Thai Food Classics. Once visited, Thailand is not a country that is forgotten quickly. The people, temples, beaches and food in particular will imprint themselves on your brain. I don’t know anyone that has been to Thailand and hasn’t liked the food. The gentle heat, mixture of flavours and light way of cooking has Thai food touted as some of the best in the world and we are missing it. Big time!
We were fortunate to be able to spend a month in Thailand in 2015 and during our stay on the island of Phuket we were invited to take part in a Thai cooking class. Below is a sample of what we learned so you can bring the taste of Thailand into your home too. Enjoy!
Where to start? The store cupboard staples of Thai Food.
Chilli – Perhaps the most famous ingredient in Thai cuisine is the small fresh chilli, known as ‘prik kee noo’, literally ‘mouse dropping chilli’. It is most often used to make nahm prik, a spicy condiment or soups like Tom Yum Goong, a popular lemon flavoured hot and sour shrimp soup.
Coconut Milk – Coconut milk is the base of Thai curries. To make the curry sauce the coconut milk is first cooked over a fairly high heat to break down the milk and cream and allow the oil to separate.
Coriander – Coriander has been used in cooking for centuries. The leaves, seeds and even roots can be used, and have independent flavours and uses. Coriander seeds and leaves have a mild lemony flavour. The leaves are also used to garnish and flavour a number of dishes.
Ginger – Ginger produces a hot, fragrant kitchen spice. Young ginger is juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry.
Garlic – Besides being fried for most of the Thai dishes, garlic is also used raw in many dips and salad dressings. It can also be served raw on the side with several Thai dishes.
Ground Pepper – White pepper has a milder, more delicate flavour than black pepper and is useful for adding flavour to light coloured sauces and soups without adding a black colour.
Lemongrass – This aromatic citrus flavoured tropical grass is a must for homemade Thai curry paste and many other popular Thai dishes.
Kaffir Lime Leaves – The kaffir lime leaf is a wonderful aromatic addition to soups like Tom Yum. Also added to Thai stir fry, curry and salads. A staple for Thai cooking.
Red Shallot – The foundation of sour curry pastes is the shallot or small red onion. It can also be sliced thinly to garnish salads.
Thai Food Recipe 1 – Thai Green Curry (Gang Kiew Wan Gai ) Serves 2
Thai Green Curry Paste
- 1tbsp coriander seeds
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- small handful of green chillies
- 3tbsp finely chopped shallot
- 1tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1tsp finely chopped ginger
- 1tbsp finely chopped lemon grass
- 1/2tsp finely chopped lime rind
- 1tsp finely chopped coriander root
- 1tsp salt
- 5ea black peppercorn
Method – Put the garlic in a blender or pound using a pestle and mortar, then add the shallots, coriander roots, chillies, ginger, lemongrass and salt. Finally, add the lime rind, coriander seeds, black peppercorn and the cumin seeds, then whizz or pound until you have a smooth paste.
- 120grm thinly sliced chicken
- 90grm mixed vegetables
- 2 cup coconut cream
- 2tsp green curry paste
- 1tsp vegetable oil
- 1ea kaffir lime leaves
- 2grm sweet basil leaves
- 5grm red chilli
- 80grm round eggplant
- 50grm baby egg plant
- 1tbsp soy sauce
- 1tsp palm sugar
Method – place a wok with the oil in it over a very high heat and then as soon as it becomes really hot, add three-quarters of the coconut cream. Continue to fry the cream, stirring all the time so it doesn’t stick. Add the curry paste and the remainder of the coconut cream, which should be added a little at a time, keeping the heat high and letting it reduce down slightly. Keep stirring to prevent it sticking. Then add the palm sugar, chicken pieces and all remaining ingredients (keep back the lime leaves, basil leaves and red chilli for now). Stir again and simmer everything for about 4-5 minutes until the chicken is heated through. Add the lime leaves, basil leaves and red chilli. Simmer for 2-3 minutes and serve immediately with rice.
Thai Food Recipe 2 – Tom Yum Goong Soup (Serves 2)
- 150grm Large unpeeled prawns
- 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1ea Kaffir lime leaves
- 1tsp lemongrass
- 1tsp ginger
- 20grm mushrooms
- 2ea shallot
- 1tsp chilli paste
- 3tsp fish sauce
- 3tsp lime juice
- 3ea cherry tomato
- 1ea coriander leaves
Method – Clean the prawns. Add the chicken stock to a pot and bring to the boil. Once the stock is boiling, add of the ingredients and season to taste. Once cooked through serve with the coriander leaves on top.
Thai Food Recipe 3 – Phad Thai (Serves 2)
- 50grm rice noodle
- 20grm deep fried tofu
- 20grm sliced shallot
- 20grm dried shrimp
- 50grm peeled prawns
- 10grm bean sprouts
- 10grm Chinese chives
- 2 eggs
- 2tbsp cooking oil
Phad Thai Sauce
- 1 cup Tamarind paste
- 50grm sugar
- 2grm fish sauce
- 2grm bean sprouts
- 2grm Chinese Chives
- 1 lime
Method – clean and peel the shrimps, cut the tofu into 1cm cubes. Heat the wok and heat the oil on medium. Once hot fry the tofu, shallots and dried shrimp for around 1-2 minutes. Add the prawns and stir fry until they are cooked through. Add the eggs and stir quickly, then add the rice noodle, tamarind paste, sugar and fish sauce. Keep stirring for a few minutes. Add the bean sprouts and chives, stir quickly. Serve with a garnish of bean sprouts, chives and a segment of lime on top.
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