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Katie Chin Makes Everyday Thai Cooking Quick and Easy

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Chef Katie Chin with host, Inspire Artistic Mind’s founder Bobby Navarro.

I’m a huge fan of Thai food, but honestly as much as I love to eat it, I have only attempted to make it once…over 20 years ago. I was living on Cape Cod at the time and got it in my head that I was going to master two of my favorite dishes at the time, Thom Yum Gung and Pad Thai. I bought a Thai cookbook and started going through the list of ingredients I would need and realized that the Kaffir lime leaf, lemon grass, galangal, preserved tamarind, brine cured radishes, and dried shrimp my recipes called for were definitely not stocked at my local grocer. Because I was travelling weekly to NYC at the time, I made a quick stop to Chinatown, list in hand, and found everything I needed. I figured I had conquered the biggest obstacle.

Well, let me tell you, between working from a book with no pictures or clear direction on technique and with ingredients that in their raw form were completely foreign to me, that dinner turned into a labor of love… emphasis on labor. While the dinner turned out great, I decided that a trip to NYC and over 8 hours in the kitchen was too much labor and my love for Thai food would just have to be satisfied at a restaurant. I put that book on a shelf and moved on to other hair-brained pursuits.

That was over 20 years ago and a lot has changed. For one thing, ingredients that once seemed exotic are now much more common and easy to find, especially living in Southern California. And even in areas where some of the ingredients may be unavailable, ordering them on-line is a convenient solution. Another thing that has changed is there are cooking shows on almost 24/7 and so it’s easy to learn a lot about ingredients and techniques just by watching.

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The real game changer for me though was attending food writer and co-host of the PBS cooking show, Double Happiness, Katie Chin’s launch party of Everyday Thai Cooking, Quick and Easy Family Style Recipes last week and sampling several dishes from it prepared in the I am Culinary Center where the event was held. My 20-year hiatus from Thai cooking is coming to an end.

Some of the dishes prepared by Katie’s Chefs from Sweet and Sour included:

 

Chiang Mai Chicken in Lettuce Cups

Chiang Mai Chicken in Lettuce Cups

Panaeng Curry Meatballs

Panaeng Curry Meatballs

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Thai Crab Cakes

Coconut Cake with Mango Sauce

Coconut Cake with Mango Sauce

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Pear ginger martini made with Xanté, a pear flavored cognac, Elixir G Ginger Mix, and fresh lemon juice

With over 90 recipes, Katie’s book is beautifully photographed and filled with pictures of each dish, as well as many of the ingredients called for in Thai cuisine so that you know what you’re looking for when you shop, and the specific techniques required in some of the dishes that may not be obvious if you’ve never made the dish you’re preparing.

She even starts with the basic tools and utensils you will need in your kitchen; several basic cooking techniques and tips, for example different methods for preparing lemongrass depending on how you will use it and how to slice Thai chilies; and basic recipes for sauces stocks, and pastes that you can make homemade or purchase to save time.

During the mixer, Katie shared the story of her upbringing in Minneapolis where she was raised by her mother, award-winning restaurateur, Leann Chin. Determined to pursue a profession outside of anything to do with food, Katie had established herself as a successful TV and film marketing executive when she realized she had completely forgotten how to cook her mother’s Chinese dishes that she had grown up with. It was then she began finding her way back to her roots.

With the help of her mother, she began relearning and mastering dish after dish, making them for her friends, and eventually sharing many of these recipes in a book co-authored with her mother, Everyday Chinese Cooking in 2000. The mother-daughter team followed that with a PBS cooking series, Double Happiness in 2003. Since then Katie has expanded beyond Chinese recipes to include other Asian cuisines with recipes she loves and she shares them in her books, on TV appearances, and in her blog, The Sweet and Sour Chronicles and on her Facebook page,  I Heart Asian Food – Chef Katie Chin, and on her You Tube channel, Chef Katie Chin.

As a working mother of young twins, Chef Katie, understands the time pressures of trying to get home cooked meals on the table and her book offers, as the title suggests, quick and easy recipes anyone can master. After flipping through the pages of Everyday Thai Cooking, I am inspired to start cooking the Thai dishes I love so much. In fact, I’m selecting the first dish I’ll try right now. I’ll post the picture of it below when I’m done… be right back.

I’m back!!! Fast right? Here are the pictures of the two dishes I prepared. My niece Madi, a Thai food fan, loved them. If you too love Thai food but have been reluctant to try making it yourself, I encourage you to give it a try!

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Tom Kah Goong (Shrimp Coconut Soup)

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Grilled Fresh Salmon with Green Curry Sauce

Dana Wilde grew up playing “sous chef” for her father as he churned out one amazing meal after the next for family and friends. She inherited her father’s life long passion for cooking and has spent the past two decades studying, reading, practicing, experimenting, and creating in the kitchen. Together, she and her sister, Shan are Simply Wilde, a small boutique catering business focusing on in-home entertaining.
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