One of the best places to eat in St George is a Thai restaurant run by an adorable older Thai woman named Benja. Last fall for a fun date my husband and I went to one of her cooking classes. I thought ‘Ooh I’m going to learn to cook like Benja’. Actually, I learned why I will continue to frequent Benja’s because it’s worth it to just pay her to make my dinner. The first thing we learned to make were Thai Basil Rolls, which wasn’t too complex. The problem is, the best part is the sauce that you dip it, which takes 3 days to make. ‘Aint nobody got time for that.’ I did learn several helpful things about Thai cooking in general. (The recipe below isn’t her green curry recipe, it’s just one we have adapted through experimentation and some of the things we learned from her.)
1. Buy a rice cooker, it is your friend. (And a good sushi knife while you are at it)
2. Cook pretty much everything with coconut oil. It tastes yummy and it’s great for your skin.
3. Use fresh quality ingredients. (Benja makes an awesome papaya salad. She has to send someone to Las Vegas several times a week to get fresh green papayas. Another reason I’ll just let her cook it.) One of Benja’s secrets to great Thai food is that she only uses fresh herbs that she grows herself.
4. Get to know your local Asian market.
5. Never use imitation soy sauce. Soy sauce should be fermented and should not include the ingredient ‘caramel color’
Food Storage Ingredients:
3-4 cups cooked rice
1-2 Tablespoons green curry paste
1 cup coconut milk
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup cashews
3-4 cups fresh vegetables, chopped
6 oz tofu, chopped (optional)
1. Stir-fry veggies in coconut oil until thoroughly cooked. (If you are using tofu, stir-fry that for about ten minutes before adding the veggies) 2. In a small sauce pan, mix curry paste, sugar and coconut milk, bring to a boil and then simmer. 3. Serve veggies and green curry sauce over rice. Sprinkle with cashews.