Thailand: The Easiest Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vacation

//Thailand: The Easiest Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vacation

thai food
A vacation ain’t a vacation unless I’m eating…well. I love food and if it’s bad on my holiday, its not a good time. My being, ahem, particular is not coupled well with the fact I also have dietary restrictions. As you may or may not know from this blog that I’m a dairy-free gal who errs on the side of gluten-free. I also like everything from scratch and am a stickler for high quality produce. This is why I’ve been to Thailand three times – and I usually spend most of my time stuffing my face. This is why I’ve been to Thailand three times – and why I’m here now! Yes there are beautiful beaches and many special temples but what I love most is eating delicious food that won’t affect my gut or make me break out! Here are four reasons that Thailand is perfect for a gluten-free, dairy-free vacation and all round happy place for picky people like myself!

Have you Eaten Rice Today?

Rice is really important in Thai culture. So much so that the standard greeting is “have you eaten rise today?”. Yep, this gives way to tons of gluten-free options from rice noodles, fried rice dishes and even rice-based desserts. See the recipe for delicious mango coconut sticky rice below! My latest obsession is “Kanom Krok” – fried pockets of coconut rice pudding: creamy, sweet and addictive!

Rice noodles in an egg blanket?  Yes please!

Rice noodles in an egg blanket? Yes please!

Cow’s Milk? Nope. Coconut Milk!

I find east Asian cuisines easier to find dairy-free options in general (we will ignore the fact there is often a not-so-secret love for condensed milk). So, when dining out, these are great low-stress options as they don’t have much dairy at all. Okay, okay there is Thai iced tea that does feature condensed milk but for the most part, the creamy dishes use coconut milk instead. This is also why I love south Indian food (coconut curries instead of cream-based curries). You can find coconut ice cream all over the place and I dig into rich savoury dishes that don’t have a drop of dairy!

Seafood soup with chunks of coconut meat

Seafood soup with chunks of coconut meat

Asian Breakfasts: No Cheese Omelettes Here

Unless you are opting for a western breakfast, the first meal of the day isn’t gonna be toast or a cheese omelettes. Try noodle soup or a rice soup…heck, it probably gonna be soup. Move over eggs benny! While this may be a bummer for Ben, I’m happy as a pig in clover to be slurping up my ginger, chicken congee each morning.

Today's breakfast: chicken congee with ginger, green onion

Today’s breakfast: chicken congee with ginger, green onion

The Fruit! Oh the fruit!

Thailand in particular has lots of local agriculture that makes for fresh fruits and veggies. Not only have I eaten the ripest mangoes, pineapples and papayas here but also new favs such as mangosteen, pomelo and rambutan. But this theme of fresh ingredients is not only in the produce but runs through the whole meal preparation in Thailand – I have found that even Thai street food is mostly made from scratch and it makes me giddy with happiness to see someone pound fresh herbs into a curry with mortar and pestle instead of the pre-packaged stuff we get at home!
Thai fruit

As promised….
Mango Coconut Sticky Rice
Manogo Sticky Rice is one of my favorite desserts here. Actually, in a pinch on days that we have had early morning excursions (before breakfast places have open) I’ve actually had it as a breakfast as it keeps well refrigerated in our hotel room. It may not seem glamorous at first but the coconut infused rice that’s laced with mung beans (protein!) and sided with sweet mango is divine. Here is a recipe I got from Hot Thai Kitchen. I will be making this when I get home!

Mango Sticky Rice

INGREDIENTS

Coconut Sticky Rice:
1 cup white glutinous white rice
⅔ cup coconut milk
½ tsp salt
½ cup of sugar…we can sub in coconut sugar for a lower glycemic index

Coconut Sauce:
½ cup coconut milk
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp rice flour
1 Tbsp water

Others:
2 Tbsp shelled, split mung beans
2-3 mangoes

INSTRUCTIONS

For the sweet sticky rice:
Wash the rice in cold water, vigorously swishing the rice, 5 times or until the water runs clear. Let soak in water for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain the rice very well and steam the rice for 25-30 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, put the coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a pot. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Keep warm.

When the rice is done, immediately pour the syrup over the rice. Stir and break up any lumps, then cover with foil and let sit for 20 minutes. After 2o minutes, stir the rice again with a rubber spatula, folding the bottom part up to the top. Let sit for at least another 20 minutes or until ready to serve.

For the coconut sauce:
Dissolve the rice flour in the water until there are no more lumps. Combine the rice flour slurry, coconut milk, and salt in a small pot. Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a gentle boil and has thickened. Let cool.

For the mung beans:
Rinse the beans twice in cold water. Add the beans to a small pot and cover with 2 cups of cold water. Over medium heat, bring the water to a gentle boil. Once boiled, immediately remove from heat and cover the pot; let sit for 10 minutes. Drain off the cooking water and rinse the beans in cold water. Drain the beans well. In a lightly greased saute pan, toast the beans over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the beans are dry, crunchy and starts developing a light golden colour. Let cool on a plate.

Assembly:
Serve the rice beside sweet, fresh mango. Spoon some salted coconut sauce over the rice and sprinkle with the crispy mung beans.

2017-05-01T16:38:35-04:00 By |Healthy Eating|0 Comments

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This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

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This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.