Saturday, October 27, 2012

Traveling to Thailand Without Leaving the Table

The Colonel and I are blessed with thoughtful and loving children. Our daughter and son sent The Colonel a very unique gift for his birthday (and I got to enjoy it too).

Yam and Spud sent The Colonel a Destination Dinner. We packed our culinary bags for a tasty trip to Thailand.

Our family enjoys ethnic cuisine, so the kids knew we would love the Green Curry & Puffy Cups of Thailand.

The red box contained nearly all we would need to make this birthday meal. Enclosed was a shopping list of the few things we would need that were not in the box. We needed fresh chicken breasts, a can of coconut milk and a few potatoes.

The box also contained not only the directions on how to make the dishes, but also a little history lesson, tea trivia, Thai trivia, suggestions for the perfect beer to drink with the dinner (Singha), more information about Green Curry and suggestions for our table setting.

The Thai Green Curry dates back to the time of Siam's (now Thailand) ancient capital of Ayutthaya (1350-1767). There is a temple there that houses the largest bronze Buddha. Legend has it that the Buddha statue cried tears on the day the city was sacked by the Burmese.

Spud and I like Thai tea. It has a unique flavor. It is a blend of black tea leaves, star anise, cinnamon, clove and a touch of orange. It can be enjoyed hot or cold and is traditionally served sweet, with half & half or milk. Too bad Spud was not here to help me drink the Thai tea.

Originally green curries did not include coconut milk. It was only since the Ayutthaya period that it became part of the recipe. Indians and Moors traveled through Thailand during that time and they used cream or milk in their foods to make them richer; they suggested the Thai try it too. Now many other Thai dishes contain coconut milk.

A traditional Thai meal always consists of the five main flavors of the country: spicy, sweet, sour, bitter and salty. The Green Curry did this very nicely.

A Thai dinner place setting includes only a spoon and fork (napkins are optional). The fork is held in the left hand and is used to shovel the food onto the spoon (The Colonel and I ate like we normally do). Since knives are not placed on the table, all Thai recipes require the meats and vegetables be cut to bite-size pieces while still in the kitchen.

The Thai usually adorn their tables with carved fruit or vegetables. It is an art that dates back over 700 years. The Colonel and I opted out on that one, even though the steps to make a chili flower were provided.

The house smelled terrific as we cooked the Green Curry (and many hours after).

Our Puffy Cups did not look a thing like the ones in the picture on the recipe. I did not have the correct steaming equipment. After some trial and error they did get done. They were slightly sweet (they were made with Jasmine Water) and kind of spongy and sticky.

"Destination Dinners...More than a meal, it's a travel experience".

Thanks Yam and Spud for the culinary trip to Thailand!

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