The bright, refreshing flavors of Thai cuisine make an ideal spread for an early summer dinner party. Start with a frothy coconut cocktail made with Thai basil and lemongrass, then set out a selection of plates to be served family-style: two types of grilled skewers, coconut-milk-marinated chicken steamed in pandan leaves, a tangy green mango salad, and a cucumber relish with the perfect balance of spicy chiles and cooling cilantro. End the meal with a southeast Asian spin on a summer classic: the ice cream sandwich.
- Pod Thai Cocktail
- Gai Hor Bai Toey (Thai Pandan-Wrapped Chicken)
- Muu Satay (Thai Pork Satay)
- Gai Yahng (Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chile Sauce)
- Ajad (Thai Cucumber Relish)
- Som Tum Mamuang (Thai Green Mango Salad)
- Pok Pok (Thai-Style Ice Cream Sandwich)
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- Pandan -- a type of perennial grass -- is popular as a seasoning in Southeast Asian cooking; its perfume is at once flowery and nutty. You can buy it in frozen or fresh form at Asian markets in the U.S., or use the sources listed here.
- Make the ice cream for the dessert and the syrup for the cocktail on a weekend; the ice cream will keep in the freezer and the syrup will keep, refrigerated, for about two weeks.
- Start the chicken skewers marinating the night before, and make the marinade for the pork satay and the pandan-wrapped chicken the morning of the dinner -- they both need at least four hours to rest.
- You can find the ingredients for these dishes in most Asian markets -- if you can't find them locally, they can be ordered from online retailers like Asian Food Grocer.