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Fruit Dips, Thai Style

Quite a few readers have written me regarding Thai-style fruit dips saying how they wish there wasn’t any dried fish or fish sauce involved. Actually, the way the comments were worded is a little more interesting, a weird cross between disbelief and curiosity with a tiny, tiny tinge of disgust. I don’t blame them; I know how that feels. When I was invited to my first American thanksgiving dinner, I swallowed hard — and not in a good way — when I saw roasted turkey with gravy sitting between a pile of candied yams with broiled marshmallow topping and a quivering blob of fruit jelly called, “cranberry sauce.” I, of course, grew more accustomed to that combination and even came to like it. But, admittedly, the first encounter was pretty rough.

Our view regarding what should and shouldn’t be is all conditioned by culture. Tart green mangoes and a sticky dip containing fish sauce, palm sugar, and dried shrimp together are to most Thai people what apple pie and vanilla ice cream are to most Americans. In other words, fish and fruits work for us.

But if you don’t like it, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Besides, there are other Thai-style fruit dips that don’t have fish products in them. Please allow me to introduce to you the most common three that go very well with tart fruits. Continue Reading →

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Apple Fritters in the Style of Thai Fried Bananas

This was done out of curiosity, in response to a hypothetical question which I posed to myself one day: had apples been as easy to find and inexpensive as bananas in Thailand, would we batter-fry them like we do bananas? After this experiment, I would say yes.

To make these, you can follow either one of these recipes: Thai fried bananas or Thai fried sweet potatoes (มันทอด), replacing the bananas and sweet potatoes respectively with the same amount of apples that have been cored and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch thick rings. The latter is a bit less complicated than the former, but both yield great results.

Depending on the type(s) of apple you use, you may or may not need to serve these fritters with a drizzling sauce. I made these with Gala apples and found the level of sweetness to be perfectly fine. But if you like a sauce to go with the apple fritters, I recommend either honey or the panela-coconut sauce which I use on Thai-style pressed grilled bananas.

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Spicy Green Apple Salad (ยำแอบเปิ้ล)

thai salad
I made this impromptu salad the other day as the topping for a piece of pan-fried halibut. It was nothing special — just a simple salad that is normally made with grated green mangoes. Actually, I think I’ve come to like this version made with tart and crisp Granny Smith apples much more.

It’s the crunch. I like the crunch. Continue Reading →

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