Try Thai for light and healthy fare

An old friend who happens to be a food enthusiast suggested I feature Thai recipes in a food page. I really enjoy Thai food, as does she, but hadn’t thought of it as a potential food page. It was time to think again.
This week the four recipes include cucumber salad, noodles, a chicken dish and a simple dessert.
One of the bonuses of eating Thai food is the low sugar and fat content of the food. You can go all the way with hot and spicy flavor or you can have very little heat in the food. It’s entirely up to the individual cook.
Not sure you’ll like Thai food? This is one good way to find out.
There are also a number of good Thai restaurants in our region if you want to introduce yourself to Thai food without going to any effort whatsoever. I hope you’ll try one of these.
It’s good for us to expand our knowledge and appreciation of other cuisines.

Ginger and Nut Noodles
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons hot chile paste (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces Udon noodles (If unavailable, substitute any favorite noodle)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender according to package directions. Drain.
Meanwhile, combine chicken broth, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, chili paste, and garlic in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until peanut butter melts and is heated through. Add noodles, and toss to coat. Garnish with green onions and peanuts.

Mango Sorbet
2 fresh ripe mangos
1 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp. coconut milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 small container whipping cream (about 1 cup)

Slice the mangos open and scoop out all of the fruit from the skins. Don’t forget to include fruit around the stone (a knife works well for this).
Place the fruit in a food processor or blender. Add the sugar and process for one minute making sure the sugar has dissolved completely. Pour the mango puree through a strainer to remove any lumps. Return to processor.
Add the coconut milk and lemon juice, and process a few seconds to completely combine.
Whip cream until soft peaks form, and combine with puree until thoroughly mixed.
Pour into a large container, cover and freeze overnight. (Should be for at least six hours)
Remove container from freezer about 15 minutes prior to scooping and serving.

Thai Cucumber Salad
1/4 cup tamarind juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon toasted Asian sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1 cucumber, thinly sliced

Whisk together the tamarind juice, cilantro, peanuts, rice vinegar, brown sugar, fish sauce, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, and ginger in a large bowl. Stir in the cucumber. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes before serving.

Thai Pineapple Chicken Curry
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
1 quart water
1/4 cup red curry paste
2 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups sliced bamboo shoots, drained
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 green bell pepper, julienned
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 cup pineapple chunks, drained

Bring rice and water to a boil in a pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 25 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together curry paste and one can coconut milk. Transfer to a wok, and mix in remaining coconut milk, chicken (cut into thin strips), fish sauce, sugar, and bamboo shoots. Bring to a boil, and cook 15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear.
Mix the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and onion into the wok. Continue cooking 10 minutes, until chicken juices run clear and peppers are tender. Remove from heat, and stir in pineapple. Serve over the cooked rice.