Looking to revamp your summer cooking with Thai vegetarian recipes that deliver on flavour and simplicity? Then look no further! Chef-owner of Rosa’s Thai Cafe in London, Saiphin Moore, has taken on the challenge with her new cookbook, Rosa’s Thai Cafe: The Vegetarian Cookbook. And we’re hooked. This is a book packed with authentic veggie Thai dishes, from summery stir-fries, authentic curries, light-bites and salads. It’s delicious summer cooking to inspire your next holiday, and not a prawn spring roll or chicken fried rice in sight. We’re already in love with her butternut squash curry, so we’ve rounded up our favourite dishes from the book, perfect for summer.
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Perfect finger food: Thai sweetcorn patties
Serve up these corn fritters with a bowl of chilli sauce – your guests will go mad for them. Saiphin says: “These corn cakes are crunchy with a wonderful balance of peppery savour to balance the sweet burst of corn. They’re great served as a party finger food.” Lime leaves are commonly used in Thai cooking, and are shredded here to add citrus notes.
Summer salads: Griddled butternut squash with chillies
We’re in love with grilling, charring and smoking veg on the barbecue. And this recipe is no different. Grill wedges of butternut squash until bar-marked and deliciously smoky. This recipe serves 2 to 3, but double the quantities if you’re feeding a larger crowd. Saiphin says: “In Thailand, when I was growing up, pumpkin was always in season. There wasn’t a market in the country where you couldn’t get the pumpkin of your choice – small or large, green or orange. Once we had selected our prime pumpkin, we would grill it over a smouldering fire – not too close to the heat, though, as it needs to be a bit al dente. In this recipe, I suggest you cook it in a griddle pan, but you can also cook the squash on a barbecue.”
Midweek dinner: Stir-fried spicy aubergine with sweet basil
Colourful, vibrant and spicy, we’re in love with this quick midweek dinner. Saiphin says, “This is the aubergine version of the famous Pad Cha. In Thailand, I was able to pick many different types of aubergine straight from the plant, many of which are very hard to find in London, where I now live. But I have to admit that the purple aubergine we are familiar with in the West works really very well in this dish, because it acts like a sponge, absorbing all the sauce. I love to eat this dish with steamed rice and a fried egg.”
– 1 tbsp cornflour or potato flour
– 1 egg, beaten
– 125g aubergine
– 5 tbsp vegetable oil
– 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 2 red bird’s eye chillies or other fresh red chillies, finely chopped
– 10g long red chillies, sliced diagonally
– 1 tsp vegetarian stir-fry sauce or oyster sauce
– 1 tsp seasoning soy sauce
– 1 tsp sugar
– 1 tsp black pepper
– optional: 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
– 20g onion, sliced
– 1 tsp dark soy sauce
– a handful of sweet or Thai basil leaves
– steamed jasmine rice, to serve
Put the cornflour or potato flour and the beaten egg into separate shallow bowls. Dip the aubergine slices in the flour first, then in the beaten egg, ensuring the pieces are fully coated. Halve the aubergine and cut diagonally into 1cm slices
Heat the oil in a frying pan set over a medium-high heat. Shallow fry the aubergine slices for 3–4 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the pan, drain on kitchen paper and set aside. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the frying oil to a clean wok set over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and both types of chillies to the pan and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Now add the fried aubergine slices, stir-fry sauce, seasoning soy sauce, sugar, black pepper and rice wine to the wok and crank up the heat to high.
Add the onion and cook for about 30 seconds, until slightly translucent, then stir in the dark soy sauce and sweet basil and stir-fry for 15–20 seconds. Remove from the heat and serve with steamed jasmine rice.