Traditional Thai food recipes have the power to seduce any palate with its aromatic curries, delicious sauces and sinfully delicious sweets – guaranteed to satisfy every craving.
Rice is the foundation of every Thai meal. Cooks pay great care in selecting and preparing their species of rice; leftovers must never be wasted or they may anger the god of rice and cause hardship or even famine!
Pad Thai is one of Thailand’s signature dishes, yet few know its interesting history. First developed as part of an effort by a politician to foster nationalism and reduce rice consumption during an era when most of South East Asia was being colonised by Britain and France, the dish played an essential role in reinforcing Thai identity among younger generations.
Initial versions were produced using Chinese rice noodles combined with Thai ingredients to produce an invigoratingly flavorful dish. Over time, however, it became widely produced with more modern variations including zucchini noodles (zoodles) and additional vegetables such as bean sprouts, turnips and cabbage being added for variety.
Fish sauce, the mainstay ingredient in pad thai, adds umami and richness. It helps bind together ingredients while stir frying – an essential skill of Thai chefs! Soy sauce provides saltiness as an ideal replacement if you are vegetarian or vegan.
Tamarind is used to give Thai cuisine its distinctive sweet-and-sour flavour, and can easily be found as either a paste or concentrate; lime juice also works as an effective replacement. Rice vinegar gives a flavor boost while some extra sweetness from palm sugar or brown sugar will achieve this same result.
Garlic chives are a delightful yet often neglected addition, providing a subtle garlicky oniony flavor that goes wonderfully with herbs and spices found elsewhere in this dish. If they can’t be found, scallions or shallots work just as well. A pickled, dried radish or turnip is another optional but highly recommended component to consider; you’ll easily be able to find them at Asian markets, adding its distinct pickled note into this savory yet sweet recipe. And finally, some crushed peanuts bring crunchiness for crunch in this savory-sweet dish!
Tom Kha Gai
Tom Kha Gai is an authentic Thai dish with a delicious citrusy, sour and creamy taste that makes for an incredible citrus experience. Made using coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves for its umami and spicy flavors complemented with floral aroma from galangal flowers. A light yet healthy soup which can easily be made at home and perfect for any special event or gathering, Tom Kha Gai can be found across restaurants in Thailand.
This Whole30 twist on classic Tom Kha soup is simple to create using pantry ingredients. What’s even easier? Everything cooks together in one pot! Packed with mushrooms and chicken (you could substitute with shrimp or tofu for vegetarianism), its balance of savory, sweet and salty flavors makes for the ideal experience.
To create Tom kha, begin by heating chicken stock to boiling. Once boiling, add ginger, lemongrass, salt and pepper for 10 minutes of simmering before taking out of the heat source and adding coconut milk as soon as it has softened sufficiently. Stir to incorporate properly!
Be careful when stirring coconut milk as it can curdle if overdone. If it begins to curdle, adjust your heat down accordingly and continue stirring. Once your soup has reached desired seasoning level, add onions and tomatoes before leaving it simmer for several more minutes before taking it off the heat to serve.
As part of your presentation, garnish the soup with slices of fresh cilantro and green onion to give it a vibrant look and enhance flavor. Squeezing out a few tablespoons of lime juice on top adds a splash of zestiness that really brings out its taste!
Thai chicken soup is an indispensable menu item at any Thai restaurant, boasting plenty of nutritious goodness to help boost immunity, improve bowel movement and digestion, alleviate cough and cold symptoms and decrease fever symptoms. Plus it’s low in calories and fat! It makes an ideal option for weight loss.
Tom Yum Goong
Tom yum is one of the most beloved Thai soups; its citrusy, spicy flavors and refreshing experience makes it one of the nation’s go-to dishes. Plus, this nutritious treat features lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal root and chili peppers; all known to possess antibacterial and immune-enhancing properties.
There are countless variations of this dish, but the basic formula involves pairing fresh tamarind juice, lemongrass, lime leaves and spices with fish (or chicken), while giving it some yellow hue with turmeric for color contrast. It has become a favorite in Thailand’s southern provinces where sour flavors are highly preferred.
Tom Yum relies heavily on its stock, made from aromatics such as shallots, lemongrass, galangal root, makrut lime leaves and bird’s eye chilis. Their combined flavors create complex yet distinct notes; best purchased from an Asian/international grocery store for optimal flavor profiles. Although these ingredients might seem complex at first, making your own Tom Yum should be straightforward!
Hot and sour soup, commonly served with shrimp but also suitable for vegetarians or chicken options. It comes in both clear or creamy broth versions – an iconic classic that should not be missed when visiting Thailand!
Another variation of this dish includes a soup made with kaffir lime leaves and chili peppers for an added spicy kick – popular among those who appreciate spicy food!
Tom Kha Gai offers a milder version of this dish by substituting coconut milk for fish broth and shrimp as its main protein source. Often served alongside chicken for added variety.
Tom Kha Gai can also be made with vegetables such as mushrooms and tofu for those who aren’t fans of seafood dishes such as Tom Kha Gai with fish and shrimp. It provides an alternative approach to this classic Thai dish.
Make your meal truly complete by trying one of Thailand’s delectable desserts, such as Roti or Nam Prik Pao which features coconut pudding with pieces of pineapple. Roti is often sold on street corners by vendors offering it to hungry commuters; other popular dessert options include coconut pudding with pieces of pineapple.
Pad See Ew
Pad See Ew is one of the most beloved street foods in Thailand today, originally inspired by Chinese cuisine but eventually refined to reflect Thai flavors. Commonly found served out of little carts around many Thai neighborhoods around the world, this dish features flat rice noodles with chicken and Chinese broccoli stir-fried together in a sweet-savory sauce for maximum enjoyment! While simple to prepare weeknight-friendly dish requires skill to craft well.
Key to this recipe is controlling the cooking time of the noodles. Overcooking results in tougher noodles; to prevent this from happening, soak your noodles before cooking; this can be accomplished by placing them in water for at least an hour prior to starting their preparation. Furthermore, prepare the sauce by mixing sugar, dark and light soy sauces, fish sauce and oyster sauce together in a small bowl and thoroughly mixing before beginning this step.
Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over medium-low heat until hot. Next, add minced garlic and saute for approximately 30 seconds until it turns light brown before pushing them to one side so you can add eggs. Use a ladle to scramble the eggs quickly so as to not overdo it and risk overcooking!
Now it is time to add all the remaining ingredients into the pan – including soaked noodles, sauteed garlic and shallots, wilted Chinese broccoli, scrambled egg and Pad See Ew sauce. Stir together until all of the noodles have been thoroughly coated by it before garnishing with crushed peanuts as garnish. Enjoy this quick meal that can be prepared within 30 minutes for dinner with family! Try it yourself and share your experience – happy cooking!