Thai Spiced Nuts

Inspired by our lasted trip to Thailand, I created this spiced nuts recipe. When I travel, I always like to visit the local markets and supermarkets to see and try what they have to offer. I could spend hours browsing through each isle or stand. Pieter actually got tired of waiting for me on our last supermarket trip there while I was examining the information on the packaging of every snack I found interesting.

These nuts are sticky and they have a sort of umami taste. I just used the Thai basil for decoration but you can add it freshly chopped right before serving. And it’s done in 20 minutes with minimal amount of cooking. I was generous with the spice measurements. If you like it spicy, you can always add for chili powder or cayenne.

Ingredients:

150grs of unsalted cashew nuts

125grs of unsalted almonds

80grs of unsalted pumpkin seeds

For the Sauce:

Juice of 1 lime

1 ½ teaspoon of kaffir lime leaf powder

1 ½ teaspoon of cayenne or chili powder

1 teaspoon of lemon grass powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 ½ tablespoon of salt

½ teaspoon of ginger powder

¼ cup of sugar

¼ cup of water

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place all of the ingredients for the sauce in a medium saucepan. Whisk so all the spices get dissolve into the water. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Don’t forget to stir constantly so that it doesn’t burn. It’s ready when most of the water has evaporated and it has become a syrup.

Add the nuts and mix well to coat them. Spread them in a single layer over the prepared baking sheet.

Bake them for 15 minutes. Stirring half way though the cooking time.

Once they come out of the oven, allow them to cool. Then try to separate the nuts into smaller chunks.

If you want, add freshly chopped Thai basil right before serving. Enjoy!

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Kupu Kupu Phangan Beach Villas and Spa by L’Occitane

 

Coming back to our trip to Thailand, from Koh Samui we took the fast ferry to the island of Ko Pha Ngan. There we stayed at Kupu Kupu Phangan Beach Villas and Spa by L’Occitane. The resort is located on the west side of the island. It is about a 10 minute ride from Thong Sala, which is great because you can just rent a scooter and go visit the night market. The big street market is only open on Saturdays. But throughout the week, there is a smaller market which still has plenty of food stands to choose from.

We stayed at one of their Sea view pool villas. The picture below was the view from ours. The resort is small and cozy, so no need to walk a lot to use the facilities.

The beach is surrounded by a few rocks which are easier to climb on low tide (nice for pictures 😉 ).

The resort has one restaurant called the Plage. We had lunch at one of their tables in the pool. Their grilled watermelon salad was so delicious, not to mention also very pretty.
We also had a tuna & scallop tartare which was also very good. We also tried their Thai set dinner. It was already too dark to take proper pictures, but we really enjoyed their 3 course menu. And actually their deep fried pork with garlic and pepper was the best one we had during our trip. We liked it so much that we ordered the same dish at other places later on, and none were as good as the one we had here. We also had a couple’s massage at their Spa. Pieter actually fell asleep during it. So nice to just let go and relax completely. The whole staff was very friendly and attentive. We were very pleased with our stay!

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Peanut & Ginger Zoodles with Thai Styled Mango & Carrot Slaw

Some meatless Monday inspiration. A very fresh salad packed with a lot of crunch since I kept the zoodles raw. If you don’t like them raw, you can always sauteed them in a pan and make this into a lukewarm salad. The Thai styled mango and carrot slaw balances out the richness of the peanut & ginger sauce. I love peanut butter, but it was only since I moved to the Netherlands that it became part of my diet. I love to add some to my porridge during winter.

Calve peanut butter became a staple in my pantry. It’s the brand my husband grew up eating, so it made sense for him to introduce it to me. Ever since, I haven’t looked back. So I’m very happy to have partnered with them to create this recipe, using their original peanut butter. If you love peanut butter, stay tuned because I have a snack recipe coming soon. Pieter and I were in London for the weekend, so more pictures and hotspots are coming to the blog soon too.

This recipe serves 2-3 people.

Ingredients:

For the zoodles:

4 zucchini

For the mango & carrot slaw:

3 carrots, shredded (I used rainbow carrots)

1 mango, julienned

5 tablespoons of chopped coriander

For the Thai styled dressing:

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

Juice of 1 lime

4 tablespoons of olive oil

4 tablespoons of white vinegar

1 teaspoon of fish sauce

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 small bird’s eye chili, finely chopped

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

For the peanut & ginger sauce:

2 tablespoons of minced ginger

130grs of Calve smooth peanut butter (1/2 a cup)

2 tablespoons of ginger syrup (or honey)

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of water

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of chili bean sauce

Pinch of garlic powder

To make the zoodles, I used a mandoline with the julienne attachment. I stopped when I got to the core. You can also make them with a spiralizer or a potato peeler. If you use a potato peeler, just slice it into ribbons and then using a knife, cut it into julienne. You can also buy the zoodles at the supermarket if you don’t feel like making them. Set them aside.

To make the Thai styled dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Close it and shake it until it emulsifies. Set it aside.

For the peanut and ginger sauce, place all of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

Right before serving mix the carrots, mango and coriander for the slaw with the dressing (remember to give it a good shake before adding it to the slaw).

Divide the zoodles between 2 or 3 bowls. Add the peanut & ginger sauce. Finish it by adding the slaw. Eat right away. Enjoy!

I like the zoodles raw since this is a cold salad. But if you don’t, you can always sautéed them in a pan for about 1 minute with a little bit of olive oil.

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Char Siu Cauliflower Tacos with Cabbage, Carrot & Green Papaya Slaw

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I love Char siu bao and the Char Siu sauce that you can find at any Asian store. My mom would use it often for chicken wings on the bbq while I was growing up. We would dip them in a mixture of lime juice, salt and Chinese five spice. It was great to balance out the sweetness of the sauce. So I thought why not make a veggie version? I love cauliflower and the result is crunchy caramelized goodness. For the slaw, I kept the Asian vibes going but with a more Thai-style slaw.

This recipe makes 12 small tacos. You’ll have enough slaw to eat on the side or you can also make a second batch of cauliflower.

Ingredients:

For the Cabbage, Carrot & Green Papaya Slaw:

3 cups of finely shredded purple cabbage

1 ½ cups of shredded carrot

3 cups of shredded green papaya

1 bunch of coriander, chopped

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

Juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of white vinegar

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 teaspoon of fish sauce

2 tablespoons of honey

Pinch of garlic powder

1 small red eye chili, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it just add an extra tablespoon of honey)

For the cauliflower:

1 medium cauliflower chopped into small florets (about 6 cups)

1/2 cups of Chinese BBQ sauce (Char siu sauce)

1 tablespoon of chili bean sauce

¼ cup of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of honey

Extra:

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for the pan

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of chopped chives

12 small tortillas

 

To make the slaw, just shred the green papaya, carrot and purple cabbage. Place them in a large bowl along with the chopped coriander.

To make the dressing for the slaw, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid. And shake it till it emulsifies. Pour the dressing over the slaw and mix well. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

To make the char siu cauliflower, first mix the Chinese BBQ sauce, chili bean sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and honey in a large bowl. Then add the cauliflower florets and mix until they are evenly coated.

Place one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the cauliflower and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes till it caramelizes. Toss it or stir from time to time so it doesn’t burn.

Warm up the tortillas in a pan. To assemble the tacos, just place some of the slaw and then the char siu cauliflower. Finish it by sprinkling some sesame seeds and chopped chives. Enjoy!

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Thai Red Curry Mussels

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It’s mussel season again. I love them so much that I will sometimes make them for just myself. My hubby will eat them but it’s not his favorite thing in the world. So if I crave them often, I will just make them for lunch. They take so little effort to cook that I don’t mind making them for just myself.

I usually make them the classic way with parsley, garlic and tomatoes. But this time, I made them with Thai red curry. Something my hubby is more likely to enjoy since he loves Thai curry, and so do I.  We both devoured them.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

4 kilos of mussels, scrubbed and beards removed

2 tablespoons of minced ginger

1 lemongrass, finely chopped (hard outer part removed)

70grs of Thai red curry paste

400ml of coconut milk

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

½ a bunch of coriander, chopped

2 tablespoons of chopped Thai basil

Extras:

Crusty bread for serving

Lime wedges

Extra Thai basil for decoration (optional)

 

Rinse and scrub the mussels well under cold water, pulling off any beards. Discard any mussels that are broken or that don’t clamp shut when tapped.

Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the lemongrass, ginger and curry paste. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes while stirring. Then add the coconut milk and whisk till it is completely incorporated.

Then add the mussels and cover the pot. Let them steam until they open. This will only take a couple of minutes. Then remove the mussels using tongs. Discard of any mussels that haven’t opened. Let the sauce reduce for a couple of minutes.

Place the mussels on your serving bowls, pour the sauce over them and sprinkle with the chopped coriander and Thai basil. Decorate it with some whole Thai basil leaves if you wish. Serve it with lime wedges and crusty bread. Enjoy!

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Thai Red Curry with Shrimp & Sugar Snaps Peas

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This flavorsome meal with store bought curry is perfect for a weeknight. Easy and ready in under 30 minutes. I added sugar snap peas to have an extra crunchy texture in the curry.

This recipe serves 3 small bowls or 2 large ones.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 ½ tablespoons of minced ginger

1 lemongrass, (white part only) finely chopped

50grs of red curry paste

1 ½ teaspoons of brown sugar or palm sugar

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

600ml of coconut milk

1 sweet pepper, finely chopped

250grs of shrimp, cleaned and deveined

Juice of ½ a lime

For the sugar snaps:

150grs of sugar snaps

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Salt

Extras:

Cooked white rice

Coriander leaves

Lime wedges

 

Pour one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the sugar snap peas and cook them for about 1 minute, while stirring. Add salt and set them aside.

In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Cook for about 1 minute until it becomes fragrant. Then add the sugar, curry paste and fish sauce. Cook for another minute while stirring. Then add the coconut milk, mix it well and let it simmer for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat until it thickens.

Then add the sweet peppers and shrimps. Cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. This will take about 3 to5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the sugar snap peas and the juice of half a lime. Mix well.

Serve with white rice, coriander leaves and lime wedges.

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Thai-Inspired Steak Salad

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On the weekends, I prefer to keep my meals simple and not time-consuming. It’s not always the case but I try. And a steak is always welcome, it cooks quiet quickly and both my husband and I go gaga for it. It’s not something we could eat everyday but when we do, it is really a treat. And lately our favorite way to eat it is in a salad. This time I made a Thai-style dressing. And I added Thai basil, coriander and mint to the salad. So you have all these mini explosions of flavors in every bite. I used a mandoline to slice the carrots and cucumber into thin ribbons, but you can just shred the carrots and thinly slice the cucumber with a knife.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the steak:

500gr of Flank steak

Vegetable oil for brushing the steak

Salt

Pepper

For the salad:

½ cucumber, sliced into thin ribbons using a mandoline

½ red onion, thinly sliced

1 medium yellow carrot, sliced into thin ribbons using a mandoline

1 medium purple carrot, sliced into thin ribbons using a mandoline

10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on their size

4 tablespoons of chopped coriander

8 Thai basil leaved, finely chopped

8 mint leaves, finely chopped

About 100grs of a lettuce mix of your choice (I used lamb’s lettuce, baby spinach, baby Swiss chard and baby red tatsoi)

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 big lime

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 small bird’s eye chili, finely chopped

¼ cup of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of minced ginger

1 small clove of garlic, minced

Optional:

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

½ red chili, thinly sliced

 

To make the dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Cover it and shake it. Set it aside until ready to use.

Prepare all your veggies.

To cook the meat, heat up a large pan over medium heat. Brush the steak with some vegetable oil. Add salt and pepper on both sides.

Once the pan is hot, place the meat and cook it to your liking. For medium rare, it takes about 5 minutes per side but it will also depend on the thickness of the steak. My steak was a bit thick in the middle so it took about 1 extra minute.

Let the steak rest for 5 minutes and then thinly slice it.

Once the steak is done and sliced, place all the vegetables and lettuce in a large bowl. Give the dressing another shake and add it to the salad. Mix it well so everything is well coated, I just used my hands.

Serve the salad and then add the steak slices. Sprinkle some of the sliced spring onion and chili over the steak. Finally pour the remaining dressing from the bowl on top of the steak. Enjoy!

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Zoodle Pad Thai with Tamarind Roasted Chickpeas (Vegetarian)

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This is not your traditional pad Thai recipe. This version is a bit lighter because of the zucchini noodles. And instead of using animal protein; I roasted some chickpeas with a tamarind sauce. They turned out to be quiet addictive. Sweet and sour goodness.

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This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

4 zucchinis

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 cup of chopped peanuts, I used unsalted

2 bird’s eye chilies, finely chopped (more if you like it spicy)

3 sweet peppers, thinly sliced (I used yellow, orange and red. You can also use bell peppers)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 medium carrot, shredded

2 spring onions, chopped

1 cup of bean sprouts

A handful of fresh coriander leaves

Lime wedges for serving

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons of tamarind paste

3 tablespoons of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

For the tamarind roasted chickpeas:

130grs of canned chickpeas, drained

1 tablespoon of tamarind paste

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of honey

Pinch of salt

Pinch of Pepper

 

Start by roasting the chickpeas. Preheat your oven to 160C/320F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the chickpeas with the tamarind paste, brown sugar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Spread them on the prepared baking sheet. Roast them for 15 minutes. Then stir and raise the temperature to 180C/350F. Roast them for an extra 15 minutes.

To make the zoodles, I used a mandoline with the julienne attachment. I stopped when I got to the core. You can also make them with a spiralizer or a potato peeler. If you use a potato peeler, just slice it into ribbons and then using a knife, cut it into julienne. Set aside.

To make the tamarind sauce for the zoodles, just mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

Pour the vegetable oil into a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped peanuts and chilies. Cook for about 2 minutes until the peanuts start to get toasted. Then add the garlic, sweet peppers, and onion. Cook for another 2 minutes while stirring.  Then add the sauce, zoodles, spring onions, carrot, bean sprouts and coriander. Cook for about 1 minute, just until everything is well combined.

Serve right away with some of the tamarind roasted chickpeas and lime wedges.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Vietnamese Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Thai Chicken Meatballs

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This is my Asian version of spaghetti and meatballs. Last Saturday at the Farmer’s market, I saw spaghetti squash for the first time. I’ve seen a lot of recipes with it but I had never actually looked for it here. I had actually been looking for delicata squash but no luck so far. When I bought it, the man selling it asked me if I knew that it was spaghetti squash. I said yes with excitement. I wasn’t sure what to make with it until I remembered a recipe an American friend of mine told me a few weeks ago. She told me about a Vietnamese garlic noodles with crab recipe and it sounded so good that I wrote it down on my to-do list. Long story short, decided to make the noodles but with spaghetti squash and served them with Thai chicken meatballs.  IMG_3294

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the spaghetti squash:

1 spaghetti squash

3 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

4 tablespoons of fish sauce

Salt to taste

For the chicken meatballs:

500 grams of minced chicken

1 stalk of lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped

Pinch of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger

¼ cup of breadcrumbs

Zest of one lime

1 teaspoon of fish sauce

2 teaspoons of caster sugar

1/2 a bunch of coriander, chopped

Pinch of onion powder

½ teaspoon of salt

Pinch of pepper

Extra:

Vegetable oil to cook the meatballs

Chives for garnish

 

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the squash in half. Spoon out the seeds and the stringy bits of flesh.  Place the squash with the cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Add ½ cup of water. This will help it steam. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.  Remove it from the oven and using a fork, scrape off the flesh. Transfer it to a bowl. Set it aside.

To make the meatballs, place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix it with your hands. Then cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Once the 30 minutes are up, start shaping the meatballs. I made them small, about 22 meatballs. Once they are all done, pour about 1/3 of a cup of vegetable oil into a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, cook the meatballs until evenly browned and cooked through. This will take about 8 minutes. I cooked them in 2 batches.

To make the Vietnamese garlic sauce, add the butter and olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and brown sugar. Cook for a few minutes while stirring. You want the sugar to melt as much as possible without burning the garlic. Then add the fish sauce and some salt. Stir and add the cooked spaghetti squash. Mix it well with the sauce and taste for salt.

Serve the spaghetti squash with the meatballs and garnish with some chopped chives.

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Thai Chicken Burgers with Mango Salsa

Thai burger

We have a big yearly barbecue in the summer. This past summer we turned it into a cook-off, in which all our guests were asked to cook something to share at the barbecue. One of them made these chicken burgers.They were a big hit that day and since then of course I asked for the recipe. You can make them in the barbecue but they also work well in a pan. Since the weather is not very friendly at the moment, I cooked them in a pan. This recipe makes 5 burgers.

Ingredients for the burgers:

500 grams of minced chicken

1 stalk of lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger

¼ cup of breadcrumbs

Zest of one lime

1 teaspoon of fish sauce

2 teaspoons of caster sugar

1/2 a bunch of coriander, chopped

1 small white onion, grated

½ teaspoon of salt

Pinch of pepper

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to cook the burgers

Ingredients for the mango salsa:

1 ripe mango, chopped into small pieces

4 tablespoons of chopped coriander

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 small chili, finely chopped

Juice of one lime

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the burgers with your hands. Then cover and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While the mixture is in the fridge, start making the salsa. To make it, mix the chopped mango, coriander, onion, chili, lime, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover and let it sit in the fridge till it’s serving time.

After the 30 minutes are up, shape the burgers into 5 patties.

Pour the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, put the patties in. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through.

Serve with the mango salsa.