I am not one of those people who does well sitting still. Sure I have my days where I love to lie on the couch and binge OITNB, but overall I am pretty active, though I have been (re)learning the art of sleeping in since we started our travels late August. But I still get the urge to move, explore and experience new things. You see, I have always loved to travel and dreamed of it. Did you ever play that game where you would spin the globe, close your eyes and point to spot and that’s where you would end up living when you grew up? Or write in your elementary school books ‘About the Author’ page that someday you would travel the world? I was a travel nerd.
I used to keep an atlas as a kid and flip through the pages studying the maps and imagining what these places were like. An atlas! I have never been much of a ‘holiday maker,’ where I lie on white sandy beaches and sip 40 oz. margaritas to escape my real life. I have always seen travel as a way to explore and meet others. To see how others live their lives. Thanks to media it’s easy to think that the world revolves around America… as an American. And to some degree it’s true. A lot of trends, styles, & language do come from the media. But those are just small aspects of a life in another culture. Traveling allows us to experience life through the eyes of somebody other than ourselves, other than our family members, and other than the company we choose to keep. When we travel we gain perspective & respect for others, become more tolerant, we learn coping mechanisms, environmental appreciation, take away invaluable experiences, and develop meaningful relationships, most importantly with ourselves. I am not strictly speaking about getting on a plane here. We can experience these outcomes from traveling outside of our comfort zone, by speaking with new people, asking difficult questions about different religions or political views, eating a new food, or taking a course or volunteering at a cultural center, or reading up on something you don’t understand because you haven’t been exposed. By definition, travel is “making a journey.” So maybe today you can think of what journey you’d like to start, no matter how big or small, and begin your own travels. It’s only when we open ourselves to new experiences that we can really open ourselves to each other.
While in Bangkok I knew that I wanted to take a cooking class. I mean, Thai food is my favorite take-out and it pretty much encompasses everything that I love; markets, learning about new foods, people, cooking and duh, eating. I’ll leave you to the pictures of our market stop and our other adventures.
Treat man doing his treat thing.
This guy was making this soy paper snack look so fun and tasty. However, wasn’t for us! Too sweet & fishy!
Brain lime or rather, kaffir lime
Bunch of kaffir limes
Annnnnd this is why Thai food is so fragrant and delectable.
This cat is bananas.
Choppin’ broooccoollliiiii…actually I think shallots.
My best “angry curry paste making” face. Watch out, Hollywood. New actress coming through.
Homemade curry paste.
Mango Sticky Rice
Thai red curry
Curry made at home. We got lazy with the rice. One burner will do that to ya. We’ve made this dish several times and it’s so versatile that we add any of the veggies that we can find and it still tastes amazing. We usually end up adding some red chili flakes to it at the end to spice it up, too.
Thai red veggie curry
Adapted from cooking class in Bangkok
1 block tofu (cubed) or mixed vegetables
1 tbsp. red curry paste*
3/4 c. coconut cream
3/4 c. coconut milk
1 red chili, sliced diagonally
1/4 c. sweet basil leaves + more for garnish
1 Thai or Japanese eggplant (long eggplant)
10 baby eggplant or sub with another Thai/Japanese eggplant
2 kaffir lime leaves (or lime zest if you cannot find kaffir)
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cooking oil
Stir fry curry paste in oil over medium heat until fragrant, continually stirring.
Add coconut cream and stir until oil begins to appear which will look like dark red streaks. Add tofu or veggies and eggplant and cook until eggplant is starting to soften, but not all the way cooked. Add the coconut milk and salt. Continue to cook until all veggies are soft & cooked all the way through, but not soggy. Add in sweet basil laves, red chili and lime leaves or zest and turn off heat. Place into a bowl and garnish with sweet basil leaves. Serve with rice. This recipe can easily be multiplied for more people.
Red curry paste
8 dried red chilies, seeded & soaked in water for 10 minutes
2 tbsp. chopped shallots
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. chopped ginger
1 tbsp. chopped lemongrass
1/2 kaffir or Persian lime zest
1 tsp. white peppercorns
1 tbsp. roasted coriander seeds
1 tbsp. roasted cumin seeds
1 tsp. cilantro root (bottoms of cilantro stems or sub 1 tsp. cilantro)
1 tsp. salt
Using a small blender or food processor, blend the dry ingredients until crushed. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until well combined. You can also do this by hand with a mortar & pestle but it may take up to 20 minutes. See how much of a workout you want!
*If you’re vegan or vegetarian, look for red curry paste without shrimp paste or fish sauce, like Thai Kitchen or any other brand you may find or make your own following the above recipe.