My mom and I relived their visit to Atlanta and I told her that if one doesn't use real ingredients like Thai basil, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal etc. then one would have a tough time replicating the taste and authenticity.
Thanks to N and the information she sources from local Bangalore food bloggers, we found some really fresh Thai Basil at really low prices (Rs 10 for a coriander-bunch sized portion) at Namdhari Fresh. They also have Italian basil at similar prices. But that's a different post ;) Also, retail stores like M K Ahmed among others have started selling Tofu at prices lower than paneer so one doesn't have to rely on "Nasoya" brand, which is almost 5 times more expensive.
We decided to have some simple Thai inspired Noodles for lunch the next day. My mom and I did the cooking. She told me that it was pretty easy to make and she'd probably try it again at home ;)
Peanuts - 1 c
Coconut Milk (w/ cream) - 100-150g
Sesame seeds - 2-3 tbsp
Green Bell Pepper, chopped - 1.5 c
Carrots, chopped - 1.5 c
Onions, chopped - 3/4 c
Tofu, cubed and fried in oil - 1.5 c
Chilli Oil - 3-4 tbsp
Cooking oil - 1-2 tbsp
Thai Basil Leaves - 20-25 leaves
Salt to taste
Honey - 2-3 tbsp
Ginger, chopped - 1 tbsp
Pasta (sphaghetti) - 300 g
Red chilli powder - 1-2 tsp
2. Roast the peanuts and sesame seeds dry and powder them in a blender.
3. In a wide saucepan, add 1 tbsp oil and fry the onions. When they're half done, add the ginger and all the vegetables. Add salt, red chilli powder and 2 tbsp chilli oil and continue frying.
4. Once the vegetables are half done, reduce the heat to low and wait for a minute before adding coconut milk.
5. Add the coconut milk, thai basil leaves and let it simmer for 5 mins. Add the peanut/sesame powder and continue simmering for 5-6 mins. If the 'gravy' appears too thick, you could add some fresh coconut water.
6. Add honey and mix well.
7. Drain the cooked pasta and toss it with 1 tbsp chilli oil.
8. Add this to the gravy and mix well. Let it sit at low heat for 4-5 mins.
9. Serve hot!
We decided to skip the lemongrass/kaffir lime leaves and galangal. We could have added some lime zest to compensate, but we chose not to.
It came out pretty well. All of us enjoyed our dinner and topped it off with some kadalai urundai for dessert ;) Well, only I did because my parents are trying to control their sugar levels!
N will be back soon and regular jabber, better stories, better writing and certainly highly opinionated posts will follow. Until then, I struggle to weave a story around a recipe and keep thinking how lucky I am to have married N.
P.S.- the last line in this post has been added by N. Obviously ;)