I know I’m not alone in this: the longer lockdown goes on, the more life affirming each parcel delivery becomes. And yesterday’s was a life-saver: Thai ingredients from Raan Thai.
Based in Birkenhead, Raan Thai offers one of the largest selections of Thai ingredients on the continent, delivered across the continent, usually in 1–3 working days. Though, in these troubled times, it’s more like 5–7. But I am not complaining. Not since I now have enough fresh and dried chillies to keep me going for at least another month, plus fresh sator, pickled mustard greens, vac-packed bamboo shoot (apparently, bamboo shoot is massively in demand at the moment, right up there with flour – who knew?), dried salted mackerel and a green papaya for som tum.
I have never worked with the Raan Thai people, but I’ve been using them and recommending them more and more. I used to have the little Talad Thai supermarket just around the corner, now sadly closed, and I haven’t felt comfortable driving to my now-nearest four miles away. So Raan Thai has become essential.
As to what to buy: well, obviously, that’s up to you. (I’m assuming you have your sauces in – fish, oyster, soy etc.) But chillies, galangal, fresh turmeric, lemongrass, kaffir limes and their leaves all freeze well. On the tinned front, I’d avoid the bamboo shoots and the tinned sator, but otherwise, you’re on solid store-cupboard ground. And dried and pickled things last for ages. Right now, I’m getting huge mileage from my packets of pickled turnip, stir-fried with egg (there’s a recipe to follow, in a few days). And, of course, there are plenty of fresh ingredients, too, but one needs to get through them promptly – my sator’s going in a stir-fry with some prawns and pork from the freezer as soon as they’ve defrosted.
But, if you really want to make like a Thai, you want to order some packets of dried Mama noodles (like these). I defy you to find a travelling Thai who hasn’t, at one time or another, gone anywhere without some.