Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own


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Thai Chicken and Aubergine Yellow Curry – The Basic Recipe

It’s time for a good old Thai curry! I was just revising the Thai recipes I’ve already posted and was amazed to discovered that I haven’t posted a Thai curry yet! Specially considering that I cook one at least every two weeks if not once a week. Thai curries are so a part of our weekly menu that I guess I didn’t consider making  a post about them until today, when I realised that they are totally worth sharing; not only because their deliciousness but also because they can become  a staple of any household menu : they’re easy and quick to put together, and you can use virtually any protein and vegetable available to turn an ordinary week-day supper in a special one, even cooking it for guests. All you need is to always have coconut milk, a good quality curry paste and Jasmine or Basmati rice in your pantry and let your imagination do the rest of the work!

Of course, you can always make your own curry paste from scratch if you have a good Asian market nearby where to get the right ingredients. This would make the preparation a little more time-consuming, but you can make big quantities in advance to store. However, in terms of practicality, I find that there are really good bought curry pastes that use no artificial additives and preservatives.

Today’s recipe is the basic method I always use to cook Thai curries, feel free to change the curry paste (red, green), the vegetables and the protein source. They can be easily turned into a vegan dish by replacing the fish sauce with soy sauce and the meat with tofu.

Thai curries entered my life almost ten years ago, when I was living in Australia for some months (such a good and dear memory to me!) and my Aussie housemate and good friend used to cook them regularly for supper. I had never tried a Thai curry before at that time, and it was “love at first bite” Besides, Thai restaurants and take away in Australia are sooo good that I also enjoyed  a lot of South-East Asian food when eating out.

Back at home, I made sure to find the ingredients to keep cooking them, a little bit harder to find in Spain, but possible if you look eagerly. In Australia you can find everything in a regular supermarket. The UK is a good place to stock up if you have the chance and of course, it is possible to buy online as well!

Let’s cook now, I hope you like it as much as I do!

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Nyonya Kari Ayam (Chicken Curry) and some good reading

A new curry recipe! Today I’m sharing a Chinese/Malaysian fusion chicken curry from Nyonya cuisine. Doing my research for the recipe; I became really intrigued by Nyonya cultural background and found some wonderful reading about it that I would like to briefly share with you in order to fully understand and appreciate this curry we are making today (*).

I’ve always thought that a country’s cuisine is a very holistic approach to discover its history, culture and idiosyncrasies; cooking something exotic (to us) is such a wonderful way of travelling without leaving your home, analogous to reading one of those great books that transport you to a different place. I can get so inspired by world’s cuisines that I get to experience a little obsession with the subject, searching, reading and going into expeditions to find ingredients and cook!

(*)The Peranakan or the Baba Nyonya community (also known as the Straits Chinese), evolved in the fifteenth century when the Chinese arrived in Malacca and intermarriage with local women took place. The Peranakan culture is a unique blend of two cultures – Malay and Chinese – intermixed into a fascinating synthesis with elements of Javanese, Batak, Thai and British cultures. Today, they are found throughout Malaysia and Singapore with strongholds in Malacca, Singapore and Penang.

The word Peranakan is derived from the Malay word ‘anak’ which means ‘child’. The term refers to the local-born as well as the offspring of foreigner-native union. Baba is the term for the male and Nyonya for the female.

Peranakan food is a wonderful combination of Malay and Chinese cuisine with influences from Indonesia, Thailand, India, Holland, Portugal and England. Nyonya food is clearly unique and Malaysian/Singaporean in identity. Using ingredients such as galangal, serai, chillies, tumeric, ginger, tau cheow, tamarind, lime juice, belachan, buah keras, gula Melaka; spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and leaves such as daun kesum, daun kaduk, daun cekok, daun limau perut and pandan.

(*)Extracted from: Lee, Su Kim, 2008. The Peranakan Culture: Resurgence or Dissapearance? SARI, Vol. 26, 161-170

I hope that after knowing a little more about this wonderful culture you feel like tasting it with the following unique curry recipe. Trust me, the flavour will surprise you, is neither Indian nor Thai, is just Nyonya, and it’s delicious!

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Chicken Laksa – Bliss from South-East Asia

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To me Laksa is the queen of all soups, a world’s favourite originally from Malaysia and other South-East Asia countries like Indonesia and Singapore. There are many kinds, varying with the region and the ingredients, but one of the most popular and reproduced in the West is the curry Laksa: a curry and coconut based noodle soup . I have first tried it in Australia and then in Malaysia and have been cooking it at home since then, because I love it! (and there are no restaurants in the area where I live that serve it).

I often take the freedom to customise it depending on my fridge/pantry contents and cravings and I always include some  vegetables. Here it is a very simple recipe I cooked the other evening for supper, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Looking forward to your feedback!

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Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup

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The other day, a good friend of mine gave me some wonderful organic pumpkins from her home vegetable patch. Pumpkin is one of my most-liked veggies and I cook it in different ways, being of them, of course, soup. This time, I  first thought of preparing a pumpkin version of the ginger and curry soup I usually make with carrots. But then, while doing something else, a whole recipe took shape in my mind: a Thai-style curried soup.

Since Thai food is among my favourite foods, it is usually my choice for special occasions. I always cook Thai for birthdays celebrations (love ones and mine),  for my guests (all my friends have tasted my Thai cooking) and on weekends when we fancy something special. I even cooked a Thai green curry the last Christmas eve! However, once in a while I cook Thai just because is delicious, conforming and I feel like it. This was the case and here is the recipe I hope you will enjoy as much as we did at home.

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