It’s pretty amazing that Lake County has an Asian food market. But even better than that is the fact that Lake County has a great Asian food market. Thai American Market in Nice, founded by Dale and his wife Yupi, is the perfect Asian food store for people who don’t know what to do at Asian food stores.
I get it. It’s overwhelming to walk into an Asian market in the city. All the food has strange labels, and the clerks talk to each other in different languages. I’ve bought more than one thing at an Asian market and regretted it. On a similar subject, there are several ways to prepare jellyfish. I haven’t found one I enjoy.
But it’s not like that at Thai American Market. Dale and Yupi have done an excellent job making Asian food accessible. Posted all over the shelves next to products are recipes that show you how to use them. As I wandered through the store, I noticed several slips of paper with suggestions or ideas for a product’s use. But if you ever feel even a smidgen lost, just ask either Dale or Yupi a question, and they will give you everything you need to make a simple, wonderful dinner.
I’m sure you don’t believe me, though. Cooking Asian food can be daunting. But here. Let me show you how to walk into Lake County’s only Asian market and buy stuff like you know what you are doing. We’ll start with the simplest version of an already simple dish: a curry. Here’s what you need to do. First, head over to Thai American Market, of course. Then walk over to the curry aisle. It looks like this:
But there are so many curries! Which one do you choose? We’ll make it easy. If you want a spicy curry, get the green curry paste. If you want a mild curry, get the yellow curry paste. If you’re somewhere else in the middle, try one of the other ones such as red or massaman.
Okay, that’s the first hurdle crossed. Now you need some coconut milk. Get one or two cans, depending on how much curry you want to make. Then you need to buy some jasmine rice. Its aroma and flavor are the perfect complements to a curry. And you’re done!
Now head home and start cooking your rice. For one cup of jasmine rice, add one and a half cups of water. Boil the water first, add the rice and cook it covered over extremely low heat for twenty minutes.
While the rice is cooking, chop up however much meat you want into strips. Pick one: chicken, pork, or beef. Chop up an onion into strips and crush a few cloves of garlic. Then saute the onion and garlic for five minutes or so with a bit of vegetable oil. Add 1-3 tablespoons of curry paste, depending on how much flavor and heat you want. If you’re confused with proportions, think of curry paste like you would beef boullion. Start small and work your way up.
Add your meat and make sure it’s coated well. Then add your coconut milk and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes until it reduces a bit. By the time your rice is done, your meal should be ready. That’s it! No stress, plus a great dinner in under a half hour. Put some rice in a bowl, pour some curry over it, and you’ve got dinner.
I just gave you the world’s simplest curry recipe. Once you have the basics down, you can learn to augment your dish with other seasonings available at Thai American Market, such as fish sauce, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, or galangal. And if you enjoyed the dish, take a look at some of the other recipes that Dale has available on the Thai American Market website. He makes them quick and understandable. Take a look here and you’ll see how easy Asian curries can be. Of course, you can always pull one of the recipes off the shelf and try something new. With Dale and Yupi’s help, it’s hard to go wrong.
You can visit Thai American Market at:
3707 E Hwy 20 #3
Nice, CA 95464
Hours: 12 – 6 Monday through Saturday
12 – 5 Sunday