Prepare dinner This: Three recipes from Sabai, together with minimalist pad thai

Our cookbook of the week is

Sabai: 100 Easy Thai Recipes for Any Day of the Week

by Pailin Chongchitnant. Learn an

interview with the creator


Leap to the recipes:

salad rolls with spicy garlicky dip


old-school pad gaprao

, and

minimalist pad thai


The primary recipe Vancouver-based creator Pailin Chongchitnant shared with us from her second e book,


, is one in all her comparatively current discoveries. On a go to house to Bangkok a number of years in the past, her mother would decide up

salad rolls with spicy garlicky dip

on her approach house from work.

“I simply thought they had been so cute, and so wholesome and so good,” says Chongchitnant, laughing. “It’s a salad roll like I’ve by no means seen earlier than in Canada, too. Often if you suppose salad rolls, you’re considering of these issues in Vietnamese eating places and there’s a peanut sauce or one thing. And this was completely totally different.”

Thai meals tradition strikes rapidly, and the rolls have already began to fall out of vogue, she provides. Chongchitnant is pleased to have immortalized them within the e book to allow them to at all times be loved. “It’s nonetheless one in all my favorite methods to eat greens, as a result of I don’t actually prefer to eat uncooked greens. It’s probably not my factor, however I can eat a ton of those.”

(To see the rolling approach in motion,

take a look at the video

on Chongchitnant’s YouTube channel, Pailin’s Kitchen.)

Whereas the salad rolls are a recent addition to Thai delicacies, the second recipe,

pad gaprao

, is a traditional. “A real staple of the Thai weight-reduction plan,” the one-dish meal is fashionable in Canada in addition to Thailand, however the trendy model has develop into an increasing number of advanced, says Chongchitnant.

In the present day, pad gaprao is made with oyster sauce, soy sauce and greens resembling lengthy beans and onions, she explains. The older model is extra streamlined, with no greens and a easy fish sauce seasoning. Although it’s simpler to make, it has began to vanish in favour of extra elaborate modern variations.

“These days in Thailand, there’s this wave of people that wish to return to previous recipes, the previous methods of doing issues. In order that’s a brand new development, which is type of ironic. It’s a development of going again to conventional meals. And so this began approaching the radar and I assumed, ‘Effectively, that is a lot less complicated than the opposite one. So let’s put this down.’ And likewise as a solution to protect it. Once more, if it ever falls out of vogue, we’ll at all times have this as a reference.”



, Chongchitnant follows her old-school pad gaprao with a vegan model that includes mushrooms, tofu and holy basil.)

The third recipe Chongchitnant shared with us,

minimalist pad thai

, just isn’t a recipe she anticipated to incorporate in a e book devoted to easy, on a regular basis Thai cooking. Principally as a result of pad thai just isn’t meant for house cooking — it’s a dish most individuals order out.

“I’ve at all times instructed individuals, pad thai just isn’t a beginner-friendly dish. Should you’re a newbie, this isn’t one thing you must begin with. However everybody needs to make it. And I’m like, ‘OK, OK. If you wish to make it, high quality. Let’s determine a solution to simplify it in order that it’s not fairly as advanced, but it surely nonetheless tastes good and I can nonetheless really feel good calling it pad thai.’”

The onerous half about making pad thai, other than gathering the elements, is getting the precise noodle texture (see

Avoiding Soggy Noodles

, under). “So, in that sense, it’s nonetheless one thing that you must get good at.” The cooking itself could be finished in 5 minutes, after getting all of your elements prepped. (Should you’d prefer to strive the full-on model,

take a look at Chongchitnant’s video


For her minimalist take, Chongchitnant narrowed down the elements to what she considers absolutely the necessities — all of which could be discovered at an Asian grocery store resembling


. She doesn’t even make conventional pad thai repeatedly at house, and doesn’t order it at most Thai eating places both.

“It isn’t straightforward to do properly, and a variety of eating places will take a variety of shortcuts as a result of the totally loaded model is tedious. It’s bought a variety of elements, so a variety of eating places will simply pare it down to this point and make too many substitutions the place it’s not pad thai any extra for me. So, with this recipe, I actually needed to be like, ‘OK, let’s pare it down, however that is so far as I’m keen to go,” she says, laughing.


Cooking time:


Spicy garlicky dip:

1 clove (5 g) garlic

1/2 to 1 Thai chili

1/4 + 1/8 teaspoons (1.5 mL) desk salt

1/4 cup (60 mL) mayonnaise

1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) lime juice

Salad rolls:

7 sheets of 8-inch (20 cm) spherical Vietnamese rice paper

4 to five cups (70 to 90 g) child salad greens

14 (3-inch/8 cm lengthy) strips of protein of your selection (see word)

1 cucumber, lower in 3-inch (8 cm) sticks

1 carrot, thinly julienned (I take advantage of a julienne peeler)

Some other veggies or herbs you want (bell peppers, avocado, beets, sprouts, cilantro, mint, Thai basil)

For the dipping sauce:

Step 1

Utilizing a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, chili and salt right into a high quality paste. Add the mayo, condensed milk and lime juice; stir till mixed. Style and regulate the seasoning as wanted. The sauce will hold within the fridge for at the least 1 week.

For the salad rolls:

Step 2

Minimize a rice paper circle in half with scissors. Put together a big bowl of sizzling faucet water (as sizzling as you may stand dipping your palms in).

Step 3

Dip a bit of halved rice paper within the water for 8 to 10 seconds, then put it on a clear work floor, the flat edge dealing with both to the left or proper. Let it sit for an additional 10 to fifteen seconds, till it has absorbed all of the water round it and the sheet has softened. Fold about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the rounded aspect towards the centre, so that you simply now have two straight sides.

Step 4

In your hand, stack about 4 leaves of child salad greens, with the stems dealing with the identical path. Lay the salad stack on the rice paper, about 2 inches (5 cm) above the sting closest to you, ensuring the tops of the leaves are protruding about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) over the left aspect of the rice paper. Repeat with one other stack of greens, inserting it on the precise aspect of the paper in the identical approach.

Step 5

Place the protein and all the opposite greens on high of the greens, centring them horizontally in order that they may lower evenly if you lower the salad rolls in half.

Step 6

Choose up the sting closest to you, fold it over the filling and roll it away from you, holding the salad roll as tight as you may. You’ll find yourself with a salad roll with two open ends. Minimize the roll into two items and place each bit, lower aspect down, on a serving plate. Repeat with the remaining rice paper circles, greens, protein and greens.

Step 7

Serve the salad rolls at room temperature with the dipping sauce. If not serving immediately, hold them properly wrapped with plastic wrap or in an hermetic container, to stop drying.


28 items


The dip could be made up to some days upfront. The salad rolls could be made just a few hours upfront and saved properly wrapped with plastic wrap or in an hermetic container at room temp.

Be aware:

For the protein, my favourites are ham, roast hen, shrimp, imitation crab and agency or pressed tofu (particularly the marinated form). Something that you simply like in a sandwich will work right here. Minimize them into sticks about 3 inches (8 cm) lengthy and concerning the thickness of a thick-cut french fry.

Too Lazy to Wrap?

Serving lots of people and don’t wish to spend time wrapping? I’m with you 100 per cent. You can also make your company do the work by setting out the elements and a few bowls of sizzling water for a “make your personal salad rolls” occasion. Or you are able to do even much less work and serve the sauce as a dip for a veggie platter — the perfect half is the sauce, anyway!


Pad Gaprao Moo Kai Dao

Cooking time:

10 minutes, plus 5 to 10 minutes if frying eggs

2 to three Thai chilies, or as many as you may deal with

1/3 cup (40 g) chopped delicate purple peppers (see

Extra Than Simply Warmth


7 cloves (35 g) garlic

Oil for frying eggs (non-obligatory)

4 eggs (non-obligatory, see word)

2 to three tbsp (30 to 45 mL) impartial oil

1 lb (450 g) lean floor pork

2 tbsp (30 mL) fish sauce

2 tsp (10 mL) granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups (22 g) holy basil or Italian basil leaves (see word)

Jasmine rice, for serving

Step 1

Utilizing a mortar and pestle, pound the Thai chilies till high quality, then add the delicate purple peppers and garlic and pound right into a tough paste.

Step 2

Should you’re making fried eggs, make them now. In a small non-stick frying pan, warmth about 1/3 inch (8 mm) of oil over medium-high warmth. Check the temperature of the oil by including a bit of piece of vegetable scrap, just like the garlic or pepper, and it ought to bubble excitedly immediately. As soon as the oil is sizzling, add 1 egg. The white ought to bubble up immediately. Utilizing a spoon to sometimes baste the highest of the egg with oil to assist it cook dinner quicker, cook dinner for about 1 minute for a runny yolk, or 2 minutes for a set yolk. You need the white crispy and browned, so if it’s not browning, flip up the warmth. Take away the egg from the pan and drain on paper towel; repeat with the remaining eggs.

Step 3

Place a wok on medium warmth, then add the oil and garlic-chili paste. Stir for about 2 minutes, till the smallest bits of garlic begin to flip golden.

Step 4

Flip the warmth as much as excessive, add the bottom pork, then rapidly toss to combine with the garlic-chili paste. Add the fish sauce and sugar, and hold tossing and breaking apart the pork till it’s totally cooked.

Step 5

Flip off the warmth, then add the holy basil and cook dinner simply till wilted. Style and regulate the seasoning with fish sauce and sugar as wanted.

Step 6

Plate and serve with jasmine rice. If serving as a one-dish meal, place the rice on a plate, spoon the pork over it, and high every part with the fried egg.




Pad gaprao is usually paired with a fried egg when served as a one-dish meal. If serving as a part of a multi-dish Thai meal, you may omit the egg.

You is likely to be tempted to make use of Thai basil as an alternative, however Italian basil is definitely the higher substitute.

Extra Than Simply Warmth

I normally say you may make issues as spicy as you need, however for the actual pad gaprao expertise, you must make it as spicy as you may deal with! Nevertheless it’s not simply concerning the warmth, as chilies additionally present flavour that’s vital to this dish. This is the reason we use delicate and sizzling chilies; the delicate ones add the wanted chili flavour with out making the dish too spicy. Crimson bell pepper will work, however ideally one thing smaller and fewer watery. The seeds and pith could be eliminated to scale back warmth.


Cooking time:



3 tbsp + 1 tsp (40 g) finely chopped palm sugar, packed

3 tbsp (45 mL) water

4 tbsp (60 mL) tamarind paste, store-bought or selfmade (

recipe follows


2 tbsp (30 mL) fish sauce

Pad thai:

4 oz (115 g) dried rice noodles, medium dimension, rehydrated (see word)

3 to 4 tbsp (45 to 60 mL) impartial oil

8 to 10 medium to massive shrimp, about 21/25 depend, peeled, deveined and patted dry

5 cloves (25 g) garlic, chopped

1/3 cup (40 g) thinly sliced shallots

2 massive eggs

2 1/2 cups (150 g) bean sprouts

8-10 stalks garlic chives, lower in 2-inch (5 cm ) items (see word)

1/4 cup (35 g) unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped, divided

1/2 lime, lower in wedges

Roasted chili flakes (non-obligatory)

For the sauce:

Step 1

Soften the sugar in a small pot over medium-high warmth. As soon as melted, let it cook dinner for a bit longer, till the color turns into a deeper caramel however not fairly darkish brown. As soon as this color is achieved, instantly add the water; it’ll splatter aggressively and the sugar will harden. Flip the warmth right down to medium and swirl it round till a lot of the sugar is dissolved.

Step 2

Flip off the warmth and stir within the tamarind paste and fish sauce. Don’t fear about just a few cussed chunks of sugar; they’ll have dissolved by the point you want the sauce.

For the pad thai:

Step 3

Utilizing scissors, lower the soaked noodles roughly in half so it’s simpler to combine them with the veggies. Place all of your prepped elements by the range, able to go.

Step 4

Place a wok or massive non-stick skillet on excessive warmth and pour in simply sufficient oil to coat the underside. As soon as the oil could be very sizzling, lay the shrimp down in a single layer and allow them to sear with out transferring them till at the least midway cooked, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook dinner on the opposite aspect till they’re finished. Flip off the warmth and switch the shrimp to a bowl, leaving all of the oil and any juices behind.

Step 5

Add a bit extra oil to the pan if wanted so that you’ve about 3 tablespoons (45 mL). Having sufficient oil is vital to make it possible for the noodles don’t clump collectively.

Step 6

Add the garlic and shallots, and switch the warmth to medium. Stir till the shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes.

Step 7

Flip the warmth as much as the most popular it could actually go, and add the noodles and sauce. Toss collectively till a lot of the sauce has been absorbed. At this level it’ll appear like there aren’t almost sufficient noodles, however don’t panic, the dish will bulk up with the veggies and proteins.

Step 8

Push the noodles to at least one aspect of the pan to create area for the eggs, then break the eggs into the pan. Scramble barely simply to interrupt the yolks, then transfer the noodles on high of the eggs and let the eggs proceed to cook dinner for an additional 30 to 45 seconds, till they’re principally cooked. Flip the noodles after which toss to interrupt up the eggs.

Step 9

Give the noodles a fast style to test their doneness. In the event that they’re too chewy, add a splash of water and hold tossing for 1 minute or so to permit the water to soak up.

Step 10

Add the shrimp again to the pan, together with any juices, and toss to combine. Flip off the warmth and add the bean sprouts, garlic chives, and half of the peanuts. Use tongs to combine simply till every part is evenly distributed. Plate instantly — you need the bean sprouts to be as contemporary as potential, so don’t allow them to linger within the sizzling pan unnecessarily.

Step 11

Prime with the remaining peanuts and serve with wedges of lime. Add some roasted chili flakes for warmth, if desired.




Make the sauce upfront; it may be saved within the fridge indefinitely. Soak the noodles upfront, drain and refrigerate for as much as 3 days.


For quick-soak noodles, submerge them in sizzling off-the-boil water for 3 minutes, then instantly drain and rinse underneath chilly water. When you have time, soak the noodles for 1 hour in room temperature water after which drain; you are able to do this upfront and hold them in an hermetic container within the fridge for as much as 3 days. This timing is for medium-size Erawan-brand rice noodles; you might want to regulate if utilizing a unique model.

Garlic chives are a key flavour in pad thai they usually’re out there at most Asian grocery shops. Should you can’t discover the dark-green ones, search for yellow ones. In a pinch, 2 to three inexperienced onions will work as an alternative, however chop them smaller, as they’re stronger-tasting.

Avoiding Soggy Noodles

Most recipes in my e book serve 4, however for pad thai I like to recommend you stir-fry the noodles in batches of two servings. Crowding the pan, particularly with a low-BTU house range, may end up in soggy noodles as a result of steam will get trapped underneath all of the meals and your noodles find yourself simmering in liquid longer than they need to. Should you’ve bought a strong range and a big wok, you might be able to get away with a bigger batch, so use your judgment right here. You can too strive decreasing the quantity of water within the sauce, or omitting it altogether, in the event you really feel such as you is likely to be crowding the pan.


Nam Makaam Piak

Cooking time:

20 minutes plus 20 minutes soaking

1/2 pound (225 g) seedless tamarind pulp (see word)

2 cups (500 mL) sizzling water

Step 1

Use your palms to tug aside the tamarind block into small chunks and place them in a big, heatproof mixing bowl.

Step 2

Pour the recent water over the tamarind and let it sit till it’s cool sufficient so that you can deal with, at the least 20 minutes. You’ll be able to let it sit for so long as you want at this level — the longer it sits, the better the subsequent step will likely be.

Step 3

Use your hand, ideally gloved in the event you don’t need tamarind caught in your nails, to squeeze and scrunch the pulp to loosen it from the fibres. It is best to find yourself with one thing that has the consistency of a smoothie.

Step 4

As soon as you may really feel that a lot of the pulp has been launched from the fibres, pressure the tamarind combination right into a pot by way of a sieve, however keep away from a fine-mesh sieve, because the paste will likely be thick (Asian noodle strainers work nice for this ). Push as a lot of the liquid by way of as potential, and scrape the underside of the sieve sometimes.

Step 5

Step by step pour about 1/2 cup (125 mL) room temperature water over the remaining fibres within the sieve whereas utilizing your hand to combine it throughout. It will rinse off any final little little bit of tamarind nonetheless caught within the fibres.

Step 6

You should utilize the tamarind paste immediately for cooking, however for storage, cook dinner it over medium-high warmth till it boils, stirring consistently, as a result of it’s fairly thick and may bubble and bounce at you in the event you don’t stir. Enable it to bubble for 4 to five minutes to make sure that it’s totally heated by way of earlier than turning off the warmth.

Step 7

Switch the recent tamarind paste to wash 1-cup (250 mL) mason jars. I like utilizing the smaller ones so every jar is not going to be open for as lengthy. Shut the lids whereas the paste remains to be sizzling and let cool at room temperature earlier than transferring to the fridge for storage. You can too freeze the paste in ice dice trays after which retailer the cubes in freezer luggage.


about 2 cups (500 mL)

Be aware:

Purchase tamarind pulp that is available in an oblong block, and it ought to be a product of Thailand. Don’t use tamarind pulp from entire pods, as these are candy tamarind meant for consuming, not cooking.

Recipes and pictures excerpted from

Sabai: 100 Easy Thai Recipes for Any Day of the Week

by Pailin Chongchitnant. Copyright ©2023 Pailin Chongchitnant. Images by Janis Nicolay. Revealed in Canada by Urge for food by Random Home®, a division of Penguin Random Home Canada Restricted. Reproduced by association with the Writer. All rights reserved.

Copyright Postmedia Community Inc., 2023

You may have missed