Kacang Hijau (Mamak-style stir-fried beans)

1 bunch (150g) snake beans
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp rice flour
pinch salt
1 tbls coconut oil
1 sprig curry leaves

Cut beans into 4cm lengths – mix with chilli,
turmeric, rice flour and salt – set aside 15 minutes.
Heat 1 tbls coconut oil, sizzle curry leaves,
Add beans and stir-fry until crispy,
adding 1 or 2 tbls water to prevent sticking.

Inspired by Line Clear Nasi Kandar, Jalan Penang – Georgetown

Tomato Curry

500g small ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 onion
1/2 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 stalks curry leaves

Combine tomatoes, turmeric, chilli and
1/2 cup water – simmer 3 minutes.
Puree together 1/2 of the onion, coconut,
salt and 1/2 cup water – add to tomatoes
and simmer 2 minutes.
Heat 1 tbls coconut oil, sizzle mustard seeds,
add curry leaves and remaining 1/2 sliced onion
– fry until browned then add to tomatoes.

Inspired by thali at Maharaja Hotel, CN Krishna Rd – Chennai

Ikan Bakar Berempah (spicy barbequed fish)

450g whole bonito/mackerel
1 shallot
1 stalk lemongrass
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp galangal
1 tsp turmeric (or 1/2 tsp powder)
1-2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbls lime juice
1/2 tsp belacan powder
1/2 tsp sugar

Splay fish. Puree together all remaining
ingredients and marinate fish in paste 2 hours.
Remove excess paste and barbeque fish with a
generous splash of oil until just cooked and crispy.

Inspired by Gerak 21 food court, Kampung Bahru – KL

Beetroot Poriyal

750g raw beetroots
2 tsp mustard seeds
4 dried red chillies, halved
3 tsp urid dal
3 tsp chana dal
2 stalks curry leaves
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
1 tbls coriander powder

Peel and dice beetroot into 1cm cubes.
Heat 3 tbls coconut oil and sizzle mustard seeds,
dried chillies, urid dal, chana dal and curry leaves.
Add onion, then turmeric and chilli powder –
mix well and saute until soft.
Add beetroot, cover and cook 25 minutes adding
a few tablespoons water as needed.
Add coconut and coriander powder to finish.

Inspired by thali meals at Maharaja Hotel, CN Krishna Rd – Chennai

Weekend with Atlas

This week we launched our house sitting adventures
with a lovable Great Dane in Lane Cove.
It was an easy and comfortable sit, the only nervous
moment being when we first arrived, coming face to face with
our drooling fifty kilogram charge – the owners had already
left home for the weekend and we had never met Atlas before…
But it turned out that he wasn’t at all bothered by the arrival
of two strangers in his territory and he welcomed us with his loud
inhalations, sniffing and looking at us nonchalantly like we
weren’t quite who he was expecting. Adorable on a large scale!
His favourite thing was to go to the nearby park where he could
bound off leash with his doggy friends, play fetch and do
herculean poos in the shrubbery – two stomach churning
handfuls in each evacuation.
At home afterwards he would syphon down a bucket of water,
politely request a belly rub and fall asleep on the living room floor.
He was well-trained and obedient, showing affection not just toward
us, but also to Albus, his companion cat.
The weekend passed by in a furry flash, and saying goodbye was
sooooo sad…

Persian omelette

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbls tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tomato, chopped
2 eggs

Heat 1 tbls oil and sizzle garlic.
Add tomato paste and stir 2 minutes.
Add spices and stir.
Add tomato – cover 1-2 minutes.
Add eggs and stir gently until cooked.
Serve with barberi bread and other
accompaniments as desired.

Inspired by chai khaneh in South Saadi Street – Tehran

Sobhune (Persian breakfast)

A typical Iranian breakfast includes as many
or few of the below items as you please…
In order of importance –
bread – barberi or sangak
jams – carrot, mulberry, bergamot, apricot, sour cherry….
eggs – hard-boiled, omelette or kuku
cheese – feta or soft cheese
tea – sweet black or with saffron sugar
fresh seasonal fruits – melon, oranges, grapes…
honeycomb and clotted cream

Inspired by numerous breakfasts across Iran

Keralan Rasam

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 stalk curry leaves
1 dried red chilli, torn
1/4 tsp asafoetida
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tomatoes, cubed
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp tamarind, soaked in a little water
2 tbls coriander leaves

Heat 1 tbls coconut oil and sizzle mustard and cumin seeds,
dried red chilli, curry leaves and asafoetida.
Add garlic, tomatoes and salt – fry 2 minutes.
Add turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, pepper,
tamarind liquid and 1/2 cup water – simmer 5 minutes.
Add 1 to 2 cups water, return to boil, add coriander leaves
and remove from heat. Serve at room temperature over hot rice.

Inspired by meals at Hotel Ariya Bhavan, Kumily – Kerala

Recommended Thai cookbooks

If you’re in tune with this website and are looking for more culinary inspiration I can recommend some additional reference material which will probably appeal.
Rosa’s Thai Cafe, the Vegetarian edition that is, is full of recipes for authentic and original Thai dishes, the kind which you can find in Buddhist vegetarian eateries everywhere in Thailand. Vatcharin Bhumichitr is a great authority on Thai food and it seems that ANY recipe in ANY of his books is guaranteed to please, you can’t go wrong with, The Taste of Thailand or The Big Book of Thai Curries. If you want a exhaustive tome to fill your bookshelf, David Thompson’s Thai Food will keep you entertained and well fed for years, and Sujet Saenkham’s Spice I Am is also a worthwhile addition.
On line, Mark Wiens is a local authority on where to find great places to eat and posts videos and recipes with contagious enthusiasm – you can find him at eatingthaifood.com.



Kerala Fish Fry

300g fish, on the bone
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tbls coconut vinegar
pinch salt

Combine marinade ingredients with 2 tsp water,
rub onto fish and marinate for 1 hour.
Heat enough oil for shallow frying and fry fish
until cooked through and golden brown.

Inspired by Sathram Restaurant,
on the main road at Varkala – Kerala