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Classic Thai Dishes - Starters

By: Elizabeth Hinds - Updated: 5 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Thai Starters Thai Appetisers Classic

A traditional Thai meal at home wouldn't include a starter but, thanks to the ever-increasing number of Thai restaurants, there are several dishes that have become classics.

Thai-style Spring Rolls

  • 1 oz vermicelli noodles (the very fine pale ones)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 oz minced pork
  • Salt and pepper
  • A dash of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ carrot, grated
  • 2 oz bean sprouts, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 4 spring roll skins
  • 1 egg
  • 2 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Oil for cooking

Soak the noodles in water until soft. Drain and cut into small strips.

While the noodles are soaking, whisk the egg and fry lightly to make an omelette. Shred and set aside.

Heat some oil in a wok and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the minced pork and stir fry until browned. Add the carrot, spring onion, mushrooms, seasoning, sauces and sugar. Stir well. Cover and cook over a low heat for a few minutes. Add the bean sprouts and omelette and stir through.

Drain off any liquid and set aside to cool.

Spoon the mixture onto the skins and roll up, folding in the ends to make it secure. Use beaten egg to seal (or you can use a thin cornflour paste).

Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the rolls until golden-brown and crispy. Serve with a chilli dipping sauce.

Chilli dipping sauce

  • 1½ tablespoons chilli paste
  • 1 heaped teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup wine vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons coriander, finely chopped

Place all the ingredients except the coriander in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the coriander and cool before serving.

Thai Fishcakes

  • 10 oz cod fillet, roughly cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, finely chopped
  • Oil for frying

Put the fish, egg and curry paste into a liquidiser and pulse to combine. Add the kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, cornflour and coriander and pulse until well-mixed.

Turn this mixture out onto a work surface. Form into golf-ball-sized rounds and flatten. Keep a bowl of water by you as you do this as wet fingers stop the mixture sticking to your hands.

Shallow fry in oil for about 3-5 minutes a side. Serve with salad, sweet chilli dipping sauce and lime wedges.

Thai Crab cakes

  • 7 oz basmati rice
  • ¾ pint chicken stock
  • 7 oz crabmeat
  • 4 oz cod, cubed
  • 5 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, cored, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon root ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying

Cook the rice in the stock until absorbed.

In a liquidiser, blend together the crabmeat, cod, spring onions, lemongrass, chilli, ginger, coriander, flour and egg. Add cooked rice, season and blend again.

Turn this mixture out onto a work surface. With wet hands, shape into 12 cakes. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Shallow fry in oil for about 3-5 minutes a side. Serve with salad and sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Nahm Phrik can be served as a dip with freshly chopped vegetables or barbecued meats. It's also used as an accompaniment to meals.

Hot Nahm Phrik

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 6 tablespoons green Birdseye chillies, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons red Birdseye chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

Heat the oil in a wok and lightly fry the chillies, onion and garlic. Transfer to a liquidiser and blend with the remaining ingredients until smooth.

Serve cold with chunks of celery, sliced peppers, broccoli florets, carrot sticks etc.Birdseye chillies are very hot! Don't touch your eyes when handling them!

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