Thaigga Thai is our family’s favourite restaurant in Wagga. The girls love it because of the giant mural of a tiger on the wall. I’m sure the other diners love listening to their constant “roaring” from the moment we walk in, to the moment we walk out, too. All they need to do now is serve spaghetti bolognese and the girls would never want to leave! (‘Pasta and meat’ as they call it, for breakfast, lunch and dinner please!)
I love Thai food and cook it a lot at home. A good Asian dish needs to be nicely balanced; you need to get the combination of sweet, spicy, sour and salty flavours right. I often find that for my taste, some of the dishes that you get in restaurants are too sweet. I don’t have a real sweet tooth.
If you want a ridiculously fast, flavoursome and healthy midweek dinner, then this is the recipe for you. A bowl of noodles with a lovely little Asian broth, some fresh salmon and green vege. It is seriously easy and looks impressive if you have friends over for dinner. It has all the elements needed; the fish sauce (salty), sugar (sweet), lemon juice (sour) and chilli (spicy). Once you master this flavour combo, you will be able to turn your hand to any Thai inspired dish.
Every chef will tell you that it is important to taste your food as you go. It makes sense doesn’t it? Make sure it tastes OK before serving. Which brings me to something I have thought a lot about over the years and is bugging me. What does a vegetarian chef do when cooking a dish with meat? Hmmmm…
Can’t wait to take our two little ‘roar-ers’ back to Thaigga soon.
vermicelli noodles + salmon + coconut broth (serves 2 adults)
2 salmon fillets
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 piece of fresh ginger (about the size of a 20 cent coin, minced)
1 fresh chilli, finely sliced (*see Lo’s tips below)
Juice of a lemon
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of brown sugar (or palm sugar if you happen to have it)
100 grams of dried vermicelli noodles
1 tin of coconut milk (400mls)
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 bunches of bok choy
Fresh coriander, for serving
Extra lemon wedges, for serving
Fresh chilli, for serving
- Place the vermicelli in a large bowl. Pour some boiling water over the noodles, putting a plate over the bowl to let them cook. (This should only take about 5 minutes till soft. Strain once they are cooked and reserve).
- In a saucepan; add the coconut milk, garlic, ginger, chilli, lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and bring to the boil.
- Back it off to a low heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the salmon fillets to the broth, putting the lid on and letting the fish poach for approximately 5 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through but still pink. Reserve the salmon and keep warm on a plate with foil over the top.
- Add the bok choy to the broth and put the saucepan lid back on. It will only take a couple of minutes for it to wilt.
- Add the cooked noodles to the broth in the saucepan and flake the salmon in on top.
- Serve immediately with the fresh coriander leaves, extra chilli (if using) and lemon wedges.
- There are many recipes out there that tell you to cook fish, noodles and veggies all together in a broth. I prefer to cook the noodles separately and the salmon and bok choy separately so that you don’t over cook the fish or veggies. They cook so quickly!
- Cooking Asian food like this is really very simple. If I can give you one bit of advice though- it is to make sure that you taste the broth as you go. You can always add more lemon juice if it’s too spicy or more salt if the fish needs it, but it is hard to take it out if you are too heavy handed at the start.
- With a broth like this, you can make it as spicy as you want. Cork Daddy and I love things really hot, but I would be conscious of adding too much chilli to the broth if you are making it for someone who doesn’t have a high tolerance to chilli (Ali Thomas). It is safer to serve the dish with extra sliced chilli and guests can add it if they want.
- Make sure that you wash the bok choy as there is often quite a bit of dirt hiding in between the leaves.
- I prefer to cook salmon with the skin on, as it seems to keep the fish moist, preventing it from drying out. I love eating salmon skin if it has been nicely roasted or fried, but I discard this poached salmon skin before serving as I don’t think it tastes very nice, soft.
- You can also substitute the lemon for a lime and replace the bok choy with any other veggies, such as; thinly sliced capsicum, sliced snow peas, frozen peas, shredded cabbage, green beans or julienne carrots.
- I always have frozen salmon fillets in the freezer on stand by for this dish.
Eye spy my new pot of herbs in the background. Thanks to my friend Lizard, AKA Supermum, for her tips on how I can actually try to keep a plant alive! Fingers crossed.
Poaching the salmon in the broth until cooked, and then setting the fish aside.
Adding the bok choy to the broth and cooking, with the lid on, for a couple of minutes until wilted.
Flake the salmon in to the broth and add the noodles. Serve at the table straight from the saucepan. You eat the salmon, noodles and vege and then get to slurp up the broth. So good.
If you cook this meal, send me a pic here, as I would love to share it on the blog. xx