Mendy Indigo is one of Bangkok’s leading late-night underground legends with a powerful coming-of-age story. From humble beginnings growing up in Korat to a life-changing journey to Nepal where she discovered electronic music, her latest foray exploits the epicurean wonders of Thailand's titillating cuisine. Through her ShitMendyCooks platform, she fuses music with food by cooking with DJs or even just having them over for dinner. Because of COVID, cooking has become the centrepiece of Mendy’s day-to-day life, and we since we can’t travel to Thailand this year, we thought we’d bring Thailand to you.
“Cooking has always been an important part of my life. I grew up cooking with my grandmother and my mom. I usually cook almost every meal I eat and since the pandemic literally every meal. Because of COVID, I couldn’t tour anymore and this gave me the opportunity to put more efforts into cooking and sharing it with other people.”
“ShitMendyCooks — my cooking alter ego — started off as a Facebook page my friends created called Shit Mendy Says because I always accidentally said funny things in English. Shit Mendy Cooks grew from that and people love it. It grew from a few hundred followers to a few thousand during COVID, and I got so many people engaging with my cooking content. It really showed me that I can continue to express myself through cooking. Food and music is the best combination and I am happy I can do both.”
“I am sharing five recipes that represent Thailand’s different regional cuisines: North, East, South, Central and the most popular Thai street food for locals.”
1. KHAO SOI NOODLES
“Khao Soi is a famous dish from the north of Thailand. It’s a mild yellow curry with egg noodles, topped with crispy noodles and some fresh and pickled vegetables. I chose this dish to represent Northern Thailand and it’s many people’s favourite after trying it for the first time. It’s not complicated to cook once you have the ingredients. It takes a few steps but trust me, the result is worth it!”
For the curry:
2 chicken thighs & drum sticks
1 ½ tbsp kao soi curry paste
2 tbsp coconut milk to stir fry with curry paste
3 cups coconut milk
1 tsp yellow curry powder
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tbsp fish Sauce
1 portion egg noodles
For the topping:
1 cup pickled cabbage
¼ cup diced shallots
¼ cup chopped coriander topping
¼ cup chopped spring onion
fried egg noodles
1 slice of lime
1. Heat coconut milk to a simmer in a pan then add curry paste and curry powder. Stir for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant and the oil has started separating.
2. Add chicken and add more coconut milk. Then lower the heat, add the fish sauce and palm sugar, and braise chicken for about 40 mins with the lid on.
3. While waiting for the chicken to cook, dice shallots and slice pickles for serving.
4. When chicken is cooked you are ready to serve.
How to cook egg noodles:
5. In a pot, add water over medium high heat
6. Carefully put the noodles in boiling water until cooked (about 4 minutes or so). Then drain the water out from the cooked noodles. Mix the noodles with a bit of garlic oil until well dispersed, so the noodles don’t stick together. You can use any other flavourless vegetable oil.
(deep fried version for crispy noodle topping)
7. Heat oil in a wok or saucepan over medium heat
8. Shake any loose flour from the noodles. Fry the noodles on high heat in the already hot oil until crispy and golden brown and then put on the side on a paper towel.
9. Place a portion of boiled noodles (with garlic oil) into serving bowls, lay the chicken thigh on top to one side and ladle the soup on top of the noodles and chicken.
10. Decorate the dish with diced shallots, pickles, chopped spring onions, coriander and crispy noodles.
2. Tom Saab Beef
"Tom Saab is a hot and spicy soup that represents Isaan, the eastern part of Thailand and where I come from. This soup reminds me of my childhood, because my family loves to make it. I’m sharing my recipe with beef, but you can replace it with anything else like mushrooms, chicken or the classic way would be pork ribs.”
5 sliced galangal
3 stalks of lemongrass (roughly pounded)
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 coriander root
4-5 shallots (roughly pounded)
5 roasted dried chili pepper (roughly pounded)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground rice (see note)
3 tbsp tamarind sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chopped green onion or cilantro
1. In a pot, add water over medium high heat.
2. Add salt, sliced galangal, roughly pounded lemongrass, coriander root and shallots into the boiled water.
3. Put beef in the water. When the water boils, discard the scum. After that, simmer for 1.5 hours.
4. After simmering for 1 hour, add kaffir lime leaves and roasted dried chili.
5. Simmer for the remaining 30min or until the beef is soft. Then, season with tamarind sauce, fish sauce and ground rice.
6. Turn off the heat and add lime juice, green onion, and chopped cilantro.
Note: How to make ground rice:
Add raw sticky rice into a pan over low heat and toss until it turns golden brown
Place the rice into a mortar and pestle or blender and turn it into a fine powder.
3. Pad Kaprao Beef with fried egg and Prik Nam Pla
“Pad Kaprao is the most famous street food in Thailand and every local’s favorite dish. Many people think Pad Thai is Thailand’s national dish but it’s actually Pad Kaprao. You can make it with any kind of meat or vegetables. I love to eat it with beef. This is a pretty simple recipe, don’t get intimidated by the ingredients, it’s just some standard sauces you should have in your kitchen pantry and a few other ingredients.”
5–10 Thai chilies, or up to your spice tolerance
5-10 Thai dried chilies, or up to your spice tolerance
5 cloves of garlic
300g minced beef (can use pork, beef, chicken, mushrooms, tofu etc.)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp water
2 cups of holy basil leaves, loosely packed (if you don’t have holy basil, Thai basil will work)
1 tbs vegetable oil, as needed
1 egg per serving
Jasmine rice for serving
Prik Nam Pla (condiment for seasoning the egg): Mix together some fish sauce, a squeeze of lime juice, chopped Thai chilies, and chopped garlic.
1. With a mortar and pestle, pound the two types of Thai chilies and garlic into a rough paste. If you have no mortar and pestle, you can finely chop the ingredients.
2. In a wok or a large pan, add the garlic-chili paste into 1 tbsp vegetable oil over medium high heat until the garlic starts to turn golden.
3. Add beef and toss until they’re no longer in big clumps. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and water and stir until the beef is cooked.
4. Add holy basil leaves and turn off the heat. Stir to mix in the basil leaves.
5. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
For the fried egg:
1. Heat about 1 cm of vegetable oil in a small non-stick pan or a wok over medium high heat.
2. Once the oil is hot (you want the oil very hot, especially if you like runny yolk) crack the egg directly into the pan and let it fry until the edges are browned and crispy bubbly.
3. Serve the stir-fry over rice and top it with the fried egg. Drizzle a little of the prik nam pla over the egg and enjoy.
4. Southern Thai yellow crab curry with rice vermicelli noodles
“In Thai this dish is called Kanom Jeen Nam Ya Puu. This dish is a famous curry from the south of Thailand. There is one main difference between the curries in the south and the other Thai curries. Many curries in the south are slightly cooked differently in a way that the oil does not separate from the curry. This is one of my favorite Thai dishes and I learned how to make it from local southern people.”
800 ml coconut milk
1 cup water
2 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp salt
400g uncooked blue swimmer crab meat
5 kaffir lime leaves
1 pack dried vermicelli noodles
Southern yellow chilli paste (you can get the ready one at the super market)
Ingredients for the chilli paste if you want to make your own:
15-20 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, drained and chopped
4 big yellow chilly
1 tsp white peppercorn
1 1/2 tbsp galangal, peeled and sliced
3 lemongrass, thinly sliced
1 tbsp kaffir lime skin
3 tbsp Thai garlic
1 tbsp shallot
2 tbsp fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp shrimp paste
1. For the chilli paste, place all the ingredients into a mortar and pestle or blender and turn it into a fine paste.
2. Prepare a wok or saucepan. Add the coconut milk and the chilli paste. Stir for 1 minute or until fragrant. Place the wok over medium heat and keep stirring. Don’t let it get too hot to prevent the oil separating from the curry paste and coconut milk.
3. Season with salt and palm sugar. Reduce the heat to low heat and add the crab meat and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the crab is just cooked through. Add kaffir lime leaves, stir and turn off the heat.
4. Cook the vermicelli noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water according to the packet instructions. Drain the noodles and divide between 4 bowls, shaping into mounds.
5. Pour over the curry, then garnish with sweet basil leaves, yard long beans, sliced cucumbers, mung beans and serve.
Beef Green Curry
"Thai green curry is a popular Thai dish around the world and the most asked dish my friends want me to cook for them. So here is my recipe so everyone can cook it themselves. This dish is super easy to make, so give it a try!”
INGREDIENTS per 1 serve:
50gr beef (or meet/veg. option of choice)
1tbsp green curry paste
2 tbsp coconut milk (to stir fry the paste)
1 cup coconut milk
3 round eggplants
1 big red chili, sliced
1 branch sweet basil
2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp palm sugar
1. Cut the eggplants into wedges and place into salt water so they don’t turn black.
2. In a wok or pan over medium heat, put 2 tbsp of coconut milk and 1 tbsp of green curry paste and stir until the oil separates.
3. Add beef and keep stirring until the beef is half cooked. Then add 1 cup of coconut milk and the eggplants. 4. Season with fish sauce and palm sugar.
5. Once the eggplants are cooked, add sweet basil and chillies and keep some for garnish. Stir for 30 seconds and turn off the heat.
6. Place in a bowl and garnish with chillies and sweet basil leaves and serve with steamed jasmine rice.
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