Samui Wining & Dining
Megabytes

November’s ‘Thai Culinary Website of The Month’ is www.khiewchanta.com.

 

MegabytesI like this website a lot. There’re no frills or airs and graces about it. It simply gets straight to the point – Thai food recipes. And there’re more than 800 of them with new ones added regularly. The homepage has a very short introduction whereby you can surmise that the site is written by a Thai lady named Appon and that she’s lived in the West for some time; possibly since childhood (I’d guess at North America judging by the spelling of certain words). She’s certainly well educated and has a real passion for Thai cuisine. Her homepage also has her latest postings and from the dates it seems she’s on-line every other day with new creations and has been since 2004.

 

There’re several ways to navigate around including an internal search engine if you know exactly which dish you want to make. However, this site deserves a little time spent browsing and down the left-hand side she’s grouped the recipes alphabetically under about 20 different headings, from curries to Western influences. These, in turn, have sub-headings so you can quickly narrow down your search with a couple of clicks. Each recipe page has a picture of the finished dish, some of her thoughts on it including ingredient substitution tips and the name of the dish in transliterated English. For instance, Thai green curry is often written in menus on Samui as gaeng khiew wan gai and there will be plenty of others that you recognise in that way.

 

Her recipes also have a clear list of ingredients with an icon for a conversion table if you still work in ounces rather than grams. They also state how many people the recipe will serve and the preparation and cooking methodology is kept plain and simple. She also makes suggestions of what to serve it with and how to present it. And there’s space at the bottom of each recipe to leave comments. These can be useful, as some people don’t like their curries too spicy, for instance, and may use extra coconut cream. Others find fish sauce too salty and substitute a light soy sauce in its place.

 

There’s a heading of ‘My favourites’ which includes some great little recipes, many of which are based on Thai street food and market stall snacks similar to what you’ll find in the ‘Walking Streets’ around Samui. One that I personally like but isn’t so easy to find here unless you know where to go is khanom jeap. They’re pork and mushroom parcels and are a Thai variant of a Chinese recipe. Thai’s call them dim sum but Chinese people know them as chow mei. Nevertheless, they’re delicious and perfect to serve with a couple of other small snacks as a starter or as an amuse-bouche. Another snack that would sit well on an appetizer platter is mu pad khiew wan hor pai, a bite-size pork curry pie. In this recipe, Appon uses puff pastry as you would at home but when you buy them on Samui they tend to be made with sweet pastry which many Thai’s prefer.

 

One last recipe that caught my eye was kai ni hin, a Thai version of Scotch eggs. They look similar but they’re made with quail’s eggs and Thai ingredients, like red curry paste, minced pork and kaffir lime leaves. Eaten with a sweet chili dipping sauce, they’re quite spectacular and simple enough to make at home. Appon’s site is a world of discovery that has far more unusual and interesting recipes than most other sites. And you’re much more likely to find dishes that you’ve eaten in little out-of-the-way restaurants on Samui rather than the usual fare. Bookmark this website and you’ll never be short of ideas or inspiration.

 

Johnny Paterson

 


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