One of the most well-known cuisines in the world is Thai cuisine. With unique ingredients and a flavorful touch, Thai recipes can seem overwhelming to even the most seasoned home cook. However, with a few simple steps, most home cooks can get their feet in the door to master this delicious cuisine.
One of the first things a home cook should consider when considering trying Thai recipes is the various ingredients needed to master most dishes. Keeping a pantry of basic ingredients will help avoid the take-away counter when the cravings for Thai hits arise. Basic ingredients with a stable shelf life that can be recovered at any time include, for example, palm oil for frying, fish sauce, coconut milk, palm sugar, noodles, curry and shrimp.
From there, with the addition of the necessary herbs and spices, the flavors change from boring to traditionally Thai. Take a look at the Asian market and find out what spices and herbs to buy. Things like Thai basil, ginger, garlic, grachai, coriander, and lemongrass are all commonly used fresh products that can add considerable depth and flavor.
For those who love spices, as with most Thai dishes, be sure to check out Thai chilies. these are one of the essential ingredients in Thai cuisine. Prik kee noo and Krik chee fah are two traditional fresh chillies that can be found in most Asian grocery stores. If they’re not available, don’t be afraid to buy dried and ground Thai chilies. Although their tastes may be a little different, they still add that much-needed kick.
Fortunately, most Thai food equipment is quite versatile and likely already in most home cooks’ kitchens. The wok is one of the most important and adaptable tools for cooking Thai dishes. Investing in a high quality, well seasoned wok will greatly improve the taste and quality of the food you prepare. A large, sharp cleaver is also required. Most dishes require the use of chopped items that can be cooked with the help of a smart one.
A rice cooker, or simply a saucepan large enough to cook quality rice, should be considered as an optional accessory. A mortar and pestle are often used to grind spices and herbs. Steam baskets can also be used to prepare lighter foods and some vegetables.
Tips and Techniques
Fortunately, most home cooks are familiar with most of the Thai cooking techniques. The art of deep-frying is one of the most adaptable and widely used techniques. It is important to reheat the oil before adding the ingredients to a quality hot wok. Then it’s all about speed and action. To make sure all ingredients cook evenly, stir and keep stirring. When it’s done, sit down and enjoy!
Roasting and steaming are two other useful techniques to master. Steam baskets can come in handy when preparing dumplings, seafood or vegetable dishes. You can fry small amounts in the wok. As you cook the ingredients, make sure there is enough oil to cover them well. Also, be sure to drain the remaining oil when the dish is removed from the pan for a crispy result.
Don’t be intimidated by the wide variety of Thai foods to choose from. Any home cook willing to learn and experiment new flavors will find Thai cuisine at their fingertips. You’ll be serving restaurant quality Thai food in no time by adding some new ingredients and some new cooking gadgets to your pantry!