I have a soft spot for Thai food. Its the perfect blend of sweet and savory, spicy and creamy, nutty and citrus...simply happiness in a plate. It is perfectly adapted to the heat of summer, and can be simple to prepare.
The secret ingredient to make this taste authentic is Fish Sauce. It can be found in most any Asian market, and a bottle is a good investment. A couple of dollars will buy enough to last a year.
I also happen to have a Kefir Lime tree, so I love to use its leaves in South Asian recipes for a little more authenticity. That being said, you could easily replace it with a sprig of Thai Basil, or leave it out, and still have a very tasty meal.
This recipe definitely hits the spot on a summer evening!
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
4 kefir lime leaves, sliced into strips (completely optional)
1 jalapeno pepper, or 2 dry chili peppers
1 tsp fresh ginger (today I've used 1 tsp ginger paste and it worked great too)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 can coconut milk
1 mango, cut into cubes
1 cup chopped spinach
1 lb small uncooked shrimp
Saute the onion over medium heat with a splash of olive oil (or coconut oil, if you have some on hand) until they start to become transparent, 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic, kefir leaves, peppers, ginger, and fish sauce.
Once the onions are transparent, add the coconut milk, mango, and spinach. Today I've used frozen spinach because that is what we happened to have, but fresh spinach works great too. Simmer together for another 6 minutes or so. About 10 minutes before serving, add the shrimp and heat until they're cooked through.
Serve over rice (I like to use Jasmine rice for anything Thai), and serve with lemon or lime slices for an extra little punch of flavor.
Do you have a special memory linked to Thai food? Tell us about it!