Thailand… Travel and Traditions…8 popular Issan dishes…from Northern Thailand with recipes

Most late afternoons I venture down to my local market…I leave it so late one because it is cooling down a little and two because all the street food vendors are setting up and selling their wares…It is busy and high on the agenda for most Thais who are either sitting and eating or collecting their food to take home…

 

sausages - fish balls

It is bustling and the smells …Anyone who experiences this for the first is just overawed we took my daughters partner out one night and he was just awestruck he didn’t know where to look or what to try first…

Found almost everywhere and a dish which anyone who visits for the first time goes away wanting to eat this often…

Khao Krapow Moo Kai Dao (rice with pork in basil leaves and fried egg) would indeed top the list. This dish encapsulates everything that is Thailand and Issan( Northern Thailand)

The grittiness, the heat, the speed, and most importantly, the potpourri of smells and flavours that make up the dish will blow your mind. Add to that the mouthwatering fragrance of garlic, chilli and basil stir-fried with chicken (or any meat) in a burning hot wok and you have a dish most Thais would swear by. Served over a plate of steaming hot rice topped with a crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside fried egg, it’s the perfect meal.

Khao Krapow Moo Kai Dao

 

Khao Kha Moo (braised pork knuckle and rice) is a weight watcher’s guilty pleasure which hours of pilates cannot make up for, it’s definitely worth breaking your diet for just one day. You’ll swoon over the succulent pork knuckle, braised for several hours in a thick, five-spices gravy, it comes out off-the-bone tender. Sometimes though the leg of pork will be used but slow-cooked just the same. Enjoy this with a boiled egg, some kale and top it off with some preserved cabbages and a sweet and sour dipping sauce and officially declare that day National Pig-Out Day and that you are in culinary heaven…

THAI SLOW PORK

Walking through the market stalls more often than not you are greeted with that familiar smell of star anise and cinnamon which is synonymous with Thai slowed Braised Pork it is to be found in huge pots and there will generally be a queue and it just epitomises the essence of street food….One which holds almost iconic status.

It will either be served in a bowl-like above or on a plate with rice, pickled cabbage and miso soup like this one…Both equally delicious…

Thai slow cooked pork and miso soup

Most everyone knows Som Tam but any Thai ( and me) would swear by the marriage of Gai yang(grilled chicken) or BBQ fish(pla pao) with the world-famous Thai papaya salad. Be prepared for a sensory overload as your taste buds do a dance and go wild.

While som tam pla ra is an acquired taste, som tam Thai is much more accessible and has become more popular, especially in central Thailand. In contrast to the salty, spicy and pungent som tam pla rasom tum Thai has a more sweet and sour taste, with the use of palm sugar and lime, balanced with the saltiness from the fish sauce and dried shrimps. Instead of the green seeds from white popinac, you’ll get to enjoy the crunch from roasted peanuts. This is the one I prefer as although I have eaten Payaya salad with Pla( fermented fish) or crab I prefer my Papaya salad without.

Other variations of som tam include tum sua (mixed with rice noodles), tum Kao pode (with corn instead of green papaya), tum tang (with cucumber instead of green papaya), tum ponlamai (with fruits), and many more. Som tum is usually enjoyed with steamed sticky rice or rice noodles on the side. I have also eaten one made with shredded green banana which was quite nice…

How to eat: Take a small helping of sticky rice with clean fingers, tear off a piece of grilled chicken and roll it onto the sticky rice as if making sushi, then add a spoonful of some spicy Som Tam on top of your food. Now open wide and prepare to be amazed by every bite.

Another typical Isaan dish, larb is made with minced meat, cooked or uncooked, mixed with ground toasted rice, shallots, spring onions, mint leaves and seasoned with chilli, lime juice and either fish sauce or pla ra. The preferred meat used in the dish usually includes pork, duck, beef or chicken.

larb Moo

In some areas, you can also find larb luead, where fresh blood is mixed in and other variation of meats depending on local finds. Like most Isaan dishes, larb is usually eaten with steamed sticky rice. Some places also offer a contemporary version of larb tord with similar ingredients as larb but shaped into meatballs and deep-fried which are very nice…

Sausages Tessaban

Another tasty dish is sausage…Isaan people make their sausages with a short fermentation period that’s enough to give them a slight tang. Locally known as sai Krog Isaan, the sausage is made from pork meat and pork fat. Cooked rice is added to the mixture to kickstart the fermentation process which normally only lasts two to three days. Isaan sausages are already seasoned with garlic and salt, making it a handy snack to be enjoyed with fresh chilli, ginger and cabbages. Some of the sausages also have noodles added to the filling…

Here in Issan Noodle Soups are very popular and they come in many different ways some using parts of the animal that I personally would prefer not to eat as nose to tail eating is observed very much here…

 

Another popular Issan dish called Mok pla siw which means various small fish. they are cooked on a BBQ wrapped in a banana leaf with chilli, Thai basil and spring onion…Then eaten with sticky rice either on its own or as an accompaniment to other dishes…

fish-chilli-pla-basil-banana-leaf

Street markets are always bustling and busy here …One-stop shopping..food, clothes, household items, bedding, electrical goods, a puppy or a kitten… Fresh fish, dried fish, still alive and wriggling fish, frogs which here in the North are a staple, rats…yes, rats…tasty I am told by the stallholders and they feed on rice they say, so clean not like the sewer rats …But they have them here in the city where I live..where do they come from I wonder…I will not be enquiring or be eating…This I draw the line at…A big black line..nada, No, I am not even going there…

Another Issan favourite is Ant eggs...Which I have to admit do make a nice salad..they have a lemony taste which is quite pleasant…

ant egg salad

Since living here in Issan I have been surprised and pleased at the variety of foods…Coconut milk is not used as much here in Issan…But the curries and stir-fries are tasty without it …very many different herbs and mushrooms are used alongside foraged and hunted insects and other meats that I never imaged I  would ever see cooked and eaten…Life is full of surprises…

Please note I have included the recipes so you can enjoy them at home for the dishes I have made in my own home…Enjoy!

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  mewe.com/i/caroltaylor3 

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
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Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead and enjoy the recipes xx

7 thoughts on “Thailand… Travel and Traditions…8 popular Issan dishes…from Northern Thailand with recipes

  1. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Weekly Roundup… | Retired? No one told me!

  2. johnrieber

    Terrific food photos Carol…I ate a bacon-wrapped hot dog from a street cart in Seoul South Korea…bubbling away in an sweet-n-sour sauce – delicious! All of your recipes make me hunger to head to a street market now!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. tidalscribe

    I wouldn’t have imagigined a Thai dish topped with a fried egg – well Cyberspuse would like that.The sausages sound very tasty, bet they are more interesting than Walls pink plastic ( which I don’t buy!) Pork seems to be popular.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Pork is popular or chicken…we don’t get lamb ony imported amnd beef very expensive so Thais eat chicken, pork, fish or tofu mainly…Egg goes very nicely with Krapow and yes the sausages are very tasty and not a patch on Walls pink plastic as you put it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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