Archive for the PA NHIA’S COOKING DICTIONARY 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!


How to Pick & Peel Mangoes!

Posted in ASIAN COOKING 101, PA NHIA'S COOKING DICTIONARY on May 5, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Step 1: Mangoes certainly come in a lot of shapes and varieties, but one thing I always look for when picking out a mango is that it should be oblong shaped, like a football, and should be firm and not mushy to the touch. The color should be similar to that of a ripe peach, rather than a light green.

Step 2: Smell your mango! It should not have an alcohol scent to it, or it may have already gone bad. Mangos have a lot of sugar in them, so they tend to start smelling fermented if they are on their way out.

Step 3: Most mangoes that you will buy in the store require some time to ripen before eating. Leave your mango out in a cool area of your kitchen for a few days to ripen it. When the mango is ripe, it will have a lovely fruity aroma and be slightly soft to the touch. The stem should also be round and firm, not dried out. A few small brown specks on the skin are also an indication that the fruit is ripe. You can refrigerate a mango for about 3-4 days after you have ripened it.

Step 4: Peeling: Remove a thin piece of the fruit from one end, so that you can stand the mango upright on a cutting board. Hold the mango, cut side down, and with a paring knife, remove the skin in thin strips working from top to bottom.

Step 5: Pitting: Once the skin is removed, cut off the top and the bottom of the mango, leaving a pit surrounded by fruit. Slice lengthwise down the fruit, and remove the flesh from the pit in a circular motion. One the flesh is removed, discard the pit and slice the fruit as needed.

For more tips & tricks, watch these video tutorials on how to cut and peel your mangoes perfect!

Thank you, eHow!

Tip of the Day: Mango Facts!

Posted in Fruit & Veggie Selections, MUST KNOW TIPS & TECHNIQUES!, PA NHIA'S COOKING DICTIONARY on May 5, 2010 by Meals of Asia

There more than 1,000 different varieties of mangos throughout the world. Mangos are grown in tropical and subtropical lowlands throughout the world. In Florida, mangos are grown commercially in Dade, Lee, and Palm Beach Counties. Mangoes are also grown as yard trees in warm locations along the southeastern and southwestern coastal areas.

The most popular variety of mango grown in the United States is the Hayden. The Hayden mango is produced in Florida.

Mango Nutrition

One medium sized mango provides about:

Storing Mangos

Mangos can be stored at room temperature to ripen. If the mango is unripe and is stored at room temperature, it takes about a week to ripen.

When fully ripened, mangoes will give easily to gentle pressure. Store ripe mangoes in the refrigerator. Ripe mangos will keep well keep well in the refrigerator for up to three days. If a mango feels too spongy to the touch, it is definitely overripe and very possibly spoiled. Color is not necessarily an indication of ripeness in a mango. Some varieties remain green even when they are ripe, while others turn golden or bright red or a combination.

If you need to speed up the ripening process, place the mango in a paper bag at room temperature for a few days. Test daily for ripeness.

Thank you for sharing, Mama’s Health!

What is Thai Curry?

Posted in PA NHIA'S COOKING DICTIONARY on May 3, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Thai curry refers to dishes in Thai cuisine that are made with various types of curry pastes. Curry is usually a soupy dish consisting of coconut milk or water, curry paste, and meat or tofu. Thai curries tend to be more soup-like compared to their thicker Indian cousins. Curry is one of the richest dishes of Thai cuisine with ingredients mainly based on aromatic herbs and spicy pastes. There are many different types of curries in Thailand depending on the type of curry paste, meat, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and addition of either coconut milk or water.

 Curry pastes include:

  • Yellow curry
  • Green curry
  • Red curry
  • Massaman curry
  • Khing curry
  • Panang curry

Thank you, Thai Temple, for sharing!

Thai Basil…What Is It?

Posted in PA NHIA'S COOKING DICTIONARY on April 15, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Thai Basil is also known as Sweet Basil or Asian Basil and the Thai name is bai horapa. Thai basil is slightly sweeter in flavor and more stable when cooked than the Mediterranean basil. In general, the leaves of Thai basil are longer and more narrow while the Mediterranean basil has shorter and more rounded leaves.

Fresh Thai Basil can be purchased at most Asian markets. If you don’t live in an area where you have access to Asian markets, you may want to grow your own. You can purchase live plants and seeds online. I’d recommend purchasing from, it’s much cheaper than purchasing elsewhere online.

Culinary Uses and Substitutes
Basil is used abundantly in both cooked and raw dishes in small amounts, as well as for garnish. Recipes may specify a specific type of basil and if possible, it is worth the effort to find the proper type.

Substitute For Basil
If your recipe calls for Thai or Asian basil, you can substitute with the common Mediterranean variety with similar, but not the exact taste result. If you want an entirely different flavor, substitute with mint.

Thank you Gourmet Sleuth for the information!