Tag Archives: Som Tam

The Culinary Alphabet with a little twist…(dimsuM)

Good morning everyone and Pete… time for another post which is this crazy idea from one of my fellow scribes …but food fun…this week the letter M…Enjoy!

However, I will say…The letter V stands at 4 now… thanks to some of my blogging buddies x…


Bokkeum is a category of stir-fried dishes in Korean cuisine. The word Bokkeum is to cook food or food ingredients with little or a small amount of liquid by stir-frying over high heat.


I have fond memories of the cakes my mum used to make with a buttercream icing ..little butterfly cakes…Just like these which my grandchildren now love to bake and eat.

Quite simply it is softened butter creamed together with icing(confectioners) sugar with a little vanilla extract and sometimes I will use fresh lemon or lime juice or add some cocoa powder.

Chocolate Butterfly Cakes

Of course, nowadays it has been all poshed up and swirled and we have American Buttercream, Swiss and Italian Meringue Buttercream piped and standing tall on these perfect cupcakes…

Not for us, we go with the memories of these little butterfly cakes my mum and grandmother used to bake with me…No bells and whistles just a tasty bite which kids love to make…and I now make them with my grandkids…


A pretty flower which my father used to grow and show… he also won many medals for the perfect blooms he grew…a many petalled flower which is grown all over the world they come in all colours and sizes even green which are very pretty…not just a pretty flower to look at the chrysanthemum flowers are also edible and have been used for medicinal purposes for many years.

The tea brewed from the dried flowers has a golden hue and a mild, flowery flavour similar to chamomile.

The flower’s petals, leaves, and stalks can be blanched (briefly plunged into boiling water) and eaten in salads or on their own.

Cling film:

Also known as plastic wrap or saran wrap it is as the name suggests clingy…there is also a knack for tearing it off straight…Hubby is learning as am I and it is one of the products I have now nearly phased out of my kitchen…

It has had much bad press over the years…Is it safe to use?  Well…Yes, cling film is supposed to be safe to use when used properly and when the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. If not used properly there is a risk of chemical migration from the cling film to the food.

Too many ifs and buts for me…

There are viable alternatives as cling film is or should be replaced by one of the many viable alternatives…see my column next year over @ Smorgasbord…


A lovely little seed cardamom is used as a spice. It is also used in soaps, creams, and perfumes. It comes in black or green…it has only been quite recently that I discovered why the green seeds are so expensive…they are harvested by hand…to me the cost is worthwhile as the seeds impart such a wonderful fragrance and taste…think cardamon ice cream…

With an intense, slightly sweet flavour that some people compare to mint, it originated in India but is available worldwide today and used in both sweet and savoury recipes.


Dim sum is a traditional Chinese meal made up of small plates of dumplings and other snack dishes and is usually accompanied by tea. Similar to the way that the Spanish eat tapas, the dishes are shared among family and friends.

Bite-sized little steamed dumplings dim sum is now enjoyed around the world.


Was a fermented fish sauce used as a condiment in the cuisines of Phoenicia, ancient Greece, Rome, Carthage and later Byzantium even the Romans loved this funky sauce… The closest to this now is Fish sauce a very popular condiment in Asia…

Change the U for an A and we have Garam...a pungent and aromatic mixture of ground spices used in Indian cooking. Whole spices of cinnamon, mace, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and cardamom pods are toasted in a pan to release their aromatic flavours, then ground to a powder.


Jam is a condiment usually made from pressed fruit, sugar, and sometimes pectin. … After making, the jam is normally put into an airtight jar. Usually,  jam contains as much sugar as it contains fruit. The two parts are then cooked together to form a gel.


We have all heard of the ice lolly on a stick and covered in chocolate called magnum…haven’t we?

A magnum is also a term used in the measurement of Champagne…A magnum measures 1.5 litres…making it the perfect size for parties, weddings, birthday and Christmas…A mimosa on Christmas morning goes down a treat with some smoked salmon and scrambled eggs…That my friends is my Christmas breakfast sorted …


Mushrooms are an edible fungus that can provide several important nutrients. The many kinds of mushroom have varying compositions and nutritional profiles. From puffballs to truffles, mushrooms can range from everyday fare to a costly delicacy. People can buy them fresh, canned, or dried.

A very popular pastime here in Thailand is foraging for mushrooms (but) please know your mushrooms before you embark on any foraging as mushrooms are a beautiful thing but as with many beautiful things they can also be deadly…

They range from the tiniest little shroom to a large portabello mushroom which is delicious when stuffed.


Is a natural herb which comes from the neem tree also known as Indian Lilac…The extract comes from the seeds of the tree and has many different traditional uses.

It has pesticidal and insecticidal properties and is used in hair and dental products.

Neem tea is often prescribed to reduce fevers and chewing neem twigs for dental hygiene is an age-old Indian tradition.


A lovely fruit which is low in calories …it also contains a fair amount of important vitamins and minerals, in other words, they are good for us… lots of vitamin C…They can be enjoyed raw or cooked, made into jams and relishes…a stone fruit closely related to peaches and cherries when dried it becomes a prune…


Or poppadom is a thin crispy Indian bread made from lentil flour…it can be plain or spiced in various ways and can be fried or baked…either way, it is a delicious accompaniment to Indian curries and chutneys.


Psyllium is a form of fibre made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. It sometimes goes by the name ispaghula.

It’s most commonly known as a laxative.


Is a delicate white fish which can be baked, fried, grilled or steamed it can be flavoured with Indian spices or sweet Mediterranean vegetables…my way is to steam with herbs and lemongrass then served with a spicy chilli dip.

Scattered with crispy fried onions, garlic and ginger it is a wonderful dish.


Skim, skimming or skimmed is to remove fat or floating material from the surface of a liquid…


Is a spicy salad made from green papaya...there are many variations of Papaya salad some contain a fermented fish called phla or tiny crabs but whatever the mix they all combine the four tastes – sour, chilli, sweet and salty.

Eaten all over Asia and served with sticky rice and BBQ chicken it is an iconic street food found on every corner.

I have also eaten it made from shredded swede, cucumber and shredded green bananas…slightly different in taste but with the unquestionable four tastes…


Wheat Germ is the nutritious heart of the wheat kernel. These delicious flakes include many nutrients like folate, vitamin E and thiamin. You can add wheat germ while cooking hot cereal and baked goods for a nutty flavour and pleasant crunch.

Wheatgerm is rich in fibre and contains high levels of Vitamin B…this is why the movement away from highly processed white flour is gathering momentum…During the flour making process, white flour is sifted several times before being turned into a commercial product; the wheat germ is removed to give the flour an improved appearance and better keeping qualities however it also removes all the goodness.

That’s all for today I hope you have found something interesting and unknown…I have left some M’s for you, Pete and M & M’s are not allowed, …x

Stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot as you know what I am going to say it is Free and proven to be good for your health…..Laughter aside…My thoughts and prayers are with all the people who have been or will be touched by this Covid-19 virus…the new lockdowns and restrictions..stay safe be aware and social isolate where required and we will beat this thing…xx



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…


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…


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/

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

Salt Farming in Northern Thailand.

I thought I would repost this as it has been 2 years and I am still loving it here in the North of Thailand and discovering traditions which are still being passed down through the generations…I hope to visit the salt farming area again very soon and take advantage of the massages they offer ….I also hope to find some more traditions which are being passed down which I can share with you …Enjoy!

Retired? No one told me!


Driving to Nong Khai towards the Mekong we suddenly started to see lots of roadside stalls selling salt and then I remembered nothing grew here because the land was so salty …No rice…Nothing!

Proud of their salt producing heritage there is now a 3 day Salt Festival with talks, educational displays and the most beautiful sculptures crafted from salt.

Before I show and tell you about the salt I will show you how I use salt …Which produces the most succulent fish you have ever tasted and eaten with Som Tam Green Papaya) Salad and Sticky Rice ( Kow Neow) is one of the most amazing meals you could wish to eat.

Salt-fish-Thai BBQ Salt Fish

Just take 3/4 stems of lemongrass and tie in a knot, stuff it in the cavity of the fish and then roll the fish in sea salt do not descale the fish as it…

View original post 626 more words

Retired no one told me… Weekly roundup…Kaffir Limes, Bluebells and Carrot Cake!

Hello…It’s weekly roundup time again  I haven’t written so much this week I have been working on my cookbook…But just in case you missed some then here they all are…I hope you enjoy them 🙂

Weekly update collage

It has been one of those days for me my laptop is not connecting to the internet…everyone else’s is..just not mine…so I am plugged directly into the modem and improvising, not my normal comfy seat where I  write.



The Kaffir Lime was my Fruity Friday’s theme and a very versatile fruit it is…

Kaffir Lime tree and fruit



Carol’s Bootcamp…No to diets and yes to healthy eating, coupled with moderation nothing is banned…Just common sense and moderation with some exercise thrown in…

No more ( 2)



Then it is Easter treats for you a lovely carrot cake with pineapple and a cream cheese topping also some lovely biscuits made by young Lily all over at Sally’s place where she hosts my weekly food column.


That’s all for this week…I hope you enjoy them and try some of the recipes ..if you do please let me know in comments how they turned out…

Until next time stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot…xxx

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Laters xxx


Healthy Eating…How to lose weight and eat the foods you love !


No more ( 2)

Don’t the weeks just fly by? Welcome back to Carol’s boot camp…How is your new eating plan going??? It would lovely to hear from you in comments…

I am really watching what I eat this week as Easter is coming and I love a Hot Cross bun or two…Don’t you??

What is this I hear about the word Easter being taken of the Easter Egg boxes???  Well apparently it is old news and not quite TRUE..the word Easter is on the back of the box and not the front… I am guessing that it won’t be long before it disappears from the back of the box… Maybe I will take a bet on that…

What have I eaten today…Som Tam ( Papaya Salad)and sticky rice for my brunch…my early morning drink was Coconut Juice fresh and lovely.

Papaya Salad Som Tam

Tonight, as my little granddaughter has come to stay, is Thai Beef Salad …A treat as beef is hard to come by here and expensive. Now when you click on this link you will also see a recipe for Bread Pudding which is a luscious English dish… Moderation and enjoy if you make it! No guilt and moderation…

Nam Doc Nua

Thai Beef Salad

Doesn’t it look lovely and fresh? That is why I love Thai Food  …It is quick to make and when I was working I just froze my meat in portions and took it out of the freezer before I went to work..so when I come home I just had to put on the rice and chop the salad ..flash fry the beef and slice thinly and mix it together and add the chillies etc…20 minutes tops and my dinner was ready…

I also owe all of you who were looking forward to some Tofu recipes this week an apology... I was hoping to get some tried and tested recipes that I could make but no… I won’t go into the why’s and wherefores but if anyone would like to do a guest post on Tofu with tried and tested recipes then please Pm or e-mail me… I am so sorry to have let you down…I myself don’t cook with tofu and haven’t ever wanted to but I know many of you do and I was hoping to be able to feature some on here this week and try some for myself but it didn’t happen I am afraid… So sorry 😦

What did you think of the protein drinks did you try them? Which one is your favourite so far?? Mine is the raspberry and beet one which is pictured below isn’t it a lovely colour so pretty  …There will be another one next week so stay tuned…

Raspberry Protein Shake

Next week I will have another protein drink for you… Also, some recipes using Mango as at the moment Mangoes are plentiful and in season here and I have many mangoes some I eat green and raw with a chilli dip and I also make my own Mango chutney for when I have an Indian Curry which I do maybe once every two weeks…I did tell you that this eating plan does not count anything we just apply MODERATION…

No foods are barred just the ones that I choose not to eat…What do you choose not to eat?? Come on…Be truthful…


We are all grown-ups and we know what we are eating and we know what is good and what isn’t and we know why we are overweight … Who are you cheating??? Not me! I won’t tell you not to eat it…I won’t tell you to stop … I won’t tell you anything except what I eat and what works for me and the rest is up to you…No one else… Just You!

Tell me …How is your eating plan going? Do these posts help? Are there any particular recipes you would like me to feature???

Until next week ..Enjoy what you eat…Just remember…No Excuses and moderation…xxxx

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Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

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Down on the Farm…Proud parents.

The first pictures of our new turkey babies:



If you look closely you can see they are just making an appearance…we didn’t want to disturb them or frighten them by getting too close.

They are now a bit bigger and mum is taking them outside for daily walks…However, we have a young puppy and he has very quickly learnt to keep his distance he got too inquisitive and mum got quite angry with him ..apparently jumped on him and made him squeal and sent him on his way… Natures way of giving a clip around the ear… Methinks!

Our black baby chicks are getting quite big now…They are quite beautiful and hand tame…

One of the turkey mums has opted to lay on her eggs outside she didn’t like the new home we have made for them so we will leave her in peace to hatch her babies where she wants…Sometimes nature knows best…

On the fruit and vegetable side….the kale is looking very nice and much better than the markets and lasts a good few days when it is picked.

The young coconut trees are doing well but it will be a few more years before they fruit. The Papaya tree has many fruits so lots of Som Tam(Papaya Salad)…A LOVELY yummy recipe for you 🙂 Just click the link 🙂

Papaya on tree

The Jackfruit trees are full of fruit so it looks like a bumper crop this year… To read all about the Jack Fruit on WEDNESDAY on my food column on Smorgasbord… Click here to read last weeks post 🙂

Bananas as always are plentiful…

Our babies are now growing well… A little bigger and venturing out for a walk with mum keeping a watchful eye on them.


That’s all for now Down on the Farm my timer has just gone off…The ham is ready..there is nothing better than home-cured ham is there??

Until next time..enjoy your weekend and laugh a lot xx