Archive for the Cooking Category

Tip of the Day: Make an Exotic Fruit Salad!

Posted in APPETIZER, Cooking, DESSERT, PA NHIA'S COOKING DICTIONARY, RECIPES on May 8, 2010 by Meals of Asia

This healthy and exotic Thai fruit salad will be the hit of your party – especially when served in a pineapple “boat” (a carved out pineapple). Create your own assortment of tropical and local fruit – whatever is fresh and in season. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or on its own for a fresh fruit feast. Makes a terrific addition to a potluck, BBQ, or dinner party!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 fresh, ripe pineapple (for more on buying and preparing fresh pineapple, see below)
  • An assortment of fruit, such as pineapple, papaya, lychee, star fruit, watermelon, dragon fruit, mango, etc…
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • Optional: a few leaves of fresh basil as a garnish


If you wish to serve this fruit salad in a carved-out pineapple, go to: How to Create a Pineapple “Boat”

For great tips on how to buy and prepare exotic tropical fruits such as pineapple, dragon fruit, star fruit, mango, etc., see: Thai Tropical Fruit How-to Guide.

  1. To make the fruit salad, peel and cut up the fruit you have chosen into bite-size pieces. (If you have carved a pineapple, add chunks of the carved out fruit to the mix.) Place fruit together in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a cup, mix together the coconut milk, sugar, and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Pour this mixture over the fruit and gently mix the salad. Do a taste-test, adding a little more sugar if not sweet enough for your taste. Tip: the brown sugar may be a little granular at first, but the natural acids of the fruit will soon break it down.
  4. If serving in a carved-out pineapple, spoon or scoop the fruit into the pineapple (reserve as much of the liquid as possible, since the extra may leak through the bottom of the pineapple. When serving the fruit salad, you can spoon the reserved liquid over each portion). Garnish with a few leaves of fresh basil, if desired. Tip: be sure to place a plate or bowl under the carved-out pineapple, as it may leak.
  5. Serve this fruit salad on its own, or with yogurt, ice cream or whipped cream, and enjoy!
  6. Leftovers will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. This salad is perfect for breakfast (with yogurt and a little granola sprinkled over), for a snack, or for dessert.

Thank you for sharing, Darlene!


Tip of the Day: How to cook Sticky Rice in 6 minutes!

Posted in Cooking, MUST KNOW TIPS & TECHNIQUES! on May 6, 2010 by Meals of Asia

  1. Wash and rinse sticky rice 2-3 times or until water runs clearer.
  2.  Soak sticky rice for at least 10 minutes in warm water in a bowl. Soaking the rice is very important because it allows the rice to absorb enough water to cook properly later on. If you don’t soak the rice long enough, it will be undercooked. The water level should be just above the rice, which comes out to be 1 cup of rice and one cup of water.
  3. Use a non-plastic bowl to microwave the rice in (Corelle bowls are great) because you may melt the plastic in the microwave. Cover the bowl with a dish (a Corelle plate or a microwaveable lid) and cook in microwave on high power for 3 minutes. Stir the rice around to move the rice from the top to the bottom. You will notice that some of the rice is translucent or cooked while some still have white center or an uncooked portion. 
  4. Heat rice up again for another 3 minutes. Check and see if it is done. When cooked, all the rice should be translucent.  


Sticky rice is frequently eaten with any type of Thai laab or papaya salad

Tip of the Day: Sesame Seeds

Posted in ASIAN COOKING 101, Cooking on April 23, 2010 by Meals of Asia

White sesame seeds have a sweet, nutty flavor. Black sesame seeds are a bit more bitter. Toasting intensifies their taste and aroma.

Tip of the Day: Sesame Oil

Posted in ASIAN COOKING 101, Cooking on April 22, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Sesame oil is pressed from toasted white sesame seeds. Use in small amounts to add a nutty flavor accent to marinades, dressings and stir-fries.

Yeo’s sesame oil, one of my favorites, can be purchased online at!

Tip of the Day: Get the BEST Fish Sauce

Posted in Cooking on April 21, 2010 by Meals of Asia

The brand of fish sauce I use is called “Three Crabs.” A sign of good fish sauce is the color. You want to buy a brand that is tea-colored, which signifies that it probably came from the first pressing (best quality). Now, why the brand is called Three Crabs when the fish sauce doesn’t even contain crabs is a mystery. Avoid dark fish sauce, like the color of coca-cola; these are low quality fish sauces and won’t taste as great.

Tip of the Day: Is that Wok Hot Enough?

Posted in Cooking on April 20, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Here are three easy ways to tell if your wok is hot enough to add oil:

  • Check for the “Smoke Signal.” The wok should be just starting to smoke slightly. (You may also see a slight blueish tinge on the wok bottom).
  • Do the water test. Throw a few drops of water into the wok. If the water sizzles immediately, the wok is hot enough.
  • Test for Heat. Hold the palm of your hand about 2 – 3 inches above the wok’s surface. You should be able to feel the heat.

Thank you for sharing, Rhonda!

Tip of the Day: Rule of Thumb!

Posted in Cooking on April 19, 2010 by Meals of Asia

The rule of thumb is: always add cold oil to a hot wok and never cold oil to a cold wok. Pre-heating before adding oil will prevent food from sticking.