Written by Administrator
Monday, 22 March 2010 15:16
Great Cuisine Relies on its Many Flavours
& Spices are the secret to the great variety of Thai cuisine
part of the world is called
INDOCHINA - the
meeting of influences
from India and China
- and it shows up in the varied dishes one meets when eating Thai
Thai cooking has borrowed from the Indian Subcontinent, from China and from the rest of Southeast
Asia. But, as everyone who is at least familiar with Thai
knows, this cuisine is unique. There is some quality that is immediately
identifiable as “that special Thai taste.” This derives from perhaps a
standard ingredients. Some of these have also been borrowed, but the
used and the ways in which they are blended together are what lends Thai
its distinctive character.
The most commonly used ingredients in Thai cooking
are as follows:
Basil: The three types of basil used
in Thai cooking are always
fresh as both a flavouring and a vegetable. They are Bai krapao, or
bai horapa, sweet basil and bai mangluk which is similar to Italian
Chilli peppers: Both fresh and dried
chillies are used
Generally speaking, the smaller the chilli the hotter it will be.
Fish Sauce: Provides the cuisine
with salt, it’s also a valuable
of protein and has a unique flavour.
Ginger: Always used fresh, not
Coriander: The Thais use all
of the coriander: seeds, leaves and
Everyone is familiar with the seeds, as they are a popular spice
world. The leaves are not as popular, but their pungent taste is found
The Thais use garlic extensively. One of the varieties of
available has such a thin skin that it doesn’t need to be peeled before
Many cooks chop a cup or two in a food processor or blender, mix it with
little oil, and store it in the refrigerator. When prepared this way it
keep for about a month.
Ka (the Thai name) is a member of the ginger family
sometimes referred to as 'galangal' in English. It is very popular in
cooking and is used in a variety of ways. The most famous dish using
is 'tom ka kai', a thick, creamy soup with delicate flavours in which
cream turns particularly aromatic under the influence of ka.
Shrimp paste: Kapi is an essential
ingredient in Thai cooking.
agrees that it smells horrible, but it tastes good when cooked. It is
pressed into little cakes or in small cans.
Kaffir lime: The fresh zest (skin) and
leaves of this knobby wild
are readily available in Thailand.
Tamarind: The pulp obtained from the dried seed pod by soaking it
water is used to provide a tart flavour to many Thai dishes.
Lemon grass: Chopped into segments
that are not actually eaten,
lighter coloured section of this plant is used to impart a delicate
flavour to many dishes.
Coconut Milk: This is made by
soaking grated coconut meat in hot
and then squeezing out the liquid. It plays a significant role in curry