Thai Crispy Pork Belly (Moo Grawp/Moo Krob/หมูกรอบ) Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer

This will be my first recipe post where I will do them quick and pretty much assume you are a intermediate-level cook. If you’ve never marinaded meat before, go figure that out and come back later.

If you’ve never used a pressure cooker and air fryer to make crispy pork belly, you are in the right place. On to the recipe…

I think technique is more important here than the ingredients. Marinate 1-1.5 inch pork belly slices for two hours to two days. I try for at least overnight, but two days is better

I used one part fish sauce, one part gold mountain seasoned soy sauce, one part regular soy sauce, one part water, three parts sugar, a couple smashed garlic cloves and a little sesame oil. At this point you could add any number of other things to add more flavor, but I’m going to keep it basic for now

Braise the belly in the marinade plus additional water (total of about a cup of liquid) in a pressure cooker (I used an Instant Pot) for 19 minutes on high with natural release.

Dry the pork and cool in the refrigerator for an hour.

Separate the oil and marinade from the pressure cooker pot and save both. Reduce the marinade and taste for re-seasoning. Add more Gold Mountain sauce, sugar and sesame oil to taste. Put in some white or black pepper.

Brush the belly with fat skimmed out of the cooker and chuck it in the air fryer (Instant Pot) on broil (400 °F / 205 °C) for 15 minutes, turning half way through. Let it cool a little bit before slicing and enjoying.

You could eat these as in with some sticky rice and dipping sauces, not just the one you already made. Thai Sriracha (or Huy Fong Sriacha too). Nam jim jeaw might be my favorite but almost any sauce would probably work.

You can also make other dishes with it. One of my favorites is Pak Kana Moo Krob (Chinese broccoli with crispy pork). The recipe in the link here is spot on authentic and proper.

Posted in Appetizer, Main Dish, Pork, Side Dish, Thai | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bacon Sausage Hash Browns Breakfast Casserole


  • 1 bag frozen hashbrowns (do not thaw)
  • 8 jumbo eggs (or a dozen “large”)
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pound bacon cooked crispy
  • 1 pound country sausage (but you can use any kind of sausage you want)
  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups shredded swiss cheese
  • 4 green onions Prep note: Separate the white part away from the green part. Chop the green parts about a quarter inch. Take only two of the white parts, slice them in half length wise and chop as finely as you can. Save the other two white parts for another dish.
  • Salt/pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the stick of butter. Put enough butter in the pan to coat. Probably 2-3 tablespoons.

Put the whole bag of frozen hash browns in the pan and spread evenly. It will probably fill the pan up. Don’t worry, it will reduce a lot.

Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes. Take it out and use a spatula to pat down and make an even surface. Brush butter on top. Use as much as you want.

Back in the oven until it’s crispy. Probably 20-30 more minutes. Remove pan and reduce temperature to 350 F. Pepper the top of the hash browns.

Prep the pound of bacon to the crispy stage, however you prefer, and break into pieces. I baked mine at the same time as the hash browns.

Remove the casings of the sausage and kind of pull off chunks (see picture above), then fry until no longer pink.

Beat eggs and cream until smooth. Incorporate the white part of the green onion and half the green part. Add 1 teaspoon of salt or to taste.

Lay down the bacon and sausage on the hash browns, then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Pour the egg mixture all over the top of the casserole to make sure everything gets wet and distribute the green onion evenly.

Bake in the oven for 35-50 minutes, until the eggs are set and you have your desired level of browning.

Sprinkle the remaining green onion over the finished dish.

I think you could add bell or jalapeno peppers to the recipe, but I would dice it fairly small and saute in a pan until soft. The cool the peppers before adding to the egg mixture.

I like eating this with Sriracha sauce.

Posted in American, bacon, Breakfast, Eggs, Main Dish, Pork, Side Dish | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thai Lemongrass Chicken, Pork or Beef (Crying Tiger)


  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (Tiparos brand, 740 mg sodium per tablespoon)
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 tablespoons brown (or white) sugar
  • Juice of one small lime (or half lemon)
  • 3-4 good sized cloves of garlic smashed real good, and don’t worry about the paper—throw it in too.
  • Chilies, smashed (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 tablespoon murin or white wine or ½ tablespoon bourbon or vodka (optional)
  • 1-2 pounds chicken, pork or beef
Mix all the ingredients except the oil, alcohol and meat in a ziplock bag until the sugar has dissolved. Taste it and note the balance of sweet, salt and sour for future reference. Add the oil and alcohol and mix well. The marinade is ready.
Marinated pork ready for the grill

If using large chicken breast, cut it in half across the plane so you have two “steaks” and pound them to 3/8 – 1/2 inch thickness. For smaller breast and boneless chicken thighs (which are probably the best and what they use in Thailand) just pound them down to 3/8 – 1/2 inch thickness. Marinade chicken for 1 – 2 hours.
My favorite pork cut for this are country style ribs (actually pieces of pork shoulder) that I pound down to about a half inch thick. If I am using pork loin, I cut it across the plane (with the grain) about ¾ to 1 inch slices and pound it down to one half inch. Any cut will work, just cut in one inch pieces and pound to 1/2 inch. I wouldn’t use tenderloin. Marinade pork 2 – 3 hours.
For beef, flank steak, skirt steak or hanger steak are perfect. No pounding. Just chuck it straight into the marinade for 2-4 hours. If you make this with these cuts, the dish becomes “Crying Tiger Steak” and not lemongrass beef. To grill, if you have a gas grill, fire up all burners as high as you can get and preheat covered for 30 minutes. For charcoal, get your coals going and when they’re ready don’t spread them all out. Make a pile about 4-5 coals high.Take your meat out of the marinade and straight to the hot grill. For pork, chicken and skirt steak, cook as hot and fast as you can flipping frequently and basting with canola oil each flip until done. You actually want flame up. For flank steak you’ll probably need less heat and cook it a little longer. Let the meat rest before slicing and serving with sticky rice and nam jim jeaw recipe here.

Note on fish sauce. All my recipes are written using Tiparos brand fish sauce. This is important because salinity in different brands vary wildly. The other brand I use when I can’t find Tiparos is Squid brand (no squid in it). Squid brand is twice as salty as Tiparos. So if using that, I cut the fish sauce in half and add back the lost amount in water. For a different brand, check the sodium on the nutritional label and do some math. Tiparos is 740 mg per tablespoon. Do not buy a brand called “Tips”. This is a rip-off brand and I hear it’s disgusting.
Crying Tiger Beef (Sua Rong Hi)
Posted in Beef, Chicken, Main Dish, Pork, Thai | Leave a comment

Easy Homemade Breakfast Sausage & Sausage Gravy


I don’t like most of the commercially available breakfast sausages all that much. I often find them a bit too salty and a bit too sagey. I remember how much I loved my uncles breakfast sausage after he would butcher a hog in the fall. I wondered if I couldn’t come up with something. I’ve made Italian sausage and Mexican chroizo before, I had sage in my pantry, why not? I started with several other peoples recipes–most notably Alton Brown. Some recipes added other herbs (rosemary, parsley and marjoram), some didn’t have added sugar, some used fresh herbs–I used dry. I then modified and tweaked my recipe until I found a formula I liked best. Not too salty. Not too sagey. No need for special equipment. Really simple and easy to make.

  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sage (I go ¾)
  • ½ teaspoon thyme (I probably use a little less than a full ½ teaspoon)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I use a whole teaspoon)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt


I put all the ingredients except the pork into a bowl and mix them together well. Then I add the pork and try to incorporate the seasonings without mixing it top much. I just of just keep breaking apart the ground meat until all the seasonings are mixed in. Then you need to let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours (or overnight) for the flavorings to be drawn into the meat. Then make patties or use it loose to make sausage gravy.

Super Easy Sausage Gravy

CountryGravy2I know how to make proper, homemade sausage gravy. It’s not difficult. It does take some time with having to create a roux. If I am cooking for a lot of people, I just go ahead and make the regular milk gravy. But I love legitimate kitchen shortcuts and this is a good one. One day I happened to notice at the grocery store that the packet country gravy uses water and not milk. I bought a couple packets to try for those times I don’t have any milk and want sausage gravy.

I started out by browning off about a half a pound of sausage. After removing the meat (leaving the fat and browned bits), dump 2 cups of water into the pan followed whisking in the gravy powder until smooth. Bring back to a boil and cook for one minute. Stir the browned sausage back into the gravy and you’re done.


Even though biscuits are traditional, I often eat this gravy over toast. My favorite is to fry up a couple of patties for the side and a couple of eggs to go right on top of the biscuits (or toast) and gravy.


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Noi’s Spicy Tuna Salad (Fuji Style) ยำสลัดทูน่าสไตล์ฟูจิของหน่อย

OriginalFujiTunaSalad2Fuji is a chain of Japanese style restaurants ubiquitous in Thailand. I am not sure how authentic the Japanese food is, but I love this restaurant. Click here to see their menu. When Nok (rhymes with Coke) and I go there, she always orders their spicy tuna salad. Just last week I was in Thailand and as we were eating at Fuji, Nok mentioned that Noi (rhymes with boy) knows how to make the tuna salad. I asked Nok to get Noi to send the recipe in Thai and I would translate it (yes, I read Thai), make it and post it on my recipe site. This is the fruit of that labor.


  • 1 can of chunk tuna fish (albacore is good for this one), drained. Noi’s recipe called for one packed in oil, but I made it using the spring water variety.
  • Lettuce, about a quarter to a third of a medium head of iceberg, chopped or ripped into bite-sized pieces. Fuji uses iceberg, I used green leaf and iceberg, but I think you can use any salad greens or mixture of greens you like.
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup, halved.
  • Japanese or Asian cucumbers, 1/2 cup, thinly sliced. You could probably use any type of cucumber. The Asian ones are smaller, both in length and girth, than the typical American ones. They also have less water and a smaller seed to meat ratio. If you are using the American variety, you should slice them thin and then half them into semicircles.
  • Lemongrass, about a tablespoon or two, very, very thinly sliced. As thin as you can possibly get it. Mandolin slicers work really well for this.
  • Thai mouse poop chilies, one tablespoon or two (I use 2). You can use any small chili peppers you can get. At the Asian market near me, they just call these “Thai chilies”.
  • 1 small lime. Use the Asian variety if you can find them. A key lime is basically the Asian variety (I think). If you can’t find Asian limes, you probably only need half of the larger “regular” ones.
  • Mayonnaise, about a 1/4 cup. Kewpie variety might be traditional in Japan, but Noi used Thai salad cream, which is very sweet. I think any mayonnaise you like will work, but it will change the flavor a little bit.
  • Daikon radish sprouts, about 1 tablespoon. This is sort of optional. I found them at my local H-Mart. But it was $2.50 for a small container so I didn’t bother. I don’t think you need to substitute something for it either.
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1-3 teaspoons of sugar–I go 3 teaspoons which also equals a tablespoon. Noi’s recipe did not call for sugar, but she used the Thai-style sweet salad cream. I used Kewpie and needed to add the sugar.
  • Mint leaves for garnish. (optional)


In a bowl, add the mayonnaise, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and sugar and mix well. Taste it now. It should be a little sour, a tiny bit sweet and salty enough to season the rest of the ingredients. Adjust seasoning as needed before going to the next step. Now add 2/3 of the chili, the lemongrass plus the tuna and mix gently. You don’t want the tuna to be completely broken down–should have some chunk left in it. Next add cucumbers, lettuce and 2/3 of the tomatoes. Toss gently to coat. Put the salad on a plate. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 of chilies and tomatoes, then the daikon radish sprouts. Garnish with mint leaves. That’s it!


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How to Make Thai Sticky Rice ข้าวเหนียว and Toasted Rice Powder ข้าวคั่ว

This is part 2 of a four part series that should have been posted 4 months ago. New job and a month in Thailand has me neglecting my blog. BTW, this is now going to be a 5 part series as I’ve worked out my version of nam jim jaew with tamarind, where as the first version is lime.StickyRice_Traditional

This post is about Southeast Asian sticky rice. This should not be confused with Japanese or Korean sticky rice. Those rices use a more traditional rice with a soaking stage that produces a stickier rice rather than fluffy one. Southeast Asian sticky rice is also used in Japan, China and Korea but they call it “sweet rice”, (I think) generally because it’s mainly used for desserts/sweet dishes. In Thailand, particularly in the North and Northeast regions, this is the main staple rice, not jasmine rice, and is served with savory dishes. I will be posting my Thai grilled pork (หมูย่าง) recipe soon. That goes great with sticky rice!


The Thais use it for desserts too. Ever had mango like the picture above? That’s this kind of rice.

SticyRicePotThis is how to make that sticky rice in a rather non-traditional manner. The traditional manner involves this picture to the right. I actually have one of those things. They work. It’s the classic. It’s also at my Mom’s house in Utah.

Why don’t I have it here? It’s big. It’s funky shaped. My condo isn’t that big. And the only thing it’s good for is making sticky rice. (Unitaskers? Ain’t nobody got time for that, right, Alton?)

If you want to see how to make sticky rice the traditional way, go over to ImportFood.Com and this link right here. Also, ImportFood.Com has all the Thai ingredients, including sticky rice, that you could ever want. My traditional cooker, mentioned above, was purchased from them. They also have a section of videos of Thai street food vendors, cooking up their ImportFood.Comdeliciousness with English narration. Find the video tab at the top. And make some purchases while you’re at it. This is a great company with reasonable prices. I like supporting businesses like this. (No, they did not pay me to say any of these things. I’ve just been a customer for over 10 years and genuinely like them.)

An excellent Thai food blog is SheSimmers.Com. I highly recommend you check it out. It is so much better than mine–though I was happy (proud?) to find our recipes on several Thai dishes are very close. She had a post on how to make sticky rice without the traditional equipment using a splatter guard, a regular saute pan and a stainless steel bowl. It’s brilliant. That method can be found right here.

OK, enough with the plugs. On to my method…


I have an “Aroma Rice Cooker / Food Steamer”, just like above. They include this steamer basket that sits above the rice as it cooks. I haven’t cooked meat in mine, but I have cooked vegetables there from time to time. Now I steam my sticky rice with it. Here’s how you do it.

StickRice_ThreeLadiesFirst you need to buy sticky rice. I’m going to say this again–you cannot make this kind of sticky rice with regular rice!

You need to rinse the rice just like you would for jasmine or other types of rice. What!? You don’t rinse your rice before you cook it? Stop that! Rinse all types of rice 3 to 4 times before cooking. The gets rid of dust, extra starch, rice bran powder leftover from when the hull was removed. Always, always, always rinse your rice.

After rinsing, I put the rice in the main rice cooker part and cover with several inches of cold water. You should let it soak about 8 hours, give or take a couple. Sometimes I’ve let it soak for up to 12 hours with good results. If you do not have 8 hours, there is a cheat. Use the hottest tap water you can and let it soak 3-4 hours. It’s not quite as good that way, but it’s better than no sticky rice. After soaking, drain the rice and put it in a bowl–we’re going to get right back to it.

Next, clean out the rice cooker pot and put in about 3 inches of water. Then put the steamer basket in place. You’ll notice the steamer basket has huge holes where the rice would fall right through. You gotta do something about that. You could use cheesecloth or muslin, but the first time I went to make this, I couldn’t find cheesecloth anywhere. When did Safeway stop carrying cheesecloth? I was considering using a clean kitchen towel but happened to notice my basket-style coffee filters on the counter. Eureka! When I flattened out the filter it fit perfectly into the steamer basket like it was designed to work that way. So down goes the coffee filter, in pours in the rice and I level it out. BTW, you can use cheesecloth. Just cover the basket with the cloth and leave enough to wrap around the entire thing.


Then just close the lid and run a cycle. Mine goes for about 45 minutes which seems to cook it properly. About half way through I use a spatula to flip the rice over. I usually can only get about a quarter of the rice flipped each time and then I level it out again. Close the lid and let it finish steaming. If you use cheesecloth, the flip can be done all at once. If after a cycle the rice is still not done, just run another cycle–but keep checking it. It won’t take 1.5 hours to steam. Check to make sure you haven’t run out of water too. If you have just add more.

That is pretty much it. I usually turn off the cooker and scoop out a portion of the rice and then close the lid to keep it warm and moist. Sticky rice will get cold and hard very quickly, so I usually pull out only 5-10 minutes worth of eating and leave the rest inside. If your batch does become cold, just steam it for 5 minutes or so and it will bring it right back.

Toasted Rice Powder ข้าวคั่ว

Toasted rice powder, khao kua, is an ingredient in several Thai dishes. Most notably, laab (ลาบ), yum nam tok (น้ำตก) and jaew (น้ำจิ้มแจ่ว) dipping sauces (my 1st jaew recipe is here). You can buy it already made in small jars like McCormick spices, but it’s kind of expensive and if you already have sticky rice, it’s easy to make.


Start with a dry pan over medium heat (can be non-stick I guess, but I use my tri-clad) and put as much uncooked rice as you want to make powder. I usually cover the pan. This is more than I would use at one time, but the stuff stores well for several weeks. Then slowly dry roast it, like you might for spices, for the next 10-20 minutes. Keep shaking and pan-flipping every minute or so. Do not let it burn! Once it’s a nice brown color (and fragrant. Kind of reminds me of the smell of popcorn). Take it off the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, simply chuck it into a food processor or a coffee grinder and grind it until it’s little coarser than corn meal. Don’t take it all the way to a fine powder. And that’s it. Easy, easy, easy. Just takes a little time.


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Nam Jim Jaew น้ำจิ้มแจ่ว Tamarind or Lime

moo yang

This sauce is one of my favorites from Thailand. Everyone probably knows the “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce” or nam jim gai, literally translates as “dipping sauce for chicken”, but nam jim jaew (sort of rhymes with cow) is almost as common. If you get grilled chicken in Thailand you will get both of these sauces every time. (My grilled meat marinade recipe is here.)  There are actually two different kinds (maybe more?) of jaew that I used to get. In Bangkok in particular, you often get the lime version. At a proper Issan restaurant though, you’ll get tamarind.


Lime version

I prefer the tamarind version. I know some people who prefer the lime. I don’t know what is wrong with those people, but apparently they do exist. 😉

I often get requests for the recipe. So here it is.

  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate. BTW, the pictured brand below is good. I have bought others that kinda sucked. You can also make your own from tamarind paste, which is always good. No comment on the brand name. 😀
  • OR
  • 2 limes, one juiced, one extra in case you need more sour
  • 2 tablespoons dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped culantro (sawtooth corriander) or 1.5-2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 tablespoons shallots, sliced very thin then cut though a couple times.
  • 3 tablespoons very fresh fish sauce (for this one, Tiparos brand or see my note on fish sauce at the end of this recipe)
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar (palm, brown or white sugar works), depending on taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon toasted rice power ข้าวคั่ว (you can buy this or make it yourself recipe here)

Brand cock bottle_FINAL

I start by mixing the tamarind or lime juice, fish sauce and sugar in a bowl to let the sugar dissolve and then move on to prepping the cilantro and shallot. A mandolin (“V”) slicer set on it thinnest setting is perfect for the shallots. After sliced thin, just run your knife through it a couple times and it’s good. With the culantro or cilantro, chop it as fine as you can.

Once the sugar has dissolved taste the mixture. It should be sweet, salty and sour. If you haven’t had this sauce before, I don’t know how to guide you. If you have, adjust sugar, fish sauce and tamarind/lime juice as you like it. Next, add the cilantro, shallots, black pepper, red pepper flake, toasted rice powder and mix. That’s it.


Nam jim jaew in the upper right with grilled pork, sticky rice and nam prik ong in the center

Fish Sauce น้ำปลา

TiparosOK, let’s talk fish sauce. First off brands. I use Tiparos pretty much exclusively. If you cook much Thai or Vietnamese food you will know there are many, many types of fish sauce out there. I have not tried them all. In Thailand, Tiparos brand is ubiquitous in use to an extent much greater than say Heinz Ketchup here in the States. I only remember ever seeing two other brands in people’s actual kitchens in Thailand–Squid brand and the one with the scales on the label (cannot remember the name). And I saw the Squid brand only once (and no, there is no squid in Squid brand fish sauce). I think if you are cooking with a fish sauce it doesn’t matter as much which brand you use. Once in pinch, I bought a bottle of Oyster Nampla fish sauce (and no, there are no oysters in Oyster brand fish sauce) and discovered it’s the worst fish sauce ever–but I still used it for cooking for a week or two until I bought some Tiparos.

But this recipe is using fish sauce raw. It’s the base flavor. I would not have used Oyster brand or any other “not-so-good” fish sauce in a raw fish sauce dish. The same would apply to “prik nam pla” (fish sauce with sliced mouse poop chilies). Raw fish sauce needs to be good quality fish sauce.

Different fish sauces also have different salinity. Squid brand is a good quality fish sauce, but is noticeably saltier than Tiparos. So if you were to make this with Squid brand, you would need to use less and add water. As in 1.5 tablespoons Squid fish sauce and add 1.5 tablespoons of water.

Lastly, on freshness. If you have an opened bottle of fish sauce in your cupboard/larder, get up right now and throw it away. Unless you just opened it yesterday, in which case, get up right now and put it in the refrigerator right away. Fish sauce stays in the refrigerator, got it? 🙂

Of course it won’t stay fresh in your refrigerator forever. It will easily keep 3-4 months, probably longer. You can tell the status of your fish sauce by holding it up to a light and looking through. It should be iced tea colored. Not Coke color or (oh, gawd no) coffee color. Make sure you check the bottle before buying them too–and check the expiration dates. All Thai food products will have made and expiration dates on them. Again, since this is a raw fish sauce dish, I recommend using a bottle opened less than a month or just go buy a fresh bottle before making it.

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Crab Rangoon Deep Fried Wontons


I’ve been making this one for years, even before I moved to Thailand–though they loved them there. Thais thought putting cheese in a fried wonton was weird–until they tasted them. It was far and away the most requested dish to make by my Thai friends.

A facebook post from my sister reminds me that SHE taught me this recipe. Though I’ve changed it enough to call it my own, at this point. But shouts out to sis for getting it started…

  • 8 oz. imitation crab meat (I prefer chunk style), roughly chopped
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/4 red or yellow onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying


Mix all ingredients except wonton wrappers and vegetable oil. Taste and adjust for seasoning.


Next, place a small portion in the center of a wonton wrapper.


Have a bowl of water nearby. Dip your finger and wet the entire outside edge of wonton. Fold over and work out as much air from inside while pressing together.


Fry at 375 degrees until brown. Everything in there is already cooked, so just get the color right and you’re done. Drain on paper towels and serve with duck sauce/plum sauce/Thai chicken dipping sauce–any thing you’d use for a spring roll or fried wonton.

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Italian Style Baked Spinach and Cheese ผักโขมอบชีส สิบสามเหรียญ

Spinach_doneThis is indeed another kitchen shortcut, but I kinda like those. You could make your own creamed spinach, but this is really a way to add another dish to your table without taking a lot of effort.

This recipe was inspired by ผักโขมอบชีส (spinach baked with cheese) at 13 Coins Restaurants in Bangkok, Thailand, a favorite local restaurant that straddled the line between a Thai restaurant and an American one. We used to order the baked spinach every time we ate there. The last time I saw Nan Jibson, she asked if I knew how to make this dish. I told her I did and that I would post the recipe soon. It only took 5 months. 🙂

  • 2 packages Bird’s Eye Steamfresh Lightly Sauced Creamed Spinach, 11 oz (or equivalent amount of another creamed spinach product be it purchased or home-made)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced. (Can use grated or other types of mozzarella, but fresh is really nice in this one)
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. If you only have ground nutmeg, throw it in the trash can and omit the ingredient. 😀
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Spaghetti/tomato sauce, whatever kind you like, shouldn’t be too chunky though

Spinach_Birds Eye

Microwave the spinach packets as directed but don’t cook them the full time. Make sure the spinach is just hot. Probably shave 30 seconds to 1 minute off the cooking time of one bag. Then pour the spinach into a large sieve and allow to drain for 10 minutes or it looks like it’s not going to give up any more liquid.


You may notice in these pictures, I am only making one packet of spinach. I used the other side of my baking dish to roast an Italian sausage at the same times as the spinach. Why not? 🙂

Transfer the spinach to a baking dish. Mix in 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and black pepper then smooth/level out. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top. Add a layer of tomato sauce. Cover with the slices of mozzarella and bake in a 400 degree oven until hot and bubbly. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Spinach_ready for oven

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Thailand Inspired Smoked Link Sausage / Hot Dog Sandwich

Sausage Hoagie RollsI reckon it does sound strange to read both “Thailand” and “hot dog” in a recipe title. One of the many surprises I had during my first visit to Bangkok, was visiting a Tesco supermarket and seeing the “hot dog” deli counter. Oh my. There were over 100 varieties, and only one of them is really what we would call a “hot dog”. Some of my favorites were bacon and cheese ones as well as the German-styled brats wrapped in bacon.

Smoked Link BolThere were also stalls set up on the streets and sometimes inside the supermarkets that would grill sausages/hot dogs for take away. Thais mostly eat their tubular meat with a bamboo stick/skewer. The hot dog buns are of course used for ice cream. That is not a joke. They sell ice cream on hot dog buns instead of cones. Here’s a link to see what I’m talking about. But I digress. 🙂

Some vendors though actually made sandwiches with their sausages. I remember two places in Bangkok and one in Hua Hin that had particularly tasty ones and all three made theirs about like this recipe.


  • Sausages Package4 Smoked link sausages, I used Virginia Smoked Link Sausages from T.O. Williams, but a bun sized kielbasa, a half-smoke, any type of sausage that’s fully cooked or smoked will work, even a hot dog–though I’d say that’s the worst pick.
  • 4 bolillo or hoagie rolls or any soft roll larger than a hot dog bun. Get as fresh as you can! If the bread is not already cut, I make a slit and a pocket for the filling but not cutting all the way through at the ends. Kewpie mayoIf the bread is already cut, you will just have to eat it a little more carefully.
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • ketchup
  • mayonnaise, Japanese-style Kewpie is best, but any mayonnaise in a squirt bottle can work
  • Sriracha sauce (optional, could substitute any thick hot sauce you like)

With the Virginia Smoke Links I used, I shallow-boiled them for about ten minutes. Rinsed and wiped out the pan and put in a couple of tablespoons of oil. I then fried the sausages on all sides–splits and cracks are very acceptable.

Sausages Grilled

When nicely browned, place in the slit of the bolillo or in the bun. Cover with chopped tomato and then raw onion. Drizzle Sriracha, ketchup and finally mayonnaise over top–see photo. It’s ready to serve!

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Asian-style Chicken Meatballs or Pork Meatballs with a green curry sauce ลูกชิ้นไก่ ใส่ แกงเขียวหวาน


I am not sure how authentic the meatball recipe is–the flavors are spot on, even though I came up with this on my own. Somehow I doubt they would use bread in a meatball, but it tastes like something you would get in Thailand. The green curry is authentic.

If you want to explore some other Thai coconut milk curries click:
Thai Red Curry แกงเผ็ด
Massaman Thai Curry with Beef Shortribs แกงมัสมั่นเนื้อซี่โครงสั้น

For the meatballs:

  • 2-2.5 pounds of ground chicken or ground pork or a mixture of the two
  • 2 stalks spring onion, the green part very thinly sliced, the white part finely chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 3 slices of fresh white bread, crusts removed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 4 Thai chilies, finely chopped (the small, really hot ones. This is optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the curry sauce:

  • 4 oz green curry paste (I like Maesri or Mae Ploy brands the best)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (14 oz)
  • 6-10 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 handful of Thai basil or 2 teaspoons of dried, regular basil.
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (can use white, or palm sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar or lime juice
  • Fish sauce to taste


This really is two recipes: One for Asian meatballs; and one for green curry. The green curry won’t be a proper one, however, as I am not going to use any vegetables but I will give you instructions at the end on how to make a proper green curry. This particular dish is put together as a party food. After you’ve baked, fried or boiled the meatballs and rendered the curry, put both into a slow cooker to finish cooking and keep warm. I started writing this on New Year’s Eve 2012 to take to a party. They were a big hit.

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Creamy Tuna Soup or Creamy Clam Soup


This might seems like a strange soup. It seemed strange to me the first time I had it myself. I had recently moved to Bangkok and was with a friend at Sizzler (yeah, they have Sizzler’s over there) and there was what I though was clam chowder but the sign said “Cream Tuna Soup”. Eeeeewwww. How can that be good? I tried it anyway and was glad I did. A year or two later, my girlfriend at the time asked if I could make it. All these ingredients were readily available to me in Thailand. It’s almost shamefully quick and simple to make, but it’s really good–the girlfriend said it was better than the restaurant’s. Here’s the Thailand Sizzler inspired result.

  • 1 can cream of chicken condensed soup
  • 1 can or two packets of tuna (roughly 5 oz. Drain the canned variety) or one can of clams (save the clam juice)
  • Beer, about 5 ounces (do not substitute with non-alcoholic beer–more on that below. You can substitute with about 2 ounces of white wine)
  • 2 slices of Kraft Singles or Velveeta slices or something similar. Don’t use cheddar cheese unless you know how to process it before adding to the soup or you might end up with a glumpy mess.
  • 1 teaspoon parsley (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Water or Milk

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Massaman Thai Curry with Beef Shortribs แกงมัสมั่นเนื้อซี่โครงสั้น

Mas_FinishedThis is the second of what will be four coconut milk-based Thai curry recipes I will post. In the States, red curry is the most popular. (my recipe is here) I was surprised to find out on my first visit to Thailand that red curry was actually fairly rare to come across. Green curry is the Thai people’s favorite and can be found at almost every Thai food restaurant in the country. (My Green Curry (sort of) recipe is be found by clicking this sentence.) What I think must be the second most popular coconut milk curry in Thailand is panang–but that’s another post.

“Gaeng masamun” (“gaeng” can mean “curry” or “soup”) comes from the South of Thailand. I first had this at the best indoor restaurant within walking distance of my first apartment in Bangkok. I probably went to this place twice a week for close to a year. Even if it was just two of us, we’d order three dishes and one would always be a coconut milk curry–either massamun or panang–and this place had what I new believe to be the best of both of those in Bangkok. I was not prepared when I moved some 7 miles away that I would never find another truly great masamun curry in the city. Worse than that, it was hard to find it at all, and when you did find it, it would range from “edible” to “wrap it up tight and throw it in the trash because even the stray dogs shouldn’t eat this”.

Then I went to Phuket–in the south of Thailand. Can’t swing a dead cat in Phuket without hitting a good masaman. Down there it’s as ubiquitous as green curry is in Central Thailand. Even the Thai Airways restaurant in the airport in Phuket has incredible gang masaman.  What’s also interesting is the variations from the different cooks is wider than for green or red curry. I am going to lay out what I think is the basic recipe. I’ll give you some possible additions, but if you’ve never made this or eaten this before, I recommend sticking closely to the recipe. It’s fairly authentic and better than any restaurant in Bangkok save one. 😉


  • 1.5-2 pounds bone-in or bone-out beef short ribs (or stewing beef or chuck roast or 4 chicken thighs)
  • 4 oz (110 grams) masaman curry paste (I used “Maesri” brand here, it was one of their little cans)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (13-14 oz size)
  • 3 medium sized potatoes, pealed and cut into chunks. (Yukon gold works the best, but any other waxy potato like the red ones in the picture work as well)
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted, roasted peanuts. If you have the salted ones, put them in hot tap water and let them sit for 10 minutes to wash off as much salt as you can.
  • 1/2 sweet onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 4-6 Finger chilies, sliced on the bias (very optional)
  • 1 tablespoon brown or palm sugar (maybe more)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice or vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • Thai basil (optional)

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Bom Burgers เบอร์เกอร์หมู หรือ เบอร์เกอร์ไก่ จากน้องป้อม (Asian-style pork burger or chicken burger)

I learn to make this one from a Thai in Thailand many years ago. This burger recipe is the result of my Scottish mate Alan’s wife, Bom, trying to make a “burger” for her Western husband. It doesn’t taste western at all 🙂 but it’s awesome. She called it “A-hahn farang” (อาหารฝรั่ง or “white people food”) but I call bullshit–this is Thai food! I did have her teach me how to make them and now I’ve made them on three continents–New Zealand counts as another continent, right?

  • 1 pound of lean pork (not tenderloin) or chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce (or Maggie)
  • 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • cornstarch (optional)
  • oil for frying
  • chopped onion
  • bread–can be white bread, a hamburger bun or sandwich thins. Wheat and multi-grain breads with nuts and twigs does not work as well.

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Daeji Bulgogi Tacos 불고기

I am really not that into “fusion cuisine”. I’m not really against it, but I rarely experiment with cooking fusion stuff. In fact, if I am cooking the cuisine of another culture, I do my best to be as authentic as possible. This crazy combo was an accident. I had made Daeji Bulgogi a few days before (I try for a 48-72 hour marinade if I can. 24 minimum) and wanted to eat it for dinner. Only one problem–rice. I didn’t have any microwave rice on hand. I also didn’t have 2 hours to soak my rice to make it Korean style–and I was even too lazy to make jasmine rice. I did have soft corn taco shells. So I tried it and it was pretty darn good, so the next time I made it, I wrote it up.

  • 1/2 pound or so Daeji Bulgogi, click for that recipe
  • 1/2 onion (red or sweet), make 1/2 inch slices, then quarter
  • 1-2 jalapenos, sliced
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced the same thickness as the jalapenos
  • 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper paste (gochujang) mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

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Rob Howard’s Mexican Lasagne

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 packet Taco or Chili seasoning
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • Shredded cheese. Mexican blend from a package works great or colby-jack & cheddar if you want to shred your own
  • 2 cans of refried beans or double my quick refried bean recipe
  • Jalapenos, sliced (optional, Rob’s wife won’t let him add the japs. 😀 )
  • Flour tortillas

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Quick Refried Bean Recipe

This is a quick version of refried beans that should take about 30-45 minutes. If you want to make them totally from scratch, here’s my recipe–but be warned, it takes 3-4 hours.

  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped (or 1/4 bell pepper, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons of chili seasoning mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne or pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine or 1 tablespoon of bourbon or 1/4 cup white wine

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Smoked Seafood Mexican Canape + Joe’s Salsa recipe + Enchilada Sauce

I shamelessly put the canapé first in the title, because the canapé is the money. The salsa and enchilada sauce are the real recipes here. I first developed this particular recipe while living in Thailand. You can make this salsa recipe with fresh tomatoes, but sometimes in Bangkok I couldn’t get good, ripe tomatoes. So I tried making it with their canned tomatoes. It worked. Now I make salsa with only canned tomatoes for three reasons. First is that it lasts longer in the fridge than when using fresh. The tomatoes don’t get mushy since they are already cooked. Second is that it’s just cheaper. The third is that I get to use the tomato sauce from the can to make enchilada sauce. If I had a glut of fresh tomatoes, I might make salsa from fresh. Otherwise, use those fresh suckers in a BLT or a salad or even a simple tomato sandwich. If you make this salsa with fresh tomatoes, you might need to adjust salt, sugar and lime juice for however sweet/sour your tomatoes are.

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Mom’s Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Salad

  • 8-10 small red potatoes (or another waxy potato like Yukon Gold–do not use russets, “baking potatoes”!)
  • 4-6 hard boiled eggs, mashed (Mom says 6, I usually use 4)
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped. Make sure it’s a sweet tasting carrot or use less
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (or so) each of sweet pickle and dill pickle, finely chopped. Could use sweet relish for the sweet pickle
  • 1 teaspoon each of sweet pickle and dill pickle juice
  • 1 cup prepared mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Salt, start with a teaspoon

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Spicy Meatloaf with Mary Bee’s Sweet Glaze

  • 1.5-2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3/4-1 pound fresh bratwurst, removed from the casing, or other fresh sausage.
  • 4-5 slices white or wheat bread, crusts removed and cubed
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and grated
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 heaping tablespoon parsley (I used dried, but I have a source of artisan dried herbs, a Mennonite market in south-central Pennsylvania. The dried herbs there are amazing as well as inexpensive. McCormick’s just doesn’t stand up. Unless you have really good dried stuff, I would recommend using fresh.)
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or Asian oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon each of dijon mustard and ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

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