I enjoy a variety of foods and one of my favorites is Thai food. It’s so delicious, but it’s really hard to find a good Thai restaurant that’s worth the price. If you want to make it at home, the specialized ingredients usually cost a lot. So, I’ve come up with a Creative Campbell Solution. I wanted to enjoy a meal that was pretty close to the restaurant version without having to slave in the kitchen or pay a ridiculous amount for my meal.
First solution: Tom Kha Soup
Tom Kha, or sometime spelled Tom Ka, is a creamy coconut milk soup with a hint of spicy flavors. If you bought one bowl at a Thai restaurant, it would cost you $5.00. If you made a pot of soup with four servings, you pay less than $5.00.
If you wanted to make Tom Kha from scratch you would need lemongrass, which is pretty pricey unless you have a plant growing in your herb garden. The other ingredients take time to gather and that time can easily be spared for one dollar. Go to your local Asian store and purchase this:
It is also available online for more if you don’t have the product locally. This has the spices required for Tom Kha Soup packaged to guarantee you have a delicious meal available any time of the year.
If you want to make it the Creative Campbell way, try this. Get 8 ounces of fresh pre-sliced white mushrooms, a can of coconut milk and one package of Tom Ka Paste. Combine as the directions say, savor and enjoy! If you want to make Tom Kha Gai, simply add chicken.
*Note there are three kinds of coconut milk I’ve discovered: coconut crème, coconut milk and light coconut milk. Coconut crème is a very thick coconut milk. It’s harder to find and isn’t necessary in most recipes. You can substitute coconut milk for it instead. Light coconut milk is simply watered down coconut milk, but you pay extra for the water. Just buy coconut milk and water it down if necessary.
Second solution: Pad Thai
I love Pad Thai, but I will admit that I really am not picking about this dish. My sister is a connoisseur who will try every restaurant in town to make sure that she finds the perfect Pad Thai. I lack that kind of dedication. I just need it to taste like Pad Thai.
My solution was this brand:
It’s in a jar, so once more you can keep it in the cupboard or fridge and enjoy pretty good Pad Thai with very little effort. You can find it at your local Asian store for around $2.50. You use five tablespoons to make enough sauce for a family dinner portion of food and each jar has enough for 3 servings. Compared to the $10-$15 spend at a restaurant for one plate, I am more than happy with the price. While you’re at your local Asian store, pick up some rice noodles for $1-2 and add any additions according to your preference.
Suggested additions: fresh lime, chicken or shrimp, crushed peanuts, red bell pepper, or bean sprouts. These additions are not required. I prefer mine with chicken and red bell pepper.
Put both of these together and you have the easiest, budget friendly Thai meal that your family will assume you slaved over. It tastes delicious and will certainly help with any Thai cravings you might have.