Riviera Nayarit Local Fruit & Herbs Makes Great Thailand Recipes

by Dolores Brittingham

My husband and I are very fortunate to live in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, which is on the border Nuevo Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit in Thai Food Tom Yum Goong Stock Photo - 11010004Mexico, for the past a 11 years. I love all the different foods you can get here in Mexico, as the combinations create amazing tastes and textures.
However, one of my favorite cuisines, Thai, is not very available.

I know that in the past there have been several restaurants that have tried to serve Thai food but quickly went out of business, much to our chagrin.

Thailand New Year in April
This File:Songkran at Wat Thai in Los Angeles, April 2008.JPGweek happens to be Songkran, the Thai New Year, and it falls on Saturday, April 13th. The celebration in Thailand usually last for several days, with official public holidays lasting through Wednesday, 17 April 2013. It is their water festival, where people splash each other with a bucket of water in the streets of Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and other Thailand cities. If you happen to be there, or in any major city along the west coast of the United States, don’t wear your finest or you will get it water spotted. New Year celebration, Rot Nam Dam Hua, is als a traditioFile:Songkran in Wat Kungthapao 03.jpgnal way to celebrate with elders. Most Thai people go back to their hometowns to meet their elders. What is less known is that the Thai New Year is also a very religious festival, where Thai people go to Buddhist temples and gently bath Buddha statues by pouring water on the statues, and give alms to Buddhist monks.

Until 1939, the country we now call Thailand was known as Siam. You remember the movie “The King and I” with Yul Brenner don’t you?, and it was the only Southeast Asian country never colonized by the West.

Thai food is known for its unique combinations of seasoning. Although it is hot and spicy, Thai cooking is carefully balanced to bring outVariety of spices in small black bowls.  Focus on front bowl.  Includes saffron, ginger, and curry powders. Stock Photo - 9887648 all the different flavors in a dish. Curries (dishes made with a spicy powder called curry) are a mainstay of Thai cooking. Hot chilies appear in many Thai dishes. Other common flavorings are fish sauce, dried shrimp paste, lemon grass, and the spices coriander, basil,
garlic, ginger, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon. Soup, eaten with most meals, helps balance the hot flavors of many Thai dishes as do steamed rice, mild noodle dishes, and sweet desserts.

Thai Foods  Found on the Riviera Nayarit
Coconuts play an important role in the Thai diet, as here on the Riviera Nayarit. Many Riviera Nayarit locals consume green coconut juiceGreen Coconut 2 in their diets to clear bacteria and promote good health.  Ask for a Coco Frio. (cold coconut) File:Artocarpus heterophyllus fruits at tree.jpg Simply delicious!
Coconut milk and shredded coconut are used in many Thai dishes, especially desserts. Shrimp is also a main part of Thai food, as here on the Riviera Nayarit. San Blas is known for its delicious shrimp.

Thai people eat a variety of tropical fruits for dessert that are found also on the Riviera Nayarit, including mangoes, papayas, custard apples with scaly green skins, and jaca fruit, or known also as  jackfruit, which is a light lime green, very large and prickly, and has yellow flesh.  It is actually the largest fruit, and all parts of the jaca fruit can be used. You may even use  the seeds, cooked and mashed, much like mashed potatoes!
Spicy Thai dishes are often balanced with the tart flavors of such ingredients as lemon grass, ginger, lemons, and limes.
These fruits and herbs are readily available on the Riviera Nayarit and throughout Mexico.

Here is a fun and tasty Thai recipe to try at home created with coconut milk in it.
You may also substitute the beef for chicken. Below is also a wonderful recipe for a cool Cucumber salad. Cucumbers are part of the daily diet here in Mexico.  Enjoy.

Thai Beef Curry
10 ounces beef flank steak with the fat trimmed off
2 cups coconut milk, unsweetened
2 Tablespoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 cup bamboo shoot strips
1 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons water
20 leaves of fresh basil
¼ medium red pepper, cut into thin strips
2 Tablespoons green peas, frozen
2½ cups rice, steamed

Slice the steak into pieces ¼-inch thick, 2 inches long, and about 1-inch wide. Heat 1 cup of the coconut milk in a wok or frying pan and add the red curry paste.

Stir to dissolve and cook at high heat for 5 to 6 minutes, until the oil of the coconut milk rises to the top and the sauce thickens. Add fish sauce and stir. Add the second cup of coconut milk and the beef. Reduce heat to medium.

Add the bamboo shoot strips and the sugar. Return the heat to high and add 3 Tablespoons water, cook, stirring for 3 minutes until bubbling. Add ¾ of the basil leaves, the red pepper strips and the green peas.
Stir and cook for another 30 seconds, folding all the ingredients into the sauce. Remove from heat and
transfer to a serving dish.

Top with the rest of the basil leaves and the additional red pepper strips. Serve immediately, with
steamed rice. Serves 8.

Cucumber Salad
1 long cucumber
½ small red onion
⅓ medium red pepper
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh coriander leaves
(Peanuts optional)

Washhttp://www.atasteofthai.com/images/thai/recipes/recipe345-400w.jpg and dry the cucumber, and peel it if desired. Cut in half lengthwise and then into quarters. . Slice
the quarters into ¼-inch pieces and arrange on a plate.

Slice the red pepper and onion into thin strips. Scatter them over the cucumber. In a small bowl
combine sugar, vinegar, and salt. Pour dressing over the vegetables and top with the coriander leaves.
Serves 4 to 6.

If you hanker for Thai food like I do you can follow the easy recipes for a quick fix, or attend one of Dolores Brittingham’s Puerto Vallarta cooking classes which offers Thai cooking. Dolores can also come to your home on the Riviera Nayarit and Banderas Bay areas.
Discover other dishes on her site at www.EssenceOfCuisine.com or e-mail to: Dolores Brittingham <y_brittingham@hotmail.com> for more information.

As we like to say on the Riviera Nayarit in Mexico, “buen provecho!”  (Bon appetit!)

Discover the delicious fruits and herbs in Mexico,  relocate to the Riviera Nayarit for life!

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