Archive for the APPETIZER 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!


Steak and Vegetable Kabobs

Posted in APPETIZER on May 1, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Yield: 10 servings


  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 whole cloves
  • Dash dried basil
  • 2-1/2 pounds beef top sirloin steak, cut into 1-1/4 inch pieces
  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • 24 large fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large green or sweet red pepper, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 small zucchini squash, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • Hot cooked rice


  1. In a bowl, combine first seven ingredients; set aside.
  2. On metal or soaked wooden skewers, thread meat and vegetables. Place in a large glass dish. Pour marinade over kabobs; cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight, turning several times. Discard cloves.
  3. Grill over medium-hot heat until the meat reaches desired doneness and vegetables are tender. Serve with rice. 

Thank you for sharing, Taste of Home!

Chicken Satay

Posted in APPETIZER on March 9, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Although satay (or satesatae) is not Thai in origin, in Thai restaurants, it is one of America’s favorite dishes. Originating in Indonesia, this hawker fare (street food) has been adopted and adapted in many Asian countries. This recipe uses chicken, the most popular type of satay, but you may also use any other type of meat like pork, beef or even tempeh.

Personally, I think chicken satay makes a great appetizer, especially if you’re hosting a party on a nice sunny day; just pop some chicken skewers on the grill and let it sautee until golden and crispy. Everyone in my families love them because they’re so convenient to eat. Try it out, you’ll like them, too!



  1. Slice chicken into long thin slices, approximately 1/4″ thick and 2″ in length. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Dry roast coriander seeds for a minute or two in a wok over medium heat to roast lightly, stirring often.
  3. Grind the coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder (reserved for spices).
  4. Combine all the spices with the shallot, lemon grass, galangal and garlic together in a bowl.
  5. Add chicken pieces to the marinade and mix well to cover meat. Allow to marinate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
  6. Before cooking, soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 10 minutes, so that they will not burn.
  7. Skewer 2 to 3 pieces of chicken onto each stick. Grill over a hot fire until cooked through. Baste with cooking oil after turning.

Recipe taken from Temple of Thai’s website.

Fresh Spring Rolls

Posted in APPETIZER, RECIPES on February 6, 2010 by Meals of Asia

Spring rolls are one of my favorite appetizers! They are much healthier than egg rolls because they are not deep-fried and most of the ingredients are fresh. The really neat thing about spring rolls is that you can put just about any ingredients you like while eliminating those you dislike, so you do not necessarily have to use all the ingredients listed below. Spring rolls are typically eaten as an appetizer, but they definitely make great lunches, too!

Serves: 4-5 people (makes 12-15 spring rolls)


3 ounces large rice vermicelli

1 package large dried rice wrappers

1½ cups chopped green onion

4 leave Romaine lettuce, chopped (or iceberg lettuce)

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into matchstick-like pieces

4 eggs (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

2 cups ground pork (If Vegetarian, substitute with tofu. Slice tofu into matchstick-like pieces. May need around 12-15 pieces, or however much you are planning to make).


Peanut Dipping Sauce:

4 ounces Lee Kum Kee Peanut Flavored Sauce

¼ tablespoon Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce

1 tablespoon crushed peanuts

1½ tablespoons sugar

½ tablespoons fish sauce

¼ tablespoon fresh lime juice

¼ tablespoon sriracha sauce (optional if like spicy)



1.  Prepare vermicelli noodle:

Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water. When water boils, put vermicelli noodles in. Use wooden spoon to occasionally stir and let boil for 5 minutes then decrease heat. Make sure to stir all the way to bottom of saucepan, otherwise, vermicelli noodle will get stuck onto the bottom. Stir for another 5 minutes, or until soften. Test to see if vermicelli noodle is ready by taking a couple strands, rinse with cold water and taste. If a grainy texture exists in center of noodle strand, it is not ready, let boil for a few more minutes. If grainy texture does not exist, vermicelli noodle is ready. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

2.  Prepare ground pork:

In a large wok (or skillet), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add ground pork. Stir-fry ground pork for 8-10 minutes or until pink is no longer visible. Add oyster sauce and green onion and stir for another 3-5 minutes, or until green onion is soften. Remove from heat. Set aside.   

3.  Prepare eggs (optional):

Break eggs into bowl. Whisk with a fork until yolk has been broken. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and pour in egg mixture. Swirl the egg mixture around to coat the pan, same method as making an omelet. When you start to see the egg whites cooked on top, the bottom layer may be cooked. Break the sheet in half with your spatula and flip to let other side cook. Remove egg sheets from skillet onto a chopping board and cut into strips (can be same size as cucumbers). Set aside.


4.  Prepare Peanut Dipping Sauce:

Place all ingredients except 1 tablespoon of crushed peanuts in blender. Blend on low speed until well mixed. Pour sauce into bowl and stir in crushed peanuts. Set aside.

5.  Prepare the wrapper:

Fill a large bowl with warm water. Soak each rice wrapper in water for about 3-5 seconds (for thicker wrappers, soak a few seconds more; for thinner, soak a few seconds less, but do not over soak them as they will become gelatinous and stick together.) Lay wrapper flat onto a large round plate or clean area. Let it sit for 5-8 seconds; you’ll notice that the wrapper has gotten softer and most of the moisture is gone. It is ready for fillings!

6.  Finally, it’s wrapping time! (Check out my wrapping trick!)

On top corner closest to you and about 2 inches in, place about half a handful of vermicelli noodle, one spoonful of ground pork, 1-2 strands of eggs, 1 cucumber stick and half a handful of lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold top uncovered side inward, follow by the other two uncovered sides and tightly roll the wrapper. Repeat the same process with remaining ingredients.

Serve spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce. Enjoy!