Cooking In Koh Chang
Ko Chang is Thailand's second largest island, and the biggest in Eastern Thailand. With about 5,000 permanent residents the island is not heavily populated, but tourism (and development) has increased dramatically over the last few years. Nearly every Koh Chang recipe begins with a paste. While it is possible to buy ready-made Thai pastes (such as red, yellow, and green curry), these packaged spice mixes will not give you the same flavor and aroma, not to mention nutrients as a paste made from scratch.
In the Koh chang kitchen, pastes were traditionally made using whole spices and herbs with some fresh, others dried pounded together with a pestle & mortar. While many Thai chefs still prefer to use this method, a food processor is a convenient and adequate substitute. There are many varieties of fish sauce and many variations of pastes in the way it is prepared. Some fish may be fermented with shrimp and spices. Almost all Thai dishes are very aromatic and strong tasting fish sauce. Most Thai (Koh chang) pastes start with shallots or onions, garlic, and green or red chilies. Added to this may be a variety of other spices and herbs, including dried or fresh coriander, Thai chili powder, galangal, green peppercorns, lemongrass, andturmeric. Kaffir lime leaves are also a common ingredient, lending a uniquely Thai flavor to pastes or simmering dishes.
The fish sauces have very good name. Like nam pla, Pla ra, Nam phrik,Kapi etc. The sweet roasted chili paste called nam phrik phao is often used as an ingredient inTom yam or when frying meat or seafood, and it is also popular as a spicy "jam" on bread. The dry nam phrik kung, made with pounded dried prawns is often eaten with rice and a few slices of cucumber.
Lemongrass is the favorite dish in koh chang cooking. It is chopped and pounded, other times it is simply cut into long pieces and “bruised” bent and kneaded or even lightly cut in several places to release the scent and flavor for soups and curries. All the food of this island is very delicious. They are balanced also.
Finally, no Thai kitchen would be complete without a good supply of fresh basil. This is making use of several types of basil in their cooking, included sweet basil, and Thai holy basil.