Approved by Madam Chantana Sasitorn, wife of the ambassador of Thailand to Malaysia, these recipes for 3 traditional Thai dishes can't get any more authentic.

It was a beautiful Valentine's Day morning when Malaysia Tatler accepted an invitation from the Royal Thai Embassy to flex our wrists at the stove. We weren't the only ones who were thrilled to be en plein air. “Between working in a boring office and being here, of course I chose to be here. It's more fun!” laughed H.E. Narong Sasitorn, ambassador of Thailand to Malaysia, indicating the airy courtyard where diplomats’ wives and select members of the media were gathered for an al fresco cooking class.

'Spice It Right,' an opportunity to discover Thai culture via its iconic cuisine, was led by Dato’ Haji Ismail Ahmad, celebrity chef, owner of Rebung restaurant, lecturer at SEGI University College, Malaysian Tourism Advisor under the Gastronomic Division, and all-round gourmet.

Approved by Madam Chantana Sasitorn, wife of the ambassador of Thailand to Malaysia, here are the 3 recipes we mastered that morning:

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Laab Gai (Spicy Minced chicken Salad)

Tatler Asia
Above Laab Gai (Spicy Minced chicken Salad). Photo: Royal Thai Embassy.


  • 2-3 tbsp toasted rice powder (see instructions)
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 2 tbsp water or unsalted chicken stock
  • 300 g ground chicken (choose fatty over lean)
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Roasted chili powder or regular chili powder, to taste
  • 4 leaves of sawtooth coriander and/or 6-8 sprigs of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ⅓ cup mint leaves, roughly torn
  • Crispy chicken skin (optional)
  • Dried chillies (optional)


  1. To make the toasted rice powder: In a dry sauté pan, add the rice and the kaffir lime leaf and toast, stirring constantly, over a high heat until the rice has turned a deep brown. Remove from the heat immediately and transfer to a pestle and mortar or a coffee grinder. Grind until fine (yes, grind the lime leaf too), but if using a coffee grinder, be careful not to over-grind — you don’t want it to look like flour; there should still be a bit of grittiness to it.
  2. In a wide pot or a sauté pan, add the water or stock and bring the liquid to a simmer. Add the ground chicken and 1 tsp of the fish sauce. Cook thoroughly, stirring constantly to break up any lumps. Remove from the heat, then add the shallots — stir to wilt the shallots slightly and make sure all layers are separated. Then add the remaining fish sauce, lime juice, chili flakes, and toasted rice powder. Mix everything well. Add the green onions and sawtooth coriander and/or cilantro. Stir some more.
  3. Plate the chicken mixture, sprinkle some mint on top, and garnish with a few dried chilies or crispy chicken skin (which you can make in minutes!) if you'd like. Serve warm or at room temperature alongside sticky rice and fresh, crunchy vegetables such as iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, long beans, and Belgian endives.
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Choo Chee Gung (Curry Fried Prawns)

Tatler Asia
Above Choo Chee Gung (Curry Fried Prawns). Photo: Royal Thai Embassy.


  • 6 prawns (300g)
  • 2–3 tbsp red curry paste
  • ¼ cup + ⅔ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp palm sugar, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce, to taste
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, center rib removed, finely julienned
  • 1-2 tbsp extra coconut milk for garnish (optional)
  • Spur chilies or red bell pepper, finely julienned for garnish (optional)


  1. Add ¼ cup of the coconut milk to a wok or a sauté pan and bring to a boil. Add the curry paste and stir constantly, reducing the liquid until it's thick and the coconut oil has started to separate from the paste.
  2. Add the remaining coconut milk, palm sugar and fish sauce. Stir everything and allow to simmer for several minutes until the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency. When the sauce is close to being done, add half of the kaffir lime leaves and allow them to infuse for a minute or two.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning, making sure that the sauce is strongly seasoned (the flavours will be softened when served with rice). Cover and set aside while you cook the prawns.
  4. In a large sauté pan, add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat over a medium high heat. When the pan starts smoking slightly, add the prawns. Cook on each side for about 1 minute or until done. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Bring the sauce back to a boil, adding more water if it has become too thick. Add the prawns to the sauce and let them simmer in the sauce just some 30 seconds to a minute.
  6. Remove your pan from the heat and transfer the prawns to a serving plate. Pour the sauce around the prawns, and add a stylistic drizzle of sauce across the plate. If you'd like, add a splash of coconut milk on top and garnish with the kaffir lime leaves and bell peppers. Serve with steaming jasmine rice.
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Tub Tim Grob (Red Ruby In Coconut Milk)

Tatler Asia
Above Tub Tim Grob (Red Ruby In Coconut Milk). Photo: iStock.


  • 1 cup water chestnuts
  • 5 drops red food coloring
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup water + ½ cup sugar (for making sugar syrup)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pot ice cold water
  • Salt to taste
  • Shaved ice or ice cream


  1. If using fresh water chestnuts, peel them with a vegetable peeler. If using canned chestnuts, simply rinse under running water. Cut each water chestnut into very small bite-sized pieces.
  2. Mix 5 drops of food coloring with 2 tbsps of water. Coat the water chestnuts cubes in the liquid and let sit for a few minutes until they are evenly red.
  3. Add the water chestnuts to the tapioca flour and coat each piece well. Remove from the flour. Using a spray bottle, mist the kernels with water and coat them with flour again. Strain them with a mesh sieve or a colander to get rid of the excess flour.
  4. Set a pot of water to boil on the stove. Place the coated water chestnuts in the boiling water and cook for approximately 1 minute. You'll know they are done once they float to the surface. Remove the chestnut pieces from the pot and plunge immediately into a pot of ice cold water.
  5. Boil the ½ cup of water and ½ cup of sugar to make a simple syrup.
  6. Stir a pinch of salt into the coconut milk and bring to boil over a slow fire, stirring constantly to prevent the liquids from separating. When the salt has completely dissolved, turn off the heat.
  7. Mix the cooked water chestnuts with the sugar syrup before adding a splash of coconut milk on top. Serve with shaved ice (or ice cream for a contemporary take).