From the Northern Jungles of Chiang Mai to the southern five-star island resorts, Chef Brett McGregor has been all over Thailand, discovering hidden gems, ancient recipes and traditional customs.
He has brought back with him a treasure trove of culinary knowledge, and lucky for us, is happy to share some of his discoveries, including the following three dishes, which, taken as a starter, main and dessert, create an evening of Thai cooking heaven.
Starter – Miang Coconut, Fish, Mint and Pomelo
Miang kham is a traditional Thai snack originating in the northern parts of the country. It was introduced to the Siamese court of King Rama V by Princess Dara Rasmi.
The name “miang kham” translates to “one bite wrap”, and is enjoyed in Thailand as a social meal with friends and family, mostly during the rainy season when the cha betel leaves are abundant.
- 16 betel leaves
- 200g smoked fish
- 2 tbsp ginger, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh coconut, shredded
- ¼ cup mint
- 1 cup pomelo or ruby grapefruit
- 2 stalks lemongrass, finely sliced
- 4 kaffer lime leaves, finely sliced
- ½ red chilli, finely diced
- ¼ cup coriander
- Dressing: 1 tsp chilli paste, 1 tsp palm sugar, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 3 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp coconut cream. Place into a jar and shake to combine. Set aside.
Simply combine the miang ingredients and carefully dress. Place a spoon of the mix onto a betel leaf, top with chilli and coriander and serve.
Main – My Northern Thailand Jungle Curry
For a main course we once again draw from the northern parts of Thailand for this incredible jungle curry. This traditional dish isn’t too hot, but will certainly excite your taste buds! Add some of your favourite bread to dip or soak up the sauce, and you’ve got the perfect Thai main course.
- 1kg pork shoulder
- 10 cloves garlic, made into a paste
- 60g ginger, grated
- 10 shallots
- 20g palm sugar at least, should be to taste
- 3 tbsp fish sauce (at least)
- tamarind soaked in water, to taste
- 3 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 litre chicken stock
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- Olivado Avocado Oil
Start by blanching the pork in hot water for a few seconds. You’ll know it’s ready when the meat changes colour, but doesn’t cook. This blanching seals in a lot of juices. Next, in a mortar and pestle, smash half of the garlic cloves and all the ginger and mix into a paste. Fry it up in Olivado’s delicious avocado oil until it turns a nice golden colour. Add the red curry paste and cook until aromas are released. Once that happens add the pork (cubed) and the whole shallots and remaining garlic.
Add in the palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind water. Pour the chicken stock over everything, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the pork is very tender, adding stock if needed. With 15 minutes to go add in the cherry tomatoes.
Serve with rice and garnish with crispy shallots and micro coriander.
Dessert – Floating Lotus (Bua Loi)
Bua loi is a sweet Thai dessert which is usually made for a party or religious ceremony.
Made with glutinous rice flour, coconut milk and sugar, this Thai dish goes back to ancient times, and is perfect to finish off our three-course meal.
- 1/2 cup Thai pumpkin
- 1/2 cup taro
- 1 cup sticky rice flour
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (use only the cream if using fresh)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups pandan infused water
- 1/3 cup white sugar
Steam the pumpkin and taro until soft, between 10 – 15 minutes. If you can’t find taro or Thai pumpkin, try experimenting with any root-like vegetable – potato, sweet potato, carrot, etc.
Mash the pumpkin, then mix equal parts pumpkin and sticky rice flour together until they form a uniform paste. Do the same to the taro, but separately. Roll them both into small balls (1- 2 cm in size) and then boil them in hot water until they float. Remove with a slotted spoon and put into a bath of room temperature water. Boil the coconut milk with the water, sugar and salt, then add the balls and serve.
Voila! Your three course Thai meal is now complete!
If you can’t make it to Thailand, then don’t worry, we can bring Thailand to you!
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You can find dozens of our other recipes here, or more of Chef Brett McGregor’s travel adventures by clicking here.