Home   Blog   Classes   Trips   More   back

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

How to Fry a Crispy Fish Thai-style

Kasma Loha-unchit, Sunday, December 15th, 2013

One of the favorite ways to prepare fish in Thailand is to fry it until it is thoroughly crispy – head, tail, fins and all – but not greasy. To get it this way, the fish is fried unskinned in plenty of hot oil for longer than what is normally recommended in western cooking, so that it is not just cooked through and still moist with juices inside the flesh, but until it is completely dried through. When no moisture remains, oil molecules do not have any place to attach themselves to on the dried-out surface of the fish; as a result, the crisped fish is not heavy, soggy and oily. Fish fried this way does not lose its crispiness soon after it comes out of the oil from juices inside being sweated out, but remains crunchy crispy even after it cools.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Frying Fish

Frying fish, waving

Of course, the kind of oil used for frying the fish is important. It should be one that can be heated to and kept at high temperatures without burning and breaking down, such as peanut oil or palm oil. The oil should be heated very hot before adding the fish, so that it sears the outside of the fish and does not penetrate it. This also reduces the likelihood of the fish sticking to the pan and yields cooked meat that is more fluffy rather than dense and compacted.

To help the fish cook and crisp faster, make a series of slanted (45°) cuts about one-and-a-half inches apart through the thickness of the flesh to the level of the center bone on both sides of the fish; or score with a diagonal criss-cross pattern.

Scoring Fish

Scoring fish

Resting Fishes

Scored and warming fish

Make the cuts with the knife blade positioned at a 45° angle to the surface of the fish; the flesh overlaps the cuts so that when it shrinks with frying the bone is not exposed, giving a better presentation.

Coating Fish

Coating fish with tapioca starch

In brief, to deep-fry a fish, fill a wok about half full with oil, or enough to submerge at least two-thirds of the length of the fish, and heat over high heat until it is smoking hot. While waiting for the oil to heat, coat the fish thoroughly inside out with a thin layer of flour, preferably tapioca flour or starch, which sticks better to the fish, does not get washed out in the oil and contributes a light, crispy texture when fried. Tapioca starch also dries up the surfaces of the fish, eliminating splattering from the interaction of liquid and hot oil. [Note: in Thailand tapioca starch is seldom used. It is recommended for use here because it helps to keep the frying fish from making a mess with splatters.]

Holding the fish by the tail, gently slide it into the oil, letting go along the side of the wok as close to its surface as possible so that the oil doesn’t splash up on your hand – letting go too soon is more likely to hurt you.

Sliding Fish

Sliding fish 1

Sliding Fish

Sliding fish 2

If your stove is not a very hot one, the fish can be fried from start to finish over high or medium-high heat. For a very hot stove, reduce and fry at medium heat to keep the surface of the fish from burning before it is cooked and dried through.

Fish in Oil

Fish in oil

Ladling Oil

Ladling oil over the fish

While frying, occasionally tilt the wok from side to side, so that the head and tail get submerged and crisped along with the mid-section of the fish. This is easy to do if the wok is well-balanced on a wok ring; it is even possible to leave the wok tilted on its own in one position for a minute or two before shifting to another position (see Kasma’s blog Adapting the Wok to your Stove). Oil may also be ladled continuously over the fish, which will cut down on the time needed to fry the second side when the fish is turned over.

Turning Fish

Turning the fish over

When the first side is well-browned, well-crisped and dried through, nudge the wok spatula under the fish from its top edge and gently roll it over on its belly, taking care not to break any fins. Fry the second side the same way until it is as brown and crispy as the first side. It takes a few minutes less time than the first side. For a one-and-a-half pound whole fish, the first side usually takes twelve minutes to crisp while the second side about eight minutes. For smaller or flatter fish, like pompano and white perch, less time is required.

Fried Fish

Two (other) fried fish draining

When the fish is thoroughly crisped, again nudge the wok spatula under it from its top edge. Tilt it up against the side of the wok above the oil for a few seconds to allow the oil to drain from the body cavity. Then lift it out onto a wire rack. Let drain and cool a few minutes before transferring to a serving platter.

Not all fish should be so thoroughly fried and crisped as described. Use soft- to medium-firm-flesh fish, no larger than two pounds and preferably varieties with thin fins and tails that crisp up nicely for crunching on. Delicious fried this way are snapper, rock cod, grouper, catfish, pompano, white perch, tongue sole and other small and flat fish. Because of their size, smelts, fresh anchovies and whole sand dabs can be fried completely immersed in oil. Firm, meaty fish with thick, dense flesh are not good fried so long and should only be lightly crisped to retain some juices – cut down on the frying time by one-third to one-half.

The wok is a very safe utensil to use for deep-frying, so if you are afraid to fry fish in such a large quantity of oil, read the my article Using Your Work. The deliciously crunchy results produced are worth the try.


If you’d like to see a slideshow of Kasma making Crispy Fried Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce (Pla Rad Prik) from start to finish, check out Michael’s Blog on Kasma’s Intermediate Class #1. Or, come take Kasma’s Thai cooking classes.


Slideshow – Some Crispy Fried Fish Dishes

I would hate to estimate how many different fried fishes there are in Thailand. This slide show is limited to a dozen dishes that we’ve come across on trips. It should begin to hint at the variety of delicious dishes that are available.

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Fried Lemongrass Fish
Fried Snakehead Fish
Fried Fish 1
Fried Fish 2
Fried Fish 3
Fried Fish 4
Fried Fish 5
Turmeric Fried Fish 1
Turmeric Fried Fish 2
Fried Sour Fish
Fried Fish 6
Frying Fish

Fried Lemongrass Fish from a restaurant in Chiang Mai

Fried Snakehead Fish from Bai Fern Restaurant in Mae Hong Son

Another fried fish dish from Chiang Mai

Three Flavored Fried Fish from Pranburi

A fried fish dish in sauce from Sukhothai

Fried fish dish with a spicy sauce made with dried chillies

Fried fish dish buried in sauce at Comedara Restaurant in Chiang Mai

Turmeric Fried Catfish from Krabi

Turmeric Fried fish made with smaller sized fish

Fried Pla Som - sour fish -soured and fried in pieces

Smaller fish pieces fried with fish sauce from Ayuthaya

This red snapper in hot oil seems to be waving good bye

Fried Lemongrass Fish thumbnail
Fried Snakehead Fish thumbnail
Fried Fish 1 thumbnail
Fried Fish 2 thumbnail
Fried Fish 3 thumbnail
Fried Fish 4 thumbnail
Fried Fish 5 thumbnail
Turmeric Fried Fish 1 thumbnail
Turmeric Fried Fish 2 thumbnail
Fried Sour Fish thumbnail
Fried Fish 6 thumbnail
Frying Fish thumbnail

Note: A version of this blog originally appeared on pages 97 & 98 of Dancing Shrimp: Favorite Thai Recipes for Seafood, published in 2000 by Simon & Schuster. All text is Copyright © 2000 & 2013 Kasma Loha-unchit.

All photographs are Copyright © 2013 Michael Babcock or Kasma Loha-unchit


Written by Kasma Loha-unchit, 2000 & 2013

Current Top Ten Thai Dishes

Michael Babcock, Friday, November 15th, 2013

In this blog I talk about my current “Top Ten” favorite Thai dishes. I have to say “current,” because this is an ever-changing list, based on current tastes and on what recipe Kasma has just created. Sometimes a new dish just has to be included, though many of these dishes are on the list on a permanent basis.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Pork & Tofu

Stir-Fried Pork Belly with Fermented Tofu

Kasma estimates that restaurants in the U.S. typically serve maybe 5% of the number of different dishes available in Thailand. If you were to take all of Kasma’s Thai Cooking classes, you’d learn somewhere around 250+ different Thai recipes, many of which are seldom found outside of Thailand. My list of top ten dishes is composed of dishes that I’ve eaten both in Thailand and as Kasma’s creations.

I think the best characteristic of a top ten dish is the delight that you feel when you eat it. Often such a dish will light up all of your taste buds, your entire palate. It will be almost impossible to describe: although you’ll be able to point out flavors that come into consciousness, listing or talking about them is never enough because the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. Even a strong flavor that jumps out can be eaten only in context with the entire backdrop of flavors. To use an overworked analogy, it’s like trying to describe a color to a blind person: this is true even trying to describe this taste to someone who knows what good Thai food should taste like. The only way to really experience the dish is to eat it.

Thai Salad

Wilted Green Salad

Many of the dishes here taste so good, are so delightful, that it’s hard to stop eating. With others, particularly the curries, you can’t really eat a lot because they are so rich. In both instances, even with just a few bites, you feel satisfied and happy to have eaten such a delightful dish.

With two exceptions, recipes are not included. Kasma has developed nearly all of her recipes for teaching in her Thai cooking classes. If you want the recipe, start taking the classes! In these dishes the flavors come together in a startling, stupendous harmony: there’s no way to give a listing of exact ingredients that will give the exact balance of the dish – they must be cooked “to taste” and you have to know what you’re looking for – you need a supremely (Thai-) educated palate. Kasma has written about this process and included a tasting exercise:

Eggplant Salad

Roasted Eggplant Salad

It really takes someone who knows exactly what they are doing and what they are looking for: Kasma, for instance. Once you’ve tasted the dish as it is, then, maybe, you’ll be able to use your expertise to duplicate it.

Kasma teaches alll of these dishes in her advanced cooking classes. Also, three of the dishes are in my blog from October 2012 on Five Favorite Thai Dishes.

A Note on Rice

Hunglay Curry

Hunglay Curry

In Thailand, when it’s time to eat, what you say is taan kao (or kin kao), which literally means “eat rice.” The real food of a meal, traditionally was the rice – kao; everything else was grouped under the heading gab kao – literally “with rice.”

As a westerner, I was used to thinking of rice as an accompaniment to a meal, something that you could simply not eat if you weren’t too hungry or if you were counting carbohydrates. Many (probably most) dishes in Thai cuisine (not noodle dishes) are meant to be eaten with rice and, really, they do not taste as good without it. When you serve a curry (such as the Goat Curry or Hunglay Curry) over rice, the taste of the rice, with the curry sauce mixed in, is an integral part of the taste and the whole experience. With most of the dishes below, it is assumed that they are eaten with rice: without the rice, they would not be on the list.


Go directly to a slideshow of all the dishes at the bottom of the page.

The Top Five Dishes

Stir-Fried Pork Belly with Fermented Tofu Sauce and Thai Chillies (Moo Sahm Chan Pad Dtow Hoo Yee)

Tofu Dish

Fermented Tofu and Pork Belly

This dish is a perfect example of a dish where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The “secret ingredient” in this recipe is the red fermented tofu and its brine, which is stir-fried (quickly) with the pork belly (thinly sliced pork belly cooks very fast), chopped garlic, rather large garlic cloves, Thai chillies, fish sauce and some sugar to balance. It is impossible to describe and easy to keep eating and eating, because it is so delicious, despite how rich it is with the fatty pork belly. A stunning dish. Must be eaten with rice.

I first had this dish at the old Ruen Mai restaurant in Krabi (the picture at the top of the page to the right is from there). The picture to the left here shows Kasma’s version, cooked during one of her Advanced classes (Set H). The flavor of the two dishes, although slightly different, are quite similar. Both are great.

Spicy Mesquite-Grilled Eggplant Salad with Roasted Peppers and Shrimp (Yam Makeua Yao)

Eggplant Salad

Roasted Eggplant Salad

This is one dish that never leaves my Top Five list and hasn’t from the moment I tasted it. A perfect example of a Thai yum (or yam) – a Thai “salad” with a sauce that is sour-spicy/hot with hints of sweet and salty. The eggplant must be charcoal-roasted for this dish, preferably with something like mesquite (here in the U.S., at least) that imparts that wonderful, wood-smoky flavor. One time a student of Kasma’s brought the dish to a potluck having oven-roasted the eggplant: it was a grave disappointment.

The sour-spicy-salty dressing in combination with the  grilled eggplant is a delight and the other ingredients (the shrimp, dried shrimp, sliced shallots and egg) add texture and other accents to the mouth. It is usually a very spicy salad requiring lots of rice to help mitigate the heat.

Kasma’s recipe for this dish is available online: Spicy Mesquite-Grilled Eggplant Salad. Try it after doing Kasma’s balancing flavor exercise. Be warned: there is something about roasting the peppers that can make them incendiary.

In addition to Kasma’s classes, My Choice Restaurant in Bangkok has a very good version. (See the third picture of this blog, above right.)

Hot and Spicy Drunkard’s Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Ground Pork, Thai Chillies and Holy Basil (Gkuay Dtiow Pad Kee Mao)

Drunkard's Noodles

Hot & Spicy Drunkard's Noodles

If ever there was a dish that I find hard to stop eating, it is this one. This dish is widely available in Thailand and even shows up on menus in the United States, though in the U.S. it never fails to disappoint. Kasma’s version uses fresh chow fun rice noodles  from a local shop, Yuen Hop Noodle Company, on Webster Street in Oakland, that are delicious to begin with. Add in in ground pork  (we get pastured pork from Riverdog Farms at the Berkeley Farmer’s market), Asian broccoli (ka-nah), a head of garlic, 15 to 20 Thai chillies (yes, this is one dish that must be served spicy/hot), some black soy, Thai oyster sauce and fish sauce, and a large amount of holy basil leaves (you can’t have too much in this dish) and you have an astounding dish with delightful taste and mouth feel. My favorite noodle dish of all time.

By the way, these are called “Drunkard’s Noodles” because they are so spicy that in order to cool the tongue, people are known to drink massive quantities of beer. Do not scrimp on the Thai chillies!

I have never had a better version than Kasma’s.

Spicy Stir-Fried Preserved Black Eggs with Crisped Holy Basil and Chopped Pork (Kai Yiewmah Pad Gkaprow Gkrawb)

Stir-fried Black Eggs

Stir-fried Black Eggs & Pork

Ahh, preserved black eggs (or century eggs), an ingredient that before I met Kasma I would not have considered eating. (See the Wikipedia entry – Century Egg.) To make them (according to Wikipedia), eggs are coated in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime and rice hulls for several weeks or even months until the egg white turns a dark, translucent brown and the yolk takes on a dark green to grey color. Kasma says an ingredient missing in the Wikipedia entry, though, is tea leaves: the best preserved eggs are made with tea leaves. The brand she buys lists tea leaves as the primary ingredient. Century eggs can have a rather strong odor, reminiscent of ammonia and sulfur. They are absolutely foreign to a western sensibility and  are, I would say, an acquired taste: over the years, I have learned to like them in congee (johk).

Although a version of this dish is found in many restaurants in Thailand, I had always resisted trying it, until Kasma created this version of the recipe for one of her Advanced Thai Cooking Classes (Advanced Set I).

This recipe actually replaces Basil Pork – Moo Pad Kaprao, which was previously a top five dish. This is a dish that I simply cannot describe adequately. The flavors (indeed, most of the ingredients) are the same as are found in the Drunkard’s Noodles above without the noodles – this dish is served over rice. What is indescribable is what happens to the preserved eggs when you fry them until they are blistered and browned all the way around: they acquire a texture and a taste that, combined with the pork and other seasonings, is outrageously delicious. Simply a stunning dish.

Another difference between this and the traditional pad kaprao (stir-fried with holy basil) recipe is that this one includes crispy-fried holy basil leaves, which add a different flavor and a crunchy texture to the mix.

There is a recipe – Spicy Basil Chicken Recipe– that can be used as the basis for making this recipe yourself. You’ll have to add the preserved egg and also make crispy-fried holy basil.

By the way, the name for preserved eggs in Thai is kai yiao ma (ไข่เยี่ยวม้า), which literally means “horse urine eggs” (yum!), so-called because of the distinctive ammonia odor.

Wilted Greens Salad with Coconut-Lime Chilli Sauce, Fried Chinese Sausage, Crisped Garlic and Crisped Shallots (Yam Dtam Leung)

Wilted Green Salad

Wilted Green Salad

There is simply no way to do justice to this dish with words. Like the eggplant salad, another yum (or yam) salad, it  really must be made with dtam leung greens: nothing else tastes as good. Dtam leung is a vine that grows in the rainy season throughout southeast Asia. It is typically called “ivy gourd” in English. We are able to eat this dish only when we are in Mae Hong Son (at the restaurant, Bai Fern) – as shown in the second picture of this blog, above on the left) or here in the San Francisco Bay Area (shown directly to the left), during the summer when we’re able to get dtam leung leaves from Mithapheap Market in Oakland.

The coconut-lime chilli sauce, is equally salty and sour with a little background sweetness; the little bit of coconut cream transforms it into a different dimension.

What kicks this into the top five, is the addition of the other ingredients, which expand the taste and, in particular, the textures: chinese sausage, carrot shreds, green onion, shallots, unsalted, roasted peanuts, and (the pièces de résistance) crisp-fried garlic and crisp-fried shallots. The wilted green in the sauce provides the backdrop and with each bite, a different taste/texture combination pops into consciousness. Oh my, it is so very tasty.

In Thailand, this salad is usually made with crisped, batter-fried dtam leung. Bai Fern Restaurant was the only one that made it with the wilted greens. In fact, so many Thais complained that it is now made with the crispy-fried greens since that is what most Thai tourists prefer; Kasma has to specify that she wants wilted greens to get it made the way she likes.


The Second Five

Thai Muslim Goat Curry (Gkaeng Ped Pae)

Goat Curry

Thai Muslim Goat Curry

I have surprised myself by deciding to include this recipe in my Top Ten list. It is just so very tasty.

It’s not a very common dish in Thailand: we may have had it at a restaurant in the south once or twice. The time I remember having goat curry in Thailand was when we rented a longtail boat in Krabi and the owner’s wife made the dish for us. Kasma came up with her version of the recipe for her Advanced Set H Class.

It’s another dish where I despair of my descriptive abilities. Kasma’s version utilizes a curry paste made from scratch from many of the usual ingredients: dried chillies, salt, lemon grass, turmeric, garlic, shallots, shrimp paste – kapi, and, an absolutely critical ingredient for the taste of this dish, krachai, called, in English, lesser ginger or “rhizome.” Add in roasted coriander and cumin, some pea eggplants, various flavorings (including fish sauce and palm sugar), kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil and make sure you use bone-in goat: the marrow from the bones will provide thickening and flavor.

The dish has an excellent mouth feel. The various flavors, including a certain amount of heat from the chillies, in combination with the goat meat, are very pleasing, indeed. Another dish that must be eaten with rice.

Bitter Melon Stir-fried with Egg (Mara Pad Kai

Bitter Melon & Egg

Bitter Melon & Egg

Bitter Melonmara, in Thai – has long been one of my favorite foods; I don’t know why. Many people find it too bitter but I’ve always enjoyed the flavor.

This is the simplest to make of my top ten dishes; it is also the one that I make the most. It consists of bitter melon stir-fried with eggs and has four ingredients: oil (I like duck fat or lard), bitter melon, eggs and fish sauce.

Served over rice, it’s a perfect one-dish meal: you’ve got your protein source (egg), vegetable (bitter melon) and healthy fat (lard or duck fat), all served over carbohydrates.

We do have a recipe for this dish: Bitter Melon & EggMara Pad Kai. I also make it with chorizo, though you can also substitute naem sausage for the chorizo if you want to stick with Thai ingredients: see my blog, Bitter Melon, Chorizo & Egg.

Northern Hunglay Pork Curry (Gkaeng Hunglay)

Hunglay Curry

Northern Hunglay Pork Curry

It’s hard not to put this curry in the top five dishes, where it usually resides.

According to Kasma, this curry originated with the Shan people in Burma and was adapted into Northern Thai cuisine. The restaurant Kaeng Ron Ban Suan in Chiang Mai has a good version (as shown in this blog’s 4th picture, above left). The picture to the right is Kasma’s version, made with a combination of fat-laced pork butt and pork belly. It’s a fairly standard curry paste (lemon grass, dried chillies, galanga turmeric, garlic, shallots, salt, shrimp paste) with the addition of hunglay curry powder: Kasma gets hers at the fresh market in Mae Hong Son. Additional flavoring comes from ginger and flavor seasonings such as fish sauce, tamarind and palm sugar. The result is a rich, delicious tasting dish that is immensely satisfying. Kasma teaches this recipe in Advanced Set C-4 Class.

Poached Basa Steaks Cooked Ruen Mai-Style in Choo Chee Curry Sauce (Choo Chee Bplah Sawai)

Choo Chee Fish

Choo Chee Fish

Choo Chee curries are red, coconut-based curries. Kasma developed her version of the dish (shown to the left) after enjoying a meal at Ruen Mai restaurant in Krabi several years ago. It’s a rich red curry made more distinctive by the addition of roasted spices: peppercorns, coriander seeds and cumin.

Kasma’s version is made with meaty basa (also called swai) steaks. A very filling and satisfying dish. She teaches this recipe in Advanced Set H-4 Class.

Thai-Style Hot-and-Sour Mixed Fruit Salad (Dtam Ponlamai)

Fruit Salad

Hot-and-Sour Fruit Salad

I first had this dish at Kaeng Ron Ban Suan restaurant in Chiang Mai, where it was the inspiration for Kasma’s version. I prefer Kasma’s version mainly because I like the combination of fruits available in U.S. in the summer, when we typically make it.

I love the unexpected flavors in the salad: garlic, chillies, and dried shrimp. I would never think of using those ingredients with fruit in a salad. When you bite into the chilli and garlic it is startling and, yet, somehow it all blends together, pulled together by a sweet (palm sugar), salty (fish sauce) and sour (lime) sauce.

Everything but the fruit is prepared using a mortar and pestle, hence the name – dtam (meaning to pound – the word found in Som Dtam – Green Papaya Salad) and ponlamai (meaning fruit).

Kasma teaches this recipe in Advanced Set G-4 Class.


Honorable Mention

Golden Yellow Turmeric Sticky Rice with Sweet-and-Savory Shrimp-Coconut Topping (Kao Niow Leuang Nah Gkoong)

Turmeric Sticky Rice

Turmeric Sticky Rice

I feel somewhat badly that I’ve failed to include a dessert in my Top Ten list. I want to give this kanom an honorable mention because it illustrates much of what is good about Thai kanom and, indeed, about Thai cooking. (See Michael’s blog Thai Sweet Snacks – Kanom Wan.)

This dish consists of a sweet (with a bit of salty) sticky rice that has been colored with turmeric. It is completed with a slightly salty coconut cream sauce and a topping made from shrimp (head-on), shredded coconut, garlic, finely slivered kaffir lime leaves and the seasonings; it’s a sauce that is shrimpy, savory and sweet, all at the same time. All colors are natural: the yellow from the turmeric and the startling red from the goop in the shrimp heads.

What I like about it, is the way it lights up the palate. The sweet and salty together is heavenly; then add in the savory-shrimpy-sweet topping (so unexpected in a dessert), and accent it with slivered kaffir lime leaf. It is just a delight.

Like the best of Thai food, it includes distinct harmony groupings (sweet, salty), that both call out for individual attention and also delightfully blend together. Add in the unexpected, the delightful way it feels in your mouth, and it can be hard to stop eating.

Kasma teaches this recipe in Advanced Set I-4 Class.


Slideshow of Current Favorite Thai Dishes

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Tofu Dish
Pork & Tofu
Eggplant Salad
Eggplant Salad
Drunkard's Noodles
Stir-fried Black Eggs
Wilted Green Salad
Thai Salad
Goat Curry
Bitter Melon & Egg
Hunglay Curry
Hunglay Curry
Choo Chee Fish
Turmeric Sticky Rice

Stir-Fried Pork Belly with Fermented Tofu Sauce and Thai Chillies (Moo Sahm Chan Pad Dtow Hoo Yee)

Stir-Fried Pork Belly with Fermented Tofu Sauce and Thai Chillies (Moo Sahm Chan Pad Dtow Hoo Yee) from Ruen Mai Restaurant

Spicy Mesquite-Grilled Eggplant Salad with Roasted Peppers and Shrimp (Yam Makeua Yao)

Roasted Eggplant Salad (Yam Makeua Yao) from My Choice restaurant

Hot and Spicy Drunkard's Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Ground Pork, Thai Chillies and Holy Basil (Gkuay Dtiow Pad Kee Mao)

Spicy Stir-Fried Preserved Black Eggs with Crisped Holy Basil and Chopped Pork (Kai Yiewmah Pad Gkaprow Gkrawb)

Wilted Greens Salad with Coconut-Lime Chilli Sauce, Fried Chinese Sausage, Crisped Garlic and Crisped Shallots (Yam Dtam Leung)

Wilted Greens Salad (Yam Dtam Leung) from Bai Fern restaurant

Thai Muslim Goat Curry (Gkaeng Ped Paeh)

Bitter Melon Stir-fried with Egg (Mara Pad Kai)

Northern Hunglay Pork Curry (Gkaeng Hunglay)

Hunglay Curry (Kaeng Hunglay Moo) from Kaeng Ron Baan Suan Restaurant

Poached Basa Steaks Cooked Ruen Mai-Style in Choo Chee Curry Sauce (Choo Chee Bplah Sawai)

Golden Yellow Turmeric Sticky Rice with Sweet-and-Savory Shrimp-Coconut Topping (Kao Niow Leuang Nah Gkoong)

Tofu Dish thumbnail
Pork & Tofu thumbnail
Eggplant Salad thumbnail
Eggplant Salad thumbnail
Drunkard's Noodles thumbnail
Stir-fried Black Eggs thumbnail
Wilted Green Salad thumbnail
Thai Salad thumbnail
Goat Curry thumbnail
Bitter Melon & Egg thumbnail
Hunglay Curry thumbnail
Hunglay Curry thumbnail
Choo Chee Fish thumbnail
Turmeric Sticky Rice thumbnail

Written by Michael Babcock, November 2013

Gingko Nuts

Kasma Loha-unchit, Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

My Mother and Gingko Nuts

Today is the first anniversary of my mother’s passing. I spent the morning cracking and peeling gingko nuts – a nourishing, medicinal food that mother absolutely loved. During the last several years of her life, she was frail and unable to walk or stand for very long. So every time I went home from across the ocean to visit her, I would bring a big bag of gingko nuts and we would spend precious hours together sitting by the dining table after breakfast cracking and peeling them.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Cracking Gingko Nuts

Cracking gingko nuts

Using a stone pestle, I would gently tap the ridge of the pistachio-sized nuts to crack them and mother would peel off the shell and as much of the paper-thin membrane encasing the kernels as she could. The shelled kernels were then soaked in water to loosen the parts of the membrane that tightly hugged the soft, edible flesh. After the nuts were all cleaned, they were boiled in water sweetened with a little bit of raw sugar or wild honey and that would become her late afternoon snack or a light dessert after a light evening meal. Simply prepared, the nuts retained their delicious flavor and delightful, soft-but-chewy texture. There would be plenty left for many more servings over the course of my visit. Mother always looked forward to her bowl of gingko nuts – they gave her tremendous satisfaction and comfort, while at the same time, nourish her in the evening of her years.

Gingko Nuts

Gingko nut close-up

Cracking and peeling gingko nuts took time, but what better way to spend countless, precious hours with my elderly mother that I would always treasure. We talked and laughed and told stories, but most of the time, we were just silent, cherishing every moment of just being with one another. This activity was the last food prep and cooking activity I shared with my mother, and whenever I crack and peel gingko nuts, I will always remember the many timeless mornings spent with her preparing one of nature’s great healing foods – as well as all the times in my life that I had spent with her preparing nourishing foods for the family and, in the process, learning from her the secrets of cooking, which I now share with my cooking students.

Like my mother, I love both the taste and the texture of fresh gingko nuts. When cooked right, they are soft and chewy, somewhat remiscent of sticky rice. Although the nut has a slightly bitter taste, to her and me and everyone else who loves gingko nuts, it is not unpleasant and is a reminder of its medicinal properties.

Gingko Nuts

Gingko nuts soaking in water

Technically speaking, gingko nuts are not really nuts but the seeds of the gingko tree (Gingko biloba, commonly known as the maidenhair tree). They bear no resemblance whatsover to other nuts in texture, flavor or nutrition. They taste more like some kind of legume or vegetable. Although many Asian markets in the Bay Area carry refrigerated, vacuum-sealed bags of peeled and cooked gingko nuts, these taste awful and should be avoided. Buy only the whole, unshelled gingko nuts from dried goods stores in Chinatown. They look a lot like pistachio nuts in size, color and form, but are pointy at one end. In fact, during her first trip to the United States some forty years ago, mother almost mistook pistachios for gingko nuts. She was very excited to see what she thought were cracked gingko nuts in a supermarket, until she took a closer look. Of course, she quickly learned to love pistachios as well.

Cooked Gingko Nuts

Cooked gingko nuts

I prefer to buy gingko nuts from bulk bins, rather than already bagged in net bags in some Asian grocery stores. That way I can see the individual nuts more clearly and select ones that are large and white and not broken, discolored, moldy or mildewy on the outside of the shell. When cracked and shelled, the kernels inside should be plump and cream-colored; after they’re cooked, they turn a lovely bright yellow color with a radiant sheen. It takes a little work to crack and peel gingko nuts, but it’s well worth the effort and, to those who like to cook and eat healthy foods, this prep work can be a therapeutic activity.

Gingko nuts were introduced into Thailand by the Chinese and all gingko nuts sold in the country are imported from China. Thailand is too hot and tropical a country to grow the temperate-climate gingko tree. The city of Bangkok, which had its beginnings as a Chinese trading post a few hundred years ago, is said to have the largest Chinese population of any city outside a Chinese country (i.e., China, Taiwan, Singapore). In the Old Market (Talad Kao) of Bangkok’s Chinatown, there are many stores selling gingko nuts, both whole unshelled and peeled and cooked. (See picture, below right.) They are also available in many of the city’s shopping centers and marketplaces which have stores or stalls that carry Chinese goods. Chinese restaurants around the city feature dishes made with gingko nuts, including stews, soups, stir-fries and desserts. Often, gingko nuts are cooked in a rice congee along with chestnuts, lotus seeds, red dates and medicinal roots, bark and herbs. They are not only delicious but very nutritious.

Gingko Nut Dessert

Gingko nut dessert - Oni Pae Guay

Gingko nuts have made their way into a few Thai sweet snacks and desserts, which are adapted from the Chinese. One such dessert, called Oni Pae Guay (using the same Chinese name of a common Chinese dessert), is often on the dessert menu of many large Thai restaurants. It takes the form of a creamy, smooth and sweet, mashed taro paste (but less sweet than the Chinese version), topped with slices of cooked Chinese red dates and a few gingko nuts, with the added Thai touch of a salty-sweet coconut cream sauce. Another sweet snack is a soupy pudding of job’s tears (another healing food native to most of East and Southeast Asia – a grain reminescent of barley and often called “pearl barley”), accented with gingko nuts and strips of slivered young coconut meat, cooked in young coconut juice flavored with pandan leaves (a medicinal herb in traditional Thai herbal medicine prevalently used to flavor and color many Thai desserts). This fusion Thai-Chinese dish is both a delicious and healthy snack/dessert. In tribute to my mother and her love of gingko nuts, I introduced this dessert just a little over a week ago in my new Advanced I evening cooking series to commemorate her passing a year ago this month.

Gingko Nuts

Gingko nuts in Bangkok's Chinatown

Gingko nuts are a medicinal food in much of the Orient. They are an excellent antioxidant, rich in vitamins, micronutrients and amino acis, and have become known for their anti-aging properties. Other benefits include improving circulation to the coronary artery and the brain, sharpening of the memory and aiding in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. In traditional Chinese medicine, gingko nuts have been used for thousands of years to strengthen the lung and kidney meridians. They are used as a “yang” kidney tonic to increase energy, reduce the frequency of night-time urination and incontinence, relieve bladder irritations, and reduce excess mucus in the urinary tract and excess vaginal discharge. A tea made from boiling the nuts is used to treat lung weakness and congestion, including coughing with an excess of phlegm, wheezing, and asthma. They are also used to treat hearing loss, dermatological disorders and psoriasis. I particularly like this passage in an article on Chinese healing herbs: “Long-term consumption helps nourish yin, maintain youth, fight aging, expand capillaries, improve metabolism, promote ruddy and healthy look, provide extra energy and grant longer and healthier lives.” But there is a caveat: don’t eat the kernels raw and don’t eat too many in one sitting (7 for children and 15 to 20 for adults) as they can have a toxic side effect for some people.

Now, whenever I peel gingko nuts, I will always remember my mother, who taught me how to cook, who taught me how food is medicine and the first line of defense against illnesses, and who introduced to me a host of exotic ingredients that I still use today and pass on to my cooking students. Her legacy lives on.


Written by Kasma Loha-unchit on October 9, 2013

Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Thai Cooking Class

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Kasma, unfortunately, no longer teaches the weeklong classes. I’m leaving this blog up as a historical record.


The Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Thai Cooking Class offered by Kasma Loha-unchit in Oakland (San Francisco Bay Area) is a chance to spend a week learning how to cook delicious, authentic Thai food and to feast on the results of your learning. It is roughly equivalent to Kasma’s Beginning and Intermediate Evening Series cooking classes with some advanced class thrown in. There are no pre-requisites.

First up here is a slide show of all of the dishes taught in the class. It’s followed by the Beginning/Intermediate Class menu and at the bottom are links to details, schedules, a blog and photos of the class.

In the Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Thai Cooking Class, students are introduced to nearly all of the main Thai ingredients and cooking techniques – the basics of Thai cuisine. You will be taught how to balance flavors to create authentic Thai food in a series of tasting exercises. You will learn how to use the mortar and pestle to make both simple pastes and complex curry pastes. Although you will learn around 45 different recipes, what your are really learning is how to cook Thai food with or without a recipe.At the end of each day, you’ll have a multi-course Thai feast, the fruits of your learning and labor. You will not find tastier Thai food anywhere in the United States.

The slideshow below will show you some of what you can look forward to when you take this class. (Note: You can check the current Thai cooking class schedule. In 2014 it is being offered from July 7 to 11 and August 4 to 8.)

(You may need to wait a bit for the slide show to load.)


Slideshow
Kasma’s Beginning/Intermediate Class Dishes

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Miang Kam
Garlic-Peppered Shrimp
Garlic-Peppered Pork
Calamari Salad
Massaman Curry
Salmon Green Curry
Oyster Sauce Broccoli
Hot and sour Cucumbers
Steamed Jasmine Rice
Bananas in Coconut Milk
Fried Shrimp Cakes
Cucumber Relish
Pork Salad
Hot and Sour Prawn Soup
Fish Mousse
Basil Chicken
Long Beans
Tapioca Pudding
Chicken Coconut Soup
Mussel Salad
Panaeng Curry
Crisped Whole Fish
Stir-fried Eggplant
Morning Glory
Brown Rice
White Sticky Rice
Black Sticky Rice
Mee Krob
Duck Noodles
Chilli Sauce
Garlic Noodles
Pad Thai Noodles
Rad Nah Noodles
Fried Bananas
Grilled Chicken
Green Papaya Salad
Steamed White Sticky Rice
Chicken Satay
Pork Satay
Shrimp Satay
Peanut Sauce
Cucumber Salad
Grilled Sea Bass
Dipping Sauce

Day 1: Miang Kam (Tasty Leaf-Wrapped Tidbits)

Day 1: Garlic-Peppered Shrimp (Gkoong Tawd Gkratiem Priktai)

Day 1: Garlic-and-Pepper-Encrusted Pork (Moo Tawd Gkratiem Priktai)

Day 1: Spicy Calamari Salad with Lemon Grass, Mint and Lime Sauce (Yam Bplah Meuk)

Day 1: Massaman Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Pearl Onions (Gkaeng Massaman Gkai)

Day 1: Salmon Poached in Green Curry Sauce with Thai Eggplants and Thai Basil (Gkaeng Kiow Wahn Bplah Salmon)

Day 1: Stir-fried Broccoli with Thai Oyster Sauce (Broccoli Pad Nahm Man Hoi)

Day 1: Hot and Sour Wok-Tossed Cucumbers and Tomatoes with Shrimp (Pad Bpriow Wahn)

Days 1 & 2: Steamed Jasmine Rice (Kao Hawm Mali)

Day 1: Fragrant Bananas in Coconut Cream (Gkluay Buad Chi)

Day 2: Savory Fried Shrimp Cakes Served (Tawd Man Gkoong)

Day 2: Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Relish

Day 2: Spicy Northeastern-style Chopped Pork Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice (Lahb Moo)

Day 2: Hot and Sour Prawn Soup (Dtom Yam Gkoong)

Day 2: Curried Mousse of Red Snapper in Banana Leaf cups (Haw Moek Bplah)

Day 2: Spicy Basil Chicken (Gkai Pad Gkaprow)

Day 2: Stir-fried Long Beans with Roasted Chilli Sauce and Thai Basil (Tua Yao Pad Prik Pow)

Day 2: Tapioca Pudding with Water Chestnuts and Coconut Cream (Dtakoh Sakoo)

Day 3: Chicken-Coconut Soup with Galangal and Oyster Mushrooms (Dtom Kah Gkai)

Day 3: Spicy Mussel and Scallop Salad with Aromatic Herbs and Crisped Shallots and Garlic (Yam Hoi Malaeng Poo Gkap Hoi Shel)

Day 3: Panaeng Beef Curry with Home-made Curry Paste (Gkaeng Panaeng Neua)

Day 3: Crisped Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce (Bplah Rad Prik)

Day 3: Stir-fried Eggplant with Chillies and Thai Basil (Pad Makeua Yao)

Day 3: "Red-Flamed" Morning Glory (a favorite Thai vegetable) (Pak Boong Fai Daeng)

Day 3: Steamed Jasmine Brown Rice (Kao Hawm Mali Dtam)

Day 3: Coconut-Flavored White Sticky Ricewith Mangoes (Kao Niow Mamuang)

Day 3: Black Sweet Rice Pudding with Toasted Coconut and Sesame (Kao Niow Dam)

Day 4: Glazed Crispy Noodles (Mee Krawb)

Day 4: Anise-Cinnamon Duck Soup Noodles (Gkuay Dtiow Nahm Bped Dtoon)

Day 4: Crushed Chilli Sauce for Duck Noodles (Nahm Jim)

Day 4: Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) (Bamee Haeng Moo Daeng)

Day 4: Thai-style Stir-fried Noodles (Pad Thai)

Day 4: Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles Topped with Chicken and Asian Broccoli Sauce (Gkuay Dtiow Rad Nah Gkai)

Day 4: Fried Bananas (Gkluay Tawd)

Day 5: Thai-style Marinated Grilled Chicken with Sweet-and-Sour Chilli Dipping Sauce (Gkai Yahng Sohng Kreuang)

Day 5: Hot-and-Sour Thai-Style Green Papaya Salad (Som Dtam Thai)

Day 5: Steamed White Sticky Rice (Kao Niow Neung)

Day 5: Chicken Satay (Sateh Gka)

Day 5: Pork Satay (Sateh Moo)

Day 5: Shrimp Satay (Sateh Gkoong)

Day 5: Spicy Satay Peanut Sauce (Nahm Jim Tua)

Day 5: Hot and Sour Cucumber Salad (Yam Dtaeng Gkua)

Day 5: Charcoal-Roasted Striped Bass in Banana Leaf (Bplah Gkapong Pow)

Day 5: Hot and Sour Chilli Sauce (for Striped Bass)

Day 5: Thai-Style Coconut "Macaroon" Cakes (Kanom Bah Bin)

Miang Kam thumbnail
Garlic-Peppered Shrimp thumbnail
Garlic-Peppered Pork thumbnail
Calamari Salad thumbnail
Massaman Curry thumbnail
Salmon Green Curry  thumbnail
Oyster Sauce Broccoli thumbnail
Hot and sour Cucumbers thumbnail
Steamed Jasmine Rice thumbnail
Bananas in Coconut Milk thumbnail
Fried Shrimp Cakes thumbnail
Cucumber Relish thumbnail
Pork Salad thumbnail
Hot and Sour Prawn Soup thumbnail
Fish Mousse thumbnail
Basil Chicken thumbnail
Long Beans thumbnail
Tapioca Pudding thumbnail
Chicken Coconut Soup thumbnail
Mussel Salad thumbnail
Panaeng Curry thumbnail
Crisped Whole Fish thumbnail
Stir-fried Eggplant thumbnail
Morning Glory thumbnail
Brown Rice thumbnail
White Sticky Rice thumbnail
Black Sticky Rice thumbnail
Mee Krob thumbnail
Duck Noodles thumbnail
Chilli Sauce thumbnail
Garlic Noodles thumbnail
Pad Thai Noodles thumbnail
Rad Nah Noodles thumbnail
Fried Bananas thumbnail
Grilled Chicken thumbnail
Green Papaya Salad thumbnail
Steamed White Sticky Rice thumbnail
Chicken Satay thumbnail
Pork Satay thumbnail
Shrimp Satay thumbnail
Peanut Sauce thumbnail
Cucumber Salad thumbnail
Grilled Sea Bass thumbnail
Dipping Sauce thumbnail

Beginning/Intermediate Class Menus

Monday, Day 1, Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class

  • Miang Kam Tasty Leaf-Wrapped Tidbits (a very tasty finger salad, snack or appetizer – common street food in Thailand)
  • Garlic-Peppered Shrimp (Gkoong Tawd Gkratiem Priktai)
  • Garlic-and-Pepper-Encrusted Pork (Moo Tawd Gkratiem Priktai)
  • Spicy Calamari Salad with Lemon Grass, Mint and Lime Sauce (Yam Bplah Meuk)
  • Massaman Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Pearl Onions (Gkaeng Massaman Gkai)
  • Salmon Poached in Green Curry Sauce with Thai Eggplants and Thai Basil (Gkaeng Kiow Wahn Bplah Salmon)
  • Stir-fried Broccoli with Thai Oyster Sauce (Broccoli Pad Nahm Man Hoi)
  • Hot and Sour Wok-Tossed Cucumbers and Tomatoes with Shrimp (Pad Bpriow Wahn)
  • Steamed Jasmine Rice (Kao Hawm Mali)
  • Fragrant Bananas in Coconut Cream (Gkluay Buad Chi)

Tuesday, Day 2, Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class

  • Savory Fried Shrimp Cakes Served (Tawd Man Gkoong)
  • Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Relish
  • Spicy Northeastern-style Chopped Pork Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice (Lahb Moo)
  • Hot and Sour Prawn Soup (Dtom Yam Gkoong)
  • Curried Mousse of Red Snapper in Banana Leaf cups (Haw Moek Bplah)
  • Spicy Basil Chicken (Gkai Pad Gkaprow)
  • Stir-fried Long Beans with Roasted Chilli Sauce and Thai Basil (Tua Yao Pad Prik Pow)
  • Steamed Jasmine Rice (Kao Hawm Mali)
  • Tapioca Pudding with Water Chestnuts and Coconut Cream (Dtakoh Sakoo)

Wednesday, Day 3, Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class

  • Chicken-Coconut Soup with Galangal and Oyster Mushrooms (Dtom Kah Gkai)
  • Spicy Mussel and Scallop Salad with Aromatic Herbs and Crisped Shallots and Garlic (Yam Hoi Malaeng Poo Gkap Hoi Shel)
  • Panaeng Beef Curry with Home-made Curry Paste (Gkaeng Panaeng Neua)
  • Crisped Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce (Bplah Rad Prik)
  • Stir-fried Eggplant with Chillies and Thai Basil (Pad Makeua Yao)
  • “Red-Flamed” Morning Glory (a favorite Thai vegetable) (Pak Boong Fai Daeng)
  • Steamed Jasmine Brown Rice (Kao Hawm Mali Dtam)
  • Coconut-Flavored White Sticky Ricewith Mangoes (Kao Niow Mamuang)
  • Black Sweet Rice Pudding with Toasted Coconut and Sesame (Kao Niow Dam)

Thursday, Day 4, Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class

  • Glazed Crispy Noodles (a snack or appetizer) (Mee Krawb)
  • Anise-Cinnamon Duck Soup Noodles (Gkuay Dtiow Nahm Bped Dtoon)
  • Crushed Chilli Sauce for Duck Noodles (Nahm Jim)
  • Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) (Bamee Haeng Moo Daeng)
  • Thai-style Stir-fried Noodles (Pad Thai)
  • Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles Topped with Chicken and Asian Broccoli Sauce Gkuay Dtiow Rad Nah Gkai)
  • Rice Vermicelli Cooked in Spiced Coconut Cream Sauce (Mee Gkati)
  • Fried Bananas (Gkluay Tawd)

Friday, Day 5, Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class

Fieldtrip to Asian Markets – 8:00 a. m. to 10:30 a. m.; class 10:30 a. m. to 5:30/6:30 p.m.

  • Thai-style Marinated Grilled Chicken with Sweet-and-Sour Chilli Dipping Sauce (Gkai Yahng Sohng Kreuang)
  • Hot-and-Sour Thai-Style Green Papaya Salad (Som Dtam Thai)
  • Steamed White Sticky Rice (Kao Niow Neung)
  • Chicken/Pork Satay (Sateh Gkai/Moo)
  • Shrimp Satay (Sateh Gkoong)
  • Spicy Satay Peanut Sauce (Nahm Jim Tua)
  • Hot and Sour Cucumber Salad (Yam Dtaeng Gkua)
  • Charcoal-Roasted Striped Bass in Banana Leaf (Bplah Gkapong Pow)
  • Hot and Sour Chilli Sauce (for Striped Bass)
  • Thai-Style Coconut “Macaroon” Cakes (Kanom Bah Bin)

Note: You may have noticed that the Thai transliteration of the dishes is slightly different for the photos in the slideshow and the menu. Please see A Note on Thai Spelling and Pronunciation


Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class Links

Note: All links open in a new window.


Written by Michael Babcock, October 2013

Intermediate Thai Cooking Class Overview

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The 4-session Intermediate Thai Cooking Series offered by Kasma Loha-unchit is taken after the Beginning series. First up here is a slide show of all of the dishes taught in the class. It’s followed by the Intermediate Class menu and at the bottom are links to 4 blogs, 1 on each of the classes. Please enjoy!

In the Beginning series, which is a pre-requisite for the Intermediate Series, students are introduced to most of the main Thai ingredients and cooking techniques – they learn the basics of Thai cuisine. The Intermediate Series introduces more ingredients and new techniques, such as how to fry a whole fish; students learn how to use the mortar and pestle to make basic pastes and more complex curry pastes. Many of the dishes are spicier in the Intermediate series and, as tasty as the food is in the Beginning Series, it’s even tastier in the Intermediate.

The slideshow below will show you some of what you can look forward to when you take this class. (Note: You can check the current Thai cooking class schedule.)

(You may need to wait a bit for the slide show to load.)


Slideshow
Kasma’s Intermediate Class Dishes

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Soup
Noodles
Fish Close-up
Mussel Salad
Chicken Salad
Shrimp Cakes
Fish Curry
Stir-Fried Eggplant
Miang Kam
Panaeng Beef Curry
Seafood Dish
Tapioca Pudding
Grilled Chicken
Green Papaya Salad
Chicken Satay
Satay plus Salad
Peanut Sauce
Fried Bananas

Chicken Coconut Soup with Galanga (Tom Ka Gai)

Glazed Crispy Noodles (Mee Krob)

Close-up of Crispy Fried Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce (Pla Rad Prik)

Spicy Mussel Salad with Aromatic Herbs and Crisped Shallots and Garlic (Yum Hoi Malaeng Poo)

Northeastern-Style Spicy Minced Chicken Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice (Larb Gai or Laab Kai)

Spicy Thai-Style Shrimp Cakes with Kaffir Lime Leaves and Green Beans (Tod Mon Goong)

Sour Tamarind Curry with Fish and Vegetable (Kaeng Som Pla)

Stir-fried Eggplant with Chillies and Thai Basil (Makeua Yao Pad Prik Horapa)

Miang Kam (Tasty Leaf-wrapped Tidbits)

Panaeng Beef Curry (Kaeng Panaeng Neua)

Spicy Southern-style Stir-fried Shrimp and Squid (Pad Ped Goong/Pla Meuk)

Tapioca Pudding with Water Chestnuts and Coconut Cream (Ta-koh Sakoo)

Thai-Style Marinated Grilled Chicken Served with Sweet and Tangy Dipping Sauce (Gai Yang Song Kreuang)

Hot-and Sour Thai-Style Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam Thai)

Chicken Satay (Sateh Kai), ready to eat

Pork and Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce & Green Papaya Salad

Spicy Satay Peanut Sauce Nam Jim Tua - goes on the Satay

Fried Bananas Kluay Tod - a delightfully crunchy outside

Soup thumbnail
Noodles thumbnail
Fish Close-up thumbnail
Mussel Salad thumbnail
Chicken Salad thumbnail
Shrimp Cakes thumbnail
Fish Curry thumbnail
Stir-Fried Eggplant thumbnail
Miang Kam thumbnail
Panaeng Beef Curry thumbnail
Seafood Dish thumbnail
Tapioca Pudding thumbnail
Grilled Chicken thumbnail
Green Papaya Salad thumbnail
Chicken Satay thumbnail
Satay plus Salad thumbnail
Peanut Sauce thumbnail
Fried Bananas thumbnail

Intermediate Class Menus

Intermediate Class #1

  • Chicken Coconut Soup with Galanga (Dtom Kah Gkai)
  • Mee Krob (Glazed Crispy Noodles)
  • Crispy Fried Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce (Bplah Rad Prik)
  • Spicy Mussel Salad with Aromatic Herbs and Crisped Shallots and Garlic (Yum Hoi Malaeng Poo)

Intermediate Class #2

  • Northeastern-Style Spicy Minced Chicken Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice (Lahb Gkai)
  • Fried Shrimp Cakes served with Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Relish (Tawd Man Gkoong)
  • Sour Tamarind Curry with Fish and Vegetables (Gkaeng Som Bplah)
  • Stir-fried Eggplant with Chillies and Thai Basil (Makeua Yao Pad Prik Horapa)

Intermediate Class #3

  • Miang Kam (Tasty Leaf-wrapped Tidbits)
  • Panaeng Beef Curry (Gkaeng Panaeng Neua)
  • Spicy Southern-Style Stir-fried Shrimps and Squid (Pad Ped Gkoong Bplah Meuk)
  • Tapioca Pudding with Water Chestnuts and Coconut Cream (Dta-gkoh Sakoo)

Intermediate Class #4

  • Thai-Style Marinated Grilled Chicken Served with Sweet and Tangy Dipping Sauce (Gkai Yahng Sohng Kreuang)
  • Hot-and Sour Thai-Style Green Papaya Salad (Som Dtam Thai)
  • Chicken Satay (Sateh Gkai)
  • Spicy Satay Peanut Saucew
  • Fried Bananas (Gkluey Tawd)

Note: You may have noticed that the Thai transliteration of the dishes is slightly different for the photos in the slideshow and the menu. Please see A Note on Thai Spelling and Pronunciation


Intermediate Class Blogs


Written by Michael Babcock, September 2013

Yok Yor Marina Restaurant in Bangkok

Michael Babcock, Sunday, September 15th, 2013
Yok Yor Sign

Yok Yor Marina Restaurant sign

Yok Yor Marina Restaurant – ห้องอาหารยกยอมารีน่า – in Bangkok is one of the restaurants where Kasma takes her small-group tours to Thailand. It specializes in fresh seafood and we have always gotten an excellent, tasty meal there. Yok Yor Marina is situated right on the Chao Phraya river. As you sit and eat you can watch the boats go by on the river. Although it’s nothing fancy, the food is always tasty and good and there’s usually a very nice cooling breeze coming in off the river. There’s a second restaurant – Yok Yor Klongsan – nearby. (See below for address and link to a map.)

Be sure to click on the images (especially the food pictures) to see larger version. We also have a slide show of the food pictures at the bottom of the page.

Yok Yor Interior

Inside Yok Yor Marina

Yok Yor View

View from Yok Yor Marina

These two pictures show one of the tables at Yok Yor Marina where Kasma’s trip members are enjoying one of many feasts on the tour during her shorter 19-day trip to Central and Northern Thailand (Trip B) in January 2012. The interior is nothing fancy but comfortable. The other picture shows one of the many barges going past on the Chao Phraya river.

I’m going to mostly let the pictures of the dishes Kasma orders speak for themselves. In a typical meal here she would order 6 dishes and rice to be eaten family style.

Duck Curry

Roast Duck Curry

Garlic Pepper Squid

Garlic Pepper Squid

Kasma almost always orders the dish to the upper left – Roast Duck Curry. It’s a red curry with succulent duck as the meat. Quite nice. On the right we see Garlic-Peppered Squid with a dipping sauce. The squid is nicely cooked, meaning it’s tender and not too chewy. (It’s quite easy to overcook squid and turn it rubbery.)

Seafood Laab

Seafood Laab

Crab Dish

Crab Dish

Above left  we see a Seafood Laab (also transliterated as Larb), fresh, spicy (as a laab usually is) and crunchy from the toasted rice. Kasma always gets one of a couple of crab dishes here, such as the one to the upper right.

Steamed Fish

Steamed Fish

Crab in Yellow Curry

Crab in Yellow Curry

Yok Yor Marina does a very good Steamed Fish, upper left. To be good, the fish must be very, very fresh indeed: this one was. The above right Crab in Yellow Curry is quite good. Lots of liberated (from the shell) crab meat in a yellow curry sauce; succulent and tasty.

Fried Fish with Green Mango

Fried Fish with Green Mango

Sour Pork Ribs

Sour Pork Ribs

Kasma sometimes orders the Fried Fish with Green Mango that is above left. Another frequent item on the table for our groups is the Northern Sour Pork Ribs on right; the tasty, fermented meat is served with a variety of accoutrements (the shallots, greens, peanuts, garlic, often chillies), which are popped in the mouth with a piece of the rib. Yummy.


Slideshow – Some Dishes at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Duck Curry
Garlic Pepper Squid
Seafood Laab
Crab Dish
Steamed Fish
Crab in Yellow Curry
Fried Fish with Green Mango
Sour Pork Ribs

Duck Curry at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Garlic Pepper Squid at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Seafood Laab at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Crab dish at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Steamed Fish at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Crab in Yellow Curry at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Fried Fish with Green Mango at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Sour Pork Ribs at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Duck Curry thumbnail
Garlic Pepper Squid thumbnail
Seafood Laab thumbnail
Crab Dish thumbnail
Steamed Fish thumbnail
Crab in Yellow Curry thumbnail
Fried Fish with Green Mango thumbnail
Sour Pork Ribs thumbnail


Yok Yor Marina Restaurant
885 Somdet Chaophraya 17 Rd
Klong San Bangkok 10600
Tel. 02-863-0565-6, 02-863-1708
Service time : 11.00 – 24.00 hours
Website for Klongsan branch: www.yokyor.co.th


Written by Michael Babcock, September 2013