Pom Pom Pomelo Salad & Tom Kha Tofu


Remember what we wrote in our last post about moving to a house here in Thailand for a couple of weeks. Well we did, and guess what … it was awful. We had rented it unseen, appealed by the close location to the beach, the incredibly low rent, and the kitchen. Without going in to any details, we quickly understood why the rent was so low and cancelled the deal. David’s mother has travelled all the way here from Sweden to spend some time with Elsa (what a grandparent has to go through to be with her first grandchild), and with her help we were able to instead rent a house directly On the beach. It’s the perfect house!

The last couple of months has been all about flying-boating-cabdriving-strolling-bargaining-hoteling-moteling-bungalowing-packing-unpacking-exploring & experiencing. And now we are finally sitting here on our porch in the shade – just relaxing – watching the ocean, the fishing boats and the children playing (Elsa has made a bunch of new friends). Whenever we get bored we take our tuc tuc to a market or to this incredibly cute Little Handmade Shop that we found. Next time we go there we’ll be looking for a birthday present for Elsa.

Of all the thai food that we have tried, the classic Tom Kha soup still is one of our favorites. It is creamy, mild and yet very flavorful from the big chunks of lemongrass and galangal. Another favorite is the pomelo salad, being both sweet, savory and a little spicy. And it’s the first time we have seen a recipe where the lemongrass is chopped so thin that you actually can eat it. We learned these recipes from one of the small restaurants that we have been visiting frequently. They always serve good food, so instead of attending a big arranged thai cooking class we asked if we could step in to their kitchen to learn the recipes directly from the chef.

Thai Pomelo Salad (Recipe adapted from Lanta Round House)
Serves 2

1 medium size pomelo or grapefruit
2 kaffir lime leafs, remove the thick mid-rib, roll them tight and shred very thin
2 tbsp roasted dried coconut
1 small hand full roasted cashew nuts
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 lemongrass (about 10 cm/4 inch each) slice it with a sharp knife very thin

1 tbsp sweet thai chili paste
a pinch of dried chili powder
1 tsp olive oil
1 lime, juice
10 mint leafs

Peel the Pomelo with a knife, cut of the ends and place it on the side and cut vertical slices down the sides and peel the rest by hand. In order to get to the sweet flesh, you have to peel past the thick rind and the bitter membranes that seperates each slice too. Seprate the fruit flesh in quite big pieces by hand, place it in a bowl and set aside.

Roast the coconut flakes and the cashew nuts on a dry pan until golden and let it cool of. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a medium size bowl and add pomelo, coconut, cashew, onion and lemongrass. Place the salad on a plate and garnish with mint leafs. Yum!

Tom Kha Tofu (Recipe adapted from Lanta Round House)
Serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil (in thailand they mix a bit of sweet chili paste in the oil, to get the red color)
1/2 chili (without seeds)
6 coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 tomato
2 lemongrass (about 10 cm/4 inch each)
8 cm galangal (also called Kha root or blue ginger), you can also use fresh ginger
500 ml coconut milk
2 kaffir lime leaf, remove the thick mid-rib, roll them tight and shred very thin
1 handful mushrooms, cut in halfs
1/4 white cabbage, sliced
300 g tofu (firm) cut in quarters
1 lime, juice
a pinch of salt
a little bit of vegetable stock

Place oil, chili, koriander and tomatoes in 2 bowls and set aside. Crush and slice lemongrass, galangal or ginger roughly and put it in a pot, add coconut milk, when it boil add lime leaf, mushroom, cabbage, tofu, juice from the lime, salt and stock. Let it boil on high heat for 1-2 minutes and taste. Pour the coconut milk soup over the tomatoes and spices in the bowls, garnish with fresh koriander and chili. Enjoy!