Thai food at home
A Thai place I used to go now and then in Portland served a dish they called "Rama Chicken." It was bite-size, steamed chicken breast pieces served atop lightly steamed broccoli and cabbage and topped with peanut sauce. Peanut sauce is incredibly easy to make, and I wouldn't think overly expensive. I would imagine something like that served with noodles would be a pretty much foolproof Thai-ish meal. (At least it'd be acceptable here where few people know from Thai food; I cannot vouch for the more refined tastes of those in the cities.)
for a late night date, quick and easy is probably a good thing, and probably not too heavy.
here are a couple of quick and easy recipes:
"tangy thai chicken salad" - http://www.smh.com.au/news/interactive-cook/worth-its-weight-in-gold/2007/07/05/1183351363441.html
thai beef salad http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/5502/thai+beef+salad+gluten+free
chicken satay http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/5925/chicken+satays
for dessert, can i suggest a pannacotta with tropical fruit such as mango, and this coconut cream tartlet is dead easy too: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/4631/...
ps. agree if you are going to use a commercial paste, mae ploy is a decent one (I prefer to make my own). always add extra fresh ginger.
I obtained this recipe from someone on these boards and it is stellar, totally rocks MY world, anyway...I see another kind soul has offered Thai Basil Chicken but I'll offer this one, too...it contains kaffir lime leaves, (recipe says they are optional but to me, no way!) which I'd never had before I tried this recipe...it is SO aromatic and delicious...have done it now with chicken and shrimp and we much prefer the chicken version:
Wait! Everytime I post this recipe I have to say this: I did NOT use the amount of hot thai peppers called for...I used 2 very large jalapenos WITH seeds & membranes...I think you must actually have to be born Thai to eat all those hot peppers, holy smokes!!! I certainly respect anyone who can actually do that! Enjoy!
I like making my own curry pastes, but they do take some time. If I use a commercial brand, I always add fresh minced garlic and lots of minced ginger. I like to add minced lemongrass, kaffir lime if I can find it, or at least lots of lime zest and lime. Tamarind is also good. I would make a curry sauce for chicken, and top with chopped basil and cilantro. Steamed rice and a simple vegetable--green beans are in season, sauteed with more ginger garlic, and thus should be available at a good price. Everyone's banana ideas sound good, or how about a tropical fruit sorbet?
I am assuiming you have an asian market nearby where you can get fish sauce, which is required for most Thai recipes.
One of my favorites is the Basil Chicken recipe found here: http://thaitable.com/Thai/recipes/Chi...
I'd recommend the three crabs fish sauce which is a bit less salty than som other brands. Also, if you decide to make this, don't skimp on the basil!
A *fantastic* cookbook for beginners is "Simply Thai" by Wandee Young and Byron Ayanoglu. The ingredients are usually readily available, most dishes can be prepared in less than 30 mins including prep time, and the end results are excellent both in flavour and presentation. The book contains the recipes from Canada's first Thai restaurant, Young Thailand, which is the establishment that made me the Thai addict I am today. I really can't recommend it highly enough and it's available at many libraries and bookstores (not just in Canada).
If you're looking for something more advanced, Thompson or Loha-Unchit are the way to go.
I would recommend a noodle dish and a curry. A red curry would probably be great, as it's easy to make, not too spicy, and has very colourful, visually appealing end results. Pad See Eew (stir fried fresh rice noodles with chinese broccoli) would be a perfect foil, as it has no chillies and would serve to cool the mouth.
As for desserts, deep fried bananas with coconut cream and ice cream is a great way to end a meal.
Thai curries are quick, easy, and delicious if you use a good commercial paste. My current favorites are made by Mae Ploy.
For a basic green chicken curry, heat your wok, add a little oil, stir-fry a tablespoon of paste (more if you like it hot, less if you like it mild) for a few seconds, then add a can of coconut milk and chunks of thigh meat. Simmer until the chicken is almost done, throw in some veggies, and serve over steamed jasmine rice, garnished with basil.