Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

Conquering Ethnic Food (and Menu Monday)

Dec 13, 2010 10:00PM ● By Anonymous

It's that time of year again — it's nearly impossible to cook a meal at home because of all the obligations for work, friends, and family to get together for holiday gatherings. From today through Sunday, I am only going to cook dinner three times: Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. So here's my super-easy meal plan for the week:

Wednesday: Tuna Noodle Casserole, salad
It's not healthy, but it's perfectly comforting  for these cold December days.

Thursday: Herbed Greek Chicken salad, Orzo with lemon
After indulging on tuna noodle casserole, it's time to scale it back and have a nice big salad for dinner.

Sunday: Thai Coconut Soup, Green Mango Salad, Lime Noodles with Vegetables, Basil and Sesame

You might notice an ethnic bend on Sunday. I'm having a couple of friends over for dinner and asked if they minded if I used them as guinea pigs. I've been wanting to try out more ethnic food lately, and thought it would be a nice night for a Thai meal. I've already made Pad Thai quite successfully — see the recipe below — but wanted to branch out to something new.

After this Thai dinner, my next conquest will be Indian food. I've always been intimidated by most Ethnic recipes because it seems they require a lot of time and investment into particular spices. I've made a couple of basic curries before, but nothing beyond that. Does anyone have any tips, tricks, or great recipes for me? I'm thinking about starting with this Chicken Tikka Masala dish from The Pioneer Woman, mostly because I already have a big bag of Garam Masala.

While I wait for your input, try out my super-easy recipe for Pad Thai. It's delicious!

Pad Thai

Serves 2 as a main dish and 3-4 as a side dish.


3 Tablespoons each of fish sauce, rice vinegar, and soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 pound shrimp
1 egg
approximately 2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup each of fresh coriander and fresh basil
1 lime, cut into wedges canola oil, or other good-quality oil for stir-frying
optional: 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, ground or roughly chopped
1 package Rice Noodles

Place the rice noodles in a pot of cool water. Soak for one hour, and then drain.

In a small bowl, measure out the fish sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Mix together and reserve.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, adding small amounts of chicken broth if the pan gets dry. Push the ingredients to the side of the pan and crack an egg into the center. Break the yolk immediately and scramble the egg.

Add 1-2 tablespoons more oil to the pan and add the noodles. Pour the sauce you made earlier onto the noodles and stir-fry for 1-3 minutes. If the noodles stick, add more oil. Mix in the bean sprouts and cook until slightly soft. Remove from heat and top with peanuts, coriander, and basil.