Thailand Food and Recipes The main food in Thailand is rice. Everyone has eaten it since they were born. But we can't really eat rice alone so we have to have something to go with it. There are many dishes of food to go with rice. Most of them are hot and spicy and that is what Thai food is famous for. Thai people are used to eating rice with their meal. Most Thai people can't have sandwiches for their meal. They call sandwiches a snack. Also, most Thai people do not sit down to eat a proper meal because they usually eat when they are hungry, especially kids and teenagers. If you know some Thai person, you might hear them say "gin khao yung" every time you meet them. It means "have you eaten yet?" or more precise "have you eaten rice yet?". If you come to Thailand and stay with a Thai family then be careful you don't put on too much weight! All of the visitors that have come to stay at our country always go home weighing more! THAI HERBS CHILLI "Phrik" in Thai Chilli is an erect, branched, shrub-like herb with fruits used as garnishing and flavouring in Thai dishes. There are many different species. All contain capsaicin, a biolgically active ingredient beneficial to the respiratory system, blood pressure and heart. Other therapeutic uses include being a stomachic, carminative and antiflatulence agent, and digestant. CUMIN "Yi - ra" in Thai Cumin is a small shrubbery herb, the fruit of which contains 2 to 4% volatile oil with a pungent odour, and which is used as a flavouring and condimint. Cumin's therapeutic properties manifest as a stomachic, bitter tonic, carminative, stimulant and astringent. GARLIC "Kra - thiam" in Thai Garlic is an annual herbaceous plant with underground bulbs comprising several cloves. Dried mature bulbs are used as a flavouring and condiment in Thai cuisine. The bulbs contain 0.1 to 0.36%garlic oil and organic sulfur compounds. Therapeutic uses are as antimicrobial, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, antiflatulence and cholesterol lowering agents. GINGER "Khing" in Thai Ginger is an erect plant with thickened, fleshy and aromatic rhizomes. Used in different forms as a food, flavouring and spice, Ginger rhisomes contain 1 to 2% volatile oil. Ginger's therapeutic uses are as a carminative, antinauseant and antiflatulence agent. GREATER GALANGA (False Glangal , Galangal) "Kha" in Thai Greater Galanga is an erect annual plant with aromatic, ginger-like rhizomes, and commonly used in Thai cooking as a flavouring. The approximately 0.04 volatile oil content has therapeutic uses as carminative, stomachic, antirheumatic and antimicrobial agents. HOARY BASIL "Maeng-lak" in Thai Hoary Basil is an annual herbaceous plant with slightly hairy and pale green leaves, eaten either raw or used as a flavouring, and containing approximately 0.7% volatile oil. Therapeutic benefits include the alleviation of cough symptoms, and as diaphoretic and carminative agents. KAFFIR LIME (Leech Lime, Mauritus Papeda, Porcupine Orange) "Ma-krut" in Thai The leaves, peel and juice of the Kaffir Lime are used as a flavouring in Thai cuisine. The leaves and peel contain volatile oil. The major therapeutic benefit of the juice is as an appetiser. "KRA-CHAI"IN THAI (No Common English Name) This erect annual plant with aromatic rhizomes and yellow-brown roots, is used as a flavouring. The rhizomes contain approximately 0.8% volatile oil. The plant has stomachache relieving and antimicrobial properties, and therapeutic benefits as an antitussive and antiflatulence agent. LEMON GRASS (Lapine) "Ta-khrai" in Thai This erect annual plant resembles a coarse grey-green grass. Fresh leaves and grass are used as a flavouring. Lemongrass contains 0.2-0.4 volatile oil. Therapeutic properties are as a diuretic, emmanagogue, antiflatulence, antiflu and antimicrobial agent. LIME (Common Lime) "Ma-nao" in Thai Lime is used principally as a garnish for fish and meat dishes. The fruit contains Hesperidin and Naringin, scientifically proven antiinflammatory flavonoids. Lime juice is used as an appetiser, and has antitussive, antiflu, stomachic and antiscorbutic properties. MARSH MINT "Sa-ra-nae" in Thai The fresh leaves of this herbaceous plant are used as a flavouring and eaten raw in Thai cuisine. Volatile oil contents give the plant several therapeutic uses, including carminative, mild antiseptic, local anaesthetic, diaphoretic and digestant properties. PEPPER "Phrik-Thai" in Thai Peper is a branching, perennial climbing plant from whose fruiting spikes both white and black pepper are obtained. Used as a spice and condiment, Pepper contains 2 to4% volatile oil. Therapeutic uses are as carminative, antipyretic, diaphoretic and diuretic agents. SACRED BASIL(Holy Basil) "Ka-phrao" in thai Sacred Basil is an annual herbaceous plant thai resembles Sweet Basil but has narrower and oftentimes reddish-purple leaves. The fresh leaves, which are used as a flavouring, contain approximately 0.5% volatile oil, which exhibus antimicrobial activity, specifically as a carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant and stomachic. SHALLOT "Hom, Hom-lek, Hom-daeng" in Thai Shallots, or small red onions, are annual herbaceous plants. Underground bulbs comprise garlic-like cloves. Shallot bulbs contain volatile oil, and are used as flavouring or seasoning agents. Therapeutic properties include the alleviation of stomach discomfort, and as antithelmintic, antidiarroheal, expectorant, antitussive, diuretic and antiflu agents. TURMERIC(Curcuma, Indian Saffron, Yellow Root) "Kha-min" in Thai Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, and provides yellow colouring for Thai food. The rhizomes contain 3 to 4% volatile oil with unique aromatic characteristics. Turmeric's therapeutic properties manifest as a carminative, antiflatulence and stomachic. Snacks and Starters Thais love to eat and not just at meal times. Hence snacks and starters are often eaten between meals, at teatime, or at drinking parties as well as at the start of a meal.The variety of snacks in Thai cuisine reflects the abundance of raw ingredients and the imaginative use of indigenous herbs and spices. ๐ Spicy Thai Fish Cakes and Cucumber Salad (Thot Man Pla and Achat) ๐ Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce. (Satay Kai and Nam Jim Satay) ๐ Fried Spring Rolls (Po Pia Thot) ๐ Spicy Salmon Salad, Thai Style (Lap Salmon) ๐ Marinade for Grilled Skewered Pork (Mu Ping) / Grilled Chicken Breast Thai Style (Kai Yang) Soups and Salads The lack of starch in Thai soups is a unique facet of Thai cuisine. By combining Thai herbs such as galangal, kaffir lime and lemon grass with clear broth, Thai soups are refreshing, while the herbs soothe the stomach. Salad dressings (nam yum) differ from those in the West in that they are not oily and contain no fats of any kind. This makes them light and delicious, however once tossed they should be eaten immediately. ๐ Thai Prawn Salad (Phla Kung) ๐ Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Kai) ๐ Hot and Sour Soup with Prawns (Tom Yum Kung) ๐ Carrot or Papaya Salad (Som Tam) Main Courses Thai foods are unique because of the combination of ingredients. Curries tend to be quite light as the curry paste is made from fresh ingredients, while the richness is derived primarily from coconut milk. The use of herbs and spices, plus the simplicity of the cooking process, makes Thai food refreshing, while the imaginative mix of ingredients enhances the taste. ๐ Green Beef Curry with Thai Noodles (Kaeng Khiao Wan Nuea - Khanom Chin) ๐ Stirfried Chicken with Thai Basil and Chili Peppers (Kai Phat Bai Kraphrau) ๐ Red Chicken Curry with Bamboo Shoots (Kaeng Phet Kai Sai Normai) ๐ Salmon Chu Chee Curry (Kaeng Chu Chee Pla Salmon) ๐ Sweet and Sour Prawns (Priao Wan Kung) ๐ Prawn Curry with Pineapple (Kaeng Khua Sapparot) ๐ Stirfried Chicken with Ginger (Kai Phat Khing) ๐ Mussaman Curry with Chicken (Kaeng Massaman Kai) ๐ Salmon Souffle in Banana Leaf Cup (Ho Mok Pla Salmon) ๐ Stirfried Mixed Vegetables with Prawns or Chicken (Phat Phak Ruammit Kung or Kai) ๐ Minced Pork Omelet (Khai Chiao Mu Sap) ๐ Breaded Fried Fish with Spicy Dipping Sauce (Pla Chup Paeng Thot) ๐ Stuffed Crab Shells (Pu Cha) ๐ Egg Fried Rice (Khao Phat Khai) ๐ Phat Thai (Phat Thai) ๐ Garlic Fried Rice (Khao Phat Kratiem) ๐ Stirfried Noodles, Drunken Style-Chicken,Beef,Pork (Kuai-Tiao Phat Khi Mao) Desserts Thai desserts use flour, rice, coconut sugar and coconut milk. Thailand is famous for the variety of its fruits from durians to rambutans, so it is logical that fruits are alsocombined with flour to make delicious desserts. ๐ Sweet Sticky Rice with Coconut Cream and Black Beans (Khao Niao Tat) ๐ Tamarind Sherbet (Sherbet Makham) ๐ Coconut Cake (Khanom Ba-Bin) ๐ Banana Pudding (Khanom Kluai) Meals in Thailand In Thailand, we have 3 meals same as other countries. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are the main meals but Thai people like to have snacks between meals. A lot of snacks. We eat our meals with a spoon and fork or sometimes with chopsticks if we have noodles. All food is cut up when it is cooked so we don't need to use a knife! BREAKFAST: Joke is rice porridge with pork. Kai Jee-o is omelette. Khao Mun Khai is chicken and rice. LUNCH: Ba-me is egg noodle soup with pork and vegetables. Pad Pak is fried vegetables. Pad Bai Kha Praew is spicy basil with chicken (pork, shrimp, etc.) Kaeng Khee-o Whan is green curry with beef. Tomyam Kung is spicy lemongrass soup with shrimp. DINNER: Pad Nhor Mai is Chicken (pork) with bamboo shoots. Som-Tam is Papaya spicy salad. Pla-muk neung ma-nao is steamed squid with lemon and chili. Pad Mama is fried noodle with beef and vegetables. About Thai Food: Thai food is widely known for being hot and spicy since almost all Thai food is cooked with basic ingredients such as garlic, chillies, limejuice, lemon grass and fresh coriander leaf and fermented fish sauce (nam pia) or shrimp paste (kapi) to make it salty. Since rice is the staple food in Thailand, it is usually eaten at every meal with soups, curries, fried vegetables and nam phrik. Nam phrik is a hot sauce, prepared in a variety of ways and differs from region t oregion: nam phrik pla pon is a ground dried fish and chilli sauce, nam phrik pla raa is a fermented fish and chilli sauce, nam phrik kapi is a shrimp paste and chilli sauce, nam phrik oong is a minced pork, tomato and chilli sauce. In general, the basic ingredients of nam phrik include shrimp paste, garlic, chilli, fermented fish sauce and iemon juice. Other common seasoning in Thai food include galingale (khaa), blackpapper, ground peanut, tamarind juice, ginger and coconut milk. As a result, it takes hours to prepare a proper Thai meal in the traditional way as it involves so much peeling and chopping and pounding so it needs time to prepare in advance. In fact, Thai food varies from region to region, for example, glutinous or sticky rice is more popular in the North and Northeast than steamed rice. Moreover, in some rural areas, certain insects are also eaten e.g. crickets, silk worm larvae, red ant larvae. At the same time, Thai desserts are often made from sticky rice or coconut milk, flour, egg and coconut sugar while a variety of fruit is available all the year round. Meanwhile, the basic characteristic taste of Thai food in different parts of the country can be described in different ways: in the central region, food is hot, salty, sweet and sour. Rice is served with different types of nam phrik and soups e.g. tom yam kung (prawn soup with lemon grass. Dishes usually contain a lot of condiments and spices. In the North, food is mild or hot, salty and sour, but never sweet. Sticky rice is served with boiled vegetables, nam phrik oong and soups or curries. The North is also well-known for its sausage called "naem" which consists of fermented minced pork. It has a sour flavour and is sold wrapped in cellophane and banana leaf. Food in the Northeast is hot, salty and sour. Their favourite foods include papaya salad (som tam), sour chopped meat salad "koi", sour minced meat salad (lard) . People use a lot of condiments but not many spices. Their meals generally consists of sticky rice and nam phrik pla raa accompanid by a lot of vegetableas including those found growing wild. On the other hand, food in the South is renowned for being very hot, salty and sour-tasting. Curries are popular and made with a lot of spices and condiments. Khao yam (a mixture of rice) raw vegetables and fermented fish sauce or boo doo is also a common dish. Generally southern people eat little meat and other varieties of nam phrik are not so popular, the most common one is nam phrik kapi. Though the major portion of Thai food is described as being spiced and chilli hot, it currently enjoys worldwide popularity especially the exotic Tom Yam Kung, a uniquely piquant prawn soup that is renowned for it simplicity, creativity, artistic flair and delicious taste. Above all, the tastes of Thai cuisines can be amended to suit individual desire, for example, by reducing the amount of chillies in certain dishes to lower the heat or increasing amount of lime juice to increase sourness. Visitors who have tried the exotic Thai food will never forget to order them again whenever their favourite dishes are available. Sauces and Dips Foreigners who have just come to Thailand are often baffled by the array of small bowls, each containing different colored sauces, laid out for a typical Thai meal. At a typical Thai dinner, there are many sauces and dips on the table, sometimes they are more than the main dishes. Thais like tasty food and believe in satisfying everybody individual taste. So although the main dishes are already prepared to the cook's satisfaction, each person is still allowed leeway to season some more with a good range of sauces and dips. Sauces Each sauce and dip is a delicate blend of the four main flavours with usually one of the tastes predominating. Here are the sauces and dips you will be likely to encounter and their contents: Fish Sauce: A staple in any Thai house, this brownish liquid is made of salt and fish essence. Though it has quite strong smell, no Thai dish tastes quite right without it. Nam Pla Phrik: Fish sauce with thinly sliced phrik khi nu and a squeeze of lime (may add sliced garlic). This sauce complements fried fish and fried rice dishes, but it is used universally as a more sophisticated substitute for plain fish sauce. Pickled Chilli in Vinegar: Fresh green and red chilli (phrik chi fa) are sliced and pickled in clear vinegar. This is used to give noodles and congee a sharp tangy taste. Crushed Chilli in Vinegar: Fresh chilli coarsely pounded with vinegar added. This sauce is also used with noodle dishes. Nam Phrik Siracha: This is a thick, orange chilli sauce made from red chilli, vinegar and sugar. It can be bought in Bottles at the markets. It is used as a sauce and a dip for seafood. Information from: "Thai Studies Through Games" Book 2 by Assist. Prof. Wadee Kheourai. At a noodle shop, you may see this common scene. At each table there is a set of four containers which Thais call Khrueng Phuang or ring of spices. After being served their hot bowl of noodles, nine out of ten Thais will automatically reach out for these condiments, spoon in some fish sauce, a bit or small spoon of sugar or chili powder and toss in a small spoon of pickled chilies in vinegar all this before having had their first taste. Then, after taking a few more mouthfuls, some may continue to season a few more times during the course of the meal. And as any Thai will confirm, it is the last few 2. Vinegar with 1. Dry chilli powder mouthfuls that are indeed the most chilli pieces delicious. Then it's time to order another bowl and start the seasoning process all 3. Vinegar with chilli 4. Sugar powder over again. The ring of condiments which contains fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and chili powder, mirrors the four tastes that form the basis of all Thai sauces and dips. The salty flavour comes through with the use of fish sauce or soy sauce. The sour taste comes from vinegar, lime or tamarind juice. The sweetness comes from sugar. And the spicy hot comes from chilli peppers, garlic and ginger root. Thailand has a wide variety of chilli peppers. Most commonly used are the tiny but fiery phrik khi nu, the equally potent larger phrik lueng (yellow chili) and the larger red and green varieties called phrik chi fa, which are a little milder. Sauces and dips are an essential part of Thai cuisine as they add even more flavour to the meal. The amount to be used is determined by each individual according to his own personal preferences. Sauces and dips come in many colours and textures. Some sauces are murky, some are clear. Some are a mixture of ingredients that have been finely chopped or coarsely crushed, while others have been pounded to a uniform colour and an even, thick consistency. Dips Nam Jim Kai: This is a multi - purpose dip which is predominantly sweet in taste. Sugar forms the base, but fish sauce, garlic and red chilli round out the flavour. It complements barbecued chicken, skewered pork, grilled cuttlefish, fried wanton, spring rolls or batter fried shrimp. There are other variations to this sweet dip. If cucumber slices, crushed peanuts and a bit of vinegar are added, the dip is used with fried bean curd and fried fish cakes. Ajaat: This is a light dip. The main ingredients are crunchy cucumber slices, thinly sliced red chillis and onions in a syrup of sugar, salt and vinegar. Ajaat is eaten with some kinds of curries to cool down the pungent richness, and always accompanies Thai satay. Satay Sauce: This satay is very similar to the original Indonesian dip. It has the same peanut base but the Thai version is less viscous and has more "bite" to it. The main ingredients are peanuts, coconut milk, chilli and curry base pounded to an even consistency and seasoned with sugar and salt. Nam Phrik: All Thais love Nam phrik or chilli dip. With variations, it is eaten in every area and every house as it is the tastiest and least expensive accompaniment to a Thai rice meal. Nam phrik pla thu or chilli dip with Thai mackerel is popular throughout the country but especially in the central Thailand. Any Thai back from a long trip abroad is likely to request this favourite on the first day he is home. Newcomers to Thailand may take a while to get used to the taste and smell. Recipes vary according to regional preferences and the specific type of nam phrik dip to be made, but the basic ingredients are garlic, chilli, shrimp paste or shrimp power, seasoned with fish sauce, lime and palm sugar. All these are pounded together into a lumpy paste. For other variations of nam phrik, the chilli, shrimp paste, onions or shallots and garlic are lightly grilled. Nam phrik is eaten with fresh or boiled vegetables. Phrik Kap Klua: A common sight in Thailand is the roadside fruit vendor, since Thais often starve off the effects of heat and thirst with fresh fruit snacks. Along with his raw and pickled, mangoes, ripe pineapple, fresh guava, etc. the fruit vendor always has an ample supply of phrik kap klua. It is made from a mixture of sugar, salt and crushed chilli. Regional Food: Central The Thai in the central plain prefer food with smooth and lasting taste with a touch of sweetness. The way the food is served is an art in itself. The dinning table is often decorated with carved vegetable and fruit. Cuisine of the central plain sometimes combines the best of the foods from various regions. Rice is strictly the staple food for every family in the central region. There are on the average three to five dishes to go with rice. Typical are soup, gang som (chili vegetable soup), gang phed (Thai red curry), tom yam (spiced soup) and so on. Chili fried meat dishes are for instances, pad phed, panaeng, masaman, fried ginger and green pepper, Thai salads or yam are yam tua pu, salad with sliced roasted beef. Dishes that regular feature fin a Thai meal of the central region are vegetable, namprik (chili sauce), platoo (local herring), and perhaps omelette (Thai style), fried beef of roasted pork. On the whole Thai meal should meet protein and vitamin requirements with plenty to spare. Traditional Methods of Serving Thai Food of the Central Region The central plain of Thailand has always been known for its progress and advance in all areas of human activity, be it intellectual, technological or cultural. The Thai in the central region have adopted spoon and fork and a common ditching spoon as the standard cutlery set for Thai meals. For affluent families, napkins simply folded or folded into various geometrical shapes are also to be seen depending also on individual family's tradition and taste. Dishes, boiled rice and drinking water are laid on the dinning table and for the family which can afford the service of a maid, will be replenished by a waiting maid as the meal progresses. Less well to do families may do without shared spoons together, and family members take food from the dish by their own spoons. Northern Thai food of the north, in some way, is cooked with the sole thought for the taste for the northern people. The recipe consists of vegetable and ingredients available in their immediate vicinity. The common meal includes steamed glutinous rice, chili sauces which come in a host of varieties, such as "namprik noom", "namprik dang", "namprik ong" and chili soups (gang) such as gang hangle, gang hoh, gang kae. In addition there are also, local sausages such as sai ua, and nham; steamed meat, roasted pork, pork resin, fried pork, fried chicken and vegetable to go with them. The northern people have penchant for medium cooked food with a touch of salty tastes almost to the exclusion of sweet and sour tastes. Meat preferred by the northern people is pork followed by beef, chicken, duck, bird etc. Sea food is the least known on account of the remoteness of the northern region from the sea. Thai food of the north does not lack in varieties. These are dishes to be consumed at different times of the day. The northern breakfast known in the local dialect as khao gnai consisting mainly of steamed glutinous rice. Cooked in the early hours of the day, steamed glutinous rice is packed in a wicker basket made from bamboo splints or palmyra palm leaves. The farmer takes the packed basket to the working rice field and eat the glutinous rice as lunch, known in the dialect as "khao ton". Dinner or "khoa lang" is an familiar affair is served on raised wooden tray or "kan toke". The tray which is about 15 to 30 inches in diameter is painted in red. Traditional Method of Serving Northern Food The northern people are known to follow their traditions in a very strict and faithful manner, in particular the tradition of serving and partaking of the evening meal. Food is placed in small cups placed on "kantoke" which could be an inlaid wooden or brass tray depending on the economic status of the house owner. Served together with "kantoke" is steamed glutinous rice that is the staple food of the northerner packed in a wicker basket. There is also a kendi containing drinking water nearby. Water is poured from the kendi to a silver drinking cup from which water is drunk. After the main course come desserts and local cigars to conclude the evening meal. Southern Thai food of the south tends to be exceedingly chili hot compared with Thai food from other regions of Thailand. Specially favored dishes of the south are a whole variety of gang (spiced soup or curry) for examples, gang liang, gang tai pla, and budu sauce. Boiled rice mixed in budu sauce known as khao yam is a delicatessen of the southern people. Salty is taste, khao yam is taken with an assortment of vegetable. Considered special ties of the south are sataw, med riang and look niang. Sataw is a green pod when stripped reveals green berries. Strawberries sometimes chopped into thin slices are cooked with meat and chili or simply added to any gang or maybe boiled with other vegetable in coconut milk, or taken raw with chili sauce. The berries can be preserved by pickling and eaten without further cooking. Med riang is very much like a bean sprout but much larger in size and dark green in color. It is ready for eating after the outer skin is removed. It can be cooked with vegetable and meat or pickled for eating with gang, chili sauce or lon (ground meat or fish in chili sauce). Look niang is a round berry in a hard and dark green skin. When the skin is removed it is ready for eaten. The inner layer may or may not be removed depending on individual taste. Look niang may be raw or with chili sauce, lon, gang liang especially gang tai pla. Ripe look niang boiled and mixed with coconut flakes and sugar is served as a dessert. North-Eastern Like Thai food of the north, Thai food of the northeast has steamed glutinous rice as a staple base to be taken with spiced ground meat with red pork blood, papaya salad or som tom, roasted fish, roasted chicken, jim-jaem, and rotted fish or pla rah. The northeast prefer to have their meat fried and the meat could be frog, lizard, snake, rice field rat, large red ants, insects etc. Pork, beef and chicken are preferred by well to do families. Traditional Methods of Serving Thai Food in the northeast Dishes are served in a large enameled food tray which sports a pattern of large and colorful flowers. Food is taken from the dishes is taken with steamed glutinous rice contained in a wicker basket (katib) made in the peculiar style of the northeastern people. Desserts mainly consisting of processed glutinous rice such as, khao niew hua ngog nang led, etc. A guide to equipment used in Thai cooking. Most people are familiar with woks, which are used in virtually all Asian cooking. In Thailand, we use some equipment, like a sticky rice steamer and basket, that are not used much in other Asian countries. A kloke, or mortar and pestle, is another tool that's used a lot in Thai cooking, both to make Som Tum and to pound ingredients used in dipping sauces and curry pastes. Most of the tools shown here are available at Asian markets, and most can be ordered from websites as well. The Thai stone mortar and pestle (on the right) is made from carved granite. It's used to pound curry pastes and other dried spice ingredients such as coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, and dried peppers. The mortar on the left is made from clay and the pestle at the bottom is made from wood. This kind of mortar and pestle is commonly used for pounding green papaya salad (Som Tum), fresh peppers, fresh garlic, and more. This sticky rice steamer kit is perfect for steaming sticky rice. The basket is made from woven bamboo, which keeps the sticky rice from getting too wet during steaming. The steaming pot is made from aluminum and this pot is about 8" wide at the top and about 10" tall. Water is placed in the bottom of the pan and it's brought to a boil. Sticky rice, which has been soaked overnight (or for at least 3 hours), is placed in the basket. The rice should steam for approximately 15-20 minutes or until it turns translucent. Any round pot cover can be placed in the basket in order to keep most of the steam from escaping. This three tray aluminum steamer comes in a variety of sizes. It's used for steaming fish, vegetables, tapioca dumplings, and chicken. Water is placed in the bottom tray and it's brought to a boil. Oil should be rubbed on the trays before using to keep the food from sticking. A big sheet of banana leaves is often used with this type of the steamer to wrap up food prior to cooking. This electric rice cooker is the most convenient way to cook rice and you'll find one in most homes in Asia. The rice cooks in just 5-10 minutes and after it's cooked you can leave it in the rice cooker to warm until it's ready to serve. Rice cookers come in different sizes, depending upon how much rice you eat and how many people you're cooking for. Common sizes are 3, 5, 8, and 10 cups. Rice cookers are available at most Asian markets and many department stores. This Thai hot pot with lid is made from aluminum. We use it to serve soup like Tom Yum, Hot and Sour Soup (Gang Som Pae Za in Thai) and Chicken and Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai in Thai). Charcoal is placed in the bottom of the pot (sterno cans are used in the US), which keeps the soup warm during a meal (in Thailand a meal can last several hours!). Thai hot pots are sold at most Asian markets or order online . In Thai cooking, a good wok is very important! A non-stick wok or frying pan is best for stir-frying noodle dishes like pad thai or fried rice. Stainless steel or cast iron woks are best to use for stir-frying vegetables or meat. The clay pot on the left is used in the oven to cook dishes such as Seafood with Silver Bean Thread Noodle (Woon Sen Ob Talay in Thai), Dungeness Crab with Thai herbs (Poo Ob Mor-din) and Pineapple Fried Rice with Shrimp in Clay Pot (Kao Ob Saparote in Thai). The clay pot on the right is used for soups like Tom Yum. Charcoal can be put in the bottom to keep the soup warm during the meal. Clay pots are available at most Asian markets . This is a bamboo steamer tray that's mostly used to warm foods like dumplings, chicken or pork meat, and vegetables. Bamboo steamers come in a variety of sizes and are available at most Asian markets and some supermarkets and department stores. This sticky rice serving basket is perfect for serving sticky rice. The woven bamboo allows the rice to breathe a little and yet it keeps some of the heat in as well. In Thailand, rice is never left uncovered during a meal, so the bamboo server also helps with that. Some baskets come with brightly colored woven bamboo and are very decorative as well as functional! Some of the utenstils commonly used in Thai cooking include a spatula, which is used for stirfrying and works well when making Pad Thai and other noodle dishes. Cooking chopsticks are very helpful when making noodle dishes such as Pad Thai or Drunken Noodles because they help lift up the strands of noodles so the sauce can cover each noodle. Knives such as a chefs knife and a carving knife are very important as well as a cleaver (not shown). A wire strainer is usually made from either copper or steel wire and is very useful when deep-frying. A shredder works well when making Som Tum to cut the unripe papaya into long thin shreds. A peeler works well when peeling fruit or vegetables prior to cooking. This little wood stool with metal teeth on one end is used to extract the meat from a coconut. The coconut is cracked open and the metal teeth loosen the meat from the shell so it can be used to make fresh coconut milk. This type of charcoal grill has been used in Thailand for a long, long time! Hot coals are placed in the bottom of the grill and a wok sits on the top. The grill is essentially a metal pail with concrete inside formed into a space that holds charcoal (which is added through a hole cut into the side. A ceramic piece holds the wok above the coals. Guide to vegetables, herbs and roots used in Thai cooking. (the Thai name is in parentheses). Holy Basil (Bai Grapow) Peppery is perhaps the best way to describe this type of basil. Holy basil is typically not eaten raw and can be frozen or dried for later use. Thai Basil (Bai Horapha) With an anise-like flavor, Thai basil is used in curries and stir-fries. It's also eaten fresh with noodle soup and will not keep for long (it also does not freeze or dry well). Lemon Basil (Bai Maeng-luck) Used in soups and to flavor steamed fish and vegetables, lemon basil has a real citrus-like aroma and flavor. It can be frozen or dried for later use. Kaffir Lime leaves (Bai Makrut) are used whole in soups and curries and cut-up for salads. They can be preserved in the freezer. Galanga (Kah) is used in soups such as Tom Yum, curries and is sliced up for use in salads. Lemon Grass (Ta Khrai) is used in soups such as Tom Yum, Thai curries and is sliced for use in salads. Ginger (King) is used in many different dishes. It's spicier than galanga and the skin must be peeled before using. Turmeric (Kamin), a relative of ginger, is used in many different dishes both for it's yellow color and flavor. It's available frozen or powdered. Krachai (rhizome), a relative of ginger, is used in Kanom Jeen Numya, a curry dish. It's available frozen or in jars. Thai Chili (Prik Kee Noo) are used in lots of Thai dishes and are often eaten raw, too. Phet! Dried Thai Chili (Prik Hang) is used in soups, salads and stir-fries. Young Ginger (King On) is picked earlier than ginger and has a more subtle flavor. Star anise - pauy gug This is a classic Chinese spice that, in Thai dishes, is added primarily to soups. For the soup, you will want to add the whole seed pod instead of it ground up. While you don't eat it, it looks pretty in the dish. This is one of the components of Chinese five spice. ground dried chili pepper - prig kee nu bonn You can buy whole dried chili pepper and also ground chilli pepper. You can also make it yourself. To make it yourself, toast the pepper in a hot pan until you can smell the spicy aroma. It should take about a minute or so. Then grind it in a food processor. Dried ground chili pepper is used as a condiment for noodles. Cinnamon - stick - ob cheuy Use cinnamon stick in soups because it seems easier to use, and is prettier than powdered. bay leaf - bai gra-waan Bay leaves are available at most supermarket across the country on the spice rack. However, I find that it is more economical to buy them from Indian groceries. Chinese five spice - pah-lo powder Chinese five spice is available at the spice section at most supermarkets Cardamom - loog gra-waan Cardamom or 'loog gra-waan' is available in spice section of most supermarket. However, I buy mine at an Indian grocery. They come in pods or just seeds. Cardamoms that you find in Indian groceries have green pods while the ones in Thailand has white pod. They both taste about the same. It seems like you can keep cardamom in a jar for years. Cloves - gaan plu Cloves or 'gaan plu' is used strictly for main dishes in Thai cooking. Curry powder - pong gari This is the traditional Indian curry powder that you get in the US at chain supermarkets that is made of 6 or 7 spices. Curry powder is also available at Indian groceries. In Thai cooking, it is used in Stir Fry and many other dishes. Curry powder is not related to Thai curry paste. Cherry Eggplant (Makuea Poo-ung) is used in curries and is eaten with Nam Prik. It's very bitter! Chinese or Purple Eggplant (Makuea Muang) is used is used in stir-fries or is steamed. Thai Eggplant (Makuea Praow) is used in curries, Som Tum, and is eaten raw. Long Bean (Tua Fak Yaow) is used in curries, stir-fries, and Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad). They're crunchier than regular green beans. Green Papaya (Malagaw) is shredded to make the famous spicy Thai salad called Som Tum! Green unripe papaya is available in most Asian markets. Pickle (Tang Kwa) Pickling cucumbers are crunchier than regular cucumbers and are eaten raw or used to make a salad like Som Tum called Tum Tang. Pac Peow (Bai Prik Ma) is eaten raw with salads or noodles. Pac peow can be found in many Southeast Asian markets Mint (Salanae) is used in larb and other salads and is served with noodle soup. Culantro (Pak Chee Farang) is usually eaten raw and can also be cut up and added to larb (meat salad). Water Spinach (Pak Boong in Thai and Ong Choy in Chinese) is generally cooked with oyster sauce or soy sauce and is eaten raw. Krachet is grown in water and the foam-like material covering the stem must be removed before eating. Cha-om is a very unusual tasting (and smelling) vegetable that is eaten raw or cooked with eggs. Kayang is an herb that is eaten raw mostly by people in Northeast Thailand and has an unusual flavor. Kowtong is eaten raw or can also be used in salads. It has a fish-like flavor. Bitter Leaf (Chapoo in Thai and E-lert in Lao) is eaten raw or used in soup or salad . Chinese Brocolli (Kana in Thai or Gai-lan in Chinese) is more flavorful than regular brocolli and is steamed or stir-fried in many dishes. Yu Choy (Pak Gat Dok), is similar to Napa but has a stronger flavor and is eaten raw, Baby Bok Choy (Pak Gat Shanghai) is steamed and eaten with nam prik or used in stir-fries or soupssteamed or in stir-fries. Katin is eaten raw with nam prik and tastes somewhat like cha-om. It comes in bunches of strings about 4-6 inches in length. Pea Tips (Yod Tua Lan Tao) are cooked in stir-fries and eaten raw with Nam Prik. Wing Bean (tua poo) is very crunchy and tastes somewhat similar to long beans. It's eaten raw and is also used in Tod Mun fish cakes. Chinese Celery (Kun Chai) is used in many dishes and is similar to celery, but has a stronger flavor. Asian Chives (Gooey Chai) are used in Pad Thai and stir-fries and are eaten raw. Chive Flowers (Dok Gui Chai) are the flowering tips of chives and are used in stir-fries. Bitter Melon (Marah in Thai) is a very bitter vegetable used in stir-fries and soups. Lin Fah is usually steamed and eaten with nam prik. It's available frozen at Asian markets. Okra (Makuea Sawanh) is steamed and eaten as a vegetable or used in stir-fries. Sadao flowers and leaves are very bitter and are eaten with nam prik or laab meat salad. Samek leaves are sour and are eaten with laab meat salad or nam prik. Tia to leaves are citrusy-tasting and are eaten with laab meat salad. Smooth Loofa Gourd (buap homm) is one of two varieties of loofa gourd and is used in soups and stir-fries. It's sometimes called mawp in Asian markets. Fuzzy Squash (fak kiow) is used in soups and stir-fries. Sometimes called moqua in Asian markets, the hairs must be removed before cooking. Opo Squash (nam tao) is also called bottle gourd or calabash. Opo is used in soups and stir-fries and is also steamed and eaten with nam prik. Banana Flower (hua plee) is eaten with kanom jeen namya and pad thai. Only the tender inside part is eaten. Banana leaves (bai tong) are used to wrap up food prior to steaming. They impart a very subtle, grassy flavor to the food. Pandan Leaves (bai toey) are used for wrapping up food prior to steaming. The flavor they impart is similar to roasted young coconut juice. Bamboo Shoots (Naw Mai) are used in many Thai dishes including a curry called Gang Naw Mai. Water Chestnuts (haew) are very crunchy and delicious. They're used in many different dishes. Daikon Radish (Hua Pak Got Kao) is used in soups and stir-fries. Taro Root (Pueak) is primarily used in making Thai desserts. Taro also comes in a purple variety. Boniato (Mun Tet) is primarily used in making Thai desserts. Boniato, as well as taro, is available at many Asian markets. Yucca Root (Mun Sum Pa Lunk) is primarily used in making Thai desserts. Yucca is also called tapioca or cassava. Garlic (Kratiem) is used in virtually all Thai dishes. Green Onion (Homm Sot) is used in many Thai salads and dishes such as Pad Thai. Cilantro (Pak Chee) comes from the coriander seed and is used in many different Thai dishes. Dill (pak chee lao) is used a lot in Northeast Thai cooking, in dishes such as om (beef curry) and ab hoy shell (steamed seafood). It's also eaten raw and is usually much cheaper at Asian markets than at supermarkets. Yanang leaves are used in gang naw mai and other dishes featuring bamboo shoots. Edamame are edible young soybean seeds and are steamed and eaten as a snack. They're available frozen and can sometimes be purchased fresh at farmers markets. Lotus Root (hua bua) is the root of the water lotus plant and is most often used to make desserts or drinks. Mayom (Gooseberry) leaves (bai mayom) are leaves of the Otaheite Gooseberry. They're eaten with laab or nam prik. Pak Van is eaten with laab or nam prik and grows like a ground cover in Thailand near rice paddies. Chayote (Mala Waan) tastes like fuzzy gourd and is used in Red Curry with Chicken, Clear Hot Soup with Fish and other stir-fried dishes. Sugar Cane stick (Oye) in Thailand people eat sugar cane as a candy and it's added to soup broth for sweet flavoring. Sugar cane is also used for skewers in grilling. Sherlihon (Pak Gat kaan Kluay and Hmong Gai Choy in English) tastes similar to bok choy and is steamed, stir-fried and pickled. Edible Fern (Pak kood) in the Northern region of Thailand this fern is well known as pak kood and is used in Bamboo Soup (Gang Naw Mai), Om and is cooked in a salad called Soob Pak Kood. It's also steamed and eaten with fish dipping sauce. Bitter melon Leaves (Yod Mala) have a bitter taste and are very good in the Issan dish Om with Beef. They're also steamed and eaten with dipping sauce. Bitter melon leaves are often available at farmers markets. Dok Kare is an edible flower of Kare tree. They're white and light green in color. Dok Kare is often steamed and eaten with fish dipping sauce. It's also good for Hot and Sour Soup with Mud fish (Gang Som Dok Kare Pla Chon) Kee Lek leaves have a strong bitter taste and have to be boiled in hot water and drained several times before they're used to make Curry with Beef Tendon (Gang Kee Lek Sai En Voaw). It is a most unique curry! Pak Kadon is a wild vegetable that grows in rice fields. It has a unique taste that's similar to hairy bean (tua hair). Kadon is usually eaten raw with meat salad (Laab) and the leaves are similar to bai ma muang himapaan (cashew nut leaves) Pak Waan has very plain taste and is good for steaming and serving with dipping sauce. Pak waan is also used to make soup with smoked fish or ant's eggs. Pak Thew is a wild vegetable like kadon and kee lek. It has a sour taste like young tamarind leaves and is good for hot and sour fish soup. Pak thew is also eaten raw with meat salad (Laab) and Kao Tod Nam Klook (Rice Curry Salad). Pak Kaat is well known in Northeast Thailand and is used for fish curry and beef. Both the leaves and the flowers are added to the curry and it has a smell like raw beef. Pennyroyal (bai bua bong or pak ngong in Isaan) grows wild like a groundcover and tastes a little bitter. Pak ngong is made into a juice called nam bai bua bong and is also eaten raw with coconut noodle curry, Pad Thai and meat salad. Satoh bean is similar in appearance to a lima bean and is used in stir-fries and curries and is also eaten raw with dipping sauce. Satoh is well known in the south of Thailand and tastes like katin and chaom. Tamarind Leaves (Yod makaam on) are sour and are eaten with salt as a snack and used to replace lime or lemon in chicken and fish soups. Hairy Bean (Tua Hair in Isaan) is eaten raw with meat salad (Laab) and tastes like kadon leaves. It's mostly found in Northeast Thailand Sesame Leaves (bai nga) are used to wrap up beef for grilling (they can substitute for Beefsteak Plant (Shiso leaves) and taste similar to chapoo leaves. Drumstick Tree Fruit is often called Malunggay fruit in Asian markets as that is what it's called in the Philippines. The pods are about 6 inches to 1 foot long. A Guide to Thai Fruit (Thai name is in parentheses) Thai people love to eat fruit! We eat it with nearly every meal and it's available on the street everywhere. So many different varieties of fruit are available in Thailand; for example, I believe we have over 20 different varieties of banana alone! Much of the fruit we enjoy in Thailand is now available in the US. Lychee and longan are now being grown in Florida and mangoes are imported from Mexico, Central America and South America. In addition, some fruit is imported from Thailand (in frozen form) such as durian, longan, lychee, rambutan, and mangosteen. Much of the fruit we eat is available in cans or jars from Thailand, too. Mangoes (ma muang) are one of the favorite fruits in Thailand! The variety shown above, ataulfo (also called champagne), is available in the spring imported from Mexico. Longan (lum yai) is a favorite Thai fruit. The flesh is translucent (the seed is visible). Longan has a unique taste that's hard to describe, but it's delicious. Lychee (linchi) fruit tastes a little bit like a pear, but it's sweeter and juicier! The flesh is white/pink and there's a seed in the middle. Ripe Papaya (malagaw sook) is eaten both when the fruit is ripe and when it's still green in Thailand. Ripe papayas are a favorite fruit and the flavor is somewhat similar to ripe persimmons. Durian (tu-rian) is sometimes called the king of fruits. Unique in appearance, the smell of durian has been described as stinky and the fruit has a texture like pudding, with a rich flavor like no other fruit! Guava (fa-rang) resembles an apple and has tiny seeds inside. The taste is more like a crunchy pear. Dragon fruit (also called Pitaya) is fruit of a cactus plant. The flesh looks like that of a kiwi and is typically scooped-out with a spoon. Rambutan (makok num) is a bright red fruit with hairs on the outside. The flavor is similar to lychee fruit and there is a seed in the middle. Star fruit (ma-phueng), also called carambola, is a star-shaped fruit that has a subtle, citrusy flavor. Thai bananas (kluay num wah) resemble plantains, but the flavor is much sweeter. They should be eaten when the skin is yellow. Persimmon (luke pawp) resemble a tomato in shape and taste like a mediumsweet papaya (not quite ripe). Persimmon's are usually eaten when firm and are crunchy in texture. Baby bananas (kluay kai) are usually about 3-4 inches in length and are much sweeter tasting than regular bananas. Young coconuts (ma prow on) are available in Asian markets. The juice is removed (usually with a straw) and the meat that's left is very delicious and can be used in desserts. Medium coconuts (ma prow tuen tueng) are picked between green young coconuts and brown coconuts. The meat is usually used for desserts. Coconuts (ma prow gae) are available in some Asian markets. The coconut must be cracked open and the meat is removed (that's what coconut milk and cream is made from) Golden Apple (makok num), tastes somewhat like a crabapple and is eaten before it ripens, usually with dipping sauce Sweet Tamarind (makarm wan) has a taste similar to prunes or dates and is eaten as a snack.
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