Cooking Thai in Indonesia.

I love Thai food. A lot.

When I was in Bangkok last year, I fell in love with traditional Thai food. Much spicier than in the Thai restaurants in Australia, much fresher with an incredible texture diversity that I had just never tasted before.

I took a Saturday to do a Thai cooking course, where I learnt how to make traditional green, yellow and red curry pastes from scratch. I learnt to make salads and curries and soups. I learnt how to make coconut milk and cream from shredded coconut and I learnt all about the different kinds of rice, their tastes and how they should be used. In Thailand there are over 5 different kinds of ginger alone.

When I cooked my favourite dish Chicken galangal soup back home for my friends, I had to supplement the recipe with a whole lot of things you just can’t get in Aus. Galangal ginger one of the primary ingredients… was one of those. Nevertheless, the soup is always a hit, as it is delicious, with a perfect combination of softness and crunch, of sweetness and spice, of dense rice and the light fresh flavour of coriander.

And tonight. I make it again, with a new side, to feed my friends here in the village some of whom have never eaten Thai food… which is very different to Indonesian cuisine, even though they have access to the same produce.

Before seven am, I left the house to drive to Parigi to visit the markets. If you want fresh produce, you have to go early. Especially to get the chicken. I’m very cautious about chicken meat, and here it isn’t refrigerated, it sits out all day in the heat. So earlier the better – before the heat gets to it, and get it home into the fridge.

my market chickens chopped and weighed

You buy chickens as a whole bird, head and feet and all. I instructed the saleswoman to remove the head and feet – she could keep and sell the feet, and I would take the head home to give to Sam, who was much appreciative as he crunched through the bones.

I hunted around the markets for all of the different ingredients I needed to make Chicken Galangal Soup and Thai Cucumber and Chilli Salad. I searched high and low until I had successfully placed a tick next to everything on my list. A few things I had to substitute, and I’ve realised that I didn’t get lemongrass, which I do need, so I’ll have to go back.

I got soaked, head to toe on my way home when the rain came… and then I got home, de-boned a few chickens and diced the meat…

Now, I’m kicking myself for not getting lemongrass.  Back to the pasar I go…


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