With another year coming to a close, it’s nice to take a moment and reflect. The boyfriend and I have been blessed with another year together, which has secondarily given me the opportunity to learn more about Thai food and culture (and of course share it all here with you!). Over the past year, I’ve shared more than 30 different Thai recipes, most of which have been new to me with just a few that I perfected over the last year. Here are some of our favorites:
I absolutely love larb, so larb lettuce cups was a no-brainer for me. It’s the perfect little bite of this delicious Thai chicken salad wrapped in a cool lettuce leaf. It’s light and refreshing and makes an awesome appetizer in the Spring or Summer. The boyfriend is a fan of larb lettuce cups too, but his absolute favorite appetizer this year was the pork-stuffed squash blossoms because 1) they’re deep fried 2) they’re stuffed with pork and 3) the squash blossoms just kind of dissolve in your mouth. And yes, they are totally addictive.
2. Favorite Soup: Shredded Chicken and Lemongrass Soup (both of us)
When compiling the recipes from this year, I was surprised to see that I didn’t make many new soups. In any case, the stand out for both the boyfriend and me was our adaptation of David Thompson’s shredded chicken and lemongrass soup. It’s made in a similar manner to tom yum, but with shredded chicken and finely sliced herbs added back in at the last minute. It’s spicy and limey and completely soothing, just like a good Thai chicken soup should be.
Som Tam quickly became my favorite Thai salad after learning how to make it from the boyfriend’s mom. I was so inspired by how it was turning out that I even made a little video tutorial to share with you! The boyfriend loves som tam, but he says that the complex flavors of the Thai pomelo salad win out for him this year. I think you can’t go wrong with either of these salads.
4. Favorite Noodle Dish: Pad Thai (everyone)
Pad Thai was definitely our readers’ favorite noodle dish. I think I would also vote for it as my favorite this year because I finally figured out how to make it great every time. That said, it does require more prep work than pad see ew or pad kee mao, so we enjoy those noodle dishes more often than pad Thai in a practical sense. But every once in a while, when I have the time, ingredients, and motivation to make pad Thai, it’s a special treat for both of us.
Green curry is, hands down, the boyfriend’s and my favorite curry. It’s so fragrant, flavorful, and spicy that given the choice between it and any other Thai curry, there’s really no competition (except for perhaps gang hang lay whose recipe is coming up next year). That said, yellow curry seems to be the most popular curry among our readers.
6. Favorite Main Dish: Pad Grapow (both of us)
I posted quite a few main dishes over the course of this year, from nam prik pao stir fries to kai jeow to a whole grilled fish stuffed with lemongrass. All of these mains are winners in my mind, but nothing can ever beat out pad grapow. This dish is so easy and so delicious. It’s got to be one of the most delicious foods I’ve ever eaten. And it goes without saying that it’s the boyfriend’s favorite.
2012 was the year I learned how to make stir fried vegetables with kaffir lime leaves. Prior to this discovery, all of my vegetables were basically Chinese-style stir fries, which while delicious, can get repetitive day after day. I love this stir fry with fresh bamboo shoots and the boyfriend loves it with loofah, giving us two more distinct vegetable dishes to enjoy everyday!
Mango sticky rice was a recipe that I perfected this year and in my mind there’s really just no competing with it. Perfectly ripe mango paired with creamy coconut-infused sticky rice… how can you go wrong? And the boyfriend would never turn down mango sticky rice, but the standout dessert for him this year was the Thai-style fried bananas that I made for our anniversary. They’re the closest he’s had to the fried bananas he grew up eating in Thailand and when eaten fresh out of the hot oil they really are crisp little bites of deliciousness!
9. Favorite Experience: Thai New Year Festival and WORC Photography Workshop (both of us)
And this list wouldn’t be complete without the weekend that the boyfriend and I spent down in L.A. for the Thai New Year Festival (Songkran) and White On Rice Couple’s Food Photography workshop. It was a weekend chock full of meeting amazing people, sharing wonderful memories, eating delicious food, and learning all kinds of things about photography, blogging, food, and culture. It was definitely a highlight of 2012!
What about you? What were some of your favorite dishes or experiences of 2012? Do you have any New Years Day traditions? Me… I’ll be eating some black eyed peas and cabbage while at home in Louisiana! In any case, I’m looking forward to another wonderful year in 2013…. and I’m wishing you the same! Sawadee Pi Mai Ka!