Category Archives: Thailand

Final Thai Dinner

Last night we finished up our week in Thailand and had the most delicious dinner ever.  Thai food is absolutely amazing and I wish I knew a little bit more how to make it so I could incorporate it more often into our weekly meals.  At least I got some practice last night and the recipes were so scrumptuous, I know I’ll be making them again.

Thai Dinner Menu

Spring Rolls with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Thai Dumplings with Mint-Vinaigrette

Daikon and Carrot Salad

Marinated Pork Ribs

Thai-Style Rice

Lychee Sundaes with a Lychee-Caramel Sauce

Daikon-Carrot Salad

I had never had daikon before and actually really liked it. It’s a type of Asian radish and this salad was made with a sweet vinegar sauce that really made it tasty. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate radishes more, but I still can’t say they’re my favorite.

Ribs, Rice and Dumplings

I have learned, in doing this country study, that if I type in a nationality on epicurious.com or thefoodnetwork.com, then I usually have a significant amount of recipes to choose from. Typically, I begin with epicurious and go from there. Granted for some countries, like Fiji, they just didn’t have any recipes, so I searched elsewhere on the internet.  Others I’ve taken from my own repertoire or borrowed cookbooks, but typically this is my method.  Tonight was no different, however I did adapt the recipes to my family’s tastes and needs.

For the marinated Thai pork ribs, I did in fact follow the recipe exactly and they were the most succulent ribs I think I’ve ever had.  The scallion/cilantro marinade really added to the flavor and brought the “green factor” which I always like in a meal.

The dumplings were a last-minute adjustment as the spring roll wrappers I bought were a bit too fragile and broke easily and instead I used the remaining dumpling wrappers from China week (still good) and filled them with a combo of the spring roll filling, some ginger and scallions.  When served together with their dipping sauce-awesome!

Because the spring rolls called for shrimp and Brian is allergic, I substituted with pork and made the dipping sauce with chili-garlic sauce, ginger, sesame oil, garlic, sugar, pepper, cilantro and a bit of rice vinegar.

 Lastly, the Thai people don’t really eat dessert (which would be a problem for me if I lived there 🙂 ).   Even when Bon stayed with us he often refused dessert, which is completely incomprehensible where I come from.  Hence in searching for Thai desserts I came up quite dry.  (I did happen upon a black sticky rice pudding, but couldn’t find the special black rice at our Asian market and didn’t want to make the drive across the county.)  So, I came up with an idea using one of our staples-ice cream.  As we were eating dinner I was reminded of a can of lychee I had in the cupboard and decided to make a lychee-caramel sauce (a bit like the coconut-caramel sauce from Fiji week) and served it atop our favorite vanilla-Haagen-Dazs, topped with chopped lychee.  I’m not sure I have words for how delicious it tasted, but perhaps divine will do.  Our treasured dinner guest agreed and I even had a little bit more today as it was really so tasty.

 I was so excited to read the can and see “From Thailand” on the label.  That sealed the deal for me.

Lychee Sundae with Caramel-Lychee Sauce

Admittedly, I did not do much measuring for this sauce, but I’ll see if I can give the recipe as best as I remember.

Lychee-Caramel Sauce

3/4 lychee juice (from can)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons whipping cream

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and lychee juice.  Stir until sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil and occasionally brush down sides with water as needed (do not stir).  Once caramel is deep amber in color, add butter and stir, then add whipping cream. Serve over ice cream.

Thank you, Thailand for loaning us Bon to teach us more about your amazing country.  We loved our time learning about the Loy Krathong and especially loved our dinner.  While we still have much to learn, we’ve had a taste that leaves us wanting more in the future and hopefully we’ll be able to visit and see Bon someday and meet his family.

*We’re a bit off our normal schedule this week and will begin Greece tomorrow.

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Thai Dye

We’re finishing up our Thailand week a little later than usual as I had really wanted to do a fun Thai Dye craft and didn’t get the materials ready until today.  So, here’s our version of “Thai” dye.  I actually did some research and there is a website called www.thaidye.com that shows a more traditional type of dyed clothes found in Thailand.  As this site would not share their trademark secrets, we were forced to experiment with our own materials. Our result was much more like traditional American tie-dye, but the kids and I had lots of fun in the process and that’s what matters most.

First, we pinched/tied/paper-clipped/decorated our white tee-shirts with office supplies, hair-bands, rubber bands and stickers.

Then, we headed to the garage sink and squeezed different colors over our shirts after rinsing them with hot water.

Lastly, we let them dry and removed all the fun things we had initially attached.

Voila!  Thai Dye….or maybe tie-die, but colorful fun-ness nonetheless.

Loy Krathong ลอยกระทง

 37576.jpg Loy Krathong image by Moonlight_028 

loykhrathong7.jpg Loy Yi Peng in Loy Krathong festival..Northern image by Moonlight_028 

In Thailand, every November they have a beautiful tradition of making “krathongs” and putting them in the river.  These are little floating masterpieces made of leaves and flowers with a candle and some incense in the middle.  (I think it actually means floating candle).  At night, thousands of people put them in the river with the candles and incense lit.  Bon says where he lives there are about 10,000 in the river all at the same time.  I’m sure it’s amazing to see in person.  

Yesterday, Bon shared with us the meaning of this tradition and the kids each made a little krathong.  Here is his explanation. 

 

We used styrofoam discs and attached leaves to the outside.  After trying tacky glue and stapling, it appeared that a hot glue gun was the best option for keeping the leaves on.  Bon says in Thailand they use banana leaves and a type of disc from a banana tree to decorate their krathongs. 

 

The Finished Products

 

 

Bon was a great helper!

 

Next, we did our own little “Loy Krathong”, which means, putting your floating candles into the water.  Initially we put our krathongs into the outside pound, but as it was quite windy the candles quickly blew out.  Since this festival is one done at night, we decided to move inside to the bathroom and use our little “bathtub river” for our family’s Loy Krathong. 

 

 

 

 

This was another one of my favorite crafts/activities so far.  It was so fun to hear from Bon all about this special tradition and to celebrate in our own special way and the kids absolutely LOVED it!  They stayed in the bathroom for a long time just watching their little krathongs floating in the tub.

Transitioning to Thailand

Wow we had a crazy week last week!  All five of us came down with the stomach flu and were out most of the week.  Fortunately we were able to make it to Disneyland on Monday to celebrate Addie’s fourth birthday (I guess unfortunately for everyone we came in contact with).  Later that night, the flu bug hit.  So, poor Cardiff celebrated his birthday (Tuesday-I know it’s crazy their birthday’s are one day apart!) on the couch with the rest of us.  I had fully intended to honor my sweet children’s birth country last week as we celebrated the days they came into the world, but that didn’t quite happen.  This week we are jumping ahead to Thailand as we have a Thai student staying with us now and it’s his last week here.   (We’ll go back to Korea when it comes up in the alphabet.) 

In the midst of the whirling and twirling that’s been going on around us we have found ourselves quite far from structured/mechanical Germany in the middle of what used to be called “Siam”.    An exotic country that has been ruled by the same king since 1946! 

While we have been quite near here before in visiting Bangladesh, the Thai culture is quite unlike any other and we are excited to dive in and learn all we can about this Southeast Asian marvel. 

This morning we got started with our Bible verse first.  Tallinn is getting to be quite the reader and he read almost the entire verse on his own.  (I really don’t believe in pushing kids to read so he has really learned to read almost entirely by himself.  It’s been super fun to watch!)  

 

Then, we continued on with our geography. Right away, Tallinn found Thailand on the globe, probably because we’ve looked at it a bit with Bon, our student.  The kids quickly colored their Thailand maps, then we moved on to our flag craft. 

 

Since rice is such a staple in the Thai diet, we decorated our flags today with the leftover red and blue tissue paper scraps from France week and used white rice for the white parts of the flag. 

 

 

Cardiff enjoyed tasting the rice as he made his flag, of course.

 

 

 

Finished Rice and Paper Flag

 Tomorrow we’re excited to have Bon teach us some Thai words and fun information about his country.  Unlike our Japanese students, Bon is the first student from Thailand that we’ve hosted so we really do have much to learn. 

Laew phob gan mai.  (See you again)