03 May2010


The amount of time I spend in front of a television has declined dramatically over the past few years. I don’t watch the news that often, and mostly because of the Teen, we really only follow two programs, Amazing Race and sometimes American Idol on a semi-regular basis. When I need down time, I watch the food channels, discovery channel or the financial/business news stations. But every once in a while, I find myself home alone and instead of eating at the dining table by myself, I set myself up with dinner on a tray, and eat in front of the television. This was one such recent meal, for an episode of Amazing Race…


While I pride myself in making many dishes from scratch, I do sometimes take shortcuts. Not quite TV dinners out of the freezer and into the microwave, but some of it instant and out of a package, yes. :) I was feeling like having some Thai style food so this is what I managed to cook up in less than 30 minutes total elapsed time. First, a Tom Yum or spicy prawn soup, made with the help of bottled Tom Yum concentrate, but my broth also augmented with real smashed lemongrass, julienned kaffir lime leaves and freshly harvested galanggal, all from the garden. I also added some chopped tomatoes, canned straw mushrooms and in less than 15 minutes, a pretty decent spicy soup. Close your eyes and ignore the bottle of chili paste/soup base and you have a solid 7/10 Tom Yum at home… A final addition of coriander or wansoy and a squeeze of juicy dayap onto the soup gave it that final hint of sourness and fragrance.


For the main course, I was hoping for a red duck curry, but with no roast duck anywhere nearby, I opted for a more pallid chicken breast or two, put into an instant curry mixture with canned coconut milk, then added coriander, sliced eggplants, seedless grapes, etc. This was a bit bland, but decent enough to silence the craving for thai food. Probably would rate a 6/10 on a normal curry scale. Along with a bowl of rice, this was my version of a somewhat instant TV dinner for one…



  1. chinachix says:

    If this is my TV dinner, I’d hang on to the remote for the night. I’d need another bowl of rice to go with the curry alone…yum!

    May 3, 2010 | 7:19 am


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  3. Betchay says:

    I think that is dinner for two! Yum!

    May 3, 2010 | 7:57 am

  4. GayeN says:

    I’d spend more time in front of the TV if I get to have the same TV dinner. yum!

    May 3, 2010 | 9:05 am

  5. consol says:

    THAT is a TV dinner?! Wow!! I’d vegetate then …

    May 3, 2010 | 9:11 am

  6. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Can I come over and watch TV at your house? ….hehehehe

    May 3, 2010 | 9:22 am

  7. april says:

    i’m not quiet sure if this is my first post ever, but i’ve been a lurker in ur blog almost 2 years now.
    i just missed all these kind of food,i hardly cook at home bcos of my state of being pregnant and on bedrest…but yeah i do spent hours glued on the tele, wishing there’s a table full of that same sort of food…*crave**crave**crave**
    my husband being a curry die-hard would surely love this post.

    May 3, 2010 | 10:43 am

  8. Ehba says:

    If this is my husband’s version of TV dinner wow, I will allow him to serve me everyday. Yeah, my family (including my daughters and grandchildren), eat in front of the TV most of the time. Although I pride myself of cooking homemade dishes, my husband loves to take over once in a while, telling us he can whip up something in 30 mins (beating Rachel Ray). He succeed sometimes, but the kitchen will have to be clean for more than half of the day, haha. Thanks for sharing this meal with us, gave me idea what to do with my canned shrimp broth in my pantry.

    May 3, 2010 | 10:45 am

  9. sili t. says:

    i know you wrote that yours came from your garden, but since i dont know where your garden is, and have not been invited to pilfer there yet, where else can i obtain galangal in the NCR or central/northern luzon? its essential for making thai food from scratch and goes a LONG LONG way to enhancing pre-packaged thai food mixes. obviously there’s lots of lemon grass to be had and i’ve found dried kaffir lime leaves in binondo ngunit walang galangal, fresh, frozen, dried, powered, atbp walang-wala. salamat ng marami.

    May 3, 2010 | 1:36 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    sili t., they sometimes have fresh galanggal at the Saturday Salcedo Market at Gil Carandang’s Herbana Farms Stall or at the Legaspi Sunday Market. I have also seen it as specialty ingredients retailers at Farmers market in Cubao. If you have some place to plant it, try the Manila Seedling Bank in Quezon City during their garden shows, or from the herb place to get a plant. It grows happily in most conditions and yields a supply of fresh galanggal for home use… it looks like a ginger plant. I hope that helps. :)

    May 3, 2010 | 4:34 pm

  11. iya says:

    bakit pa magrerestaurant kung kaya namang i-achieve ito sa bahay? :) ayos! :)

    May 3, 2010 | 4:34 pm

  12. zerho says:

    Nice bowls/plates you got there Sir Marketman.. It made the food look more apettizing.

    May 3, 2010 | 4:44 pm

  13. myra_p says:

    MM, you need to try the curry in a can that I buy at S&R — Green, yellow and red curry in a pop-top can. All you need to do is add the protein or vegetable of your choice. This is my insta-Thai solution when I’m craving. Very convenient and quite yummy for something in a can. I suggest the green curry sauce for boneless chix thighs and some fresh basil leaves.

    May 3, 2010 | 5:35 pm

  14. Mom-Friday says:

    I would still consider this “gourmet” -style TV dinner! Mine would probably be instant noodles with pandesal! :D

    May 3, 2010 | 8:04 pm

  15. Christnia says:

    That tomyum looks more authentic than any I’ve had here. It’s sad that it’s soo hard to get decent Thai food when the ingredients aren’t that outrageous. My galanggal is growing fine…where did you get kaffir lime leaves?

    May 3, 2010 | 8:49 pm

  16. wayne says:

    wow, 30 mins… impressive stuff MM!!!

    May 4, 2010 | 6:02 am

  17. kim says:

    i lovvveee thai food !!! nakakahiya mang sabihin, probably like it more than pinoy food … oops ! i always use mae ploy brand (fish sauce,gata, curry paste etc)… per my thai friend’s advice, that’s the best brand to use to achieve more of an authentic thai food : )

    May 4, 2010 | 6:14 am

  18. tna says:

    If I cooked this stuff then you can be sure it won’t be filed under “TV Dinner”…it will be under “Production Number”! =)

    May 4, 2010 | 3:18 pm

  19. Marketfan says:

    Our family shares your “addiction” to Amazing Race. They’re now down to the final 3 teams for the season. Who are you rooting for, MM? I think we go for the cowboys.
    Will add the tom yum spices to our small herb garden also.

    May 4, 2010 | 5:38 pm

  20. Ric says:

    Now THAT is a tv dinner!

    May 5, 2010 | 12:57 am

  21. lalaine says:

    This is dinner without effort? Oh my. Please invite me over. Your simple meal outruns the best ones I’ve had.

    May 6, 2010 | 1:42 pm

  22. dragon says:

    Sili t: when you find galangal and kaffir leaves, get a good amount of stash as they freeze well….

    May 8, 2010 | 6:53 pm


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