Category Archives : Thai

January 2018 Randoms


I realise I haven’t wished all my readers (hi mum!) a happy new year yet. So happy new year 2018! May this year be filled with happiness, wellness and general all around contentment.

January has been a busy month. My parents visited over the Christmas/new year period. So the one thing I have done a lot is cook Thai-style breakfasts. My parents have a tendency to eat a really heavy breakfast and a light dinner. We ate khao dom (sloppy boiled rice) with various dishes. In picture clockwise from bottom left: pla salid (crispy fried salted salid fish), pickled mustard leaves and dried prawns ‘salad’, cabbage leaves fried in fish sauce, boiled rice and a Thai style omelet which admittedly I didn’t do a very good job at making it fluffy like it should be.


January has also been very productive gardening-wise. Our apricots fruited productively this year. But the highlight? Visiting Garden World on Springvale Rd. Their climbing garden is ah-mazing.


Look at this! How can you not want this? Coolest garden ever. In other news, Josh bought me lots of flowers (plants): David Austen roses and orange jasmines. Love.


The Victorian cherry season may be over but the Tasmanian cherries are still around. They are much bigger and prettier. But really, they taste nothing compared to the lovely Victorian cherries! But Tasmanian cherries are better than no cherries. I can’t wait until next year! I may have to cheat and buy American cherries winter but don’t tell anyone.

P1010755 And lastly and definitely not the least…. (will obviously follow this up with a post)




Pattaya Floating Market {Photo Essay}

A couple of years back we went to Thailand to visit my folks. One of the coolest touristy places Mum took us to was the Pattaya Floating Market. Being a Thai market, by default, it was full of interesting Thai food. Being a tourist place, it was interestingly decorated and full of souvenir type shops (though I didn’t take too many photos of them) and being a ‘floating’ market, some of the vendors would be selling their wares from a boat. So there you have it. A small introduction to what a Thai floating market is.

As it’s probably been a little bit too long since to write a proper blog post about it, I put together a small photo essay about the place. Please head onto the Spatula, Spoon and Saturday Facebook Page (don’t forget to click Like):

Here are also a few photos to whet your appetite:

ขนมจีนน้ำเงี้ยว at Pattaya Flaoting Market


orchid love

Coconut ice cream Feeding kids at at Pattaya Floating Market


Feeding kids at deep fried bugs at Pattaya Floating Market

deep fried bugs at Pattaya Floating Market

Pattaya Floating Market


quail eggs at Pattaya Floating Market

  Boat noodles at Pattaya Floating Market

ขนมตาล Pattaya Floating Market

Sausage Vendor at Pattaya Floating Market

Deep fried duck's bills at Pattaya Floating Market


Thai Style Braised Pork Knuckle on Rice – Khao Kaa Moo 1

braised pork knuckle on rice - khao kaa moo


Khao kaa moo, literally ‘pork leg rice,’ is one of the most popular lunch dishes in Thailand. A slow, warm braise dish, it uses various parts of a pig from trotters to leg. The pork on the bone is simmered in mild Chinese five spice broth and served with rice and various accompaniments.
It’s an all-in-one type of dish – a bit of pork, a bit of rice and a bit of veggies. You will find it on most street corners along with khao mun gai (chicken rice, the Thai take on the famous Hainanese chicken rice) and khao moo dang (Chinese style roast pork rice) and various other cousins that have their origins in the Chinese cuisines.
Admittedly, khao ka moo was never a personal favourite of mine. I spent a good few years living with my aunt who was one of those street food vendors who owned quite a few carts within the area. Naturally, I gave them all a go (hers and her competitors’) I have always found it too fatty and bland but now my more mature palate is able to appreciate the subtlety of the Chinese five spice powder and the fattiness of the pork shank. I decided I should try making this dish at home.

 This dish has its origin in the Chinese five spice pork shank stew. The Thai version is slightly milder with less spices. It is normally accompanied by blanched Chinese broccoli (kanaa in Thai) or pickled mustard greens that has been stewed with the pork shank. Pig’s trotters are also used and seem to be a favourite and command higher price on the street. I omitted this because I simply don’t like them but have made them quite successfully for a party before. Other accompaniments include soft-boiled eggs where the yolks are bright and runny and a fiercy chilli, garlic and vinegar sauce. Some stalls serve this with raw cloves of garlic and bird’s eye chilli for the daring who chew on them when eating this dish.

I made this in the pressure cooker due to lack of patience and organisation skills to plan ahead (I know. It’s a fault I’m trying to correct) but I also find that it’s nicer to let it simmer for a while at the end as well. I have also added tofu puffs but other choices such as dried Chinese (shiitaki) mushrooms and firm cubes of tofu are also popular.


Braised Pork Knuckle


Pork Knuckle
  • 1 knuckle

Clean the knuckle well. Blanch with boiling water and scrape with sharp knife to remove any remaining hair (or is it fur? Do pigs have fur?) Grill the knuckle on all sides on browned and slightly smokey using either the grill or a grill pan. This is just to brown the outside rather than to actually cook the meat. This should take a few minutes. This step isn’t really strictly necessary but I enjoy the subtle smokiness in the broth. Alternatively, you can use a blow torch or hold it over your gas stove as they do in Thailand.




Herb Paste

  • 3 fresh coriander roots (or 10 long stems, leaves removed and 1/2 tsp ground coriander), sliced finely
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper corn (substitute with black if unavailable)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablet palm sugar (approx. 2-3 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
Pound the tablet of palm sugar into fine powder. Set aside. Clean the coriander roots well to remove any dirt. Pound the pepper corn, coriander roots, garlic and salt together into a fine paste. In a pressure cooker, or a pot, heat oil until warm. Fry off the herb paste on low heat until fragrant, about a few minutes, add the palm sugar, turn the heat up to medium and stir vigorously until all the sugar is melted. Keep stirring until the sugar begins to caramelise and starts to turn brown.


  • 2 tbsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1.5 litres chicken or pork stock (or water and stock cube)
Add the five-spice power, star anise and cinnamon to the caramel mixture and stir until well mixed. Add the prepared pork knuckle and turn over to coat the caramel mixture on the knuckle. Add the stock and season with soy sauce and dark soy sauce. If you are using the pressure cooker, leave to cook under pressure cooker for about 30 minutes or if you are using a normal pot, bring to boil and then simmer on low heat for 2 hours.




Optional Accompaniments



Ratee Thai, Port Phillip Arcade, CBD { Melbourne Food Review } 3

Stir-fried vegetables with basil and chilli (pad gaprow pak)

(Stir-fried vegetables of choice with chilli and basil sauce – pad gaprow – and fried egg – $11?)

Believe me when I say this: you don’t truly appreciate the cliche ‘time flies’ until you become a full time carer of a newborn baby almost-toddler. So when I had every intention to blog about a few places that I (used to) lunch at as a salarywoman in the City, I hadn’t realise how much time had passed since then. So here I am – 9 months into my 12-month maternity leave. I think I might just get to it before I go back to work in December and then find out that all of these places are either gone or no longer the same!

Ratee Thai, Port Phillip Arcade, Flinders Street

(The green circles spell out ‘Ratee Thai’ from the alphabet/vowels panel – very cute)

Ratee Thai is one of the many eating outlets that make up the Mecca of cheap eats that is known Port Phillip Arcade which is situated on Flinders Street just near the Swanston Street corner (you can also enter from Flinders Lane). Their clientele is a mix bag of office workers and Thai uni students – always a good sign for a Thai restaurant. Its fit-out consists of charming communal tables with its wall adorned with the Thai alphabets (in case you’ve wonder what it’s all about!)

Port Phillip Arcade also happened to be the mid point between my (former) work place and Josh’s. So we used to end up there a lot for lunch. Yes, folks, I was one of those people who have lunch with their partners almost everyday. You can decide whether it’s sweet or sad.

Pad si-ew (stir fried rice noodles with soy sauce)

(Pad Si-ew  – stir fried rice noodles with chicken, egg and Chinese broccoli with sweet soy sauce – $10?)

Ratee Thai has a varied menu. You can go with the Wok Bar option – choosing your own meat, vegetables, sauce and noodle/rice; you can choose from the Classic option – a choice of the popular Thai dishes such as pad thai, pad gaprow, pad si-ew, tom yum, etc.; or you can simply grab a plate of bain marie choices. (more…)

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