How To Prepare Authentic Thai Food With These Key Ingredients – recipes included

How To Prepare Thai Food With These Key Ingredients

Thai cuisine is internationally famous. It is essentially a union of centuries-old Eastern and Western influences harmoniously combined into something uniquely Thai.

A prepared dinner table with a Thai meal placed on it, consists of a spicy or non-spicy soup, a curry dish with condiments, a dip with accompanying fish and vegetables, and there could also be a spiced salad.

Table Set With Traditional Thai Food

Thai food has evolved much like Indian food, meaning the cooks or chefs take great care so there is a harmony of flavors and textures with each individual dish.

One dish must compliment the other dishes positioned at the dinner table.

What is needed in your kitchen to make a great Thai dish?

You need to know the “Key Ingredients.”

Key Ingredients Needed To Prepare Thai Food

When you dicide to make a Thai dish, the following is what you should find in your refrigerator or pantry.

Banana Leaves

Banana leaf-wrapped food, either it be meat, fish or a savory mixture can be grilled, steamed or roasted.

In the cooking process, the leaves add a unique herbaceous flavor to the dish.

Thai Food cooked in a banana leaf

Thai cuisine also used banana leaves as a cooking vessel, folding them into a shape that will hold and cook the food. They are also used as “to-go containers.

Thai foods served in bowls made of banana leaves

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a culinary herb that is produced from the stalk of the lemongrass plant and it has a lemony scent.

It is a primary culinary herb in several Thai dishes.

The flavor of the herb tastes almost like a mix of lemon and lemon mint.

Lemongrass tied laying on grey weather wood

The flavor is light and does not overpower other flavors in a dish.

It also adds a slightly sharp and tangy taste without the bitterness of lemon.

It is commonly used in soups, teas and curries.

If you can’t find lemongrass at your local market or Asian market, you can substitute lemon juice in its place.

But keep in mind that the citrus juice won’t be able to fully take the place of the flavor of lemongrass.

Try these Thai dishes with lemongrass.

Lime Leaves

thai lime leaves

The leaves are a glossy dark green color, and are used to flavor curries, soups, fish cakes and even teas for its fragrant herbal notes.

Thai Basil

Thai basil and holy basil are related to each other and both are used in Thai cuisine.

Thai basil has a subtle sweet anise flavor. Whereas, holy basil has a more spicy flavor.

The flavor of holy basil is more like a combination of black pepper and clove than like the sweeter notes of Thai basil. It tends to get even spicier as it is cooked.

Both can be found at your local Asian markets.

You’ll enjoy this deliciously yummy Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Holy Basil.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years.

fish sauce container at a fish sauce factory

A fish sauce container at a fish sauce factory in Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

The flavor is savory and the color is red-brown. Fish sauce is used as a staple seasoning in Thai cooking.

Try these deliciously plate Thai dishes using fish sauce.

Green Papaya

A green papaya and an orange papaya are actually the same fruit picked at different stages of development.

Immature green papaya has crisp white flesh with very little flavor.

It is prized mostly for its crunch and used primarily as a base for salads, most notably in Thai salads. Green papaya is used in salads much like cucumber or jícama is.

Tamarind Purée

When purchasing the tamarind puree, you can find it in sticky 14 ounce blocks.

In Thai cuisine the puree is used by diluting 1 ounce pureed pulp with 1/3 cup warm water, and then strained.

You can also buy it ready made and jarred with no need of diluting it.

The concentrated tamarind is said to have a sour taste that can be overpowering in Pad Thai.

Thai Chili Peppers

These peppers are small in shape, come in green, red, and orange color, and fiery in taste.

Though as spicy as the chili maybe, it is said the chili gives a subtle fruity flavor when used in Thai cooking.

If Thai chilis are too much for your palate, you can use Serrano peppers instead.

Dried Shrimp

Small little dried shrimp add salty flavor to noodle dishes and salads.

Dried shrimp can keep indefinitely in a cool dark place within an airtight container.

No dried shrimp in this recipe – but there is wild caught fresh shrimp: Shrimp Pad Thai

Having these key ingredients used in authentic Thai cooking in your pantry or refrigerator, will always be at your reach in a moments notice.

If unable to find them at your favorite grocers, try looking for them in an Asian market.

Try these Thai recipes. Their deliciously yummy.


More Deliciously Yummy Recipes

Shrimp Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food and at most restaurants in Thailand.

Street Food Vendor – Thailand

The dish is typically prepared with rice noodles, chicken, beef or tofu, peanuts, a scrambled egg, and bean sprouts, among other vegetables.

The ingredients are sautéed together in a wok, which creates even heat distribution.

Once the dish is completed it is tossed in a pad thai sauce, which gives the dish its signature tangy salty flavor with a hint of sweetness.

The History of Pad Thai

Stir-fried rice noodles were introduced to Thailand from China centuries ago.

The original name of Pad Thai is Gway Teow Pad Thai.

Gway Teow means “rice noodles in Chinese” which suggests that there are some elements of China in the dish.

Rice Noodles

But the present name tells us all about the famous dish. ‘Pad’ means ‘fried’ and ‘Thai’, means Thai style.

It is believed that a similar dish was brought to the Ayutthaya kingdom by Chinese Traders in the 1700s.

The website Expique writes that Pad thai is a relatively recent addition to Thai cuisine, and traces its origins to a period of ultra-nationalism in Thailand in the wake of the 1932 revolution.

Pad thai was listed at number five on a list of “World’s 50 most delicious foods” readers’ poll compiled by CNN TRAVEL in 2017.

Tim Cheung journalist for CCN says of the 2017 poll, “Here’s a food Thai people can’t live without. Similar to Bulgogi, pad thai is packed with nutrients stirred into one glorious fried-noodle dish.

BULGOGI – KOREAN BBQ BEEF – #22 on CNN Travel

Tim says Pad Thai’s secret is in the sauce — tamarind paste. If anyone ever creates a Hall of Food Fame, that should be first on the list.”

Tamarind Paste

Shrimp Pad Thai

10-12 ounces dried flat rice noodles (1/4-inch wide; sometimes called pad Thai or banh pho)

1/2 pound cooked medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, tail on if desired (for looks)

Medium Shrimp

3 tbsp tamarind paste

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tbsp chili sauce (recommended: Sriracha)

4 medium shallots, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

4-5 scallions, green and pale green parts, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup radicchio, chopped (or vegetables of choice, like kale or green and purple cabbage)

1 1/2 cups peanut oil

Lime wedges

In a small bowl add the tamarind paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, and chili sauce, sir until sugar has dissolved, set aside.

Add rice noodles to a large bowl and pour hot water over them, making all noodles are submerged in hot water.

Soak the rice noodles, according to the instructions on your package, until they are tender. Usually 4-5 minutes. When done, drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Next, heat a wok or frying pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil, then swirl to coat side of pan or wok.

Stir-fry scallions, garlic, and shallots until softened, about 1 minute.

Add noodles and stir-fry for about 2 minutes.

Next add crushed peanuts, radicchio, sliced green onions, tamarind sauce and simmer, turning noodles to coat with sauce evenly, about 2 minutes.

Plate noodles and top with cooked shrimp, and chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

Italian Pasta With Pesto Sauce

Italian Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Basil is used in Italian, Mediterranean, and Thai cuisine.

Verities of basil include the Sweet Basil, Lemon Basil, Thai Basil, and Holy Basil. The latter is used in Ayurvedic traditional medicine practices.

Basil is a member of the Lamiaceae family, and included with the plant species is the mint, oregano, catnip, rosemary, and sage.

Italian Pasta With Pesto Sauce

This meal can be prepared in 30 minutes, and here is what you will need, starting with the pesto recipe.

Pesto Sauce

Traditional Pesto Sauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves
½ cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a food processor, except oil, and pulse. Start to add oil slowly, pulsing until ingredients form a smooth paste.

If you do not use right away, or there are left overs, store in a jar container with a layer of olive oil on top to prevent discoloration.

Prepare the spaghetti pasta according to packaged instructions. Just as pasta is done, place a large frying pan on medium heat. Then drain and rinse pasta. Set aside.

Pour about 1/8 cup (1 ounce) of olive oil to the heated pan, let warm and then add the pasta to pan.

Mix to coat the pasta and add pesto sauce, starting with a 1/2 cup and mix to coat the pasta adding more pesto if needed.

Italian Pasta with Pesto Sauce (close-up)


Plate and serve.

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Thai Chicken with Linguine

Thai Chicken with Linguini

This Thai Chicken with Linguine (a Cheesecake Factory copycat) is made with chunks of chicken breast and linguine in a creamy homemade Asian peanut sauce.

This Asian-style noodle dish is so much better than take out and it can be made in less than 20 minutes.

This recipe is absolutely deliciously yummy.

Thai Chicken with Linguine

16 oz. linguini cooked

4 lbs. chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 cups carrots, cut Julianne style

2 cups celery, cut Julianne style

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 tbsp. avocado oil

1 cup peanut sauce (homemade peanut sauce recipe to follow)

1 cup peanuts, chopped, unsalted

 Most Asian recipes call for vegetables cut Julianne style or on the diagonal.

Vegetables cut this way take less time to cook as more surface area is exposed to the heat source.

Vegetables cook faster, leaving them crunchy and most of the nutrition is not cooked out.

Here is an illustration of a very easy way to cut carrots Julianne style.

First wash your carrot. From left to right (image), cut the carrot into 1.5 to 2 inch sections.

Square the carrot, by thinly slicing outer skin of carrot.

Next cut squared carrot into 4 slices. Then cut each slice into match sticks (about 4 slices).

cutting carrot Julianne style

To cut your celery Julianne style is about the same. But there is no need to square the celery or remove the outer skin.

cutting celery Julianne style

Wash celery and then cut into 1.5 to 2 inch sections.

Next face rounded side of celery up and slice down the middle.

With each section, cut into about 4 match sticks.

Most people though do not like to contend with the stringy part of the celery.

Even though the celery is cut Julianne style, you can still have strings, though much smaller.

cutting celery at an angle

Cutting the celery in this way, also exposes more surface to the heat source and cooking the celery fast, and leaving it crunchy.

Thai Chicken with Linguine

Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Cut each chicken breast into ¼ inch chunks.

In a large frying pan; heat oil. Add minced garlic and sauté. Add vegetables and sauté until tender and then add chicken and cook until pink is gone.

Pour about ½ cup of peanut sauce into pan over chicken and vegetable mixture and mix in well. 

Add peanuts mix some more and add the final ½ cup peanut sauce and mix. Remove from pan and put onto a large serving dish.

close-up of Thai Chicken with Linguini

Plate and serve.

Homemade Asian Peanut Sauce

1 13.5 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk, full fat

¼ cup red curry paste

¾ cup natural creamy peanut butter, no sugar added

½ tbsp. salt

¾ cup sugar

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

½ cup water

Mix everything into a medium sauce pan and bring to a soft boil over medium heat.

Whisk while the ingredients are coming to a boil. Do this for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Let rest to cool. Place in a jar with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate, should last about 4 months.

The sauce will thicken, to loosen or make saucy again, place jar into a small pot of boiling water.

Buy your peanut butter fresh ground at your local market. This way there is no peanut or other seed oil used.

 

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Lemongrass Basil Thai Chicken

Lemon Grass Basil Thai Chicken

Have you had lemongrass before? When mixed with other ingredients it can be really tasty.

Lemongrass is associated with Asian cooking especially in Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese cuisine.

Lemongrass is also classified as an herb and is reported to have many health benefits.

The herb has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is very potent in helping to detoxify internal organs, such as the liver, exocrine gland, excretory organs, and the digestive tract.

It also helps to lower the buildup of uric acid (herb can bring relief for those who suffer with Gout), cholesterol, superfluous fats and other toxins in the body while helping with digestion, and improving blood circulation.

It also has been report for use as calming effect in relieving insomnia and stress.

Lemongrass Basil Thai Chicken

4 chicken breast, chopped 1-inch squares

16 oz. bag Mediterranean vegetable blend

¾ cup Desiccated Coconut

1 green chili, serrano, without seeds

2 garlic cloves

½ cup extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

½ tsp. Himalayan salt

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. dried basil or 5 fresh Thai basil leaves

½ tube of Garden gourmet Lemon Grass or 3 fresh chopped stalks lemon grass, white parts only

1 tsp. arrowroot starch

close-up of Lemon Grass Basil Thai ChickenIf you can’t find fresh Thai basil, the common sweet basil will work.

Lemongrass can be hard to find fresh, so the tube of Garden Gourmet Lemon Grass will work just as well.

In a food processor, add coconut, chili, garlic, oil, salt, juice, basil, lemongrass, and process until a paste is formed, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add either 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or avocado oil and heat.

Add chopped chicken breast and cook until outside of meat is white or oblique. Add vegetable blend and stir in.

Next add lemongrass mixture and stir in. Add 1 tsp. arrowroot starch to ¼ cup of cold water and mix till arrowroot is dissolved, add to meat mixture, mixing in till well incorporated.

Side of Wild Rice with Rosemary, Parsley and ThymeContinue to stir ingredients till mixture starts to boil and thicken some.

Turn heat down to simmer for 10 minutes more or until chicken is cooked through.

You can serve over cooked rice.

We served our Lemongrass Basil Thai Chicken with a side of Wild Rice with Rosemary, Parsley and Thyme.

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Amazing Ways Food Is Used In Thai Recipes

Amazing Ways Food is used in Thai RecipesThai cuisine uses ingredients that are commonly known in the Western world.

Knowing how Thai recipes prepare these foods can give us more of an appreciation for Thai cuisine.

Bamboo Shoots

The use of Bamboo Shoots in many Thai recipes requires them to be peeled to get to the white inner stalks and then boil them for 30 canned bamboo shootsminutes in water. If using canned bamboo shoots they only need to be boiled for 10 minutes. There is no need for boiling them if they are part or if they are part of a soup or curry dish.

Basil

There are three varieties of basil used in Thai recipes. They are Sweet, Holy, and Lemon Basil.

If you use basil in your cooking, it is most likely sweet basil as that is the most commonly sold in the local markets.

Basil typesHoly basil has a spicier flavor and has slightly purple leaves.

Lemon basil as you might have guessed, has a lemony flavor and also has a distinct lemony scent.

If you can’t find Lemon basil at your local market, you can use sweet basil and add some lemon rind.

Bergamot

Bergamot is a small tree with long, oval green leaves and white flowers. The small tree originates in Asia but can be found in Italy, Morocco and the Ivory Coast.

The tree bears small round fruit that is yellow when ripe. The preparation of some Thai dishes use the rind or zest of the fruit.

It is hard to find this small fruit in local U.S. markets (possibly in an Asian market). Therefore, grated lime zest can be used, though it can be a poor substitute.

Chili Paste

Lots of Thai recipes use Chili paste, which is used for adding spice and flavor to the dish.

A popular version by Thai cooks is burnt mild chili paste. You can buy the chili paste in bottles or tubes at almost any market in the Asian food section.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk can be bought in cans almost anywhere. If the recipe calls for coconut cream scoop, that would be the harder white substance that has formed at the top of the can.

If it is coconut milk that the recipe calls for, than just stir the can thoroughly before using.

Curry Paste

While some people prefer to prepare their own curry pastes, many bottled curries are available at the supermarket. Most recipes use red, green or yellow curry.

Fish sauce

Fish sauce is made from collecting the liquid off of fermenting salted fish, this pale, watery brown sauce is sometimes used to replace all the salt in recipes.

It is very flavorful and compliments all Thai food. Fish sauce is a very versatile sauce.

Galangal

Galangal is used in many curries and soups. It is similar to ginger. Galangal is hard to find fresh, but can be purchased dried. You will need soaked dried galangal in water for 1 hour before using.

Garlic

Thai garlic is a must when preparing a dish. Thai garlic should be available in Asian markets, but if not then the common garlic we see can also be used.

When using Thai garlic the smaller, tighter cloves are the best to use because they are more flavorful and will not be over powered by other herbs and spices used in the dish.

Ginger

Ginger is used quite often. in modern cooking is easy to find, and ginger is extremely healthy and flavorful.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is one of the most commonly used ingredients in Thai cooking. It looks much like a small leek. The hard outer portion is removed, and the lower bulbous part is used.

The lemongrass is sliced into pieces and added to the food while cooking, and then removed before serving the dish, or it can be blended in a food processor before adding to the cooking process and then consumed with the dish giving it more flavor.

Palm Sugar

Palm sugar is used in some Thai recipes. If not available, dark brown sugar or real maple syrup can be used.

Rice

Rice is a main staple for the Thai people and they prefer long-grain white Jasmine rice which is flavorful and aromatic rice that cools and compliments spicy Thai dishes.

Rice paper is used to make fresh Thai spring rolls, which are prepared with vegetables and meat if desired.

Sesame oil is the preferred oil to use in Thai cuisine. It’s a very flavorful oil and works well with Thai cooking.

Preparation and Cooking Techniques

The vegetables used in Thai cooking should be cut as finely as possible.

The idea behind the thin cut vegetable is that the smaller they are chopped, the less time they will need to be cooked, which retains most of the nutrients as possible.

Most of us have cooked a stir-fry before. This method requires a wok and oil. The vegetables cook fast when the oil and wok are hot and stirred constantly.

The vegetables should only be stir-fried for a couple of seconds so they remain crisp and brightly colored.

stone mortar usewd in Thai cookingMortar and Pestles are used in making sauces, and curry pastes.

Anyone who loves Thai food and is animate about cooking it needs a mortar and pestle in their kitchen.

The mortar should be preferably made out of clay or wood.

 

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