If you have any interest at all in Thai vegan cooking, then May Kaidee’s Thai Vegetarian and Vegan Cookbook is for you. My wonderful brother purchased this cookbook for me during his recent trip to Thailand where he took vegetarian cooking classes at May Kaidee’s cooking school. He absolutely loved the class which included a trip to the local market for ingredients. I strongly suggest that you check out May Kaidee’s website where you can purchase her cookbook, read about her two cooking schools and four restaurants in Thailand, and learn about her very interesting background. Of all the cookbooks I own, I must say that May Kaidee’s cookbook (which is a paperback) is the simplest and easiest cookbook to use. She provides basic recipes for Thai curry dishes, appetizers, stir-fries and sauces, as well as soups, salads and desserts. The recipes are easy to follow and the photographs are fabulous. According to her website, May Kaidee has been spending a lot of time in New York trying to establish new locations for her restaurants and cooking schools.
Tonight for dinner, I made May’s “Panang Curry” which she describes as a Thai-Indonesian dish. It was simple to make and came out delicious. The next time I prepare it, I would use a bit more red chili paste. Please note that her recipes provide for single portions only, so the recipe below must be adjusted if you are cooking for others. You can use whichever mixed vegetables you choose; but May states in her book that to accurately recreate Thai dishes, the mixed vegetables must include snow peas, baby corn, cabbage, asparagus and an assortment of various mushrooms. I used her suggested mixed vegetables, adding broccoli and red peppers to the mix. Next time, I would also add cauliflower.
Although May has recipes in her book for chili sauces and curry pastes, I bought a prepared Roasted Red Chili Paste from the brand “Thai Kitchen.” I also bought the kaffir leaves from “Thai Kitchen,” although you could probably find fresh ones at a gourmet market. I also used a new Asian Stir Fry Oil by “Spectrum” which I spotted at the supermarket today. It is a combination of soy, peanut, and toasted sesame oils plus natural flavors, but you could use any oil of your choice for this recipe.
2 Tablespoons oil of your choice
1 small handful (1/2 cup) fresh tofu, cubed
2 teaspoons red chili paste
1 handful (1 cup) each of carrots and onions
1 cup coconut cream or coconut milk
1 handful (1 cup) each of mixed vegetables and mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (I used maple sugar)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce mixture (even amounts of light and dark soy sauces) Note: If you do not have both light & dark, you may substitute salt (to taste) for the absent ingredient
1 teaspoon cumin
1-2 finely chopped kaffir leaves
1. Stir-fry fresh tofu in hot oil until brown. Add chili paste, carrots, onions, and coconut cream or milk.
2. While boiling, add mixed vegetables and mushrooms and stir until the liquid has slightly evaporated.
3. Add remaining ingredients and cook until vegetables are soft. Serve with brown rice.