Queen Of Siam Orzo Stew

July  8, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4 as a side dish
Author Notes

Queen of Siam is a variety of Thai Basil but any Thai basil will do. I think of this as street food in a way or comfort food, maybe Thai Spaghettios. A cup of this with Thai Fried Chicken or Satay would set you straight. You can also add just about any vegetables you want, most notably eggplant. Don't forgo the toasting of the orzo it would make it a different dish altogether. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, julienned
  • 4 stalks of lemongrass, 4 inches long and tied in a not
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons red curry paste, add more if you want it hotter
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup Thai basil, larger leaves torn in half
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup green onion, sliced thin
  • limes as needed
  1. Place a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the oil and when it begins to shimmer add the shallots.
  2. Once they start to color add the orzo and cook it till it starts to become brown and toast. Add the garlic, curry paste and lemongrass. Stir a few times until fragrant and then add the fish sauce and the stock.
  3. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and add the coconut milk and cook it until the pasta is tender. If you need more liquid add it. The dish should not be dry but it shouldn't be to soupy either so adjust accordingly. Remove the lemongrass stalks.
  4. Add half the green onions, tomatoes and basil. Stir and cook until the basil is wilted, about a minute. Serve immediately with limes for squeezing over the top and green onions for garnish.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrancesRen
  • gingerroot
  • thirschfeld
  • MyCommunalTable
  • aargersi

18 Reviews

fitsxarts March 30, 2011
this is great. holy basil is impossible to find where i live so i subbed a combo of tarragon (who knew?) and cilantro and it's delish!
FrancesRen February 22, 2011
Awesome dish.
thirschfeld February 26, 2011
Thank you and I can't wait to try your winner it looks delicious
gingerroot July 12, 2010
Yum! I'm saving this...
MyCommunalTable: Have you ever tried Bragg Liquid Aminos to replace fish sauce? I've used it as a fish sauce substitute when cooking for vegetarian friends and have had good results.
MyCommunalTable July 12, 2010
Yeah, thanks for the tip. I have seen this in store, but didn't even know what it was for. I will try it out. It is a relief to know there is a safe alternative. I will let you know how it turns out. What else to you use it for?
gingerroot July 13, 2010
Actually, I first used it as a soy sauce substitute (before I discovered wheat free tamari) when my husband was diagnosed with Celiac.
thirschfeld July 13, 2010
I have used Braggs before in other recipes. I find it extremely salty, which isn't a problem if you are using it to season a dish at the table, just a sprinkle. What I find is if you cook with it and it reduces it overpowers everything. MCT I think I would just use a little soy, and add some extra lime juice or if you have Kaffir lime leaves give them a try. Just a note look at your red curry paste ingredients list because it often contains fish sauce.
thirschfeld July 13, 2010
Oh and I would just stick to your anchovt paste idea
gingerroot July 13, 2010
MCT, thirschfeld is right, Braggs is salty...but at least you have another safe alternative for your son to experiment with...if not in this application than perhaps another.
MyCommunalTable July 13, 2010
I think that I will make this and divid it in half and use both products. (Braggs and anchovie paste) and I will see what I like better. I have some anchovie paste, but now I am curious about Braggs. I will let you all know.
thirschfeld July 8, 2010
MyCommunalTable July 8, 2010
Wow, this sounds great and easy. My favorite ingredient in thai cooking is the lemongrass and basil combo. My son is allergic to shell fish, so I can not use fishsauce. Any suggestions? It seems like a needed flavor component. Now he can have fish, not shellfish.
MyCommunalTable July 8, 2010
maybe a little anchovy paste... have not cooked with this much.
thirschfeld July 8, 2010
I use Squid brand fish sauce which is anchovies, salt and sugar a lot of people use three crabs but I think it has high fructose corn syrup in it
MyCommunalTable July 8, 2010
Good to have the brand names. The one that I have at home is written in Vietamese, so I could not tell what the ingredients were. I have a great Thai and Vietamese shopping area here in Chicago, but sometimes communication is a little difficult. I never let my son eat there, because it is just not worth the risk. Making my own is the only way I can have it. So what do you think of light coconut milk? I have made coconut rice with it and enjoyed it, but have not really cooked with the light.
thirschfeld July 8, 2010
I am not sure they don't just dilute the lite with water. I have heard good things about it bit I have not used it. I usually only add about half of what a recipe calls for anyway.
JohnL March 5, 2014
These days, canned coconut milk is so deceptively rich that I was surprised to learn (Charmaine Solomon?) that lots of curry dishes (Thai etc.) that call for a can of straight coconut milk can be made with coconut milk mixed 50/50 with water and turn out just fine. They are still creamy and rich tasting.
aargersi July 8, 2010
Spaghetti-Os fit for a Queen! I just love this type of flavor combo.