Friday, April 21, 2006

Cookalicious gets organised

With increasing numbers and ranges of recipes, it was time to get categorical.
View the new, organised cookalicious.

I hope you find it easier to find the recipes you want.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thai Recipes > Curry > Panaeng Moo

Panaeng Moo
(Panaeng Curry Pork)

Serves 4

I must admit to being a bit of a cheater on this one...I have a great recipe for Panaeng curry paste, but I've got into the habit of buying it from the Thai or Chinese supermarket as, unlike some bought pastes, this one has a really authentic flavour...its Mae Ploy Brand, the variety they call "Panang Curry Paste" has a blue strip at the top of the label. They do a whole selection of curry pastes, but the Panaeng is exceptionally good.

Keep your tub of Panaeng paste in the fridge, it will last for ages.


500g Pork fillet or Tenderloin - thinly sliced
2 tins coconut milk - separated into a saucepan of the thin milk, retaining the thick milk (creamy, solid) for later
1 tin cold water (measure with the empty coconut milk tin)
3 tablespoons groundnut or similar oil
2 tablespoons Panaeng curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
5 kaffir lime leaves - torn into pieces, discarding the stem
2 tablespoons palm sugar (or brown sugar)
2 big red chillies (optional)
Sweet basil leaves
Juice of 1 lime


  1. Put the pork into the saucepan with the thin coconut milk and water. Make sure the pork is covered by the liquid, then bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Put the oil in a wok or large saucepan and fry the Panaeng curry paste for about 4 minutes until cooked. Be careful at this stage not to burn the paste. Frying the paste produces a strong, spicy smell so you might want to close the kitchen door, turn on the extractor fan or open a window! For best results just keep moving the paste around the wok and keep the heat fairly gentle.
  3. Once the paste has been frying for a few minutes add most of the thick coconut milk and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the cooked pork and all the remaining thin coconut milk from the saucepan and incorporate it into the curry base, bring back to the boil.
  5. Add the palm sugar and stir to melt and combine, then add the fish sauce and lime leaves. Stir to combine.
  6. Turn off the heat and garnish with basil leaves, chillies and a swirl of thick coconut milk. Serve with steamed Thai fragrant rice.
Variations on the Traditional Ingredients:
Although traditional Panaeng Moo doesn't often include vegetables, I've found that quartered chestnut/brown cap mushrooms and courgette pieces work really well with this curry. Just add the mushrooms to the curry base, or add both mushrooms and courgette chunks when you add the cooked pork and cook for 5-10 minutes depending how crunchy you like your courgette. Alternatively try adding your own favourite vegetables to the curry and leave a comment if you come up with a good combination!

Cooks Note:
Putting the tins of coconut in the fridge for a few hours makes them much easier to separate into thin and thick coconut milk.
Take the can from the fridge and open (being careful not to shake it). Using a knife or spoon handle, push a hole down the side of the tin through the cream to the bottom of the can. Repeat on the opposite side so you have two holes. Then, using the knife/handle to hold open the lower hole, pour the thin milk through it from the bottom of the can straight into a saucepan. Don't worry if some of the thicker milk or cream also gets into the pan, as long as you have some thick milk left to use for making the curry base. Repeat with the second tin.

The Finished Dish:

Notes > Thai Ingredients Part 4 > Staples

Asian Supermarket Staples
Buying Thai Rice:
Buying large bags of rice from the Thai or Chinese Supermarket is great value, here is my favourite brand, but others are also good. Look out for AAA quality and the words "New Crop". Also it is worth double checking that you are not buying "broken rice" which although cheaper is long grains that have been broken or crushed, so it won't make the best fluffy steamed rice.

I actually prefer Thai rice to Basmati (although many people still consider this to be the finest rice you can buy), by all means use Basmati if you prefer it, but think about trying Thai Fragrant Rice with your Thai food.
Cooking Thai Rice:
I am lucky enough to have a fantastic National (aka Panasonic) Rice Cooker (5-portion) from Thailand which I have been using for years to cook easy and right every time steamed rice. If you have the space, and cook a lot of rice, then investing in one of these is really worthwhile. You simply measure the rice in the provided cup, give it a little rinse, then add cold water up to the appropriate mark in the pan and switch on. 10 to 20 minutes later (depending on the amount of rice being cooked) your rice is perfectly cooked - magic!

However, if you don't have a rice cooker - try the following options:
  • Microwave steamed rice. Using a very large glass bowl or dish, with a lid, place 1 small (i.e. coffee) cup of rice per person in the base and fill up with twice as much water (or make sure there is a bout 2cm of water covering the surface of the rice). Steam in the microwave on high for 12 minutes with the lid on. Then check the rice to see if it's cooked. It should be soft with a small bite to it, not chalky. Put back for a few minutes if it needs more cooking.
  • You can also buy special rice cookers for the microwave which include measures similar to a stand-alone rice cooker - look out for these, they are really good and especially good for doing 1 or 2 portions quickly. The one I have is Japanese, so I can't tell you where to find them, but I have seen microwave steamers in the UK, so have a look in your local cook shop.
  • You can cook rice on the stove top - again using the reduction method, i.e. measureing the amount of water added carefully (1 part rice to 2 parts water) and letting the rice absorb the water with the lid on - don't lift the lid early as the steam will escape and your rice will not cook as well. It should take around 10-15 minutes again, depending on the amount of rice. The benefit of the absorption method is that there is no draining and your rice will be fluffy rather than soggy.
Other Staples from the Asian Supermarket
Fish Sauce
A thin, brown, salty liquid used instead of salt, similarly to soy sauce in Thai recipes. Darker sauces are higher in quality and have a strong fishy taste rather than being just salty.
I like Squid brand and try not to think about what is in there or how it's made :)
Seriously though, soy sauce can be used as a substitute, especially for vegetarians, but nothing compares to the classic taste of fish sauce in your Thai dishes, try it!

Coconut Milk
Although fresh coconut is far superior, it is not something that is easy to get hold of here in the UK. If you fancy making it yourself I'll post a recipe for that in the future. For now, to get started, tins of coconut milk make an excellent substitute.
Here are my two favourite brands. Aroy-D ('Aroy dee' meaning yummy in Thai) and Chao Koh. Be careful of buying cheap brands as they have too much liquid and not enough coconut in the can. Also watch out for sweetened versions of tinned coconut milk - make sure you are buying unsweetened milk for your curries, even desserts as you can add your own sweeteners (i.e. palm sugar) and have more control of the final flavour.

Shrimp Paste

A strong smelling paste made from dried shrimps (so I'm told!), dark in colour and is used sparingly in soups, pastes and dips. These pots of paste last well in the fridge or larder. Anchovy paste can be used as a substitute, or anchovies and water blended is another option. Shrimp paste adds an intense fishy and salty flavour to dishes.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Notes > Thai Ingredients Part 3 > Thai Aubergines

Another few notes on Thai Ingredients

Pea Aubergines
are small, fairly bitter versions of an aubergine. They have a fairly tough skin, and burst satisfyingly in the mouth. They are are usually added to curries, especially Thai Green Curry (Gaeng Kiaw Wan). They cook quickly, and are usually added to curry for about 5 minutes to soften slightly.

Green or Apple Aubergines are larger, round varieties of aubergine. They are green and white, and are usually quartered and added to curries, especially Thai Green Curry (Gaeng Kiaw Wan). They discolour quickly, so are chopped and added imediately to the curry, and cook in 5-10 minutes when they have softened slightly.

Pictures of Thai Ingredients

Ingredients for Pomelo Salad

What is a pomelo?

A pomelo is a member of the citrus family - it is much larger than a grapefruit, the Thai variety is usually green, like limes.
To get a sense of scale, here is a pomelo with 2 white grapefruits and 2 limes.

Ready to make pomelo salad?

Pomelo salad is a spicy, fruity, sweet, sour and salty Thai classic...highly recommended. Here are the ingredients laid out...

On the table (from top-left): Pomelo, lime juice, limes, tomatoes, fish sauce.
On the plate (clockwise from top): cashew nuts, bird's eye chillies, lemongrass, beans, garlic, corriander.

And the finished dish:

Thai Recipes > Salads > Pomelo

Spicy Pomelo Salad
(Dtam Somoh)

Serves 4 as a lunch with sticky rice or as a dish in a main meal

1 pomelo - prepared into shreds (see instructions below)
2 cloves garlic -– finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass -– thinly sliced
3-10 bird's eye chillies
a generous bunch of coriander -– split into stalk (finely chop) and leaves (roughly chopped)
a handful of cashew nuts (plain) or peanuts -– roughly chopped
4 tomatoes -– quartered
2 snake beans (or several fine beans)
-– cut into 2cm lengths
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice (roughly the juice of 1 lime)
A selection of fresh vegetables e.g. white cabbage or Chinese leaf, green beans (or snake beans), cucumber, celery

1. Take the washed pomelo and cut a slice off the top. The peel and pith is quite thick and can be cut off in fairly thick slices. Quarter the pomelo as shown below and begin cutting off the peel and pith.

2. Now peel away the rest of the tough pith around the pomelo segments and shred them roughly into smaller segments, as shown below.

    Finishing the Dish
    1. In a large bowl, pound the garlic, lemongrass, corriander stalks and bird's eye chillies together with the end of a rolling pin, aiming to bruise them slightly but not crush them.
    2. Add the chopped cashew nuts, tomatoes and beans and mix thoroughly, again bruising slightly but being careful not to crush the tomatoes.
    3. Add the shredded pomelo and mix well with a spoon, be careful not to crush the pomelo segments. Then add the chopped coriander leaves and stir through.
    4. Mix the fish sauce and lime juice and pour over the salad, mix again andimmediatelydiately.
    Serve with the cabbage leaves and other raw vegetables and with steamed white Sticky Rice.

    Thai fruit salads are typically served very spicy, with lots of fresh herbs and crunchy vegetables on the side.

    What it looks like...

    Monday, March 06, 2006

    Easy Dinners > Chicken in the Oven

    Thai Chicken in the Oven
    (and some other variants)

    A really easy way of cooking joints of chicken on the bone. The flavours can be adapted to almost anything from Thai (shown here) to Indian, Mexican, Italian by adding different herbs, spices, oils and liquids.

    Follow the instructions and you will get both tender, succulent chicken and a golden, crispy skin - yum!

    Serves 4 as a snack or starter on it's own or as a main meal served with steamed rice, stir-fried vegetables and a tomato and mint sauce.

    8 Chicken Thighs, Legs or similar, on the bone (leave the skin on)
    5 cloves of Garlic, crushed slightly and roughly chopped
    1 small red onion or shallot, halved and thinly sliced
    2 stalks Lemongrass, chopped into 1 inch pieces
    1-2 inches of Ginza (Galangal) or Ginger, shredded or grated
    Kaffir lime leaves, shredded
    4 crushed dried birds-eye chillies, or finely chopped fresh chillies - to taste
    Handful of coriander - stalk, finely chopped; leaves, roughly chopped and set aside
    1 teaspoon palm sugar (or dark brown sugar)
    2-3 tbsp Fish Sauce
    1-2 limes or lemons, halved and juiced, then chopped into chunks
    A splash of groundnut oil
    Salt, freshly ground pepper, coriander seed and/or cumin seed

    1. Using a large roasting dish, place a large piece of tin foil inside and brush with a bit of oil. Make sure you have enough foil to create a closed pocket around the chicken for the first stage of cooking.
    2. Place the chicken into the foil-covered dish. Then add chopped ingredients except the coriander leaves (reserve for later).
    3. Add the liquids, oil and sugar. Mix well, ensuring each chicken joint is well covered and the lime chunks are spread out in the tin.
    4. You are aiming for a moist, chunky marinade, do not add too much liquid at this stage.
    5. Fold the tin foil into a loose fitting parcel and twist the edges together to form a tight seal.
    6. The mixture can be left to marinate for a short period (30 mins) or a few hours as desired.
    7. When you are ready to cook, heat the oven to 180 degees C, then add the chicken parcel and bake for 30 mins. During this stage, the chicken is steaming, rather than roasting in the oven.
    8. If you've left the skin on the chicken, you'll definitely want to brown the dish before serving. Remove from the oven, turn the oven up to 190 or 200 degrees C and open up the top of the parcel. The chicken should be cooked, so you just need to place it back in the oven uncovered to brown, this may take up to 15 minutes, this also reduces the juices down to a delicious spicy sauce.
    9. Serve hot or cold from the oven, drizzled with the sauce and garnished with coriander leaves.
    Here's what it looks like after marinating, just seal up the foil and its ready to cook.

    Serving this as a main meal it goes well with rice or noodles and with stir-fried vegetables such as broccoli with sesame seeds on the side. For those who like it spicy, a mint and tomato sauce can be made as a cooling accompaniment. Simply add some chopped tin tomatoes or peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes to a small pan or frying pan, add some finely chopped mint and a sprinkling of sugar and heat through.

    Mexican flavours: lime, garlic, fresh/ground coriander, spring onion, chillies, dark chocolate, lots of crushed cumin seeds, peppers, etc.

    Italian flavours: aromatic herbs (i.e. thyme, rosemary), lemon, peppers, tomatoes, bay leaf, chillies etc.

    Indian flavours: coriander seeds, cumin seeds, tumeric, cloves, cinnamon, fresh coriander, chillies lemon, peppercorns etc.

    Other ideas: Simply use your favorite flavours, herbs and spices to create your own version.

    Sunday, March 05, 2006

    Key - How spicy are these recipes?

    Green Chilli = SpicyGreen chilli = Hot and Spicy

    Red Chilli = Mildly SpicyRed chilli = Mildly Spicy

    Blue Chilli = Not SpicyBlue chilli = Not Spicy

    Tart = Desserts

    Cake = Cakes and Treats

    i = Info and Cooking Notes

    Friday, March 03, 2006

    Cooking Notes

    What's your Mince?

    Pork mince is great! Do you want a change from the usual beef mince in your dinner? Try some Pork mince instead. It works really well in Bolognese and similar pasta sauces, also is fantastic in the Laab recipe.

    I buy my pork mince from Piperfield Pork, it's available at the Farmers Market in Castle Terrace, Edinburgh. They do really great sausages, bacon, ham and chorizo too.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Thai Recipes > Stir-Fry > Spicy Sweet & Sour Vegetables

    Spicy Sweet & Sour Vegetables

    Serves 4 as a lunch or main meal with steamed rice

    3 tablespoons oil
    5 cloves of garlic, crushed
    1 onion, sliced
    ½ cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
    1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into strips
    1 courgette, cut into strips
    8 baby corn, cut in half lengthways
    2 tomatoes, chopped
    1 handful beansprouts
    150g tin pineapple cubes/chunks in natural juice
    Big red chillies, use as many as required for desired spiciness, sliced (remove the seeds for a gentle heat)

    For the Sauce:
    1-2 tablespoons lime juice (roughly the juice of one plump lime)
    3 level tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon fish sauce
    1 tablespoon oyster sauce
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
    2-3 tablespoons pineapple juice from the tinned pineapple

    1. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and set aside.
    2. Put the oil in a wok and fry the garlic for a minute or two until golden, add the onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
    3. Add the cauliflower and carrot and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, then add the courgette, baby corn and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.
    4. Add the chillies, tomato and continue to stir until the vegetables are cooked (doesn’t take long).
    5. Add the pineapple, the sweet and sour sauce and stir to combine.
    6. Then add the beansprouts and stir well again.
    Serve immediately with steamed rice or noodles.

    Keep some of the pineapple juice or a cup of water by the wok. Use this instead of more oil to add to the ingredients to keep them loose in the wok. This allows the vegetables to steam-fry and reduces the oil content of the finished dish.

    This dish can also be made by adding strips of meat to the vegetables, stir-fry the strips of chicken, pork or beef in the garlic and onions and remove from the pan but keep warm. Then adding any seasonal vegetables and stir-fry as above. Return the cooked meat to the pan to combine at the end.

    You can also use up pre-cooked meat in this dish, left-over roast chicken works well. Try marinading the cold chicken for half an hour or so in a little soy sauce, sesame oil and add a sprinkle of sesame seeds, before adding to the stir-fry to heat through.

    Notes > Thai Ingredients Part 2 > Addition

    Another few notes on Thai Ingredients

    or glutinous rice can be bought in small and large quantities at most Chinese supermarkets, and comes in black and white varieties.
    • Black sticky rice is mainly used to make a sweet coconut rice pudding desert.
    • White sticky rice is used steamed for salads and also mixed with coconut and sugar to accompany deserts, such as mango and sticky rice.
    White Sticky Rice

    Black Sticky Rice

    Thai shallots or purple onions are very small onions with a purple skin, they are available in some Chinese supermarkets and some Asian grocers shops. European shallots, red onion or other onions can be used as a substitute.

    Thai Recipes > Rice > Steamed White Sticky Rice

    Khaaw Neow
    White Sticky (Glutinous) Rice

    Serves 4-6

    You will need:
    1 scoop (i.e. a small cup or a yogurt pot) of white sticky rice per person
    A large bowl for soaking
    A steamer or equivalent
    A large plate or tray for serving

    Preparation and Cooking:
    1. Begin by washing the sticky rice in the bowl until the water runs clear
    2. Soak the sticky rice in water for at least 8 hours (this is best to do overnight, changing the water in the morning)
    3. Once soaked, drain the sticky rice and place it in the top part of the steamer (if the steamer has very large holes and the rice easily falls through, then use a muslin cloth under the rice to hold it in)
    4. Bring the water in the bottom of the steamer to the boil, once it is boiling it will start to cook the rice
    5. When steam comes through the sticky rice put the lid on the steamer
    6. Steam for about 20-30 minutes
    7. Remove lid and carefully after about 20-25 minutes, lift off the top layer of rice and test some rice from the centre – if it is not hard in the middle then it is cooked
    8. If the rice is still hard in the middle, replace the lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes until it’s done (the time will vary depending on the amount of soaking, and the amount of rice being cooked)
    9. Once cooked, turn the heat off and turn out the sticky rice onto a large plate or tray
    10. Using a spoon or fork, move the rice around, spread it out and turn it over, you are aiming to get rid of all the hot steam, if you do not do this the rice will go soggy
    11. The rice is now ready to serve warm or can be kept covered by a tea towel to serve later.

    How to eat:
    Sticky rice is traditionally eaten using your hands. A small amount is picked up and squeezed to form a small shovel about the size of teaspoon, which is held between the thumb and forefinger and used to scoop up some salad into a bite-sized portion of rice and salad

    Steaming Equipment:
    If you don't have a steamer, you can use a metal sieve fitted (closely) over a pan of water with a close fitting lid.

    Tip! Steaming the rice requires that the steam is forced up through the rice ‘cake’, so any gaps between the pan and the steamer will slow down this cooking process.

    Thai Recipes > Salads > Laab

    (Spicy Minced Meat Salad)

    Serves 4 as a lunch with sticky rice or as a dish in a main meal

    500g minced meat – beef, pork, chicken or lamb
    4 shallots – thinly sliced
    2 slices ginza – finely chopped
    4 tbsp fish sauce
    4 tbsp lime juice (roughly the juice of 2 limes)
    1½ tbsp chilli powder
    a generous bunch of coriander – split into stalk (finely chop) and leaves (roughly chopped)
    2 spring onions – chopped
    a generous bunch of mint – roughly chop the leaves
    3 tbsp sticky rice – roasted and ground
    10 finely chopped small birds-eye chillies (Optional)
    A selection of fresh vegetables e.g. white cabbage or Chinese leaf green beans (or snake beans) cucumber celery sweet basil leaves

    1. Begin by marinating the mince. Put the mince, shallots, ginza, fish sauce, lime juice, coriander stalks and chilli powder into a bowl and mix thoroughly
    2. Place the chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves and spring onion in a serving dish.
    3. Make the ground, roasted sticky rice by putting the rice grains (uncooked, not soaked) into a dry wok or small frying pan over a low heat and roast (no oil) for about ½ hour, agitating occasionally. When they are golden brown in colour, remove from the heat and grind in a pestle and mortar to a fairly fine powder (some larger grains will create a nice crunch to the salad).
    4. For an extra fresh and spicy laab, add the chopped birds-eye chillies to the finished dish.

    To Cook
    1. Heat a wok (or large saucepan/frying pan) on medium heat
    2. Stir fry the mince mixture for about 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked
    3. Transfer the hot cooked mince into the serving dish and mix with the spring onion, mint and coriander leaves
    4. Add the ground, roasted sticky rice and mix well
    Serve immediately with the cabbage leaves and other raw vegetables and with steamed white Sticky Rice.

    Thai salads are typically served warm, very spicy, with lots of fresh herbs and crunchy vegetables on the side. You can substitute other herbs, such as Thai Sweet Basil, but I think mint gives the best flavour to this salad.

    And the finished dish:

    Tuesday, February 28, 2006

    Easy Cakes > Chocolate Crispy Cakes

    Chocolate Crispy Cakes

    Everyone loves these cakes, but I'm posting this recipe especially for Col...these cakes take around 10 minutes to make, after about an hour in the fridge they are ready to eat!

    Makes about 12 cakes.

    100g Good Quality Chocolate - this can be Dark Chocolate (min 60% cocoa solids), Milk Chocolate or White Chocolate - it should be broken into small peices of roughly the same size.
    70g Cornflakes (roughly)


    1. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stir until nearly smooth, then remove from the heat and continue stirring until smooth.
    2. Alternatively you can put the bowl in the microwave for 2-3 minutes then stir until smooth - the heat of the bowl and mixture should help melt the larger bits of chocolate.
    3. Add the cornflakes and stir until they are all thoroughly coated.
    4. Place a heaped tablespoon of mixture into each paper case (or place them all on a buttered baking sheet) and refrigerate until set.
    Valrhona Grand Cru Noir Manjari Gastronomie Chocolate (64% cocoa) makes luxury dark chocolate crispies.
    Other cereals could be used instead of cornflakes.

    For stickier, sweeter versions of the same cakes:

    1. To go with Dark Chocolate, add up to 50g of butter and/or 4 tablespoons of golden syrup to the chocolate and melt together.
    2. With Milk Chocolate add up to 25g butter and/or 1tablespoon of golden syrup to the chocolate
    Be careful about adding any syrup or butter to the White Chocolate cakes - as white chocolate is already much sweeter and more buttery...

    Friday, February 24, 2006

    Notes > Thai Ingredients Part 2

    Description of Ingredients and Substitution Ideas

    Ginza (or Galangal) is a sweet ginger, pale in colour (yellow and pinkish) and can be bought either fresh in season or dried in slices (which need to be re-hydrated) or in jars. You can also buy frozen ginza, or freeze chunks of fresh ginza to keep for another day.
    Ginger can be used as a substitute – but it has a much sharper flavour

    Chillies – several types of chillies are used in Thai cooking.
    Mildly spicy dishes will usually be made with the large red and green chillies. Thai birds-eye chillies are used in many of the spicier dishes. Used whole (or pierced with a knife) they produce a mildly spicy flavour and can be easily removed from the dish. Chopped finely they will produce a tasty, very spicy dish.
    Traditionally (I'm told) Thai chefs will use as many birds-eye chillies as they are years old - so the older chefs make much spicier food. A small handful will usually suffice for each dish.
    Any type of chilli can be used as a substitute.

    Notes about Chillies:
    • Green chillies (young) are usually hotter than red (ripened)
    • Small chillies usually have many more seeds and are therefore hotter than the larger, plumper chillies.
    • Large Dried chillies are usually soaked before use and chopped
    • Dried Birds-eye chillies can be crushed into a dish like chilli powder
    • Chilli powder is often used as well as fresh chillies, this typically adds more heat to the dish whilst fresh chillies give a clean chilli flavour.
    • You can remove the seeds from chillies to reduce the heat.
    Mushrooms - Thais often use straw mushrooms in their cooking. These can be bought in tins – however they are usually soaked in salt water so need to be washed to remove the excess salt and cut. Any type of fresh mushroom can be used instead - try brown-cap mushrooms, oyster or shitake mushrooms, wild mushrooms. Large Flat and Portabella mushrooms have great flavour - but be careful of adding these to coconut milk soup for example, as they turn the soup base very brown and slightly unappealing (although the tastes is still great!).

    Beans - Snake beans are very long, fairly thin green beans, they should be cut into bite-sized pieces.
    You can substitute any green bean (i.e. fine beans or dwarf beans) although remember that you'll need to buy about 3 times more!

    Kaffir lime leaves are an essential Thai ingredient. They can be bought fresh, frozen or dried. They are particularly good frozen as they keep their flavour better and can be stored for months. If you buy fresh leaves, pop the rest in the freezer for use in many Thai-style dishes.
    There is no real substitute for Kaffir Lime Leaves, but if you're stuck you could try adding some lime zest instead.

    Kaffir Limes
    are slightly smaller than a typical lime, they have a rough surface and are dark green. These limes only have a small amount of juice, they are mainly used for the zest which has a strong lime flavour which is added to curry pastes and other dishes.
    There is no real substitute for Kaffir Lime Zest, but if you're stuck you could use some normal lime zest and kaffir lime leaves instead.

    Thai sweet basil has a purple stem and darker, thicker leaves than European varieties; it has a strong aniseed flavour, and is best bought fresh. Other varieties of basil can be used instead, but will not produce the same flavour of dish.
    Some supermarkets sell frozen Thai basil which is a good substitute.