Culinary Passport: Thailand

Have you started a “culinary passport” for your children yet? Designing a small notebook would be a great summer project to keep your kids busy and food interested. If you want to go above and beyond “visiting” different cultural cuisines, you might even think about a series of goals your children can earn while collecting “stamps” in their notebooks. For instance, maybe after five countries, they could earn a trip to a local dairy farm to see how milk products are produced. Or, possibly, after ten meals, you could set up a factory tour so they can see how their favorite foods are made.

Trying foods, from around the world, shouldn’t be a stressful or difficult process. Remember, the goal is to expand the tasting horizons of your children; to open their minds to new flavors and cultures. If you fear cooking worldly dishes, remember, restaurant dining counts! Instead of Friday night pizza, maybe order take out from the Chinese joint around the corner…or stop at that Mediterranean restaurant that you’ve driven by a million times but never gave it a chance. Now, I’m not sure I would consider a packet of Ramen noodles to count as an oriental meal…but get creative! If you don’t want to make homemade noodles, or can’t find udon or rice noodles, use the Ramen noodles (not the seasoning) as a base and simply create a brand new topping.

Let me help you out. I recently came across a recipe for slow cooker Thai Chicken, which is great for busy parents who don’t have time to create something new, from scratch, between work and that night’s baseball game. With a few simple ingredients, you can create a tasty dish for dinner and your children can get a Thailand “stamp” in their passport books. I made this Thai Chicken last week while my son had a friend over. Both of them (11 and 12 years old) cleaned their plates and his friend even had fun with the chopsticks I laid out (which we hoard from the local Chinese restaurant.)

 Thai Chicken

An easy, crock pot dish that will take your tastebuds to Thailand

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. Light Coconut Milk
  • 2 TB Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 TB Red Curry* Paste
  • 1 t. Grated Ginger
  • 1 1/2 lbs Boneless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, sliced 3/4″ thick
  • 1 Large Onion, sliced
  • 1 lb. Rice Noodles
  • 1 c. Frozen Peas
  • 1/4 c. Fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • Lime Wedges, for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a crock pot, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, curry paste and ginger; mix in the chicken, peppers and onion.
  2. Cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through, on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Twenty minutes before serving, cook the noodles according to package directions. Stir the peas into the chicken mixture, and cook, covered, until heated through, about three minutes. Spoon the chicken, vegetables and sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with cilantro; serve with the lime wedges.

Note: The recipe did not include salt. I added sea salt to my liking as the mixture tasted bland. Also, I used udon noodles instead of rice noodles because I already had them in the pantry. Don’t leave out the cilantro and lime – those two toppings really make the dish.

Number of servings (yield): 6

*For those of you who are thinking, “I don’t like curry,” please note that the word “curry” is a generic term primarily employed in Western culture to denote a wide variety of dishes originating in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines. Their common feature is the incorporation of more or less complex combinations of spices / herbs, usually (but not invariably) including fresh or dried hot chiles. The yellow curry powder, in which we are familiar, is a mix of particular spices to give us that certain flavor we associate with Indian cuisine. Red curry paste tastes nothing like yellow curry powder. Go on, give it a try! See you in Thailand!

12 Responses to Culinary Passport: Thailand
  1. Melisa
    June 21, 2012 | 11:49 AM

    BOOKMARKING!!! LOVE slow cooker recipes and this looks delicious!

    • Toni
      June 21, 2012 | 11:56 AM

      It’s a good one…just be sure to add salt. I don’t know why it wasn’t included in the recipe?!? Also, we top (pretty much everything) off with Sriracha, for a little extra heat. :)

  2. Jenni
    June 21, 2012 | 12:00 PM

    We use ramen noodles around here a lot. I can’t tell you how many flavoring packets we’ve thrown away! You’re right; they make an excellent base for any sort of stir fry or Asian-inspired noodle dish:)

    • Toni
      June 21, 2012 | 12:04 PM

      I think the Ramen noodles are still a familiar element in a new dish for kids as well. That way, they won’t look at cello noodles like they are worms. :)

  3. Lisa
    June 22, 2012 | 7:13 AM

    Is it wrong that I was think i don’t like curry when I came across your sidenote at the bottom. :)

    • Toni
      June 22, 2012 | 7:18 AM

      LOL Lisa! More times than not, people tell me they don’t like curry (which is why I noted.) I assume they mean yellow curry powder. Knowing that will hopefully open up your palette to new and exciting things! :)

  4. Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy
    June 22, 2012 | 8:17 AM

    Normally I’d crinkle up my nose like a four year old at that list of ingredients but I’ve learned in the last year that I really have no clue what I like. LOL Looks yummy all prepared!!!

    • Toni
      June 22, 2012 | 9:47 AM

      The ingredients may seem “odd” to some people, but this is a very mild flavored dish…a good one to introduce without going overboard with spices. :)

  5. Colleen
    June 22, 2012 | 10:47 AM

    AWESOME! I will definitely try this one!

    • Toni
      June 22, 2012 | 12:03 PM

      Great! Let me know how you like it. We’ll definitely be making this again.

  6. megryansmom
    June 22, 2012 | 12:39 PM

    Mmm I’d gobble it all up, but my picky ass hubby won’t touch it. At times he’s worse than a kid!

    • Toni
      June 22, 2012 | 5:21 PM

      LOL! I have often told my husband, “You know, if you were a picky eater we would not be married.” And I am serious. 😛

Leave a Reply to Melisa

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?