Sunday, May 29, 2011

Quick & Easy Thai -- The Side Dishes

I need to confess something:

I'm terrible at side dishes.

Not that I'm terrible at making them, I'm just terrible at REMEMBERING them. I remember a Valentine's Day two years ago--my first with Boyfriend--where I had carefully planned out a fine dinner of Gorgonzola-buttered ribeye with my famous 3-Layer Peanutbutter Love Brownies (post forthcoming!) when I realized, day-of, that I had no side dishes!

One simply cannot live on meat and chocolate alone. It's just not possible.

Thankfully, I ended up pairing the ribeye with ginger-glazed carrots and twice-baked potatoes and we had a wonderfully romantic first Valentine's.

I came upon a similar situation when I decided to tackle  Nancie McDermott's Quick & Easy Thai: I was in the supermarket, book in hand, when I realized that I had no side dish for the Chaing May Curry Noodles. With the spicy flavor of the curry, I knew a sweet component would help cut the heat and refresh the palate. The Pink Grapefruit Salad was a perfect choice. Sweet, with just a bit of spice, complemented the noodles perfectly.

Cooking is a messy endeavor.

And for dessert I made the Nun Bananas, just to have something to end the meal with. I added some chocolate chips as a last-minute addition and I think it really gave it some oomph! I probably ruined the authentic-Thai-ness of the dish by adding the chocolate, but who can resist bananas and chocolate? I certainly cannot.

The Nun Bananas came out as a wonderful dessert soup. I would make this again. And again. And again...

Pink Grapefruit Salad

  • 3 tbs shredded coconut
  • 2 tbs fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 2 cups grapefruit, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 tbs roasted, salted peanuts
  • 1 tbs coarsely chopped shallots (grocery store was out, I used green onions)
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh green chilies (you can sub for jalapenos, which I did)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro or mint (I used cilantro)
  • Optional: bibb lettuce leaves (I did not use)

-Toast the coconut in a dry skillet until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

-In a medium bowl, combine lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the grapefruit, coconut, peanuts, shallots, chilies, and cilantro and toss well.

Nun Bananas

  • 3 medium bananas
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

-Peel and halve the bananas. Cut into 2 1/2 cups banana chunks, a little larger than bite-sized.

-Bring the coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt to a boil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat and add chocolate chips, stirring constantly to avoid burning the chocolate. Add bananas and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Serve warm and garnish with coconut flakes.


  1. Yummy, those sound good! I'm the same way...that's why I keep veggies in the freezer and taters & rice in the pantry...and even some canned stuff. Quick and simple additions while the stuff I did give thought to cooks ;)

  2. I am a side dish girl! Sometimes I build my meal around them. These both are so unique and delicious looking! I'm laughing at the name of the nun soup.

  3. Im all about making lazy, "throw everything into a bowl and hope for the best" meals, so side dishes totally arent my thing either.