When cooking food that is outside the everyday meal plan, it's hard to decide whether to go for some kind of well thought out strategy, or as is my habit, to just wing it. I bought a pound of squid at the store the other day and decided to have myself a little feast. I might add that it was a feast because nobody would come over.
The first dish was me simply winging it. Well sort of. I ate at a rather upmarket restaurant the other week where I sampled an avocado and grapefruit salad. I got to thinking that this dish could be much cheaper and easily adapted to be like a Thai yam, or spicy salad. Also it made me think of the wonderful Pomelo Salads I used to eat on a regular basis. At the store I picked up avocado, grapefruit, peanuts and cilantro. At home I had fish sauce, sugar, and chilis.
I'm terrible about recipes so I just threw it together. I used:
half an avocado
a quarter of a grapefruit (I prefer and have used pomelo before, but was foiled at the store. Pomelo is better)
something like a tablespoon? of fish sauce
a few pinches of sugar
three or four Thai chilis,
and several cilantro leaves.
I don't know what it is. Call it fusion if you like, because you won't get this in Thailand, or in Thai restaurants around here.
Next, I was inspired to make a squid laap. I've made laap one or twice before, but never with squid. Once again I just winged it. I found recipes online, and used what I had to make my own. I didn't write anything down, nor was i careful. Sorry folks, this is just how I cook, except when I'm baking.
four small squid
a teaspoon of toasted jasmine rice, pounded into meal in a mortar and pestle
a few sprigs of mint and cilantro
a few chilis
most of a stalk of lemon grass
a squirt of lime
a pinch of sugar
a slosh of fish sauce
No, it's certainly not right, but that wasn't my intention. Maybe I've got this all wrong, but the way I approached this is one reason why I am at times wary of many fusion restaurants. To me it often seems like it is fusion simply because certain ingredients are unavailable, the chef doesn't care or is limited for some reason, or the customer doesn't know any better.
Last, I played it safe and followed some more concrete directions. I made pat krapao pla-meuk, or holy basil with squid. Probably my favorite Thai one plate meal. I followed the directions from here, and here, and once again, changed things a little bit. This is really one of the easiest Thai dishes there is, so I recommend it.
The next day i had some leftovers, as cooking for one is not one of my skills. I repeated the third dish, this time adding a fried egg and was once again in squid heaven.
When I was hungry in Thailand and or doing large amounts of exercise, this dish or a variation is what I would turn to. It's perfectly edible when you have been lazy as well.