Thai Mango Sticky Rice

Come away to Thailand with me as we gorge on some easy, vegan, gluten free, lip-smacking Thai Mango Sticky Rice! ❤

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The Foodscape turns TWO!

Today, The Foodscape celebrates its Second Anniversary! I can’t believe it’s been two years since my first post on The Foodscape. Little did I know then that it would become my life. 🙂

The Foodscape Turns TWO!

The Foodscape has had a tremendous year indeed. It started out with the routine five working days and blogging over the weekends, survived a big move to another country, launched its logo, travelled to Thailand and had an incredible Christmas, filled with the season’s best. Then 2016 rolled in and I worked hard to put many wonderful recipes out for you. Happy Days!

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The Foodscape Holiday -Thailand

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Wat Chalong, Phuket

I have always wanted to travel the world. As a little girl I harbored all those cliched dreams of having that magical kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower, having a picture of me taken while I (fake) tried to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and of course I wanted to visit the Colosseum and eat some creamy gelato, very a la Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in When in Rome.

As I grew older, and began taking my passion for food seriously, my need to get away from the norm and travel to strange, unknown places where every corner I turned would be unfamiliar took over my life. Simply because the more I fell in love with food, the more vivid it became that I was missing out on the flavours of these foreign corners.

IMG_20151123_133514When I enrolled into college, my one wish was that it would help me get a job that would cover my food and travel bills. About then, I was blessed with a man who wanted the same things in life – good food and to travel the world! And the rest is history… 🙂

It’s been just over a week since we returned from Thailand, our first of many trips around the world. I must tell you that every moment we spent there was amazing and will forever be etched in our travel-yearning hearts. And if you ask me what I miss most (yes, already!) about the Land of Smiles, I’ll tell you it’s the incredible food! (That, and the public transportation system. It’s so convenient that you almost forget you’re a tourist!) 😉

There is no such thing as a bad meal in Thailand. In the 10 days we spent there, every meal was top notch. Whether you’re cruising through a shopping street and break to eat some delicious street food, have dinner in a mall food-court or sit down in a pretty restaurant for some fancy grub, the food is always good; ALWAYS! Here’s a roundup of my foodie adventure in Thailand! 😀

Authentic Thai Food

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A trip to Thailand is never complete without savouring some hot Thai Green Curry, sweet and spicy Seafood Pad Thai and Mango Sticky Rice for dessert. But the cuisine is by no way limited to these three beauties. With tonnes of noodle soup dishes, curries, crispy pork, fried rice, fresh seafood delicacies and grills to its credit, Thai food is easily one among the most flavourful, simple and comforting cuisines of the world.

IMG_20151122_205808Our first dinner in Bangkok was some spectacular Mixed Seafood Pad Thai at Food Factory in Siam Center. The food is cooked freshly before you and my, is it lip-smacking! Full of bold fresh flavours, an array of textures coming through in each bite and the well-complemented seafood and glass noodles left us full yet wanting for more.

We also enjoyed my all-time favourite Thai Green Curry on various occasions! Hot, aromatic and oozing with flavour, it is perfectly accompanied by a bowl of steamed Jasmine Rice. The best bit, you can find these Thai food classics just about anywhere in the city! 🙂

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Street Food in Bangkok

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As the sun goes down, the streets of Bangkok come alive with tonnes of pop-up kiosks serving freshly grilled skewers of various kinds – chicken satay, pork balls, sausages, fish, squid, octopus, mushrooms, shrimp. You name it, they’ll cook it for you! And needless to say, it is all delicious. Several kiosks also sell fresh fruits. I had my good share of juicy mango slices and watermelon. Some of the best mangoes I’ve ever eaten!

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Breakfast at The Ambassador Hotel, Bangkok

For the first two nights of our holiday, we stayed in The Ambassador Hotel, Bangkok. Located on Soi 11 in Sukhumvit, this hotel is beautiful and the service is great. To say we loved the breakfast spread at The Ambassador is an understatement. They have a huge variety of Thai, Indian and European breakfast favourites, freshly made and waiting for guests at 6am.

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Croissants, danishes, fresh bread, banana cake, ham, bacon, cheese, sausages, pancakes with syrup and chocolate, Thai soups and curries, Indian naan and vegetarian gravies, cereal, juices and fresh fruit are all served up, making sure that each guest is fueled up well for a day of sightseeing. If you’re staying at The Ambassador, make sure you wake up early to grab a bite at the AM Cafe breakfast buffet!

Think Cafe, Siam Center, Bangkok

Without a thought or any prior planning, every time we were in Siam, we somehow found our way to Think Cafe. This cute cafe located in Siam Center is great for desserts, coffee, tea and fruity coolers. I had the Mixed Berry Italian Soda here on my first day in Thailand and I fell in love instantly. It is just what you need after a long journey – refreshing, cool and berrylicious!

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Chocolate Pot

On our last day in Thailand, we stopped here for dessert. The boyfriend had the Chocolate Pot which he said was super chocolaty and I had the Midnight Brownie. It was dark and gooey and the perfect comfort food for my holiday-ending blues. A must try! 🙂

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Midnight Brownie

Some Sushi Loving

IMG_20151122_233456I love Sushi and much to my delight, it is easily available anywhere in Thailand. You can find it sold by street-food vendors, served at several Japanese restaurants around town and even order in.

One of the highlights of my very-sushi (I must have eaten sushi on every alternate day!) holiday was the Naeki Sushi I found in Siam. Get this – it is sold in pretty take-out packaging at the Siam BTS Sky Train station! Sushi sold at a train station? That is genius! We really could use some of that awesomeness here in India. 😛

The boyfriend and I also experienced our first truly-Japanese meal on our last afternoon in Thailand. At one of the many Japanese restaurants in Siam Center, we sat down on bar stools and enjoyed some delicious make-it-yourself Tom Yum and Chicken soups. We popped into our soups just about every ingredient that was rolling by on the conveyor belt and ended up with yummies in our tummies. We then proceeded to the sushi counter where we chose our picks from 20 different kinds of sushi! Sweet Japanese cuisine heaven! 😀

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Street Food in Phuket

IMG_20151125_173206The food at every corner in sunny Phuket is to-die-for! We stayed in Patong and we absolutely loved the large variety of street food options housed within the Malin Plaza. It was like a food festival open every day of the week! Here, we gorged on some delicious Nutella-Strawberry Crepes prepared by this lovely Thai couple, Vietnamese Spring Rolls, more Pad Thai and Sushi and of course some Mango and Sticky Rice served with Coconut milk – just divine!

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Drinks on Bangla Road

If you’re travelling to Phuket, you really mustn’t miss a quick visit to Bangla Road. This short street lined with night clubs, bars, pubs and lots of live entertainment (both family-friendly and naughty) is colourful, lively and the hub of nightlife in Phuket. We stopped for some rum and coke at the Tiger Bar before we proceeded to the Pizza Company for dinner. Good fun! 😛

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Gram Cafe, Tamaharaj, Bangkok

We had a great lunch at Gram Cafe, located in the Tamaharaj open air mall on the Maharaj Pier in Bangkok. Long before we set out on our vacation, we had looked at pictures of meaty burgers sandwiched between black burger buns and had longed to have an opportunity to taste them. We were delighted when we found these intriguing black burgers at Gram Cafe and just had to try them!

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BBQ Pulled Pork Burger
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Soft-Shell Crab Burger

I had the Pulled BBQ Pork Burger and the boyfriend had the Soft-Shell Crab Burger. Both were succulent, meaty, juicy and messy – but dribbling with gorgeous flavours! We also shared the Mixed Berry Soda which was so very refreshing!

Pomodoro, Bangkok

To take a break from all the Asian food we were trying out, one afternoon we decided to resort to some good ol’ Italian comfort food at Pomodoro, Bangkok. Located right outside The Ambassador Hotel Bangkok, this chic little place is cozy, and offers both indoor and al fresco seating options. And the food is exceptionally good. We ordered the classic Margherita Pizza and Pan Fried Sea Bass Risotto and were pleasantly mind-blown by how delicious it was.

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Margherita Pizza

The pizza base was thin and crispy, topped with just the right amount of cheese and pizza sauce and finished with basil. Yum yum and more yummm! The risotto was creamy, the rice glossy and pearly and the sea bass was seasoned well and cooked to perfection. A seafood-lover’s dream come true!

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Pan Fried Sea Bass Risotto

For dessert, we had the Tiramisu and I believe this deserves a special mention. We have had plenty of Tiramisu at various restaurants in Oman and India but have always been disappointed by the flavours and textures. The boyfriend always complains that I’ve ruined all Tiramisu served in restaurants with my mean homemade version. But not this one. The Tiramisu at Pomodoro knocked mine right outside the park! My mouth waters at the memory. It was, quite simply put, perfect! ❤

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Tiramisu

Our vacation in Thailand was as much a gastronomical extravaganza as it was a cultural and architectural treat. Thai food is comfort, flavour and homey-ness all wrapped into one. And once you fall in love with it, it’s going to keep you coming back for more.

I already can’t wait for my next trip to Thailand, and I hope I’ve made you hungry enough to pack your bags and go on vacation to this beautiful country! 😀

Thai style Stir Fried Noodles

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Every time I turn on NDTV Good Times, TLC or AXN, there is always some cookery show going on, with talented chefs plating up delicious, exotic looking and tummy-rumble-inducing dishes. (I’m convinced my eyes and my stomach have a special relationship; no matter how full I am, the minute I see beautiful food, my tummy instantly growls!) There have been several such instances when I’ve been glued to the TV, watching chefs put together Chinese  noodles, stir fried with loads of vegetables, poultry and seafood; lying in a wholesome broth – all glistening and colorful. To my surprise, I found that every chef has a unique go-to Stir Fried Noodles recipe. There’s Thai, Chinese, Hong Kong style, Schezwan, and so many more. To my amateur self, it was a little too confusing (I just couldn’t figure out the difference between them all). Nonetheless, they all looked incredibly mouth-watering.

I’ve always wanted to try cooking Stir Fired Noodles, but since I’m not a huge fan of noodles dishes in general, I always procrastinate when I do think of trying it. So how did I get myself to make them? It’s a funny story actually. One night, I had a wonderful dream of me getting home from work and whipping up a delicious Stir Fried Noodles dish for the family. (Weird, isn’t it? I’m not kidding, I actually dreamed of noodles!) This was the first time I ever dreamed of food (or at least I think it is.) Since everyone in the dream seemed to find the dish yummy, I thought, why not see how it goes for real?

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Stir Fried Noodles is one of those no-fuss dishes. It is not time consuming and neither is it difficult to make. Simple yet flavorful is what this dish promises to be. All you need is a whole lot of vegetables and your choice of protein (it could be chicken, seafood, or even processed meats like sausages or salami) stir fried in a delectable broth, to which you add boiled Chinese noodles. It is really as simple as that, but it tastes like a dish which you would find at a really good Asian restaurant.

What you need:

  • Chinese Noodles – 500 g
  • Garlic – 5 cloves, chopped finely
  • Ginger – 2 tsp, finely chopped
  • Onion – 2 medium, sliced
  • Carrot – 1, julienned
  • Mushrooms – 200 g, chopped to bite size pieces
  • Broccoli florets- cleaned thoroughly
  • Green Bell Pepper (capsicum) – 1, sliced
  • Red Bell Pepper (red capsicum) – 1, sliced
  • Chicken Breasts – 4, cubed
  • Vegetable Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Lime Juice – 5 tbsp
  • Soy Sauce – 6 tbsp
  • Fish Sauce – 2 tbsp
  • Vinegar – 6 tbsp
  • Oyster Sauce –  6 tbsp
  • Sugar – 4 tsp
  • Pepper – to taste
  • Red Chilly Flakes – to taste
  • Chicken Soup Cubes – 2 (can be substituted with a few tablespoons of chicken stock)

This is how you make it:

  • Boil the Chinese noodles until semi-soft. Don’t overcook them. Once done, take them off the heat, drain the hot water and pour cold water to prevent sticking. Drain again and set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix together lemon juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, vinegar, pepper and red chilly flakes.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil. Fry onions, garlic and ginger until onions are translucent.
  • Marinate the chicken pieces in a one tablespoon of soy sauce and some salt.
  • Add mushrooms and carrots into the skillet. Add two tablespoons of the sauce mixture and cook for five minutes.
  • Add green bell pepper and chicken. Cook till chicken is cooked through.
  • Add red bell pepper and broccoli and pour in the rest of the sauce mix. Add the two soup cubes and cook for four minutes.
  • Make sure that you have plenty of broth and that it is seasoned as per your liking.
  • Add in the noodles and stir until the broth, vegetables, chicken and noodles are mixed through.
  • Cook for a minute or two and take it off the heat.
  • Serve warm.

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This is one of the tastiest main course dishes I have ever cooked. This could very much be your go-to dish for days when you’re way too tired and just can’t be bothered to cook something elaborate. I totally see myself living the dream I had – coming home from work, preparing this lip-smacking dish and sitting with the family for a warm, hearty dinner. The best thing about this dish? It’s all-in-one; you don’t need to make a separate side dish to go with it!

I had a lot of worries when I was making these noodles –  Will mum and dad eat it? The boyfriend doesn’t like too many vegetables all together, maybe he’ll be fussy about it. I myself don’t like noodles. Maybe this was a bad idea after all! My mind wouldn’t stop ranting. But then I tasted it, and instantly every single qualm floated away. It was nothing like anything I’d tasted before. It was hot and sweet, the unique taste of every vegetable, the different sauces, the chicken, all fusing together into a perfect amalgamation. It was nothing short of a divine blend of flavors. It was so good, I admonished myself for procrastinating for way too long.

And what was everyone else’s reaction, you may ask? My mum enjoyed it – she grabbed a bowl full of noodles, ate it up and then took a second-helping. Dad gave me a 10/10 for the noodles; he said they were ‘Supppeeeerrrb!’ He even asked if he could have them for dinner a few days later, but alas, they were all gone by then. The boyfriend, well, all he said was, “The noodles are excellent! I love it. You really are a genius!” You can imagine my surprise and joy. With such great reactions to my first try at cooking Stir Fried Noodles, nothing’s going to stop me from making them often and cooking them in different styles.

A little tip: To all the mothers out there, this is a great way to get the kids to eat vegetables!

So channel your inner chef and whip up this gastronomical extravaganza. Trust me, you’re going to feel like you just had a scrumptious meal at a great Asian restaurant!

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Prawn Thai Green Curry

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Have you ever experienced a sense of utter pride when you’ve cooked something amazing? Ever felt excitement forcing its way through your veins as you taste what you’ve worked so hard on? I felt exactly that when I cooked this Prawn curry, and let me tell you, the experience was overwhelming. (I think I might have jumped and twirled a little!)

I would be lying if I said that I’ve always been a fan of Thai food – it’s been just a couple of months since I’ve been introduced to it. My first experience of Thai food didn’t go too well; it was Christmas and we brought home Turkey cooked in a Red Thai Curry with Kaffir Lime Leaves. To be honest, I didn’t like it one bit. I can’t say exactly what I didn’t like about it, but that’s when I decided that I’m not a fan of Thai food. Since then, I’ve had Pad Thai on two occasions, which I absolutely love, and Thai curry with Breadfruit and Prawns on one occasion and I found it okay.

I’m not sure what came upon me when I decided to cook a Thai Green Curry. It had been at the back of my mind for a while and I found myself searching through the internet, looking for a Thai Green Curry that really appealed to me. And then I found it – a recipe for the perfect Prawn Thai Green Curry. But I found myself disheartened when I saw that the recipe asked for lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves which I didn’t have on hand. After weeks of procrastination, I decided that I just had to go to the market and try my luck –  you wouldn’t believe my excitement when I found them! (If I could do back-flips and somersaults, I would have!)

IMG_3056So here’s what you’re going to need

  • Medium sized Prawns – 1 kg, shelled and cleaned
  • Vegetable Oil – 1 and 1/2 tbsp
  • Thai Green Curry Paste – 1/4 cup
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves – 8
  • Lemon Grass – 2 sticks, chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • Coconut Milk – 550 ml
  • Soy Sauce – 1 tsp
  • Brown Sugar – 2 and 1/2 tbsp
  • Green Chilli- 2, finely chopped
  • Salt – to taste

Here’s how you make it

  • Heat oil in a skillet. Fry the Thai green curry paste, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves for a minute. Add soy sauce.
  • Pour in coconut milk and bring the sauce to a boil.
  • At this point check the flavors. You might find that the curry is bland. Add in green chilly, brown sugar and salt. Let the curry boil for a minute.
  • Add in the prawns and cook for three to six minutes, or until the prawns are perfectly cooked, soft and succulent.
  • Serve warm with white rice.

This dish converted me from a non-Thai cuisine person to a fan of Thai food. This curry is creamy and oozing with flavor – the soft, moist prawns, the spice of the curry paste and the chillis complimented by the sweetness of the coconut milk, the aromas of the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves cutting through the heaviness of the curry and the brown sugar completing the dish. This is pure heaven! My taste buds had a ball and they just won’t seem to let go of the memory of this delicious curry. Try it, each bite you take will make you fall deeper in love with this Prawn Thai Green Curry.

A little tip: while you’re cooking this dish, you may find that it lacks spice. If you do, add in more green chillis. I found that the curry paste I picked up was of the mild spicy variety and before I added in the chillis, the spice was just not enough for the prawns. Since apart from the sea-foody flavor of prawns, they are bland. Add in those extra chillis to make them the hero of the dish.

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