Pad Thai, Masman Curry, and other Thai recipes – Let’s Get Cooking, St. George, Utah — and Xi’an Generals, Pickleball, and more

Near St. George, Utah

One  of the great pleasures of traveling is discovering the cooking of the region.  Sometimes those delicious tastes are of places far away.  Therefore, we were delighted  to find that our  Servas hosts in St. George, Utah, Sanjay and Benita,  are not only fantastic people but also Benita loves to cook. Although an oncology radiology doctor by profession, she loves to quilt–

One of Benita's many beautiful quilts

and she has also taught Thai cooking classes.  

The following recipes and information come from one of her classes.


There are people who think that Thai food is one of the best  in the world.  I am not one of them; I think that it is THE best!  The flavors represent a blend of influences from other cuisines, most notably Chinese and Indian.  One of the dishes prepared today, Chicken Musman, was influenced by Indians living in Thailand.

Thai Chicken Musman

Photo from –

Thai food can range from quite mild to fiery hot.  For the uninitiated who may want to try out a Thai restaurant, I have included a list of some dishes according to the degree of  “fire.”  This represents a bit of simplification since most Thai dishes can be made with varying degrees of  “heat.”  One of the dishes on today’s menu, Green Beans with Red Curry, is generally quite hot.  We have toned it down some so you don’t have to make a serious dent in Ivins’s limited water supply.

Green bean with red curry

Photo from –

Another dish served today, Pad Thai, is usually fairly mild.  Dried chili flakes can be added according to taste.  Satay, skewered marinated meat, is served as an appetizer and is also mild.  Elaborate desserts are not extremely popular among Thais.  Usually, dessert consists of tropical fruit, such as pineapple, mango, or orange.  Thai coconut ice cream is a non-dairy frozen treat which can be prepared without needing an ice cream maker.  There is also a Thai rice pudding.

Thai curry pastes are conveniently found in cans.  The brand I use, Maesri, comes in a 4 oz. size, which is the amount generally used when preparing a standard serving for 4-6 people.  There are many types of curry pastes, such as Green, Red, Yellow, Musman, or Panang.  These prepared pastes are a boon to those of us not having kah, galanga, coriander root (not seed or leaf, but root!), lemon grass, kafir lime leaf, and six types of chilis in our arsenal.  I can personally attest that grocery stores in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia carry these same prepared curry pastes; these are manufactured not just for export to the U.S. but also for Asian women’s convenience.

Thai Menu -[prepared in Benita’s class]

Ÿ Satay with Peanut Sauce (mild)

Ÿ Pad Thai (mild)

Ÿ Green Beans with Red Curry (medium to hot)

Ÿ Chicken Musman (medium)

Ÿ Rice

Ÿ Thai Iced Coffee

Suggested Shopping List [any Oriental/Asian grocery store should carry these items]

Ÿ Fish sauce (nam pla)

Ÿ Chili sauce/paste

Ÿ Rice noodles

Ÿ Jasmine rice

Ÿ Curry pastes

Ÿ Coconut milk and/or powder

International Marketplace, 5000 S. Decatur in Las Vegas, is my favorite source for Oriental groceries.  Albertson’s (on Bluff) carries the Thai Kitchen brand of fish sauce. [Look in the Asian market near you].

Some Basic Thai Dishes (to try in a restaurant)


Satay — barbecued skewered meat appetizer

Sarong — meat-filled fried dumpling appetizer

Pad Thai — stir-fried linguini-like rice noodles

Lad Nar (or Rad Na) — large thick rice noodles with broccoli, meat, and a mild sauce

Mee Krob (or Mee Grob) — sweet deep-fried noodles

Pad Priew Wan — sweet and sour pork


Panang — meat in spicy coconut milk

Musman — meat and potatoes in spicy coconut milk

Lob Gai — spicy ground chicken

Pad Ma Kua Yaow — stir-fried eggplant


Tom Yam — hot and sour soup, usually with shrimp

Tom Yam Soup

Photo from –

Prig King — red curry, can be with meat and/or vegetables

Gang Kiew Wan — green curry, can be with meat and/or vegetables



Eating delicious Pad Thai with Benita, Sanjay, and Barry


3/4 lb. dried rice noodles


warm water

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/2 lb. shrimp, chicken, or pork

1/4 cup and 2 TBS sugar

6-8 green onions (cut into 1 1/2” pieces)

1/4 cup and 2 TBS white vinegar

1/2 TBS chopped garlic

1 tsp paprika

2-4 TBS oil

1 TBS catsup

3 eggs (beaten)

3/4 lb. bean sprouts

1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts

1/2 TBS red chili flakes

lime wedges

Soak noodles for 20 to 25 minutes in very warm water, until flexible and soft.  Drain.

Ÿ Heat oil in wok.  Add garlic, stir-fry until golden.  Add shrimp, stir-fry until pink.  Remove and set to side.  Stir-fry eggs.  Remove and cut into strips.

Ÿ Add noodles, stir-fry to coat with oil.

Ÿ Add sauce and bring to rapid boil while tossing noodles.  Fold noodles frequently, until the noodles have absorbed the liquid.

Ÿ Add bean sprouts and green onions and toss gently.  Cook for about 2 minutes, until bean sprouts and green onions are crisp-tender.

Ÿ Mix in shrimp, egg (strips), chili flakes, and peanuts.

Ÿ Serve with side dishes of extra chopped peanuts, chili flakes, and lime wedges for each diner to add according to taste.

Pad Thai

Photo from –


Thai Mussaman Curry

Photo from: Arran‑36.jpg <>

Thai Mussaman Curry Ingredients:

1/4 cup tamarind concentrate (optional)

1 cup thick coconut milk

1 lb. diced chicken (or beef) – boneless

1 can Maesri musman curry paste

1 cup ground peanuts

12 cardamom seeds

3 cups thin coconut milk

1/4 cup plus 2 TBS fish sauce

2 potatoes – diced  (1/2 – 1” size)

1/4 cup plus 3 TBS sugar

Ÿ Cook musman curry paste and thick coconut milk in uncovered pot for 8 minutes over high heat.

Ÿ Add meat, peanuts, thin coconut milk, and cardamom seeds.  Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Ÿ Add potatoes and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Ÿ Add sugar, fish sauce, and tamarind concentrate.  Cook for another 5 minutes (covered).

Serve over rice.

Note: This dish is best if cooked a day in advance as the flavors meld nicely overnight.


14 oz. can coconut milk

2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp ground cumin

1 TBS chopped garlic

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 – 1 TBS chili sauce

2 TBS fish sauce

Heat coconut milk in saucepan over medium heat until just boiling.  Add sugar and mix until dissolved.  Add garlic, chili sauce, coriander, and cumin, stirring constantly.  Heat for about 5 minutes.  Remove from burner.  Stir in peanut butter and fish sauce.  Blend well.


Thai Ice Coffee - a favorite

Photo from –

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup coffee

1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (or half and half)

3 cups water

Ÿ Place coffee in muslin bag.  Bring water to boil.  Pour over coffee and let steep for 5 minutes.

Ÿ Remove bag.

Ÿ Add sweetened condensed milk to coffee and mix well.

Ÿ Fill each glass with crushed ice.  Fill half-way with coffee.

Ÿ Fill to top with evaporated milk (or half and half).  Stir well.

All recipes were adapted from Thai Home Cooking from Kamolmal’s Kitchen, by William Crawford and Kamolmal Pootaraksa.  This book is now out of print.  With a little luck, used copies can be found on the internet; try and

from – Benita B.

Benita made us a Thai feast that included Pad Thai. Sanjay, a very early retired CPA,  gave us a tour of St. George and introduced Barry to a new favorite sport: Pickleball,which is a racket sport combining elements of  badminton, tennis, and table tennis.

Barry hopes pickleball will come to Maui

We got to meet many of their friends.

Dinner with Benita and Sanjay's friends at Mary Lynn & Kelly's house

We enjoyed the red rock scenery of this beautiful U.S. area.  Utah has many national and state parks and recreation areas.  St. George has seasons, but a mild winter, so hiking is possible all during the year.

St. George rock formation

Besides the incredible rock formations, I was impressed with the “singing”  or really hiccuping squirrels.  At first, I thought one squirrel–in an effort to attract handouts–had learned to make these noise which has him contracting his whole stomach to create the sound.

Chirping or hiccuping squirrel

Barry - great Utah hiking

We were also surprised to see that Benita and Sanjoy had replicas of two  “Terracotta Warriors”   from Xi’an, China.

Terracotta Warrior in St. George, Utah

Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, had these warriors made. They were buried with the emperor in 210-209 BC and were to protect the emperor in his afterlife.

This Xi'an General has an added tiara. Who would have guessed?

We also got to see Grease under the stars in a great amphitheater.

Theater under the stars

So I hope you get a chance to go to St. George and the many national parks nearby.   I also hope you try Thai recipes, which you can do in your own kitchen.

Happy feasting wherever you are.

Aloha, Renée


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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

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