Thai One On, with Kade Espy
Kade Espy grew up in Bangkok and moved to the Asheville area three years ago after she married her husband Allen Espy. Now she works at Asheville’s Greenlife Grocery and also does Thai cooking classes and demonstrations in people’s homes.
Common misconceptions about Thai food: “Most people think Thai food is hot and spicy. Part of that is correct, but there are so many Thai foods that aren’t spicy and are very good. My husband doesn’t like spicy food at all. When I make Thai dishes for him, I just leave the chillies out.”
Don’t try this at home: “People should try things that they really like. If you buy a Thai cookbook, find one where the author is someone who’s Thai or someone who’s been living in Thailand a long time. You don’t have to be an expert. I don’t have a degree from culinary school. I just love cooking.”
Other tips for the home cook: If you like something at a restaurant, write down the Thai name of the dish. It will be easier to look up in a cookbook or on the Internet. Also, choose your basil wisely. Many people assume Thai basil is best, but not always. “I like to use holy basil in my dishes. I use Italian basil as a substitute. Thai basil is often best in green and red curries.”
Thai ingredients that are hard to find: Galanga. “It looks like ginger but tastes very different. Some people call it Thai ginger.” It’s a main ingredient in coconut soup. You can often find dry galanga at Asian markets. Lemongrass, an essential, is easier to find, and so are kaffir lime leaves."
by Mackensy Lunsford