Samui Wining & Dining
Megabytes
October’s ‘Thai Culinary Website of The Month’ is www.easy-thaifood.com.

 

MegabytesThis month’s recommended site is well named. All the recipes in easy-thaifood.com are intended to be made quickly and by just about anyone. It was set up in 1999 by a German couple who clearly love Thai cuisine and have visited the country many times. They had initially set up the website in German language www.leckerbisschen.de, but, after many requests from around the world, they decided to also produce an English language version.

 

All the equipment you need is based on a normal home kitchen and they give suggestions for substitute ingredients if you can’t find them in your local stores. And the 60-plus recipes on their site are very typical of the dishes that you’ll find in most Thai restaurants on Samui. All the usual suspects are there as well as a couple of their own creations. They do point out that the recipes that include chilies are medium-hot and you might want to adjust the chili content if you’re a fan of very spicy food.

 

When you open up on the homepage you can tell that it’s not a professionally designed site. But it is functional, to the point and easy to navigate around. Down the left-hand side there’s a link to all the recipes which are listed alphabetically, making it easy if you already know what you want to make. Below that link there’s another with suggested four-course menus for four people. Each has a soup, a meat dish, a fish dish and a dessert and you just need to click on each one to go straight to the recipe. And below that there’s some good information on woks. There’re handy hints on the types available, how to use them for cooking Thai food and how to make the best use of them for other dishes, such as steamed fish or scrambled eggs.

 

If you do have a few moments, then take a look at the eight links across the top of the page. There’s one that goes into detail about lots of typical Thai ingredients. Included in the notes are some good tips, such as avoiding soft bean curd for stir-fried dishes, soaking tamarind pulp in warm water before straining and the differences between the types of basil used in Thai cooking. Beside that link the recipes are then divided into: beef and pork; fish; chicken; rice; noodles; veggies and salads; and soups and sauces.

 

Click on one of the dishes and you’ll get a picture of what it should look like when presented, a list of ingredients, a methodology and an approximate time for preparation and cooking. Most of them take around 30 minutes and have just four or five simple steps to follow. I personally like to try out recipes from websites to see what they’re like. To tell you the truth, I don’t usually follow recipes when I’m cooking, I tend to measure by the ‘handful’ and taste and adjust as I’m going along. But I picked one of Thailand’s most popular dishes, gai pad bai graprau – chicken with basil and chili, and followed the recipe precisely. It turned out fine but on making it a second time I did tweak it little by reducing the amount of garlic and fish sauce (I found the suggested dosage was too salty) and halving the amount of sugar. I also added some fresh chilies, the bigger, milder ones, which they didn’t include. Instead they had a teaspoon of chili paste which wasn’t enough for me. Those small changes were just about satisfying my personal tastes and that’s what home cooking is all about.

 

www.easy-thaifood.com is just that; the site isn’t fluffy or convoluted and the recipes work. You might adjust them slightly but the basics are all there. And after five minutes clicking around you could happily launch into making a dinner for four. It’s as easy as that.

 

Johnny Paterson

 


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