My parents used to live in Bangkok and when I would visit them, it was always a special treat to dine at the Thai restaurant in the Shangri La Hotel by the Chao Phraya River, also known as "The Brown River." No too imaginative with the name, the river was literally and still is brown.
My first boat tour down the Brown River, just minutes from the fancy Shangri La Hotel, and you were faced with rows and rows of shacks built on flimsy stilts in the water. Adults would launder their clothing in this brown water and children would happily swim in this mud water. It was so bizarre to me and a real eye opener at the tender age of 9 yeas old at the destitution many people in Thailand lived in.
I really appreciated the simple creature comforts of a fluffy bed, nice clothes, food and a warm shower.
I do miss Thailand sometimes, as it's also known as "The Smiling Country." Thai people speak very softly and always greet respectfully. This dish transports me back to Thailand with the delicate combination of lime and basil topped off with the heat from the jalapeño pepper. This recipe is from Susie Fishbein's cookbook Passover by Design: Picture Perfect Kosher by Design Recipes for the Holiday.
1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
3 cups water
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
12 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 firm mango (not too ripe) peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/8-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a strainer. Do not skip this step or a bitter, soap-like natural coating will remain.
2 Once the quinoa is drained, place it into a medium saucepot with the water over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered until the water is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the grains turn translucent and the outer layer pops off.
3 Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the minced jalapeno, basil, cilantro, red onion, and mango. Drizzle in the oil, salt, and lime juice. Stir to combine.
4 Add the quinoa and toss to combine.
5 Serve warm or at room temperature.