Little Passports: Thailand

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Travis’s latest package from Little Passports was a welcome find on a winter afternoon, taking him across the world to tropical Thailand. As always, he loved to locate the country on his world map and add a pin sticker, and to place the flag stamp in his passport.

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The booklet this month taught Travis lots about Thailand’s flora and fauna, especially elephants. The only activity too advanced for him as a 1st grader was a fill-in-the-blank about Thailand’s tuk-tuk vehicles.

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Souvenir:

The biggest hit was the souvenir and no wonder because it involved… )Poop. Yup, a pad of paper made from recycled elephant poop, which was an idea so wacky and brilliant that the whole family loved it.

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Further Activities:

His booklet featured a nice hands-on craft to make Paper Lotus Flowers, following along with the instructions that involved only green, purple, and yellow construction paper. They turned out quite pretty!

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There was also a Thai grocery list activity that was a neat introduction to the beautiful characters of Thailand’s alphabet. Travis helped find each ingredient by matching up the words.

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Some of those very ingredients were needed for a dessert recipe we whipped up for Mango Sticky Rice, which was declared a big hit!

Recipe:

The recipe in this month’s booklet was for a chicken soup called Tom Kha Gai, which we made vegan with a few easy swaps. Travis loved smelling and savoring the myriad ingredients that we don’t use often, including cilantro and ginger.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 4 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 and 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 (9-ounce) package cooked Gardein chick’n strips
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ginger and curry paste; cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add 1 cup broth and whisk to combine, then add the remaining broth and brown sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk and mushrooms; simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, add the cooked chick’n, along with the cilantro and lime juice.

Tom Kha Gai

Not only did Travis eat up a full bowlful of this, but my toddler ate two!

Mango Sticky Rice

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We loved this recipe from Little Passports’ blog that helped Travis learn more about Thai cuisine and culture as he explored the country in this month’s kit! It was the perfect tropical treat to warm up our kitchen during a winter snowstorm.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups room temperature water, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, divided
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
  1. Combine the rice and 1 cup water in a saucepan; let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water, half of the coconut milk (about 3/4 cup), 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, warm the remaining coconut milk in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar; set aside.
  5. Divide the rice mixture evenly among 4 bowls. Drizzle each with a little of the brown sugar sauce, and top evenly with the chopped mango.

Carved Fruit Swan

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As a fun bonus to compliment his Taste of Thai recipes, Travis learned to make a fruit sculpture today, a popular activity with a rich history in Thailand!

To start, juice one lemon.

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Add the lemon juice to a measuring cup and fill with water to equal 1 cup. This will prevent your apple slices from browning as you work – be sure to dip each slice in the mixture before adding to the “swan”.

Cut an apple into three pieces vertically, so you have two rounded sides and the core.

Make two slits in the core piece to resemble the shape of a swan’s neck, as shown; discard the rest of the core, but save two seeds for the eyes!

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Now cut the round edge from one side piece, so it sits flat.

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Add the swan neck, securing with a toothpick. The toothpicks were Travis’s favorite part, and when our actual sculpting was complete, he loved adding a few more toothpicks just for fun!

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Thinly slice the remaining side piece of apple. Start adding to the base of the swan, using the largest pieces first and ending with the smallest.

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This was not only a great craft, but a fantastic snack as well. There was something about tearing apart a sculpture before eating that greatly appealed to Travis, too – go figure!

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