Jungle Cooking!

During my stay on Koh Lanta I have been provided with some really tasty meals. I asked if I could watch the cook prepare lunch so I have an idea of what she’s doing and using. I missed an opportunity to cook in Vietnam and Cambodia which was a shame but hopefully this will make up for it as there are a few dishes here. As usual, pictures at the bottom.

I’ll start by listing the items and ingredients needed for each item, then I’ll go into the preparation and how to go about making the dishes one by one.

Tofu and Papaya Curry;

-Firm Tofu (as much as you want really)

-1 onion

-Green Papaya (we used half)

-500ml Coconut Milk

-1-2 tbsp Curry Paste (heat and flavour are up to you really, they buy their paste at a market)

-2 tsp Brown granulated sugar

-1 tsp Soy Sauce

Papaya Salad;

-1 carrot

-1/2 small red cabbage

-Handful of Fly Agaric

-Green Papaya (the other half)

-2 handfuls of Glass noodles

-2 cloves of garlic

-1 tbsp of brown granulated sugar

-1 tbsp Soy Sauce

Pickled Pak Choi;

-1 Pickled Pak Choi (maybe use fresh as I don’t know where you would buy this)

-1 onion chunked (like with the curry)

-2 cloves of garlic

-2 salted duck eggs (again, omit if unable to find)

Aubergine Tempura;

-1 long green aubergine (could substitute courgette, see pictures)

-tempura batter

-2-4 tbsp of oil


-enough rice for all who are eating!

With the ingredients out of the way I’ll try and go step by step the way the cook organised things as we have very little room and equipment so it’s a dish by dish process! That being said it may confuse things so I reckon I’ll do each dish and then add some comments at the end.

Tofu and Papaya Curry;

  1. Chop the tofu into cubes, chop the onion into chunks, and chop the green papaya into 1 inch chunks. They were roughly all the same size
  2. Rinse it all in water and remove (rinse twice)
  3. Heat the coconut milk over stove
  4. Mix the curry paste, sugar and soy sauce into the coconut milk stirring well to make sure it’s all distributed and broken down
  5. Taste and season
  6. Add the tofu, papaya and onion
  7. On a gentle, bubbly simmer cook for about 10-15 minutes (until the papaya is soft to touch but not mush)
  8. Stir it occasionally to stop it from boiling over and you’re done!

Papaya Salad;

  1. Chop the carrots into 1 inch long, thin matchsticks
  2. Shred the red cabbage and papaya
  3. Mix these 3 ingredients with the fly agaric and 2 handsfuls of glass noodles (or more should you desire)
  4. Rinse and remove twice
  5. Fry off garlic in a little oil
  6. Add salad, 1 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of soy (they use these things a lot so omit if you don’t want, it’s all up to you)
  7. Lightly cook through for 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally (add 1-2 tbsp of water half way through)

Aubergine Tempura;

  1. Chop the aubergine into thin discs (see picture for reference)
  2. Prepare tempura whilst heating oil in a wok (or something to shallow fry in)
  3. Coat the aubergine in batter and add to the oil
  4. Fry for 4-5 minutes, flipping once during cooking
  5. Do this in batches so the temperature of the oil doesn’t lower too much leading to soggyness

Pickled Pak Choi;

  1. Lightly fry the garlic in a little oil
  2. Add the onion, pak choi, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp of soy sauce
  3. Cook through for 3-4 minutes (leave some bite in the onion)
  4. Add duck eggs for the last minute


So that’s the recipe for each individual dish but I’ll explain the timing and process of doing everything to see if that helps!

-We started by preparing the dry salad and curry ingredients as they can just sit

-After this we moved on to the curry, heating the milk and then adding everything together

-Whilst it was cooking we prepared the other ingredients, chopping the aubergine, garlic etc for the tempura

-Once the curry was done we place it to one side in a bowl

-After this we heated up about 4 tbsp of oil in the wok to start frying off the aubergine tempura

-When all the aubergine had been cooked and put to one side we removed most of the oil, leaving just enough to fry off the garlic in preparation for the papaya salad

-Once the salad was cooked and plated up we moved on to the pickled pak choi, adding a little oil to the pan as needed.

Hopefully that illustrates more accurately the process.

Obviously it’s all done their way but if you want to alter things, omit certain ingredients (eggs and all the soy/sugar etc) you can. I’m not certain about these aubergines in England so maybe use courgettes instead. But just do what you can and when in doubt just google “substitutes for …” that’s what I always do.

Happy cooking!


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