>> Monday, September 7, 2009
Thai cuisine is one that has been greatly influenced by all it's surrounding neighbors. To me the most obvious influence has been from Indian cuisine because of the spices and though very different but still similar, the curries. Thai food is unique in that it has created this perfectly well balanced harmony of 5 flavors that are present in every dish or in every meal. The flavors are salty,sweet,sour,bitter/aromatic and heat/spicy, not particular to that order. Some samples of how the flavors are brought into a dish can be from salty -from shrimp paste or fish sauce,sweet- from sugar or sweet fruits, sour from lemon or lime juice,bitter/aromatic-can come from bitter melons or aromatic herbs and green vegetables, heat- of course from chilies or the curry paste. Though not included in the 5 main flavors but common in many dishes is the sweet and creaminess of coconut milk.
Most people when they think Thai food think Hot!, but it's not all about the chili, it's about bringing out all those flavors that then compliment each other. I love spicy food but spicy to where it doesn't over power the rest of the dish. What's the point then, might as well grab whole chilies and start munching away, (ouch better grab the antacids). I do believe that in any type of cuisine the heat or spiciness is not the flavor that should overpower everything else, it should be a touch of what the rest of the dish is about. When I've heard people or friends say they have never tried or don't like Thai or other "spicy" cuisines because they are not able to handle the spiciness, it makes me feel a bit sad. To me it's a pity for people to miss out on such scrumptious meals when they really shouldn't have to. (By the way my recipes can all be adjusted to fit your personal "heat" level.)
Today I have a big favorite of not only mine but my husband and one of our frequent dinner guest's , Thai Chicken Pineapple curry with cherry tomatoes and bamboo shoots. Just writing this makes my mouth water. It so easy and fast to make, I guarantee they'll want seconds. The curry paste I used is my own from the previous recipe found here.
2 chicken breast
1 cup fresh pineapple, bite-size pieces
1/2 cup bamboo shoots
12 red cherry tomatoes
2 Tbs red curry paste
1 Tbs grated ginger
2 garlic cloves,minced
1 1/2 Tbs fish sauce
1 tsp sugar ( if using canned pineapple omit)
1/2 cup chicken broth (vegetarians can use vegetable)
1 cup coconut milk
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
Fresh Cilantro or Basil leaves to garnish, optional
*the coconut milk is added toward the end to prevent curdling*
2. Done.When serving you can add a couple of Fresh Basil or Cilantro leaves for decoration. Serve with steamed white rice.
Covering the essentials of Thai cuisine we have a deliciously fruity,spicy and sweet, creamy curry with aromas that will have them all running to the dinner table.
* Tip~ you can use drained canned pineapple if fresh isn't available but it taste so much better with fresh. Makes great leftovers, that's if you have any left. *
My Luscious Thai Chicken Pineapple Curry recipe was chosen to be included in this beautiful cookbook. There are many talented bloggers in this book and it is a great honor to be among them. You can find me recipe on pages 90 and 91.
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