Spicy Eggplant with Red Bell Pepper and Thai Basil

Thai Eggplant

Every so often I stumble upon a food blog post  in which the author is trying to persuade his or her readers into “trying eggplant again”, with the underlying assumption that a lot of folks have tried eggplant and not liked it.  Really?  I guess I’ve always assumed that everybody was fully on board the eggplant train.

Granted the eggplant was likely well hidden under a heavy blanket of tomato sauce, bread crumbs and cheese, but I’m pretty sure that I fell for eggplant on my first try.   I have a feeling that eggplant Parmesan was the gateway eggplant dish for many of us.

Thai Eggplant

Thai Eggplant

I think what I love most about eggplant is its versatility.  It’s equally capable of stepping up to be star of the show as it is of fading into the background.  In this quick and healthy Thai dish, eggplant is sauteed with red bell peppers in a spicy and sweet fish sauce-based sauce.  A couple handfuls of Thai basil keeps the dish tasting fresh instead of heavy.

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Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

For years I’ve snubbed all savory dishes that include pineapple, thinking that they were solely tourist fare.  But apparently the joke’s on me, because pineapple fried rice, when done right, is a revelation.

The trick, of course, is to balance out the sweetness to ensure that it doesn’t taste like a dessert gone terribly wrong.  In this particular dish, the fish sauce and oyster sauce add saltiness and a bit of umami, Sriracha adds some heat, and the white pepper adds a bit of pungency (don’t leave it out! ).  Meanwhile the cilantro adds a much-needed pop of freshness while the cashews add plenty of crunch.  I  went from totally eschewing pineapple dishes to making this fried rice three times in one week.  So yeah, quite a 180.

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

While this pineapple fried rice makes an excellent side dish, it also transforms into one heck of a one-dish meal with the addition of some protein.  Seafood like crab and shrimp are commonly paired with pineapple  fried rice as is chicken.

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S̄wạs̄dī Thailand!

Thai Beach

Photo via Vagabundo Magazine

After a long break and a couple of false starts, I’m ready to get back in the game.  I realize that I haven’t been very good about varying up the continents I’ve been cooking from this year (I’ve been happily stuck in South Asia), but I’ve got an itch for Thai that needs scratching.  I can almost taste the Pad Kee Mao now.  So, so excited.  I hope you guys like Thai food as much as I do.

Melon and Chia Seed Faux Tapioca Pudding


Melon Chia Pudding

Sure it’s kind of old-fashioned and I can certainly understand that it’s texture isn’t for everybody, but I love me a good tapioca pudding.  And not just the classic American variety, but the cold, soupy Asian versions as well.

Unfortunately it’s exactly the times when cold tapioca soup sounds most appealling (weather = hot, humid, unbearable) that the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot flame for an extended period of time waiting for pudding to thicken.  And that’s where chia, everybody’s favorite wonder seed, steps in to save the day.

Melon Chia Pudding

When combined with unsweetened coconut milk and pureed melon, it creates a lightly-sweetened, refreshing pudding.  It’s easy to adjust the texture by varying the amount of chia seeds you use.  Want it more soupy?  Decrease the amount of chia seeds.   Like your pudding nice and thick?  Add some more chia seeds.  It’s pretty much impossible to mess up.

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