Category Archives: A Taste of Thailand

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor – Thai Curry Pastes and #recipes

Authentic recipes for Thai Curry Pastes made from scratch ūüôā I hope you enjoy these recipes to make your own curry pastes …

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

I hope you enjoy making these curry pastes All these recipes are authentic Thai recipes and very easy to make, most ingredients are available at most major stores or Asian shops around the world.

Thai Curry Pastes made from scratch.

Before we start Thai food is all about the TASTE those important flavours of sweet, sour, hot and salty so my advice always taste and taste again, start with less and taste you can always add you cannot take away.

I am lucky in that I can buy these pastes ready made from the local markets but I know only too well from when I lived in the UK that the ones I could buy were not quite the same and obviously have preservatives in them also Coconut milk always check that it is 100% as they are not always and will split when you cook your curry.

Once you…

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Fruity Friday’s…Pomelo…

Fruity Friday's Pomelo

Welcome to Fruity Friday’s today I am showcasing a fruit which is similar to the grapefruit but without the bitterness associated with the grapefruit called the Pomelo.

The Pomelo is native to Asia and grows in abundance here it is also one of the original citrus species.

It ripens from a pale green to yellow when fully ripe and has a sweet white flesh it also comes in a pink and red which is rarely seen much here.

With a thicker skin and a much larger fruit than the grapefruit, it is very popular in Thailand and can be found everywhere, segmented and sold with a  chilli/sugar mix for dipping.

Mostly the skin is discarded but makes a lovely marmalade it is also sold candied here or dipped in chocolate.

I freeze part segments and use instead of ice cubes in my drinks…A tip I was given by my Russian friend and it pairs very well with Vodka…

Did you know? The Liqueur made with honey and brandy was one of the ingredients in a cocktail called Forbidden Fruit which dates back to the early 20th century. It is also an ingredient in the famous Dorchester Cocktail…The Martinez!

The pomelo is also known as Jabong or Jambola and in its early days was also called grapefruit or Shaddock named after a Captain Shaddock who sailed ships for the East India Shipping Company. Which is why in very early recipes you will find reference to the grapefruit but also reference to the sweetness which the grapefruit does not have. Quite confusing…

Thais eat it raw or use it in salads if you can’t get pomelo then pink grapefruit can be used as it is sweeter and not as bitter as the yellow grapefruits. Pomelo is also drier and not so messy as other citrus fruits to eat raw.

Packed with vitamin C and lots of Potassium it is a beneficial fruit to eat healthwise and is found to be helpful in combating urinary tract infections.

My favourite recipe is called Yum Som O  in Thai.

Pomelo Salad

Pomelo Salad or as it is known here Yum Som O is a wonderful light refreshing salad made with Pomelo or( Pink Grapefruit) can be substituted and there is very little difference in flavour.


  • 2 Pink Grapefruit or 1 Pomelo.
  • 12-16 peeled prawns.
  • A Sm cucumber diced.
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced shallots.
  • 1/4 cup fresh Thai Basil or Mint.
  • 1/4 cup Fresh coriander.
  • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts/cashews.
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut.
  • 1 Red Chilli finely sliced.


  • Half to 1 lime.
  • 3 tbsp Fish Sauce.
  • 1-2 tbsp palm sugar.
  • 1 -2 red chillies finely sliced.
  • Kaffir Lime leaf very finely sliced for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Set a pot of water to boil on the stove. Add the prawns and boil for just a few minutes, until the prawns turn pink and are plump and firm to the touch. Drain and set aside to cool.

Place shredded coconut in a dry frying pan or a wok over medium-high heat and stir until coconut turns light golden brown and fragrant. Tip coconut into a small bowl to cool and set aside. Repeat with the shallots frying in a little oil until golden and crispy then tip into a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Prepare your grapefruit or pomelo:

Remove as much of the white peel/pith as possible from the fruit. Break into bite-size pieces or as I do shred a little finer ‚Äď 3 to 4 cups is a good amount.

Put the prepared fruit in a salad bowl.

Add the cucumber, basil/mint, coriander, and fresh chilli.

Combine all dressing ingredients together in a cup, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.

To put the salad together:

Add shrimp to the salad bowl, then pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine. Add most of the toasted coconut, shallots and nuts, reserving a little for garnishing, then toss again. Taste-test the salad for a balance of sweet/sour/spicy/salty. Adjust to your liking, adding more sugar if too sour. For more depth of flavour, add a little Fish Sauce.

Your salad is now ready to serve.  Top with reserved coconut, nuts, shallots and shredded lime leaf.


Tip:¬†Like most Thai salad dressings, this is an oil-free dressing, so it doesn‚Äôt appear to ‚Äėcling‚Äô as well as oil-based dressings, naturally collecting at the bottom of your salad bowl. This isn‚Äôt a problem ‚Äď just be sure to toss a little more than you would for a regular salad

This salad is better served and eaten immediately, the fresher the better. If preparing for a party, keep the dressing apart from the salad until you’re ready to eat, then toss them together just before serving.

I do hope you enjoy as this is one of my favourite salads, I do shred my Pomelo much finer though rather than having too chunky. But as with anything, it is personal preference.

Pomelo is also lovely mixed with rocket, walnuts some feta cheese and a light dressing…Play with it …It is a lovely fruit mixed with salad ingredients.

That’s all for fruity Fridays I hope you enjoyed reading this post if so please hit the share buttons xx


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Retired No One Told Me!… Weekly Roundup…Secret Garden, Chicken Recipes and some Passion(fruit)


What a week… We have had some amazing storms and of course, I have a lovely internal waterfall…Leaky ceilings are a way of life here…Firstly I will be starting my roundup with my favourite restaurants and food…well of course…hehe

Khow Soi¬†Khow Soi… an awesome Thai Yellow Curry with just a touch of chilli…well quite a lot not for the faint-hearted…

Then I bought a bit of Passion into your lives see I don’t just think about food…

Fruity Fridays Passionfruit

The Charade …The plot thickens and just as the girl is about to find out who she is…That dastardly Carl appears …


And you thought I was going to tell you what happened??? Nope! You need to read it…would love your comments and so would Steph who is also writing some of the chapters…Well, it started out as her little project and I have hi-jacked it! Snuck in a few chapters… It is good fun actually a bit like Chinese whispers…

Penang a diverse city with lots of surprises…


Street food…I love it and am so lucky to be able to just pop down the road and buy some…Lovely fresh from the drupe coconut water, spicy little rice balls( my treat) and of course my favourite Som Tam ( Papaya ) salad…I could live on that… I think if I had to choose my last meal that could be it!

Papaya Salad Som Tam

Obesity…Definitely on the increase and next week sees me comparing the top and the bottom of my chart… We would all have far more success if we chucked out the diets and ate healthily and applied moderation…Not a word most people like but we need to safeguard our health and that my friends is down to us…So…


Who do you cheat??? Yourself!

Chicken…How many us when we are asked what’s for dinner mum??? Are met with ” Not chicken”…It can be very boring and can also be very bad for you if it is deep fried…But come with me and see what I have cooked… beautiful chicken dishes…One pot… and delicious…

Lastly, I have a treat for you…One of my favourite places here in Thailand…The very first place we visited and where I fell in love…If you watch the video you will see why… it is magical, ethereal and just delightful so beautiful…

I do hope you have enjoyed this roundup if you have please hot the share button or reblog xx

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Khao Soi and my favourite restaurants in Udon Thani

Travel Thailand Udon Thani

Khao Soi is a lovely rich coconut curry noodle soup… And is one of my all-time favourite Thai dishes.

Khao Soi originated from here in the North and holds almost iconic status..said to originate from the Chiang Mai area the name means ‚Ä̬†cut rice‚ÄĚ in Thai although it is thought the word originates from the Burmese word for noodles and is a corruption of the word¬†Khao¬†swe.

Khow Soi


My quest for Khao Soi began when I lived In Phuket myself and my friend Annie made a sort of pact to find the best Khao Soi… Only found in a handful of restaurants there we quickly found our favourite made by a woman who originated from Chiang Mai and only served in her restaurant on a Friday and Saturday lunchtime…

Since moving up to the  North of Thailand I have continued my quest to find the best Khao Soi…

This little restaurant was the first place we came across in my quest to find and sample this iconic coconut soup…

Khao Soi- Udon-

A slight difference in the look of the two but both tasted awesome the second beig more rustic.Made using not only chicken but pork or beef this Khao Soi did not disappoint…Not as creamy as my favourite coconut soup as coconut milk is not used as much in the curries here in the North of Thailand it is also made using chicken on the bone which makes a soup more tasty I think…in the South being more of a tourist destination the food is what I call a little more refined…westernised in fact.

khow soi sign udon

Taste wise this certainly did not disappoint and they didn’t hold back on the chilli…

It was certainly a hot, spicy bowl of delicious coconut curry soup. Topped with crispy fried noodles it now holds the top spot jointly with my favourite from the South of Thailand… Served with a side of Thai pickled cabbage ( Pak Dong) and chopped shallots, lime and a very hot spicy fried chilli paste which is only for the brave… the flavours have a party in your mouth.

The food here in the North of Thailand is definitely hotter and what I describe as real Thai food…Often the food here has no frills but is just good tasty food…I generally stick to roadside stalls or small Thai restaurants frequented by the locals as this is where the best Thai food can be found.

Beautiful Picture of Steamed Fish 25 rest I think

Another of my favourites ‚Ä̬†The Spice House‚ÄĚ Is located inside Central Festival a modern shopping centre with mostly large chains of fast food shops‚ĶThis little gem is tucked away on the 3rd floor, frequented mainly by Thais it serves authentic very tasty Thai food‚Ķalways very nicely presented and as the name infers ‚ÄĚ spicy‚ÄĚ in fact, it is Thai spicy and certainly packs a punch‚Ķ The fish fried with ginger and garlic is a must to try as is their duck larb.

Nong Prajak lake Udon Thani is home to some great little food places.


BBQ Salt Fish

They mainly offering BBQ salted fish served with Som Tam and sticky rice with a generous plate of fresh herbs and vegetables. Situated on Tasa Road it is lovely sitting here overlooking the lake and watching the world go by…

The fish is always lovely, fresh and very tasty… There will also sometimes be BBQ chicken livers on skewers and banana wrapped parcels of either fish or sticky rice with red beans…

Early evening at the lake you will find aerobics classes held in the open air just join in or hop on one of the gym machines situated around the lake and pedal away whilst watching the world go by then you can treat yourself to a lovely Thai massage to ease those aching limbs again all situated around this lovely lake so you can enjoy the view and dream…

I find here in the North there are not very many places which sell western food unless you go to the shopping malls and the Thai food is cooked the local Thai way and that is that… But it is how I like it…Real Thai food not westernised …

One of my favourite restaurants is tucked away up a little Soi( side road) quite close to my home on Posri Road and which I discovered quite by chance I am so pleased that I did as the food that comes out of that little open kitchen is just favourite is fish with fresh peppercorn sauce..( which) he told me takes him 3 hours to make that amazing sauce…I could eat it every day and never tire of it…That sauce is to die for…In the mornings the chef has his pork drying out in the sunshine for his very tasty sun-dried pork but his braised pork called Khao Ka Moo is another of my all time favourites it just melts in your mouth and explodes with the taste of cloves and cinnamon…I am in foodies heaven when I go there…I am the only European person there and I am greeted with those lovely smiles and an even lovelier plate of food…

If you have ever eaten Khao Ka Moo and enjoyed it then here is the recipe which you can make in your own kitchen at home…Tried and tested by Moi x… The recipe for Khao Ka Moo

I hope you have enjoyed the posts this week as I have taken you to some of my favourite places in and around Udon Thani, Thailand.

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this post please share… Thank you x

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Must- see Thai Temples…

Visiting Thailand??? Some beautiful must see Thai Temples from the new to the very old but all unique and with their own charm and beauty…

Please pop over to my new blog and give it some love and sharing…Thank you…Have a Sunday wherever you are and if you are Thailand maybe you will find a temple to visit here….Enjoy! xx

Have a lovely Mothers Day all you mothers out there xxx

Fruity Friday’s…Korlan Fruit…

Carol cooks! Korlan Fruit

This tiny little sweet and sour fruit is part of the Sapindaceae family which includes lychee, longan and rambutan.

It is a tiny little fruit which grows wild and is often called the wild lychee the tree it comes from is enormous¬†and the fruit so tiny it also quite rare to find… I came across this fruit quite by chance when I took a ride back from the market in a tuk-tuk.

The tuk-tuk driver had a bag of these in the back and told me to try some which I did ..of course…when I expressed my pleasure he gave me some…Thais are very generous if you try what they offer and you like it you will always be gifted some. He told me that he had a tree in his village which was where he got the fruit from…

korlan fruit on bunch

When peeled they look like a very small lychee and I could find very little information about this lovely little fruit… It may be found locally on markets or often people just sit on the sidewalk with a few fruits and vegetables from their land which they are selling to make a few baht but this is also where you come across unusual fruits and vegetables which are not commercially grown or grown wild.

Korlan fruit with one peeled

Found also in Laos and Myanmar it is not grown commercially or generally cultivated so quite rare.

Korlan…¬†the rare wild fruit juice has a delicious and unique taste of sour and sweet variety with health benefits from vitamins and antioxidants.

It is said to regulate blood sugar and also to improve concentration and stress. Locals say eaten daily or taken as a syrup/extract made from the fruit it gives increased energy and boosts the immune system, therefore, combating flu viruses and colds.

korlan fruit in chilli sauce

My daughter in law said they were also eaten with a dried chilli, fish sauce and lime sauce and they were quite nice this type of dip/sauce is quite commonly eaten with fruits.

Not that we would eat the stone but it is said that it is probably poisonous.

Have you come across this fruit?? Do you have any recipes using this fruit?? If so I would love to hear from you in the comments x

Thank you for reading this post I do hope you enjoyed it and if you did please hit the share buttons xxx

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Fruity Friday’s…The Tamarind

Fruity Friday's The Tamarind

I just don’t know where the time goes it’s Friday again and this week I am showcasing the lovely Tamarind…The Tamarind is very plentiful here and used in many Thai dishes …I love just eating the fruit it has quite a sour taste but I like it…It is sold in little packs here on the markets the seeds already removed or as a paste to add to food. It is also sold dried and sugared as a snack food and although sugared is still has quite a¬†sour…taste…

This rather plain brown pods fruit does, however, have the capacity to elevate your food to something else.

Tamarind like many fruits and vegetables has a long history of healing and aiding stomach disorders and is used as a laxative.

Tamarind Preparations are used for fevers, sore throats, inflammation of joints and sunstroke. The leaves dried or boiled are made into poultices to help reduce swollen joints, sprains, boils, haemorrhoids and conjunctivitis.

Tamarind is also great as a marinade for meat as it breaks down and tenderises tougher cuts of meat. It is used to make jams and syrups it is also one of the secret ingredients of Lea & Perrins  Worcestershire sauce which is a fermented sauce which has many uses.

Great for smoothies a mango and tamarind smoothie is very nice it also has many other culinary uses.

This little dip is a recipe from Bali given to me by my grandson’s girlfriend it is very easy to make but made more special by the addition of tamarind.¬†

Called Rujak sauce it is lovely with mangoes.

  • Take¬†200 gm of palm sugar shaved.
  • 15 gm of tamarind flesh¬†and 5 tbsp of water leave to infuse for 5 mins and then drain and keep the tamarind flavoured water.
  • 6 or more Thai chillies.
  • 1/4 tsp shrimp paste and 1/4tsp salt.

Blitz all these ingredients together and you have fiery little sauce.

It is hard for me to pick a favourite dish made with Tamarind this recipe for¬†Beef Rendang is a recipe given to me by my friend Mamik and it is very nice the beef is amazing. It is also my go-to recipe if I want that special dish to impress although there are many ingredients and it has quite a long prep time it is so worth it and as I said earlier if I am having guests a really lovely dish. You can see how rich and flavoursome that meat looks and it tastes amazing…

beef rendang


  • 2‚ÄĚ Galangal
  • 2‚ÄĚ Ginger
  • 1 kg beef (Bottom Round)
  • 1-litre¬† Coconut Milk (3 sm tins and made to one litre with water)
  • Grind together and put on one side, 1 tbsp Coriander seeds, 1 tsp Cumin seeds and 1 tsp white peppercorns.
  • 2 Star Anise.
  • Half cup toasted coconut (pound in pestle until oil is released and it looks like a paste.)
  • 1 Turmeric Leaf (Leave the leaf whole but tear side to stem along leaf) this releases the flavour.
  • 2 stems lemongrass crushed along the stem.
  • 2 Lime leaves.
  • Soak 1-2 tsp Tamarind pulp¬†in a little water and set aside for later.

Curry Paste:

Blitz the next 4 ingredients together to make the curry paste.

  • 2cm Fresh Turmeric.
  • 10 Shallots
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 10 large red chillies (de-seed if you want a milder curry)

Let’s Cook!

Cut the beef into large cubes.

Put a tbsp oil of your choice in a cooking pot (I use a wok). Add Curry paste, ground coriander seeds, cumin and white peppercorns plus add chopped ginger,turmeric and galangal stir for 5 mins, add beef and stir to combine. Add coconut milk/water mixture and stir to combine.

Slowly bring to a gentle simmer, add torn turmeric leaf, lemongrass and lime leaves and star anise.

Cover pan and cook until meat is tender at least 3 hrs on a low simmer, stirring occasionally.

Add the ground coconut paste about half hour before the end of the cooking time and also the tamarind liquid and this is when the magic happens and the taste goes from just another curry to something wonderful.

When the meat is cooked and tender remove the turmeric leaf and lemongrass stalks although if we are not eating the curry until the next day I leave them and remove them before we eat the curry.

This curry should traditionally have a very thick paste and is also best eaten the next day to allow the flavours to develop.

However, as Europeans prefer a thinner sauce you can choose not to reduce down as much.


Another of my favourites is Miang Kham although I have made at home some markets sell all the little bits ready cut in bags with the sauce much easier and they taste just the same as much of the food sold on the markets here is made in home kitchens and brought to market…



Ingredients: Filling:

  • 3/4 cup grated coconut (this is often available in the baking section of most supermarkets) if you are not as lucky as me and can buy from our local fresh markets.
  • 2 small limes, unpeeled (try to get limes with thin skin), cut into small cubes
  • 6 tablespoons shallots, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 6 tablespoons roasted peanuts
  • 6 tablespoons small dried shrimps
  • 4-5 fresh Thai chillies, cut into small slivers
  • 4 oz fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small cubes.

Ingredients: Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste, roasted until fragrant
  • 2 oz fresh galangal, cut into slivers and roasted until fragrant (see note below)
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut, roasted in a low-heat oven until lightly brown
  • 4 oz small dried shrimps.
  • 2 oz shallots, peeled and coarsely cut
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh ginger, sliced
  • 8 oz palm sugar (broken into small chunks)
  • 2 tablespoons table sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind soaked in 3 tbsp water for about 10 mins.
  • salt for seasoning

Let’s Cook!

The Sauce.

In a pestle and mortar, pound together the shallots and galangal until fine (note about galangal: it’s ok to use dried galangal as long as it’s placed in a dish of lukewarm water for a few minutes to reconstitute). Add roasted shrimp paste, ginger, coconut and dried shrimp, and continue pounding until smooth. Remove the mixture and place in a pot with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, add palm sugar and table sugar, then reduce heat and simmer, wait until reduced to 1 cup or a bit less. Add tamarind liquid. Taste, and adjust by adding a bit of salt. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.

Wrapping Leaves

Your choice of what leaves to use is up to you. Some use lettuce or spinach leaves due to ready availability, but to get an authentic flavour you should use the fresh Betel Leaves.

To serve:

Roast the coconut in a low-heat oven until lightly brown. Spoon the roasted coconut into a serving plate. In separate small bowls, arrange each filling ingredient listed above. With a fresh wrapping leaf in hand, fold it once across the bottom then sideways to form a pocket. Place about 1 teaspoon toasted coconut in the leaf together with a small amount of each filling to create a bite-sized quantity. Spoon the sauce on top, pop in your mouth and enjoy!

Although this can be a little time-consuming to prepare it is well worth it.

Lastly a beautiful salad with a Tamarind Sauce.

Yum Takrai (Spicy Lemongrass Salad)

Lemon Grass-Authentic recipe-Thai food


  • 15 stalks fresh lemongrass.
  • 1‚ĀĄ4¬†cup finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp. toasted cashews
  • 2 tbsp. whole dried shrimp
  • 1¬†1‚ĀĄ2¬†tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1¬†1‚ĀĄ2¬†tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2-1¬†1‚ĀĄ2¬†tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. whole dried shrimp, finely ground
  • 4-6 red Thai chillies stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 raw stemmed long beans, cut into 4‚Ä≥ pieces for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Trim and slice lemon grass very finely. Transfer lemongrass slices to a medium bowl, separate rings with your fingers. Add ginger, cashews, shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, ground shrimp, Thai chiles, and shallots, and toss well. Garnish with long beans. Serve on Banana Leaf or Betel Leaf as in my picture.
We also serve with a tamarind sauce made by combining 3 tbsp tamarind pulp with cup water in small pan, bring to boil and simmer 5 mins.
Remove from heat and stand 15 mins you can help break tamarind down with a spoon, strain through sieve extracting as much liquid as possible.
Add 2cm peeled finely chopped ginger and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, 11/2 tbsp palm sugar,2 tsp fish sauce,1 tbsp chilli/garlic sauce and 1 tsp soy sauce to tamarind liquid. Bring to boil, simmer 5 mins.
Whisk 1 tbsp cornflour with little water whisk into sauce cook 1 min or until thickens.
Taste and adjust seasoning add more sugar if required.
Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Thank you for reading this I hope you enjoyed it and found it helpful if you did please feel free to share……Thank you xxx

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