5-Ingredient Coconut Tom Yum Soup

this soup is as easy as combining 5 ingredients in a pot and waiting for 10 minutes! I highly recommend tracking down tom yum paste as this is the base of your flavour. plus, you’d need even more ingredients to substitute it in order to find the right balance. tom yum paste should be available in the international aisle of your major supermarket or at your local east/southeast asian grocery store. if you’re looking for a quick, and I mean rrreeaallyy quick appetizer with not much effort and all the gain, you’ll win with this one. add a little rice vermicelli to make it more filling, or a lot to make it a full meal. we all deserve an easy fix sometimes!

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Laksa

this version of laksa is one of my favourite noodle soups in the world. my day is instantly better with a bowl of this laksa in front of my face. it’s like a hug for your soul, and belly! traditionally made with fish stock, some versions can be quite fishy. I tried to find a balance of just the right amount of fishiness (from the shrimp paste) with just enough spice, tang, and richness. once you have this laksa, you won’t be able to live without it. I definitely wouldn’t want to. even if we are just 2 people, I usually make the full batch for 4 since you can freeze the leftover broth for a quick meal!

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Tom Yum Coconut Salmon

I have to pay homage to the thai-viet restaurant I worked at in montreal for this one, restaurant hà. this salmon is so damn flavourful, you’ll be shocked at how incredibly simple it is to make. the main ingredient is store bought tom yum paste (yes, I actually cheat sometimes), which you can usually find in the sauce or canned goods section of an asian market, or in the international aisle of a larger grocery chain. the salmon is even a bit forgiving when overcooked (but it won’t be!) as the decadent and luscious coconut sauce pairs beautifully coated on the fish. it’s a stellar contrast between vibrant and delicate flavours all in one bite!

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Chicken and Squash Penang Curry

your mind will be blown the first time you make fresh curry paste. pounding each ingredient in the mortar and pestle and smelling the wafting perfumes that are released is absolutely intoxicating. even if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, the satisfaction of making fresh curry paste from your food processor, blender, whatever it may be, is well worth the effort. your curry will turn out more fragrant, flavourful, and luscious, plus, you can freeze portions of it for a quick weeknight meal! this does require some ingredient hunting, but most of it can be found at your local asian market. if you’re okay with store bought paste, skip to part 2 of the recipe for instructions. serve with steamed white rice, or try our coconut rice for some extra richness.

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Massaman Curry

Massaman curry is one of my personal favourites. It's a go-to recipe when I host private dinners for larger groups, or have a free Sunday to spend cooking. It is rich, complex, and packed with SO much flavour, and I get giddy when I smell the paste frying. The aroma that fills the room is INCREDIBLE. After leaving it for a while to bathe and bubble in its own deliciousness, you're left with a magical, golden curry with beautifully tender chicken or beef. Damn, I'm mouthwatering again. This recipe definitely takes time 'sans aggression', but trust me, it is well worth it. 

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Sai Ua Falafels (Northern Thai Falafels)

We’re always looking for new ways to integrate vegetarian meals into our diets, and as much as we love tofu we’re eager to explore some more imaginative alternate proteins. Lately, that has meant pulse-patties, from black bean burgers to falafels. We love falafels for transforming relatively-boring-but-packed-with-nutrients chickpeas into crisp-on-the-outside-moist-on-the-inside flavour bombs that add substance to rice bowls and keep us full for hours after a meal. They’re traditionally spiced with cumin, coriander, mint and cilantro, but we wondered if they could be done using the same blend of aromatics as our favourite Thai sausage, Sai Ua. The answer is a resounding yes. Full of lemongrass, turmeric, chilies, kaffir lime leaves and galangal, these Thai inspired falafels have a bold flavour that keeps you going back for more. For strict vegetarians, we use powdered dry mushrooms for umami, but if you’re more lenient we recommend a healthy dose of fish sauce.

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Coconut Rice

Gluten Free Coconut Rice

I struggled for a long time with coconut rice. I loved the concept, but it always turned out a bit gloopy and mushy. finally, I stumbled upon andrea nguyen's technique, which is to use the coconut water found at the bottom of coconut milk cans rather than the cream. In order to separate the cream and water, make sure you buy a good brand of coconut milk that doesn't contain any emulsifiers. 

note that this recipe still works fine if you don't have a rice cooker. use the same cooking method as usual, but for the liquid use all of the coconut water you get from the can and top it up with water to reach the right rice-liquid ratio.

Serves 4 hungry rice eaters or 6 normal rice eaters

Special Equipment

Rice cooker

Ingredients

1 (400 mL) can of coconut milk
3 rice-cooker-cups of jasmine rice (2 1/4 US cups)
6 Kaffir lime leaves (optional)
Water

Instructions

Refrigerate the coconut milk for 24 hours to ensure separation of the cream and the water.

Skim the solidified coconut cream from the top of the can, leaving the clear water and any milky liquid. Reserve for another use.

Measure out the rice into your rice cooker and rinse until the water runs clear.

Pour in the coconut water and kaffir lime leaves. Top up with water until you reach the "3 cups" marker on the side of the bowl.

Cook the rice in the cooker. Serve.

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Pavlova

Credit goes to Andrea Witzel for this recipe. This is one of the desserts that is most in line with our ethos of finding great food that happens to be gluten free. It's super light, so you always have room for a slice after a big meal, and by pairing it with a tart strawberry-lime curd the sweetness isn't overwhelming. In our rendition, we've topped it with whipped coconut cream and kaffir lime zest, but it could just as easily be made with whipped cream and regular lime zest.

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Sai Ua (Northern Thai Sausage)

This sausage from Northern Thailand is insane. It's spicy, rich, herbaceous and fragrant. There's a long list of ingredients that go into it, and it takes some commitment to stuff the sausages at home, but the end result is well worth it. If you don't have a sausage stuffer, not a problem. You can use a funnel and manually stuff the casings, or you can simply make patties out of the meat and fry them up in a pan. If you don't have a meat grinder (and realistically, how many people have a meat grinder at home?) simply substitute 2 lbs of ground pork for the belly and shoulder. We use long red chilies instead of bird's eyes simply because they're easier to calibrate - if you'd rather use bird's eyes, that's fine too.

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