❯ hey Liz – Liz ( Chapter 1 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Thailand is a country (who knew?) in Southeast Asia! To its east is Laos and Cambodia; to the south is the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west the Andaman Sea and Myanmar.

The northern part of Thailand is surrounded by mountains, the highest being Doi Anthonon at 2,565 meters. In the east, it is bordered by the Mekong River, which widens into the Malay Peninsula.

Thailand is 514,000 square kilometers (That’s 198.000 square miters for those of you without a very long ruler), and is the world’s 49th largest country (Which is roughly larger than the state of California, not that I’d know, I’ve never been there).

Thailand’s emblem; only the most horrific thing ever.

Thailand’s government is currently under the framework of a constitutional monarchy. The prime minister is the head of the government, and a hereditary monarch is the head of the state. The judiciary system is independent of executive and legislature.

Although Thailand has a king whom is under power according to the constitution, he actually has very little power over the country. Thailand has been ruled under the Chakri Dynasty since its creation in 1782. The current king is King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.

In 2006, Thailand was ruled by a military junta commanded by General Sonthi Boonyarataglin.

Since then, Thailand has held a general election, and as of January 2008, Mr. Samak Sundaravej holds the majority of seats

The history of Thailand goes back to the migration of the Thaisfrom their ancestral home in southern China into mainland southeast Asia around the 10th century AD. The Thais first established two kingdoms, Sukhothaiand then Ayutthaya kingdom. They established a state, and were ruled by the military, but are now under a democratic system.

Thailand’s biggest industries are; Tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing, jewelry, electric appliances, components, computers and parts, furniture, plastics, and tin.

Thailand is an industrialized country, and is lower-middle class. Thailand has the second largest economy in southeast Asia.

Thailand relies on mainly on tourism, and also some exports. It relies on agricultural goods very little. Machinery and parts, vehicles, electronic integrated circuits, chemicals, crude oiland fuels, and ironand steelare among Thailand’s principal imports.

Most of Thailand is in the lower-middle class. The average household makes barely enough to make ends meet. Although the economy is stable, the average income is fairly low.

I thought this map looked kind of cool, plus I wanted to fill up this page. Cool, huh?

FOOD TRADITIONS

Someof Thailand’s most popular dishes include: Pad Thai, or rice noodles pan fried in fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, chopped peanuts and eggs, served with chicken, seafood or tofu. Pad Thai was originally created in the 1950’s as a substitute for rice, because of a current war and shortage, the price of rice had gone up.

Another dish is Tom Yam. This is a hot and sour soup with meat. It is given different names depending in which meat is added into the soup. Tom Yam is traditionally made with chicken broth, coconut milk, ginger root, and other various spices.

Sate is another dish often seen in Thai cuisine. Sate is a grilled meat, usually pork or chicken, sometimes beef. It is traditionally served with cucumbers and a peanut sauce.

Most of these meals are served as everyday meals, very common for large meals such as dinner, and are very popular in Thai restaurants.

Most of these dishes are served with rice, vegetables, and peanut sauce.

In Thailand, the biggest meal of the day is dinner. There are some small dishes which can be served for breakfast, such as Jok, or rice, or Khao Tom, a type of breakfast soup with pork, but the majority of dishes are individual plates made for a large dinner.

Thailand is especially known for its use of curry in many dishes. Thai food is known to be spicy, and often uses many spices to acquire all flavors, such as spicy, sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Although curry is used in much Thai cuisine, ginger is another large factor in Thai food. Ginger gives the food a sweeter flavoring, to counter the curry’s spicy nature.

Most of the spices used in Thai cuisine is grown in either Thailand, or neighboring countries such as Laos or Malaysia, but are a very common resource used in cooking.

RECIPES

Salad:
Som tam;
8-12 Thai chillies (bird peppers), each cut into 3-4 segments
8 cloves garlic, peeled and cut each into 2-3 pieces
2 Tbs. small dried shrimp
4 cups julienned peeled unripe papaya – in strips 2-3 inches long and 1/8 inch thick
1 cup cut long beans – 1 1/2-inch-long segments
1 julienned carrot
1/4 cup tamarind juice the thickness of fruit concentrate
Juice of 2-3 limes, to taste
2-3 Tbs. fish sauce, to taste
2-3 Tbs. palm sugar, melted with 1 Tbs. water into a thick syrup – use as needed
2 small tomatoes, cut into bite-size wedges; or 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts

Prepare the ingredients as indicated. Make tamarind juice by starting with 1 Tbs. of compressed tamarind in 1/3 cup of warm water. Work the tamarind with your fingers to dissolve the soft fruit; gather up remaining undissolvable pulp, squeeze to extract juice and discard. Add more tamarind or water as necessary to make 1/4 cup of concentrate.
Divide the ingredients into two batches and make each batch as follows.

Using a large clay mortar with a wooden pestle, pound the garlic and chillies to a paste. Add the dried shrimp and long beans and pound to bruise. Follow with the green papaya and carrot. Stir well with a spoon and pound to bruise the vegetables so that they absorb the heat and flavor of the chillies and garlic.
Add the tamarind and lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar. Stir and pound a bit more to blend the vegetables with the flavorings and seasonings. Taste and adjust flavors to the desired hot-sour-sweet-and-salty combination. Then add the tomato pieces, stir and bruise lightly to blend in with the rest of the salad. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with peanuts. Serves 6-8.

Entrée:
MARINADE:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
crushed dried chile peppers
To make the marinade, combine the first 7 ingredients in a shallow dish.
Thread the chicken strips onto bamboo skewers in a serpentine fashion.
Place the skewers into the soy sauce mixture and allow to marinate at least 2 hours under refrigeration, although overnight is preferable.
Season to taste with cayenne pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is as thick as heavy cream (about 15 minutes).
Transfer to a food processor or blender and purée briefly. Add chicken broth and cream and blend until smooth.
This mixture can be made several hours ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. Prepare moderate-hot charcoal coals or preheat a broiler.
Cook the skewered chicken, turning several times and basting with the marinade, until crispy on the outside but still moist on the inside, about 8 minutes.
Sprinkle grilled chicken with lime zest and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Dessert:
Kao niao ma muang

Short-grain sticky rice 1 1/2 cups
Water to cover
Coconut milk 2 cups
Brown or palm sugar 1/2 to 3/4 cups
Salt 1 tsp
Mangoes peeled and sliced or cubed 3-4 each
Mint sprigs (opt.) 1 for each portion

Place rice in a large bowl and fill bowl with water to cover rice by 2 to 3 inches. Let soak for at least 3 hours or if possible overnight. This step is important.
Drain and rinse the rice. Set up a steamer (steel or bamboo) over about 3″ of water, and line the inside with moistened cheesecloth. Pour the soaked rice into steamer. Bring the water to a boil and steam the rice, covered, for 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring coconut milk, sugar and salt to a simmer over low heat. Do not boil.
When rice is finished, remove it to a large bowl. Stir half the coconut milk into the rice. Adjust the amount of sugar to your taste, cover with plastic wrap, and let set for about 30 minutes.
Place the coconut rice into a large bowl or individual serving bowls. Lay a few pieces of mango on the side and garnish with a mint sprig. Pour a little of the remaining coconut milk over each portion and serve at room temperature.

Drinks:
Cha Yen: Thai Iced Tea
Kah-Feh Yen: Thai iced Coffee
Lod Chong Nam Ka Ti: Rice noodles and coconut milk

CULTURE:

One of the biggest holiday’s in Thai culture is the Thai New Year. It is officially observed from April 13th to April 15th. The Thai New Year is to celebrate the end of a hot and dry season in Thailand. One activity includes throwing large amounts of water in the air, as a ritual seen as washing Buddha. Now, there are large festivals to celebrate the Thai New Year, and although there is no food at the celebration, there is lots of water and herbs.

FACTS:

Up until 1939, Thailand was known as Siam
At least 95% of the Thai population is Buddhist
Thailand is the only country in Asia that has not been taken over or ruled by another country
It is rude to step on a Thai coin because the king’s face is on it
Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is the national sport of Thailand.

Bibliography:
< « Thailand. » Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thailand.>

< « Pad Thai. » Good Eats. Food Network. 3 Mar. 2008.>

< Kotylo, Jennifer M. The Everything Thai Cookbook. Adams Media, 2003.>