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Leela Punyaratabandhu

Leela Punyaratabandhu

Thai, biped, globetrotting, food-obsessed, food-blogging, language geek.

  • Website
  • Location: Chicago
  • Favorite foods: Warm Thai jasmine rice topped with Thai-style omelet (with crispy edges) and a drizzle of Thai Sriracha sauce.

My Thai: Lao Stuffed Lemongrass (Ua Si Khai)

Ua Si Khai means "stuffed lemongrass" which is what this is. Seasoned ground pork is carefully positioned into the bulbous part of a lemongrass stalk which has been split to create a "cage" or a net that holds the pork in place. The stuffed lemongrass is then steamed, dipped in beaten eggs, and deep-fried until golden brown. The essential oil in the fresh lemongrass stalks, most concentrated in the area where the pork gets stuffed, is what makes this dish more special than its simple appearance might suggest. More

My Thai: Thai Beef Jerky

Although fried sun-dried beef is often called Thai "beef jerky," know that it's not exactly like the American beef jerky that you find in the snack aisle at the supermarket. Thai beef jerky is only briefly dehydrated in the sun (hence "single sunlight beef") and some of moisture is still left in the beef, making it easier to chew than its American counterpart. More

My Thai: Pomelo and Shrimp Salad (Miang Som O)

I used to call miang "one-bite salad," but I'm rethinking it as it seems to suggest that you're supposed to wrap the whole thing up into a big bundle and eat it in one bite. Calling it "salad cups" doesn't do it either since a miang like this isn't usually served assembled in little lettuce cups. Either way, this shrimp and pomelo salad served with chili jam is simple, balanced, and delicious. More

My Thai: Shimeji Mushroom Laab

I don't know what happened on your end over the holidays, but over here not a lot of self-control was exercised. So, at least this week, I'm eating lighter than usual to make up for the craziness of the last few weeks. But I'm far from depriving myself of delicious things, though. This mushroom laab (or lap, most often spelled 'larb') you're looking at right here? Not exactly deprivation. More

What Did President Obama Eat in Thailand? All of This.

Like most Thais who like to keep up with what's happening with American-Thai relations, I was interested in every detail of president Obama's brief visit to Thailand a few weeks ago. But more than anything else, I wondered what the President ate. I needed to know what the government of Thailand served Obama at a special dinner in his honor. Once I found out, I recreated all of the dishes at home. More

My Thai: Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls in Sweetened Coconut Cream (Bua Loi Fak Thong)

Am I right in thinking that you have some leftover pumpkin pureee lying around that you want to use? Am I right in thinking that after this past weekend, you want to cook as little as possible? If yes and yes, here's another pumpkin dessert that's very Thai and very easy to make. How easy? Anyone who can make little balls out of playdough can make this. More

My Thai: Steamed Pumpkin Custard

This is a streamlined version of the famous Thai steamed pumpkin custard. You know, the kind where you steam a whole pumpkin along with the custard filling; the kind that isn't as easy to make as many recipes want you to think. You get pretty much the same taste out of this version without nearly as much fuss. This appeals to a lazy person like me who's always looking for a faster, easier way to do everything. More

My Thai: Chicken Red Curry Stir-Fry with Green Beans

This is an extraordinarily simple stir-fry of green beans and chicken with red Thai chili paste. It requires only six ingredients—seven, if you want to add extra umami to it by way of oyster sauce. This is very practical for those living in a small space with an electric frying pan, a microwave, and a refrigerator the size of a shoe box (A.K.A. every college student in the world). But the result feels like a hug from Thailand. More

My Thai: Chicken Yellow Curry (Kaeng Kari Kai)

Oh, this dish. It used to confuse me when I first came to the U.S. and ate at a Thai restaurant for the first time. In ordering "yellow curry," I thought I was going to get one dish only to be presented with another. This is because nobody in Thailand calls this "yellow curry," and what we do call "yellow curry" is something entirely different. I quickly learned from this mistake. More

My Thai: Salmon-Fennel Red Curry

You will never find salmon and fennel red curry on the streets of Bangkok, I can tell you that. But if both ingredients had been widely available over there (and affordable to most people) decades ago, I'm pretty sure these two would have become a classic ingredient combination in red curry. Why? Because they go so surprisingly well together. More

My Thai: Thai Beef Jerky

ahllaw - That part has been changed.

My Thai: Sticky Rice Burgers

Jules Addiction, AnnieNT - The reason sauce is not an issue with rice burgers made the East Asian way (at MOS and elsewhere) is because they use Japanese short grain rice (which is not what we use here). Cooked Thai sticky rice falls apart much more easily when in contact with moisture.

My Thai: Sticky Rice Burgers

brbeats - Thai arancini! Tell me more.

My Thai: Sticky Rice Burgers

AnnieNT - You can put a little bit of whatever condiment on it. Too much and the rice falls apart (when it comes to cooked Thai sticky rice, moisture loosens the "glue").

Thai Corn Fritters (Tod Man Khao Pod)

beijing - Sorry, I've never tried letting it sit that long. What could ruin it is the extra moisture that the corn kernels may release during that time, but I don't know for sure.

Banana-Coconut-Sesame Cake

Banana-Coconut-Sesame Cake

Stufsoker - Instead of butter? It should work.

Chicken-Green Bean Yellow Chili Stir-Fry

Chicken-Green Bean Yellow Chili Stir-Fry

ravi347 - Failed again. Just go to my site at http://shesimmers.com It's there.

Chicken-Green Bean Yellow Chili Stir-Fry

ravi347 - Okay, that didn't work. Let's try again. Go to this page for the recipe.

Chicken-Green Bean Yellow Chili Stir-Fry

ravi347 - The original recipe is here: http://shesimmers.com/2013/02/krua-apsorn-crabmeat-yellow-chili-stir-fry-เนื้ิอปูผัดพริก.html The procedure is different for the crabmeat version, because crabmeat is already cooked as opposed to chicken which goes into the wok raw.

What Did President Obama Eat in Thailand? All of This.

Kenji - Cashew apples (Anacardium occidentale) are very sour and tannic; In the South (where cashew is grown), people sometimes put them in a curry or make vinegar out of them, but they're not something people right out of hand.

Rose apples (Syzygium malaccense), on the other hand, are a common table fruit. The texture is very porous (as opposed to pulpy like cashew apples) like a piece of sponge that is saturated with mildly sweet nectar yet crunchy, not soggy.

What Did President Obama Eat in Thailand? All of This.

Kenji - No, they're different things.

Chicken Red Curry Stir-Fry with Green Beans

ecca31 - correction: tofu strips work

Chicken Red Curry Stir-Fry with Green Beans

ecca31 - Thank you! Yes, tofu strip works. The red curry paste might be a bit spicy for a one-year-old, though!

Chicken Red Curry Stir-Fry with Green Beans

Friday - No. Green curry works just fine here.

Pindaar - When I tested the recipe, one minute was enough to cook 8 ounces of raw chicken breast that has been cut into small, thin slices. Doing it over high heat and in a 10-inch skillet helps. Anything beyond this point resulted in tough and dry chicken every time for me but YMMV.

Thai Corn Fritters (Tod Man Khao Pod)

algona - Yes. The instruction in the note above is for frozen corn, but it also applies to canned.

Chicken Yellow Curry (Kaeng Kari Kai)

pontare - Even at the paste level, one of the factors that make these dishes very, very different from each other is the ingredient ratio. For example, ounce for ounce, kari curry paste contains fewer red chilies than red curry paste. I personally would not create kari curry paste by adding turmeric to red curry paste. But, again, yes, the two pastes share many common ingredients.

Chicken Yellow Curry (Kaeng Kari Kai)

pontare - If the paste and the past alone is in view, then, yes, kari curry paste shares many common ingredients with red curry paste. To say that kari curry paste is essentially red curry paste with turmeric (and, according to my family's recipe a few more dried spices) would be very simplistic but not incorrect.

But the paste is only one ingredient; the paste alone doesn't make a curry. Other than the common paste ingredients and the fact that both kari and red curries are coconut-milk based, the two are clearly and recognizably different from each other. Some of the most noticeable differences lie in the way the two are seasoned and the traditional ingredients that go into each (e.g. you will not see Thai pea eggplants or bamboo shoots in traditional kari or potatoes and onions in traditional red).

In other words, it's unlikely that anyone will taste properly-made red curry and think, "All I have to do is add a little turmeric and this instantly becomes kari curry."

My Thai: Tom Kha Udon Soup with Mushrooms

domino - Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass pieces (for the purpose of infusion) are unpleasant to eat. Galangal, on the other hand, can be palatable especially when young, tender, and sliced very thinly. Mature galangal is a bit too strong.

My Thai: Chicken Yellow Curry (Kaeng Kari Kai)

Meezplz - In terms of preparation. Not much. In terms of taste, quite a bit.

Chicken Yellow Curry (Kaeng Kari Kai)

grumblekitty - You may like apple cider vinegar? Personally, it's the only thing I'd use in lieu of white distilled vinegar.

Chicken Yellow Curry (Kaeng Kari Kai)

grumblekitty - If these vinegars taste and smell the same to you, then you can use anything as it won't matter.

My Thai: Chicken Yellow Curry (Kaeng Kari Kai)

cookiequiz - Kaeng lueang is what people in the Central part, especially Bangkok, call the Southern kaeng som to differentiate it from the Central kaeng som (which doesn't contain turmeric and is not yellow, unlike the Southern kaeng som). Southerners, however, call kaeng lueang, "kaeng som." I should write a post on this someday.

My Thai: Spicy Tuna Salad with Lemongrass and Young Ginger

Salanth - Short-bodied mackerels (Pla Tu) which the Thai people usually use in this have more bones and they're tinier.