Thai food is internationally famous. Thai cuisine 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.
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.
Fresh banana leaves are used to wrap steamed fish, giving them a herbaceous flavor. Thai people also use banana leaves as cooking vessels, folding them into a shape that will hold and cook the food, and as “to-go” containers.
You can buy lemongrass fresh in thick grassy bundles or minced or chopped in jars or possibly the freezer section of your favorite Asian market.
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.
This variety of basil professes a subtle sweet anise flavor.
The leaves are dark green with purple stems.
If you are not able to find Thai basil at your favorite market, Holy basil will do.
In Thailand, fish sauce is called nam pla, which is prepared from salted fish. Fish sauce can be used as a condiment, which can be savory and a reddish-brown in color. Fish sauce is ubiquitous in Thai cooking.
Recipe: Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken – (recipe uses fish sauce)
The green papaya is foot ball shaped. It is a fruit that makes the spicy, crunchy salad, “som tum” sought after to calm a hungry stomach.
An unripe green mango can be used in place of the green papaya when unable to find it at the market.
This puree is made from the fruit pods of the tamarind tree, and it is referred to as “sour tamarind soup base” or “nuoc me chua.”
When purchasing the tamarind puree, you can find it in sticky 14 ounce blocks. The thai use the puree, 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. There is also a concentrated tamarind that is thick and molasses like. It also needs to be diluted.
The concentrated tamarind is said to have a sour taste that can be overpowering in Pad Thai.
Link here to learn how to make your own homemade tamarind puree by: Pranees Thai Kitchen
Thai Chili Peppers
These peppers are small in shape, green and red in 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.
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.
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.
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