Chicago: Basil Thai Restaurant

Basil Thai is a Thai restaurant located on 701 South Gregory Street in Urbana. They are open for business everyday from 11:00am-9:30pm, and it is one of the only Thai restaurants within walking distance from the University of Illinois main campus. Hence, this is a popular place for students during lunch and dinner hours. READ MORE

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Cultural Influences on Thai Food

Thai Food from Lum Ka-Naad in Northridge, CA

Although popularly considered a single cuisine, Thai food would be more accurately described as four regional cuisines corresponding to the four main regions of the country: Northern, Northeastern (or Isan), Central, and Southern, each cuisine sharing similar foods or foods derived from those of neighboring countries and regions: Burma, the Chinese province of Yunnan and Laos to the north, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to the east and Malaysia to the south of Thailand. In addition to these four regional cuisines, there is also the Thai Royal Cuisine which can trace its history back to the palace cuisine of the Ayutthaya kingdom (1351-1767 CE). Its refinement, cooking techniques and its use of ingredients were of great influence to the cuisine of the Central Thai plains.

The culinary traditions and cuisines of Thailand’s neighbors have influenced Thai cuisine over many centuries. Regional variations tend to correlate to neighboring states as well as climate and geography. Southern curries tend to contain coconut milk and fresh turmeric, while northeastern dishes often include lime juice. The cuisine of Northeastern (or Isan) Thailand is heavily influenced by Lao cuisine. Many popular dishes eaten in Thailand were originally Chinese dishes which were introduced to Thailand mainly by the Teochew people who make up the majority of the Thai Chinese. Such dishes include chok (rice porridge), kuai tiao rat na (fried rice-noodles) and khao kha mu (stewed pork with rice). The Chinese also introduced the use of a wok for cooking, the technique of deep-frying and stir-frying dishes, and noodles and soy products.

Thai-stuffed chicken wings

by Crystal A. Johnson

Thai Angel Wings are a favorite of my father’s so of course I had to post this video.  He lives in Chesapeake, Virginia and can’t find a restaurant which prepares this dish. When he visits Los Angeles  the Thai Angel Wings are must!

angel-wings

(Photo from Thai Pot Cafe in Los Angeles)

Click to see video on how to make this dish: http://www.ifood.tv/recipe/thai_stuffed_chicken_wings_kai_sawt_sai_tawt

Staff Fave: Thai Fishcakes

                                                           Nicole Brown is the fishcakes4host of  an upcoming original MCCN show , The Spicy Chick.  You may have seen her for the on the red carpet of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs(See Celebrity Food Coverage Section) Our host is of Thai heritage and shares that one of her favorite foods is fishcakes.  Here is a Thai Fish Cake recipe with one Northern ingredient added:

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Serves 4 as an Appetizer
  • 2 fillets of salmon, cod, sole, or other fish (1/2 lb. to 3/4 lb. or 300 g.)
  • 2 large (or 3 small) potatoes
  • about 1 cup oil for frying (peanut, sunflower, coconut, canola, or other vegetable oil)
  • approximately 1 cup flour OR 1 1/2 cups bread or cracker crumbs (bread or cracker crumbs make a crispier crust)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce for the dip (or make your own dipping sauce – see below)*
  • PASTE:
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 red or green chili, sliced (de-seeded if you prefer mild cakes)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (dried, fresh, or frozen), snipped into small pieces with scissors (discard stem)
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup coriander leaves and stems, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Preparation:

  1. Place potatoes in a pot of water over high heat. Allow to boil while you perform the next several steps.
  2. Place paste ingredients in a mini-chopper or food processor. Process well to create a paste. OR simply mince and stir everything together.
  3. If using frozen fish, thaw it thoroughly (to thaw fish quickly, place in a bowl of tepid water for a few minutes). Cut the raw fish into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Remove any bones you might find.
  4. When potatoes are cooked and soft enough to mash, drain them and place in a flat-bottomed bowl (or back in the pot). Quickly mash with a potato masher.
  5. Add the mashed potatoes plus the paste you made earlier to the fish pieces. Mix well (don’t worry if the fish falls apart).
  6. Now, using your hands, make small patties or cakes. Tip: if cakes won’t stay together because they are too “wet”, add a little flour or bread/cracker crumbs to the fish/potato mixture.

Make Ahead Tip: If making ahead of time, cover cakes and refrigerate (overnight or up to 48 hours beforehand). When guests arrive, remove from fridge and continue with the steps below.

 

  • Cover a counter-top or cutting board with flour or bread/cracker crumbs. Tip: to make bread or cracker crumbs finer, briefly blend in a food processor. Dip the fishcakes into the beaten egg, then turn them over in the flour or breadcrumbs to coat.
  • Pour oil into a wok or frying pan, about 1 inch (or more) deep. Turn heat to medium-high (or around #7 on the dial). Oil is hot enough when bubbles begin to rise from the bottom of the pan, or when you see the oil “moving” (“snaking”) across the bottom of the pan. Test it by dipping the edge of a fish cake into the oil – if it sizzles and begins to cook, the oil is ready.
  • Fry fish cakes until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes on each side. Use tongs to turn the cakes. When they are done frying, place on paper towels (or a tea towel) to drain excess oil.
  • Serve hot with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce* for dipping. Or make your own dipping sauce (see below). Thai fish cakes make a great appetizer, and are delicious with a cold lager or a chilled glass of your favorite white or blush wine. 
  • *Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is now available at many large grocery chains in the Asian section, and at all Asian/Chinese food stores. OR make a very simple dipping sauce by combining 2 Tbsp. Chinese plum sauce with 1 Tbsp. soy sauce and 1 Tbsp. fish sauce. Add freshly cut chilies if you like it spicy. ENJOY!!!

    See more commentary from the creator of recipe at : http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaisnacks/r/Fishcakes.htm

    On the Red Carpet: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

    A couple of days ago MCCN posted a written review of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs based on the popular story book.  In the posting we suggestedplaces in Los Angeles area which serve meatballs.  No matter where you are in the world this is an opportunity for a great family outing of Spaghetti & Meatball dinner and a movie. If we didn’t convince you the first time around to see this film then maybe what the celebs have to say about meatballs and the film will do it: