Pad Thai: The Noodle Dish that Helped Build a Nation

ChickenPadThai -CookinGenie

23 Dec 2020

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Pad Thai: The Noodle Dish that Helped Build a Nation

For many people, pad Thai—the delectable sweet, sour, and spicy stir fry of rice noodles, tofu, eggs, veggies, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, and an umami-rich sauce that can be found on the menu of virtually every Thai restaurant in the US—is their first taste of Thai cooking.  

So, it’s interesting to learn that the dish that most Americans think of as the quintessential Thai food didn’t even exist until the mid-20th century 

In her book Materializing Thailandnutritional anthropologist Penny Van Esterik says that the dish was born out of prime minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram’s campaign throughout the 1930s and 40s to build a national identity for Thailand. Hoping to create a sense of pride in “Thai-ness” by uniting his country through culture, he changed the nation’s name from Siam to Thailand,  commissioned a new national anthem, banned local languages and dialects from schools, and set out to create a national dish.

(Also ReadTracing Tacos – A Journey Through Time)

Curiously, the main ingredient in the dish that Phibunsongkhramwho was known as Phibunpromoted isn’t even native to Thailand. Stir-fried rice noodles originated in China and were introduced to the kingdom of Siam by Chinese traders in the 1700s. But promoting a stir-fried noodle dish helped solve a serious problem that Phibun’s nation was facing: flooding and war had caused severe rice shortage, and encouraging people to eat noodles helped preserve the country’s precious rice supply.2 Phibun’s administration took the basic recipe for stir fried rice noodles and loaded it up with nutritious bean sprouts, onions, peanuts, eggs, meats, and a tamarind-based sauce, then encouraged vendors to sell the dish from street carts all over the country. It was, Phibun’s son later pointed out, the first fast food in Thailand.3   

Phibun’s efforts to make pad Thai part of his country’s heritage succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Today, it is a staple of the Thai dietBeyond Thailand, it has become a beloved dish worldwide: In 2011, pad Thai ranked number 5 in CNN Go’s reader poll of the “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods.”4 Wondering how this simple noodle dish became an international culinary superstarMark Padoongpatta professor of Asian and Asian American studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and the author of a history of Thai food, says this, too, was driven by the Thai government as an act of culinary diplomacy: in an effort to stimulate exports and encourage tourism, it established the Global Thai Restaurant Company, Ltd. to train chefs and send them around the world to open Thai restaurants5.     

And now, CookinGenie brings this beloved classic noodle dish tyour house. We offer three varieties of classic pad Thai—Chicken, Shrimp, and Vegetarian—cooked from scratch with wholesome, authentic ingredients like rice noodles, sweet-and-sour tamarind paste, spicy chile-garlic paste, and Thai preserved radish. Book your Genie to bring a true taste of Thailand to your very own kitchen. 


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Winter Dinner Recipes

31 Oct 2022

One of the best things about winter is enjoying cozy dinners by the fireplace. There’s something about the combination of crackling flames and delicious comfort food that makes the cold months seem a little less daunting. Whether it’s a hearty stew, a comforting casserole, or a simple bowl of soup, there’s nothing quite like a winter meal to chase away the chill. And, of course, no winter dinner is complete without a warm slice of freshly-baked bread. So if you’re looking for a reason to love winter, here are some cozy fireside dinners that are definitely at the top of the list for many. 

Winter Dinner Recipes to Keep You Warm  

As the weather gets colder, we all crave warm, comfort food. This list of some winter dinner inspiration has something for everyone, including soups, entrees, drinks, and desserts. Whether you’re snowed in or looking for a cozy meal, these recipes should hit the spot. Bon appetit!

Also Read: A Quick Guide For The Perfect Brunch Party

Delicious Winter Soup  

Winter is the perfect time to curl up with a bowl of soup. Not only does soup provide a hearty and warming meal, but it can also be customized to suit your taste. Check out these delicious soups to keep you warm all winter long. 

  • Potato and Leek Soup: This classic soup is the perfect comfort food. The creamy potato base is complemented by the fresh flavor of leeks, making it a satisfying and warming meal. 
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup: This soup is bursting with fall flavors. The roasted butternut squash combines aromatic spices like ginger and nutmeg, making it the perfect cozy meal for chilly nights. 
  • Tomato Basil Soup: This bright and flavorful soup is a great way to enjoy the taste of summer in the middle of winter. The sweet tomatoes are balanced by the savory flavor of basil, making it a soup sure to please everyone. 
  • Chicken Noodle Soup: This timeless soup is perfect for when you’re feeling under the weather. The chicken broth is comforting and soothing, while the noodles provide a filling and satisfying meal. 
  • Lentil Soup: This hearty soup is packed with protein and fiber, making it a filling and nutritious meal. The earthy flavor of lentils is balanced by adding carrots and celery, making it a delicious and easy-to-make soup.
  • Golden Potato Soup: You can prepare this comforting potato soup with Yukon gold potatoes, onion, celery, garlic, chicken broth, and half-and-half. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, diced bacon, and chives for extra flavor. Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
     

Winter Dinner Entrees 

Winter is the perfect time to break out the slow cooker and whip up some hearty comfort food. Here are some great recipes to keep you warm all winter long. 

  • Slow Cooker Honey and Sriracha Garlic Pork Loin: This dish is packed with flavor, thanks to a sweet and spicy sriracha honey glaze. You can serve it with roasted Brussels sprouts or sweet potatoes for a complete meal. 
  • Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb: This recipe is perfect for special occasions. It’s impressive yet surprisingly easy to prepare, and the combination of fresh herbs and garlic makes it taste genuinely gourmet. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans for a classic pairing that never gets old. 
  • Parmesan Risotto: This rich and creamy risotto is the epitome of comfort food. Made with white wine, chicken broth, and plenty of Parmesan cheese, it’s guaranteed to satisfy your cravings. Serve as a main course or side dish. 
  • Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin: This spice-rubbed pork tenderloin is juicy, flavorful, and easy to make. Just rub a spice blend over the pork, roast it in the oven, and enjoy. Serve with roasted vegetables or a simple salad for a complete meal. 
  • Roasted acorn squash: Acorn squash is roasted until tender and then topped with a brown sugar-balsamic glaze in this recipe. It makes an impressive yet easy side dish for any winter meal. 
  • Chicken Pot Pie: This classic chicken pot pie is guaranteed to hit the spot on a cold winter night. It features a flaky pie crust filled with chunks of chicken, carrots, peas, and celery in a creamy sauce. Serve warm, garnished with parsley or thyme. 
  • Cabbage Rolls: These cabbage rolls are first stuffed with beef and rice and then simmered in a tomato sauce until they’re nice and tender. They make a delicious and hearty main course that keeps you warm all winter.  
  • Beef Stew: This classic beef stew is full of tender chunks of beef, carrots, potatoes, and celery, all simmered in a rich gravy. 
  • Mac and Cheese: This comforting dish features creamy macaroni and cheese, made even better with the addition of bacon or ham. 
  • Chili: There’s nothing like a big bowl of chili to warm you up on a cold day. This recipe features ground beef, beans, and plenty of spices. 
  • Beef Stroganoff: This Russian classic features tender chunks of beef in a rich sour cream sauce, served over egg noodles. 
  • Shepherd’s Pie: This English classic features ground lamb or beef in a savory gravy, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked until golden brown. 
  • Salmon Chowder: This hearty chowder is full of salmon, potatoes, and corn, all simmered in a creamy base. Serve with some crusty bread for dipping. 
  • Vegetarian Chili: A vegetarian chili is a mix of beans, vegetables, and plenty of spices. It’s a great Meatless Monday option that will satisfy you all winter. 
  • French Onion Soup: This soup features caramelized onions simmered in beef broth, then topped with cheesy croutons and baked until golden brown. 
  • Tomato Soup: This comforting soup features ripe tomatoes simmered in chicken broth and finished with a splash of cream. 
  • Crockpot Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potatoes: These addictively good potatoes feature chunks of Yukon gold potatoes cooked in a ranch-flavored sauce until tender, then finished with crispy bacon pieces and lots of shredded cheese. Slow cooker recipes are perfect for winter because they require minimal effort but yield big flavor payoffs. 

 These recipes will become new favorites to help you get through the colder months. So fire up your slow cooker and enjoy! 

Also Read: Top 10 Foods to Boost Your Immunity System

Winter Drinks 

Winter makes for an excellent time to curl up with a cozy dinner and a warm drink. Many different drinks can help to keep you warm on a cold winter night. Here are five of the best winter dinner drinks to keep you cozy: 

  • Hot Chocolate: Hot chocolate is always a classic winter favorite. Add a little bit of peppermint extract or marshmallows for an extra-special treat. 
  • Hot Cider: A mug of hot cider is the perfect way to warm up after a long day in the cold. Use fresh cider for the best flavor, and add a cinnamon stick for extra warmth. 
  • Mulled Wine: If you’re looking for something with a little more kick, try making mulled wine. This warming drink simmers red wine with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It’s perfect for sipping by the fire on a cold winter night. 
  • Hot Tea: A steaming cup of tea is the perfect drink for chilly evenings. Choose a strong tea like Earl Grey or English Breakfast for added warmth, or go for a lighter herbal tea if you prefer. Add a splash of milk and honey for added sweetness. 
  • Hot Toddy: For something truly unique, try making a hot toddy. This classic Scottish drink combines whiskey with boiling water, honey, and lemon. It’s said to be an excellent cure for a cold winter evening. 

Winter Desserts 

Looking for some comforting desserts? Here are some wintertime favorites that are sure to please your taste buds and keep you feeling satisfied:

  • Apple Crisp: This classic dessert is prepared with thinly sliced apples, spices, and a crisp, crumbly topping. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a truly delicious treat. 
  • Brownies: There’s nothing like a rich, fudgy brownie to take the chill off a winter’s evening. Top your brownie with a scoop of mint-flavored choco chip ice cream for an extra special treat. 
  • Peach Cobbler: This Southern classic is a mix of fresh peaches, sugar, flour, and butter. The result is a light, fluffy cobbler perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 
  • Chocolate Pudding: This childhood favorite is always a welcome treat on a cold winter’s night. Top it with whipped cream or shaved chocolate for a touch of decadence. 
  • Rice Pudding: A creamy pudding is packed with rice, milk, spices, and raisins (optional). It’s the perfect comfort food to enjoy on a chilly evening. Serve it warm or cold, whichever you prefer. 

Well, there you have it! Our top picks for winter dinner recipes. We hope you’ll find something here that you and your family will enjoy. With so many delicious options, there’s sure to be something for everyone. So go ahead and give some of these recipes a try. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Happy cooking! 

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Why do we Love Spicy Food -CookinGenie blog

09 Sep 2021

We all know at least one person who loves their food insanely hot. They insist that their hot wings “aren’t spicy enough unless I’m dripping with sweat.”  On it’s face, that doesn’t make sense. Spicy foods cause physical pain, not just in the mouth, but sometime through the entire body. Why would we deliberately eat, and enjoy, something that causes pain? Well, it turns out, there are actually some pretty compelling reasons why so many people around the world love the way it hurts.

Spicy Foods Can Cause a “High”

Spice is not a “flavor” but rather a sensation. The sensation of spice comes from the chemical compound capsaicin, which is the substance that makes hot peppers hot. Capsaicin causes pain and triggers the body to think it’s in danger. In response, the body releases endorphins, which are pleasure causing hormones, this is the body’s way of trying to eliminate the “threat” it feels when you eat spicy food. This chemical release causes some people to associate eating hot foods with happiness, creating a “high”, similar to that of the good feeling you get after exercising.

When the body feels it’s in danger, it will also release the survival hormone adrenaline, which can give someone eating a fiery hot bowl of noodles a sense of heart-pounding excitement, just like if they were riding a roller coaster or bungee jumping. In short, for many, eating hot foods is a kind of thrill seeking.

Hot Peppers are Full of Antimicrobial Properties

It stands to reason that since the chemicals in hot peppers cause us pain, they can also be harmful to bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. Before refrigeration, hot peppers were often used to help preserve food and ward off bacteria in hotter parts of the world. This was integral to food safety; hot peppers were literally life savers.

That’s why hotter countries like India and Mexico have developed very spicy traditional cuisines while more temperate climates like England and Scandinavia produce much more mild food. So, because of these antimicrobial properties found in hot peppers, many cultures created spicy traditional dishes and over generations, billions of people have come to love them.

Hot Food’s Health Benefits

One reason we may love spicy food is because it’s so good for us. Extensive amounts of scientific research point to all kinds of health benefits from eating spicy foods. Capsaicin, the chemical compound found in chili peppers, is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Capsaicin has also been linked to improved digestion, an increased metabolism, better heart health, reduction in cancer risk, and a strengthened immune system. Turns out, hot peppers are one of nature’s true superfoods.

CookinGenie Brings the Heat

At CookinGenie, we offer a range of fiery, delicious dishes that appeal to even the most avid of heat seekers. Try genie Jared’s Red Thai Curry, which uses bird’s eye chili peppers along with a blend of aromatic Thai ingredients to make a vibrant, spicy curry sauce filled with stir-fried vegetables. Perhaps order genie Dylan’s Jerk Chicken, which takes juicy chicken legs and slathers them in a tangy, sweet & spicy Jamaican sauce made from habaneros, ginger, cinnamon, and more.

Whatever, your spice preference may be, CookinGenie can accommodate you. You can always request that a dish be more (or less) spicy, and our genies can even make separate plates so that some portions are really spicy for the heat lover in your family, and the rest are milder. To bring the delicious, healthy heat to your kitchen, book a genie today.

Written by:  Jared Kent

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Back to School Meal Planning Tips

06 Oct 2022

As the summer winds down and school starts again, it can be tough to get back into the swing of things. One way to make the transition a little easier is to plan meals ahead of time. By taking some time to plan out your meals for the week, you can save yourself a lot of stress and hassle later on. To help you get started, here are some back-to-school meal-planning tips:  

1- Make breakfast a priority

School mornings can be hectic, especially if you’re trying to get everyone out the door on time. That’s why it’s important to make breakfast a priority. A healthy breakfast helps to fuel your body and your brain, giving you the energy you need to get through the day. And when it comes to back-to-school meal planning, there are numerous easy and healthy breakfast options that you can prepare ahead of time. Overnight oats, yogurt parfaits, and protein-packed smoothies are all great choices you can make the night before. So make breakfast a priority this school year, and start your day off right with a nutritious meal.  

2- Ask your kids how they eat at school

Knowing what to pack for your kid’s lunch daily can be challenging. Will they eat what you pack? And will it be enough to keep them going until dinner time? An excellent way to get some insight into your child’s school lunch habits is to ask them how they eat at school. Find out what foods they like and don’t like and how much they typically eat. This information can help you make better choices when packing their lunch and ensure they get the nutrition they need. Plus, it shows your kids that you’re interested in their eating habits and wants to ensure they’re happy with their lunchtime experience.  

3- Have an after-school snack ready

It’s no secret that kids are always on the go. Between school, homework, extracurricular activities, and socializing with friends, they rarely have time to sit for a proper meal. As a result, most kids rely on unhealthy snacks to tide them over until dinner. If you’re concerned about your child’s diet, you may wonder what you can do to encourage his healthy eating habits. One way to promote healthy snacking is to have a nutritious after-school snack ready for your kid when they get home from school. This snack will give them the energy they need to finish their homework and still have time for fun. Some good options for after-school snacks include fruit, yogurt, whole-wheat crackers, and veggie sticks. You can help your child make better food choices and develop lifelong healthy eating habits by providing a healthy snack.  

4- Make lists, organize items, and have a plan

If you’re like most parents, meal planning is probably not at the top of your list of favorite things to do. While it can be challenging to come up with new and healthy ideas that your kids will eat, getting them to sit down and eat a meal you’ve prepared can be even more challenging. However, simple tips can make meal planning more accessible and successful.  

First, list all the meals you want to make for the week. Try to include a mix of familiar favorites and new dishes.  

Then, organize the items on your list by day and by meal. This planning will help you make sure you have everything you need when it’s time to cook.  

Finally, plan what you’ll do if your kids don’t like what’s on the menu. If they refuse to eat, try offering a simple alternative like peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese. With some planning, you can take the stress out of mealtimes and provide your kids with healthy, delicious food they’ll enjoy eating.  

Also Read: Eating healthy & fresh – challenges for a family

5- Prep meals and chop veggies in advance

One of the best ways to ensure that your kids are eating nutritious meals is to meal plan ahead of time. Prepping meals and chopping veggies on the days you are least busy can save a lot of time and hassle during the week. Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated – choose a few healthy recipes your family enjoys and make a grocery list accordingly. Then, the day or two before you cook, take some time to chop vegetables and prepare any other ingredients you’ll need. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your family always has access to healthy, homemade meals.  

6- Pack lunch at night

If you’re like most parents, packing your kids’ lunches is an everyday battle. With your busy schedules and your kids being picky eaters, it can be tough to come up with healthy, balanced meals that they will enjoy. However, a simple solution can help: pack your kids’ lunches at night. Meal planning becomes much easier when you have the time to sit down and think about what you’ll pack ahead of time. You can also take advantage of leftovers and ensure that each lunch has a variety of food groups. And if you’re short on time, plenty of healthy, prepackaged options will make your life a lot easier. So the next time you feel stressed about packing lunch, try doing it at night and see how much simpler it becomes. 

Hire a personal chef for meal planning  

Many parents struggle to strike the right balance when it comes to meal planning. You want your kids to eat healthy food that will nourish their growing bodies, but you may also not want to spend hours in the kitchen every night. One solution that more and more parents are considering is hiring a personal chef. A personal chef can help you create a healthy, balanced meal plan that fits your family’s needs and schedule. They can do all the grocery shopping and cooking, so you don’t have to lift a finger. And best of all, they can provide your kids with delicious meals they’ll enjoy eating. Hiring a personal chef is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a hassle-free way to improve your family’s meal planning. 

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