Sometimes it seems like there are only two “ethnic” cuisines—Italian and Mexican…and guests only are exposed to culturally diverse foods limited to spaghetti, tacos, and burritos.

One of our goals at Muffins and Magnolias is to offer guests a glimpse into foods from other cultures…something from the typical Southern fried fare…

So today let’s take a glimpse at Thai food…some of the most common ingredients and them a recipe for a Thai soup and a Thai salad…

Thailand, the world’s 51st-largest country and the 20th-most-populous country in the world, with around 66 million people, has a strong sense of hospitality and generosity, but also a strong sense of social hierarchy….and a cuisine all of its own..

  1. Common ingredients used in Thai cuisine include…

Chillies…Prik kee noo, the smallest of chillies, are literally translated as    “mouse shit chillies.” Just like mice, these chillies are playful little creatures and like to hide, only leaving behind little visible evidence in the food they touch…but definitely enough to know that  they have been there. Fresh prik kee noo are often used to make nahm prik, a spicy condiment, and soups like tom yum goong, a popular lemon-flavored hot and sour shrimp soup.  

Coriander…Coriander is the dried seed of cilantro, also known as Chinese parsley, that grows wild over a wide area of Western Asia and southern Europe.

Coriander has been found as early as in the tomb of Tutankhamen and was brought to the British colonies in North America in 1670…one of the first spices cultivated by early settlers.

Coriander seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed….and can also be described as warm, nutty, and spicy. Roasting or heating the seeds in a dry pan heightens the flavour, aroma, and pungency. 

Coriander seed is used as a spice in garam masala, curries, curry powder, pickles, sausages, soups, stews, ratatouille, and rye bread. Coriander seed is also used when pickling vegetables and brewing Belgian wheat beers.

Roasted coriander seeds, called dhana dal, are eaten as a snack. 

Coriander seeds are referred to in the Bible in the books of Exodus and Numbers, where the colour of ‘manna’ is compared to coriander.   Fish Sauce...Fish sauce is used both as a staple ingredient and a condiment in various cuisines in Southeast Asia. This amber-colored liquid,  extracted from the fermentation of fish with sea salt, is mixed with lime juice, chopped bird’s eye chilies, and garlic to make phrik nam pla (“chilli with fish sauce”)…a sweet and sour sauce that is served with nearly every Thai meal

Thai Chicken Salad


  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 2 Tb rice vinegar
  • 1/4 C sugar 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Place in ziploc bag w/ 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours to marinade. Cook the chicken in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Allow it to cool a bit, then chop up all the chicken into bite sized pieces.Combine the following salad ingredients in a large bowl…

  • 1 small head green or white cabbage (2 cups shredded)
  • 1 large carrot (1½ cups shredded)
  • 1 green papaya (1½ cups shredded)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup green onions
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts
  • 2 hearts of romaine, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

Add the chicken. Toss the chicken and vegetables in a large bowl and keep chilled.

Dressing…Whisk together…

  • ½ teaspoon minced hot pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce 
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tb Thai sweet red chili sauce

    Toss the salad with the dressing. Top with 1C crushed salted peanuts.  Serve chilled. 

    Thai Chicken Soup
    Make the stock the night before…

    Sauté…½C thinly sliced onion…¼C sliced galanga…3 cloves garlic.


    • 14oz coconut milk
    • 12C chicken broth
    • 6 slices fresh ginger
    • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut in 1″ pieces
    • 2 tsp Thai style fish sauce-

    Bring to a boil. Add onion mixture. Let simmer 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight.

    Now to make the soup…After strain the stock, add…

    • 1½# cooked chicken, cut in bite-size pieces
    • 6oz angel hair pasta
    • 4 chopped scallions 
    • 1C sliced mushrooms
    • 1Tbsp lime juice
    • 1Tbsp fish sauce 
    • 1tsp sugar
    • 1tsp Thai chili paste

    Cook until noodles are cooked.  Serve with cilantro, scallions, bean sprouts, lime wedge and sriracha.


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