CHILLI PASTE TOFU and GREEN BEANS, Thai Green Papaya Salad ("Som Tam"), COCONUT MILK SOUP DESSERT [Maleesa - Laos]

(Accompanied with rice or vermicelli)

1 (14- to 16-oz) package firm tofu
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch-long pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips (2 inches long)
1 teaspoon salt
1 (14- to 15-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Halve tofu lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and pat dry well. Put 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a wide shallow dish, then add tofu, turning to coat, and let stand 10 minutes. Pat tofu dry.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then add tofu in 1 layer and cook, turning over once, until tofu is browned, about 6 minutes total. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large plate, reserving oil in skillet.

Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes to skillet and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beans, bell pepper, and salt and sauté, stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in coconut milk and remaining tablespoon soy sauce and bring to a boil, then boil, uncovered, until beans are tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer vegetables using a slotted spoon to plate with tofu.

Simmer sauce until thickened slightly and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Stir in lime juice and pour sauce over vegetables and tofu.

Thai Green Papaya Salad ("Som Tam")

1 small green papaya, OR 1/2 large
1 to 2 tomatoes
1 red chili, sliced, seeds removed 
fresh coriander or mint leaves
1 garlic piece
2 Tbsp. good-tasting vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 to 1 Tbsp. liquid honey, to taste
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. chili flakes or cayenne pepper

Stir all 'Dressing' ingredients together in a cup. Make sure soya sauce and honey dissolve fully. Taste-test for sweetness and spice, adding more honey or chili to taste. Set aside.
Use a sharp knife to peel the green papaya, then slice it in half and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Using the largest grater you have, grate the papaya, or you can use a potato peeler to create thin, ribbon-like strips. Place in a large bowl.
Add sliced tomato, chili/cayenne to the papaya. Pour over the dressing, tossing well to combine.
Taste-test the salad. If not sweet enough, add a little more honey or a sprinkling of sugar. If not flavorful enough, add a little more soy sauce. If too sweet or salty, add more lime juice.
To serve, scoop into individual bowls or onto serving plates. Top with fresh herbs. Serve immediately and ENJOY!


2 cups coconut milk
1/2 tsp. lime juice
1tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup of ice cubes
1 can of mixed exotic fruits (or fresh if possible)
1 cantaloup, chopped in pieces
1 can of corn (or fresh if possible)


Prepare fruity salad in a bowl: mixed exotic fruits, cantaloup, corn, etc. Leave in fridge for coolness.

Mix it altogether while making sure there is a bit of everything. 

In another bowl, mix in coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, water and if you have used canned fruits, use the juice. Taste to test.

Leave it to cool in refrigerator when tasty. 

After that, add all the fruity mix prepared earlier. Top with crushed ice and enjoy served in cups!

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