Thai cuisine is a mixture of sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy flavors all on one plate. It combines both Western and Eastern influences. Because of the many Buddhists living in Thailand, Thai food consisted mainly of vegetables, but some dishes now have fish and meat.
Thai food was usually stewed, baked, or grilled, but with many Chinese people immigrating to Thailand, stir-frying was introduced, which is now the primary cooking method.
You may think that Thai food is spicy, and it can be, but it is not as spicy as it once was. Thai cooks use fewer spices and replace them with herbs such as lemongrass and galangal. Thai food is made for sharing. Usually, many dishes are put on the table and are eaten with fluffy white rice.
Traditionally Thai people ate with their right hand, but now they use a fork and spoon. Chopsticks are rarely used.
Traditional Pad Thai
Pad Thai is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand. It is made with noodles, eggs, and chicken or shrimp, but you can substitute the chicken for other meats, tofu, or Quorn pieces.
Thai cuisine is packed full of delicious spices and herbs. The most notable influence from the West must be the introduction of the chili pepper from the Americas. Chili pepper and rice are now two of the essential ingredients in Thai cuisine.
Tom Yum Goong
Wake up your taste buds to a bowl of Thai hot and sour clear soup Tom Yum Goong. One of my many favorite recipes that I keep coming back to.
Thai classic, the head-clearing broth is very easily made. Pretty much this is a quick turnaround meal that sure pleases everyone.
The key ingredients are fresh meat or seafood, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice. Tonight I’m cooking Tom Yum Goong with chicken and prawn but you can use any other meat or seafood or even just plain vegetables as you wish.
Tom Yum Goong Soup
A Thai classic and very simple soup. Pretty much this is a quick easy dish for home cooking. I use store-bought Tom Yum paste. I am not quite a master of cooking yet so I did not attempt to make everything from scratch.
The other Tom Yum Goong soup ingredients are garlic, red onion, water, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, mixed seafood, fish meat, medium shrimp, calamari rings, oyster mushroom, fish sauce, lime juice, coriander, Thai Tom Yum Paste.
Heat oil in a pot. Add garlic and stir fry until aromatic. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion is light brown. Then add Tom Yum paste and stir fry until fragrant.
Add the water and bring to boil, add tomatoes, lemongrass, mushrooms, lime leaves. Boil for 2 minutes. Add all the seafood to the pot along with the fish sauce and lime juice. Simmer until the seafood is firm and cooked. Garnish tom yum going soup with fresh coriander before serving.
Thai Red Curry Chicken
Thai Red Curry Chicken is one of my favorites to make for a weeknight fuss-free dinner. I particularly enjoy green curry but this time around I decided to be a little bit different and try on making Red Curry instead.
Thai red curry is less spicy compared to green curry, and it is also used to make thot mun pla – Thai fish cake – which is why the cakes are reddish in color. In Thai restaurants, notable red curry dishes would be kaeng phet pet yang – which is a roast duck in red curry.
The traditional chicken goes with Bamboo shoots but I replaced it with aubergine instead.
How to cook Thai red chicken curry
Heat up a saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the oil and place the chicken into the pot. Brown the chicken slightly then turn the heat up. Stir in the curry paste and kaffir lime leaves. Mix well.
Add to the Thai Red Curry Chicken coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce. Let it boil for 3 minutes. Add the pineapple chunks and aubergine slices. Turn the flame down to medium heat. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the aubergine simmer for 3 to 5 minutes till they are soft.
Remove the lid, and check if the aubergine has softened (otherwise, put back the lid and let it sit longer). When it has, add in the red capsicum and stir gently to mix it in.
Place the lid back on and turn the heat down to low. Let the curry simmer for 2 minutes before serving. Serve Thai Red Curry Chicken while it’s hot with jasmine rice.
Pork Chili Fry
The pork chili fry recipe is a simple stir fry recipe. It is also called Thai Chilli Jam aka Nam Prik Pao stir fry pork with eggplant.
Nam Prik Pao is the famous Thai Chilli Paste used in many Thai dishes i.e. tom yum, fried rice, stir fry dishes, dipping sauces, and many others.
The main ingredient of the paste is obviously, dry red chilies and often it is mixed with dried shrimp and shrimp paste. The chili paste is bottled in soybean oil and can be found in many Asian supermarkets these days.
Ingredients for Pork Chilli Fry Recipe are simple: pork fillet, chili jam, fish sauce, eggplant, capsicum, garlic, and other spices.
Thai cuisine is more accurately described as five regional cuisines of Thailand:
Bangkok: cuisine of Bangkok has Teochew and Portuguese influences.
Central Thai: cuisine of the flat and wet central rice-growing plains. Rice and coconut milk are significant ingredients used in Central Thai cuisine.
Isan: cuisine of the arider Khorat Plateau. The best-known component is Pla Ra (fermented fish).
Northern Thai: cuisine of the more incredible valleys and forested mountains. This cuisine shares a lot of ingredients with Isan.
Southern Thai: cuisine of the Kra Isthmus, which is bordered on two sides by tropical seas. Some food-based is on Hainanese and Cantonese influence.
Thai Mango Salad
Thai mango salad can be a great side dish. Very much like Thai papaya salad, both of them share pretty much the same features – sweet, sour, and spicy.
In terms of ingredients, you can pretty much make your own version of mango salad. The standard version is always a mixture of thinly sliced unripe mango with roasted peanuts, dried shrimps, shallots, and chopped bird’s eyes chilies.
Ingredients for Thai mango salad
- 400 g mangoes
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2-3 red bird’s eye chilies
- 3-4 tbsp fish sauce
- 4-5 tbsp lime juice
- 20 g dried shrimps
- 40 g peanuts, toasted
- 3-4 tbsp palm sugar
- a handful of coriander (optional)
For Thai Mango Salad peel the green mango and use a mandoline slicer to slice them then thinly shred them using a sharp knife. Soak the mango in ice-cold water to make it crispy.
Slightly crush the chilies, shallots, dried shrimps, and peanuts in a mortar. Then, put in fish sauce, lime juice, and palm sugar. Mix well. Pour in the above mixture into the sliced mango. Mix well.
Garnish salad with some toasted peanuts and coriander (optional). Serve as a side dish.
Thai Red Curry with Prawns
Thai Red Curry with Prawns on my taste buds reminds me of Tom Yum concoction with creamy Curry. It is sourish, fragrant, and appetizing. The best protein to go with, in my humble opinion is Seafood. Thus this time I made it with prawns, compared to the previous attempt using only Chicken. To add a bit of color and texture I also use snow peas and some fresh Coriander.
This is a very simple curry for a quick weeknight dinner and still very delicious the next day. For this dish take prawns, chicken, Thai Red Curry Paste, coconut milk, snow peas, cilantro, lime juice, oil.
Heat up a saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the oil and place the chicken into the pot. Brown the chicken slightly then turn the heat up. Stir in the curry paste. Mix well. Add the prawns. Notice they start curling up, then add the coconut milk and fish sauce. Let it boil for 3 minutes.
Add the snow peas. Reduce the flame to medium heat. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Add the lime juice. Stir well, then turn off the heat.
Ladle Thai Red Curry with Prawns into a bowl, then garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with jasmine rice.
Tod Mun Pla - Thai Fish Cakes
Tod Mun Pla is a Thai fish cake, one of the many basic Thai dishes aside from other appetizers i.e. Thai Egg Rolls, Mango Salad, Miang Kam, etc.
Tod Mun Pla is commonly found in street food in Thailand and is very flavorful compared to most Western fish cake recipes. It involves very few ingredients and you can get away making it with store-bought curry paste and fish paste. I love it because it can be served as an appetizer, a side dish, at a party, picnic, and on all sorts of occasions.
In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients above to form a smooth fish paste. Make sure the red curry paste is well blended with the rest of the ingredients.
Heat up oil in a wok enough for deep fry. Wet your hands and pick up the fish paste (about the size of a ping pong ball). Flatten and make it into a patty. Drop it into the cooking oil and fry till golden brown. Repeat the same for the rest of the fish paste.
Serve the fish cakes hot with Thai sweet chili dipping sauce. I served my Thai Fish Cake Tod Mun Pla with Thai Pineapple Fried Rice.
ทานให้อร่อยนะ (Bon Appetite!)
It isn’t too tricky to cook outstanding Thai dishes. We hope that you will enjoy cooking traditional Thai recipes.