, finely chopped
Fresh cilantro, finely chopped
In a small bowl, combine the 3 sauces – fish, soy, and Worchester with the sugar, coriander and cilantro.
In a small skillet, scramble the eggs.
Fry the onion in cooking oil.
Add the meat.
Add the rice.
Stir until well combined.
Add the liquid mixture.
Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with eggs and green onion.
Slice the lime and squeeze the juice over the whole dish before serving.
Tips – use left over vegetables or ½ a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. If using left over vegetables from a previous meal, do not worry about the spices and flavors added in the first cooking as that will just add to the special, one-of-a-kind fried rice dish. Note: corn is not recommended