There may not be any traditional Thai Christmas recipes (we don't celebrate Christmas), but there are certainly many ways to use your leftovers in traditional Thai dishes. Here are 4 of my favourite ways that are quick and easy (we don't want more work after the big feast, right?!), and so delicious it might make you wonder why you didn't just do this for the dinner to begin with!
1. LAAB IT - Turn it into a Thai Salad
This is my favourite way because it is quick and it makes a light and refreshing dish to offset the rich, heavy meal you just had. In this post and in the video I show you how to make a "laab" (no, it is not laRb ... you do not pronounce any r!) but you can quite easily turn it into a "yum" which is another type of Thai salad.
2. TOM IT - Turn it into a Thai Soup
"Tom" is our term for soups, and you may be familiar with the famous tom yum goong and tom kha gai. In this post I share with you a recipe for a basic tom yum that would work with any leftovers, but luckily many of our soups are quite similar, so here are a few modifications you can make to turn them into a different type of soup.
- Tom Kha (coconut galangal soup): Substitute ⅓ of the stock with coconut milk, or more if you want a richer soup, and use only 1 stalk of lemongrass and 15 slices of galangal. Omit tomatoes. See this recipe for tom kha gai as a reference.
- Tom Sap (Northeastern style soup): Use dried chilies instead of fresh, and add 2 Tbsp of toasted rice powder to the soup at the end. If you can find sawtooth coriander (culantro) use that instead of cilantro. If you have my cookbook, I have this recipe on p. 127.
- Tom Kloang (smoked fish soup): Use half tamarind and half lime juice for the acidity, and add a loosely packed ⅓ cup of bonito flakes. This is a cheat; typically in Thailand we use smoked dried fish which is not available here, so the Japanese katsuobushi (bonito flakes) works perfectly as a substitute. See this recipe for tom kloang as a reference.
Watch The Full Video Tutorial for All 4 Recipes!
All my recipes come with step-by-step video tutorials with extra tips not mentioned in the blog post, so make sure you watch the video below to ensure success! And if you enjoy the show, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Thank you!
3. JEAW IT - Dip it in a Spicy Thai Sauce
This recipe is perfect for the perfectly cooked roast beef that you're super proud of and still want to enjoy the roast as is, but maybe with a bit of a different, lighter flavour. Or maybe you ran out of gravy ... isn't that always the case? There's never enough gravy?
"Jeaw" or "nam jim jeaw" is our universal dipping sauce for grilled or roasted meats. Chicken, beef, pork, or even fish; if it was grilled or roasted, we can dip it in jeaw.
I've given you a basic recipe here, but know that you can vary it a lot, especially with how sweet you want the sauce to be. Add more sugar or less sugar, it's completely up to you. You can also substitute some of the lime juice with tamarind paste for a thicker, richer dipping sauce.
4. PAD IT - Turn it into Fried Rice
Finally, we cannot talk about leftovers in the context of Asian food without talking about fried rice! "Pad" means to stir fry (yes, that's the same pad as pad thai). It is THE ultimate easy way to use up just about anything in the fridge.
PRO TIP: If you have any delicious meat juice collected on the serving platter, save it and use it as part of the sauce in the rice. If your rice is well cooked (i.e. not too soft) and you don't crowd the pan, you can add about 2 Tbsp of extra meat juice per recipe without worrying about making your rice too soft. Just be sure to adjust the seasoning accordingly - if your meat juice is on the salty side, cut down on the fish sauce or soy sauce slightly.