Solo Saturday: 5 Courses - Thai American in Autumn

Solo Saturday: 5 Courses - Thai American in Autumn

"You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients." - Julia Child

'Solo Dinner Saturday' – this is our introduction to self-medicating with genuinely good food. And by "good," we mean the "clear your calendar and savor every bite" level of delectable. Cooking isn't merely tossing ingredients together; it's a savory journey, a dance of flavors, a meditative choreography. The act of mastering each dish becomes therapeutic, allowing you to disconnect from the world's chaos and truly connect with the ingredients, yourself, and the ambiance of your home. Our solo dinners are crafted as multi-course affairs, not to show off culinary expertise, but to accentuate the essence of time. Each course is a step, a moment of reflection, culminating in a luxurious result stemming from an intentional process.

Dive in, nourish not only your body but also your mind. We call it 'solo' to highlight how these multi-course meals are designed for simplicity and enjoyment in preparation.Whether you're relishing it solo or sharing the experience with someone special, welcome to your transformative weekend ritual.


Tonight, we embark on a culinary journey where the vibrant flavors of Thai cuisine dance gracefully with the comforting notes of American autumnal dishes. This fusion offers an enticing balance of spice, sweetness, and warmth, embodying the spirit of two rich cultures in every bite. Let's stay home and cook!

The Menu:

Starter: Butternut Squash Coconut Soup

  • A creamy blend of autumn's butternut squash with Thai coconut milk and a hint of red curry warmth.

Salad: Apple & Shrimp Thai Salad

  • Crunchy autumn apples paired with succulent shrimp, dressed lightly with a tangy lime-fish sauce dressing.

Main Course: Thai Basil Turkey Stir-Fry

  • Ground turkey infused with the aromatic flavors of Thai basil and stir-fried with fresh veggies, delivering a delightful fusion of East meets West.

Accompanied by: Cranberry Jasmine Rice

  • Fragrant jasmine rice studded with tart cranberries, offering a balance of textures and a burst of flavor.

Palate Cleanser: Citrus Mint Salad

  • A vibrant mix of assorted citrus fruits, kissed by fresh mint, offering a refreshing pause between courses.

Dessert: Pumpkin Sticky Rice with Sweet Coconut Drizzle

  • Warm, sticky rice melded with pumpkin's sweetness, generously drizzled with a creamy coconut sauce, making it a comforting end to our fusion journey.


The Recipes:

Starter: Butternut Squash Coconut Soup

(Image by Freepik)


  • 1/4 of a medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • Salt, to taste


    1. In a large pot, add 1 tbsp oil and sauté the red curry paste until fragrant.
    2. Add the butternut squash cubes and toss to coat.
    3. Pour in the coconut milk, broth, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
    4. Bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender.
    5. Use a hand blender to puree the soup until smooth.
    6. Serve in bowls garnished with cilantro and roasted pumpkin seeds.

    --- go to Planning ---

      2. Salad: Apple & Shrimp Thai Salad

      (image credit: price chopper ready)


      For the Salad:

      • 5 thawed frozen large shrimp
      • 1/2 large apple (Honeycrisp or Fuji are great choices), thinly sliced
      • 1/2 carrot, julienned or grated
      • 1 small handful of mixed greens or lettuce of choice (optional for added volume)
      • Fresh cilantro leaves (to taste)
      • Fresh mint leaves (to taste)
      • 1 tablespoon of chopped roasted peanuts (optional for crunch)

      For the Dressing:

      • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
      • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce (adjust based on preference)
      • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar or palm sugar
      • A pinch of chili flakes (optional for heat)
      • 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger


          1. In a skillet or frying pan, heat a splash of oil (sesame or vegetable) over medium-high heat.
          2. Add the shrimp, seasoned with a pinch each of salt and pepper.
          3. Cook the shrimp 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn pink and are opaque in the center. Set aside to cool slightly.
          4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chili flakes (if using), and grated ginger until the sugar is dissolved.
          5. In a serving bowl, place the mixed greens or lettuce (if using).
          6. Arrange the apple slices, julienned carrot, and cooked shrimp on top.
          7. Drizzle with the dressing.
          8. Garnish with fresh cilantro, mint leaves, and chopped roasted peanuts.

        --- go to Planning ---

        3. Main: Thai Basil Turkey Stir-Fry with Cranberry Jasmine Rice


        Thai Basil Turkey Stir-Fry

        • 1/4 lb ground turkey
        • 1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
        • 1/4 cup snap peas, trimmed
        • 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
        • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
        • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
        • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
        • 1 clove garlic, minced
        • A small handful of Thai basil leaves
        • A pinch of red pepper flakes or sliced fresh chili (optional for heat)


        1. In a skillet or frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
        2. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
        3. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned and cooked through; set aside.
        4. Add the sliced red bell pepper and trimmed snap peas to the same skillet. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the vegetables start to soften; set aside.
        5. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Pour this mixture over the turkey and vegetables. Wash the skillet.
        (When it's ready to serve as the main course)
        1. In a skillet or frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Toss in the ground turkey and vegetables, constantly stirring. Once it's hot, add the mixed sauce and keep stirring.
        2. Once the sauce is reduced to the desired consistency, taste and adjust if needed. Then stir in the Thai basil leaves and cook for an additional minute or until the basil is wilted.
        3. Add the red pepper flakes or sliced chili (if using) and stir well.
        4. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

        --- go to Planning ---

        Cranberry Jasmine Rice  


        • 2 cups jasmine rice
        • 2 cups water
        • A pinch of salt
        • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
        • 2 tablespoons toasted cashews or almonds, chopped


          If using rice cooker: add cranberries after rinsing the rice, cook your jasmine rice like usual.


          If don't have rice cooker:

          1. Rinse the jasmine rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from being overly sticky.
          2. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, 2 cups of water, dried cranberries, and a pinch of salt.
          3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
          4. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked through and all the water has been absorbed.
          5. Remove from heat and let it stand covered for about 5 minutes.
          6. Fluff the rice with a fork (if using skillet. Wooden paddle for nonstick cooker).
          7. Garnish with the toasted nuts when serving.

          --- go to Planning ---

            Palate Cleanser:

            • Assorted citrus fruits (your choice: like oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines)
            • Fresh mint leaves
            • Honey (optional)
            • A pinch of salt


              1. Peel the citrus fruits and slice them into rounds or segments.
              2. Finely chop the fresh mint leaves.
              3. Toss citrus segments with the mint.
              4. Optional: Drizzle with a touch of honey and a pinch of salt to enhance flavors.

              --- go to Planning ---

                Dessert: Pumpkin Sticky Rice with Sweet Coconut Drizzle


                • 1 cup glutinous (sticky) rice
                • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
                • 1/2 cup coconut milk (for the rice mixture)
                • 1/4 cup brown sugar
                • 1 cup coconut milk
                • 2-3 tbsp. palm sugar (or brown sugar if palm sugar is unavailable)
                • A pinch of salt


                    1. Rinse and soak sticky rice in water for at least few hours, ideally overnight.
                    2. Drain the rice and steam until cooked 30-45 min. Checking at the last 10 minutes and monitor progress. (each grain of rice should have consistent texture)
                    3. In a saucepan, combine pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup coconut milk, and brown sugar. Cook until heated through.
                    4. Mix the cooked sticky rice with the pumpkin mixture.

                    For the Sweet Coconut Drizzle:

                    1. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup coconut milk with palm sugar and a pinch of salt.
                    2. Heat the mixture, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce thickens slightly.

                    Serve the pumpkin sticky rice warm, generously drizzled with the sweet coconut sauce.

                    --- go to Planning ---


                    Shopping List


                       serving: 1 person    

                    Fruits & Vegetables:

                    • 1 medium butternut squash
                    • 1 large apple (Honeycrisp or Fuji recommended)
                    • 1 fresh lime juice
                    • 1 carrot
                    • 1 small bag of mixed greens or lettuce
                    • 1 red bell pepper
                    • 1 cup snap peas
                    • Assorted citrus fruits (at least 2 varieties, such as 1 orange and 1 grapefruit)
                    • 1 small bunch fresh mint leaves
                    • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
                    • 1 bulb of garlic 
                    • 1 ginger

                    Meat & Seafood:

                    • 1/2 lb ground turkey
                    • 1 pack of large shrimp / 5 piece of shrimps

                    Canned Goods:

                    • 1 can of coconut milk (approx. 14 oz.)
                    • 1 can of pumpkin puree (approx. 15 oz.)
                    • 1 can chicken stock ( or veggie stock)

                    Dry & Packaged Goods:

                    • 1 pack of jasmine rice (2 cups minimum required)
                    • 1 pack of glutinous (sticky) rice (2 cups minimum)
                    • 1 pack of dried cranberries
                    • 1 pack roasted peanuts (optional)
                    • 1 pack palm sugar (or brown sugar as a substitute, if unavailable)
                    • 1 pack brown sugar
                    • 1 pack toasted cashews or almonds

                    Condiments & Sauces:

                    • 1 small jar red (Thai) curry paste
                    • 1 bottle fish sauce
                    • 1 bottle soy sauce
                    • 1 bottle vegetable oil
                    • Red pepper flakes or fresh chilies (optional for heat)
                    • (optional) honey



                      Friday Night:  

                      Morning Prep (9:00 AM to around lunch time)  

                    • Gather Ingredients: Ensure all ingredients are ready and available.

                    • Starter (step 1-5): Complete making the soup except the garnishing. Store in a container in the refrigerator.
                    • Thai Salad Prep (step 1-2): Clean the shrimp, if not pre-cleaned. Slice apples and julienne carrots. Store separately in containers inside the refrigerator.
                    • Main (Prep): Ground the turkey if not pre-grounded. Slice the veggies. Store in containers inside the refrigerator.
                    • Palate Cleanser (step 1-3): Peel the citrus fruits and segment or slice them. Store them in a container in the fridge. Wash and finely chop the fresh mint leaves, keeping them separate.

                    • Dessert (step 2): Make the pumpkin puree sauce ahead, store in the fridge. Reheat it when it's ready to serve.
                    • Cleaning: Ensure your kitchen is clean and set up for the evening cooking.

                      Evening Cooking (starting from around 6:00 PM for 8:00 PM dinner)  

                    • Salad (step 4-6): Prepare the dressing. In a separate bowl, assemble the Apple & Shrimp Thai Salad but refrain from adding the dressing to prevent sogginess.

                    • Palate Cleanser: Peel and toss citrus segments with the finely chopped mint. If desired, you can add a drizzle of honey and a pinch of salt.

                    • Dessert (step 2): Check sticky rice doneness. 

                    • Main (stir fry step 1-5): (While waiting) Start preparing the main dish now. Begin cooking all the ingredients. Then, finalize it by reheating and adding sauce when it's time to serve.

                    • Dessert (step 2): If the rice wasn't done yet. Check again. Keep it coved and let it sit in the steamer, wait till time to serve dessert.

                    • Starter: Reheat the soup, add 1-2 tbsp of water if it's needed. Stir occasionally till it boiled. 

                    • Set the table: Ensure the table is set, drinks are ready, and everything is in place.

                    • Main: Fluff rice.

                    • Plate and serve: Finalize by complete all the drizzling and garnishes.

                    To Serve:

                    1. Bring out the starter and salad dish altogether, the 2 dishes compliment each other well.

                    2. Main (steps 6-9): After the appetizer and salad, proceed to complete the main dish. Serve it alongside the cranberry jasmine rice.

                    3. Dessert: When you're ready to serve, gently reheat the coconut sauce in a saucepan or pot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally. Once it comes to a boil, scoop the sticky rice into a bowl and generously drizzle the coconut sauce over the top.

                    (note: if the sticky rice is getting dry or too old to you liking, steam it for 2-3 minutes to reheat it.)


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