Chrissy Teigen has got everything going for her. She’s successful, a great mom, hilarious...and a cook?! It’s almost hard to believe that she’s a pro at so many things. As someone who can understand her love for food, her cookbook went to the top of my wishlist when she released it. Cravings has a little bit of everything from tasty brunch dishes to elegant dinners. A section I wasn’t expecting but glad she included was one dedicated to traditional Thai recipes she grew up with. It leaves plenty for me to experiment with, that’s for sure.
Living with picky eaters does not make embracing Asian food easy. I don’t know what it is with the two kids I live with but if they think we’re eating any kind of Asian food, they immediately start moaning. I think it’s the soy sauce. Anyone else have this issue? Me. I love Asian-American food. Let’s talk Thai for a second since that’s the culture of choice for today’s post. Living in Chicago introduced me to Pad Thai, one of my favorite restaurant dishes of all time. I literally crave Pad Thai when I go without it for long periods of time. Suburban life does not offer many different cultural dining options so I had to teach myself how to make it. Life. Changer. There are several other dishes I fell in love with over time but the two I decided to spotlight from Cravings I’ve never had before. It's supposed to be a challenge, right? They’re also not particular crazy so if you also live with picky eaters, these are good starters to introduce to Asian, or more specifically, Thai flavors.
Pad Grapow Chicken (Basil Chicken)
Confession time. Thai Basil is the recommended basil of choice for this dish but it wasn't in the cards for me. Regular basil works too, it’s just not as authentic. I also had to omit the oyster sauce thanks to my annoying allergy. In simpler terms, this is Stir Fried Basil Chicken. It’s light, tasty and a perfect weeknight dish as it comes together in less than 30 minutes. Serve with rice and call it a day! It’s so simple and so tasty and because there are only a few common ingredients, it doesn’t feel exotic. That way, the picky eaters don’t complain much at dinner! I call that a win.
Pounded Thai Papaya (or Green Bean) Salad
This recipe has two variations to it: papaya and green bean. It caught my attention when I flipped through the cookbook for the first time but I wasn’t sure what I would make it with. It’s a vibrant side dish and I felt like it needed a meaty main to complement the freshness. Enter, a non-Thai recipe also from Cravings: John’s Marinated Steaks. It was also the perfect time for me to break in my brand new Ayesha Curry Porcelain Enamel Grill Pan. Before you judge, the most exciting part about receiving kitchen gadgets for gifts is using them for the first few times. At least, it’s exciting for foodies and avid home chefs like myself.
Anyway, the grill is currently in storage during this snowy winter and the steak recipe requires grilling. I think I achieved those beautiful grill marks just as well in the pan, wouldn’t you say so? I love this steak recipe because the marinade is out of this world. It has a bit of an Asian flare to it to it was the perfect pairing for the Pounded Green Bean Salad. Why green bean and not papaya? Papaya isn’t a fruit that I’ve worked with before. I wouldn’t even know how to pick a good one out in the store and the idea of shredding it up wasn’t appealing. I also knew the previously mentioned picky eaters would lose their minds. While this might seem like an elegant dinner that takes time to prepare, it actually whips up super quick. The steaks only need a few minutes per side so I’d recommend prepping the salad first and then grilling the meat.
I’ll be honest, when I saw fish sauce in the ingredient list, I was tempted to omit it. A friend of mine insists on reminding me that fish sauce adds an extra depth of flavor and umami (which I can never resist) but more importantly, it doesn’t make the dish taste fishy. So I finally caved and bought a bottle of fish sauce. I only used one of the two required tablespoons but I think I’m officially a convert! There was NO fishiness to this salad. In fact, it was incredible. I served it over healthy serving of jasmine rice with the steak alongside. The juices from the steak and the salad managed to mix together on the plate and the flavor combination was mind blowing. It turned out to be a satisfying, delicious dinner that everyone enjoyed (for the most part...I live with picky eaters, remember).
Do you have Cravings by Chrissy Teigen? Have you made any of these dishes? Tell me your favorites. Stay tuned! Later this week, we have a North African breakfast dish that tastes even better than it looks.