How To Prepare Thai Food With These Key Ingredients

Collage of thai food - How To Prepare Thai Food With These Key Ingredients 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.

Banana Leaves

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.

Idea: How To Make Banana Leaf Bowls by: Escape To Paradise 

Lemongrass

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.

RecipeLemongrass Basil Thai Chicken

thai lime leaves

Thai Lime Leaves

Lime Leaves

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.

Thai Basil 

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.

Recipe: Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Holy Basil

Fish Sauce 

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)

Green Papaya Fruit

Image credit: Photo Elsoar

Green Papaya

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.

Tamarind Puree

Bowl of Sour Curry Prawns with Cha-Om Omelette

Image credit: Pranees Thai Kitchen – Sour Curry Prawns with Cha-Om (using tamarind puree)

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

Recipe: Thai Food Soup: Gang Som Cha Om Kai  – by Joy’s Thai Food

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.

Dried Shrimp

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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Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils

Prosciutto Cotto and LentilsLentils have 18 grams of protein per serving, making them the third highest level of protein than any other plant food. Garbanzo beans and wheat berries both have 12 grams of protein per serving.

types of lentilsOut of all the varieties that are grown for consumption, the French Green Lentils are considered the most flavorful, having a delicate peppery taste.

They originated in Puy, France, though today they are also grown in Canada (highest production) Italy and the United States.

The French variety lentil hold their shape well while only taking about 30 to 40 minutes to cook.

On New Year’s Eve in Italy people eat “lenticchie stufate” or in a soup. Why? This is an old symbol of good luck in the Italian tradition, because of their round shape, which resembles coins. They say the more you eat, the more wealth that comes to you.

Our featured recipe contains French Green Lentils, and here is what you well need to prepare your own Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils.

diced vegetables for Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils

Real Whole Food Nutrition

2 medium stalks celery, diced

2 medium yellow carrots, diced

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 small red onion chopped

1/2 cup tomato paste

4 1/2 cups broth, your choice beef – chicken – vegetable

3/4 pound prosciutto cotto – about 2 slices 1/2 inch cut, cut into 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch squares

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons avocado oil

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil and minced garlic – sauté until fragrant.

adding vegetables to garlicNext add prepared onion – carrots and sweet potato and mix together.

adding lentils and tomato paste Next add rinsed lentils and mix in. Then add tomato paste and stir being sure ever lentil is coated.

adding brothAdd broth, place lid on pot and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked.

After 30 minutes there will be only about 1 cup or so of broth – drain and set aside – leave lentil mixture in soup pot.

warming avocado oil and pork fatIn a warm pan with avocado oil add some prosciutto fat with prepare prosciutto cotto and sauté in oil until meat is warmed.

We used refined high heat (to 550 degrees) avocado oil, which has no flavor, therefore not contaminating or changing the smoked flavor of the prosciutto cotto.

Remove meat and mix with lentil mixture.

Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils - close upSpoon Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils to a platter and serve.

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Spiralizing: Turn Vegetables into Healthy – Creative – Satisfying Meals

Spiralizing: Turn Vegetables Into Health - Creative - Satisfying Meals

A Cozy Kitchen - spiralizing Zucchini into noodles

Image Credit: A Cozy Kitchen – A Manual Spiralizer – Turning Zucchini Into Pasta Noodles

The spiralizer is a culinary gadget that has quickly become a must have in kitchens all around the world. Put simply, the spiralizer is a tool that allows a kitchen cook to turn vegetables into noodles. Lisa Richards author of The Candida Diet (www.thecandidadiet.com) says, “Quitting Refined Carbs? The Spiralizer Is Your New Best Friend.”

With the spiral slicer you can conjure up endless julienne strips of carrot, radish, cucumber, and all kinds of other firm vegetables. The unqiue spirals are perfect to create vegetable stir-fries or pasta.

julienne spiral peelerThe mechanism can be purchased as a manual counter top, hand held or even a julienne peeler.

The counter top spirlizer has sharp blades, that allows you to feed any kind of vegetable through the system, and the hand held has thin blades built into the plastic funnel like gadget, and the julienne peeler is much like a vegetable or fruit peeler.

How A Spirlizer Works

Vegetable SpiralizerThe mechanism is simple. The hand held is made in the shape much like a funnel. Place the vegetable at one end of the funnel, and firmly push the vegetable into the funnel while twisting the vegetable. The built-in blades will spiral the vegetable into noodles.

The counter top spiral is much the same. Using nothing more than gentle pressure, turn the handle and gently slide the vegetable through the spiralizing blades.

The julienne peeler is simple. Just hold the vegetable in one hand while placing the peeler at the top of the vegetable and slide it down over the surface of the produce.

What ever spiraler you chose, you will always be left with perfectly formed vegetable noodles ready for instant use. It really is that simple – there’s no chopping or preparation involved. Choose your vegetable and away you go!

Forking Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and SauceMexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat SauceHere are two recipes that we used a julienne spiral peeler to turn squash into vegetable noodles.

Click here for the recipe to: Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce

Click here for the recipe to: Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce

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Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables

Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables

Chicken Teriyaki  is a very popular Japanese food in the US.  Teriyaki in Japanese means “grilled with shine.”  Sugar in teriyaki sauce gives a shine to the food, making it not only delicious, but also looks more appetizing.

It is very simple to make teriyaki sauce, as it is a mixture of only three ingredients, soy sauce, sugar, and sake. You can also use mirin for a sweeter teriyaki.  One of the advantages of making the sauce yourself is you can adjust the flavor the way you prefer.  Also making your own, avoids the unnecessary chemicals in store bought teriyaki sauce.

 common-japanese-cooking-ingredientsAccording to Japanese Cooking 101, this is a list of common ingredients used in Japanese cuisine:

Aburaage
Aonori
Dashi
Dried Bonito Flakes (Katsuobushi)
Dried Shiitake Mushroom
Mirin
Miso Paste
Nagaimo (Dioscorea opposita, Chinese yam)
Panko (Bread Crumbs)
Pickled Red Ginger (Benishouga)
Rice
Rice Vinegar
Roasted Seaweed (Sushi Nori)
Sake
Soy Sauce
Tonkatsu Sauce

It is not common in traditional Japanese cuisine to use garlic, though it is in Korean cooking.

Our featured recipe is a Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables, though not an authentic recipe, but an American rendition.

homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

4 tablespoons tamari sauce  (works the same as soy sauce)

4 tablespoons mirin (can use sake for a less sweeter teriyaki sauce)

2 tablespoons coconut sugar (not used in Japanese cooking, can use white sugar if you wish)

2 teaspoons arrowroot (can also use cornstarch or potato starch)

2 tablespoons water

Mix together in a small sauce pan over medium heat, the first three ingredients. In a small cup mix together the water and arrowroot. Bring the pot to a slow boil and add the arrowroot-water mixture to the boiling pot. Stir in and continue to stir until the liquid thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

Tamari is specifically a Japanese form of soy sauce, traditionally made as a by-product of miso paste. Tamari is a gluten-free product, were as soy sauce is not.

Now let’s prepare the meat and vegetables to mix with our homemade teriyaki sauce.

vegetables cut Julienne style4  tablespoons coconut oil (or sesame oil), divided

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated

3 green onions, chopped

2 carrots, cut julienne style

2 celery ribs, cut julienne style

8 asparagus spires, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces

4 chicken breasts, skinless and bones, cut into 1 inch chunks

2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds

A traditional Japanese chicken teriyaki uses chicken thighs, and asparagus is not a vegetable normally used in Japanese cooking.

sauteing ginger and green onionsSaute the prepared ginger and green onions in the heated coconut oil (2 tablespoons) over medium heat in a large frying pan, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Next add the carrots, celery, and asparagus, and continue to stir-fry until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

cooking chicken thigh chunks in teriyaki sauceHeat a large frying pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and add chopped meat and cook until meat is oblique. Next add the teriyaki sauce and mix in.

mixing in sesame seedsNext mix in the sesame seeds, and add the vegetables and mix in as well.

Teriyaki Chicken with VegetablesPlate and serve over white rice.

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Coconut Salmon

Coconut Salmon

Salmon always tastes great whether it is simply baked, steamed, or smoked. It goes perfectly well with a lot of dishes and always seems to add a refined vibe to the dinner table. It’s also low in calories and a great option if you’re trying to lose weight. For a new take on salmon and a more exotic way of preparing it, try this coconut salmon recipe over steamed rice and your palate will surely be delighted.

Coconut AminosIf you are trying to burn belly fat, you will want to consider the fact that salmon contains a very high amount of protein which is good at helping the body’s metabolism to work and break down fat and turn it into energy.

The dietary action of omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon are similar to that of protein, which forces the body to naturally burn more calories while helping to keep your appetite in check throughout the day (Active Beat).

Our featured recipe is: Coconut Salmon. The coconut in the recipe is not the meat, but rather using coconut tree sap and blended with mineral rich sea salt.

Here is what you will need.

Coconut Salmon ingredients

The following ingredients are for one serving. Just double, or triple it for additional servings.

1 piece of salmon fillet, about 1/2 pound, boned, skin on

2 slices two of ginger root

3 tablespoons dark coconut amino sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper corns

1 or 2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds for garnish

1/2 chopped green onion for garnish

marinating coconut  SalmonMarinate the salmon in the ginger, sesame oil, coconut amino sauce, red chili flakes and black pepper for 30 minutes to 3 hours prior to cooking.

Heat a large ceramic coated frying pan over medium heat with coconut oil and add the salmon skin side down (reserve the marinade). This prevents the fish from sticking to the pan as well as prevents the meat from shrinking up.

After 3 minutes turn the fish and add the marinade, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.

Coconut SalmonServe over a bowl of steamed rice and garnish with sesame seeds and diced green onions or another green like cilantro or parsley.

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Thai Chicken with Linguini

Thai Chicken with Linguini

Another Asian dish from the kitchen of Splendid Recipes and More. I actually came up with this recipe when I was out to lunch one day at the Cheesecake Factory. If I recall on their menu it said”Thai Chicken and Liguini.” They were selling a plate for about $10 or $12. In your own kitchen you can make this recipe to serve 4 to 6 plates for under $3.00 each.

Here is what you will need.

16 oz. linguini cooked

4 lbs. chicken breast

2 cups carrots, cut Julianne style

2 cups celery, cut Julianne style

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 tbsp. avocado oil

1 cup hot peanut sauce (see end of article for home-made peanut sauce)

1 cup peanuts, unsalted

 

Most Asian recipes call for vegetables cut Julianne style or on the diagonal. Vegetables cut this way take less time to cook as more surface area is exposed to the heat source. Vegetables cook faster, leaving them crunchy and most of the nutrition is not cooked out.

Here is an illustration of a very easy way to cut carrots Julianne style.

First wash your carrot. From left to right (image), cut the carrot into 1.5 to 2 inch sections. Square the carrot, by thinly slicing outer skin of carrot. Next cut squared carrot into 4 slices. Then cut each slice into match sticks (about 4 slices).

cutting carrot Julianne style

To cut your celery Julianne style is about the same. But there is no need to square the celery or remove the outer skin.

cutting celery Julianne style

Wash celery and then cut into 1.5 to 2 inch sections. Next face rounded side of celery up and slice down the middle. With each section, cut into about 4 match sticks.

Most people though do not like to contend with the stringy part of the celery. Even though the celery is cut Julianne style, you can still have strings, though much smaller. This is how I like to cut my celery, at an angle. There is no strings to contend with, using this cut.

cutting celery at an angle

Cutting the celery in this way, also exposes more surface to the heat source and cooking the celery fast, and leaving it crunchy.

Now on to preparing Thai Chicken with Linguini.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Cut each chicken breast into ¼ inch chunks. In a large frying pan; heat oil. Add minced garlic and sauté. Add vegetables and sauté until tender and then add chicken and cook until pink is gone.

Pour about ½ cup of peanut sauce into pan over chicken and vegetable mixture and mix in well.  Add peanuts mix some more and add the final ½ cup peanut sauce and mix. Remove from pan and put onto a large serving dish.

close-up of Thai Chicken with Linguini

Plate and serve.

Home -made Peanut Sauce

1 13.5 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk, full fat

¼ cup red curry paste

¾ cup natural creamy peanut butter, no sugar added

½ tbsp. salt

¾ cup sugar

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

½ cup water

Mix everything into a medium sauce pan and bring to a soft boil over medium heat. Wisk while the ingredients are coming to a boil. Do this for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and use in the recipe. Let the rest cool down, place in a jar with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate, should last about 4 months. The sauce will thicken, to loosen or make saucy again, place jar into a small pot of boiling water.

Buy your peanut butter fresh ground at your local market. This way there is no peanut or other seed oil used. These types of oils (omega-6) cause inflammation within your body.

 

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Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken

Pad-Thai-Noodles-with-ChickenAll Asian food is cooked with the intention of increasing the health benefits, such as its healing powers and medicinal value, as well as longevity.

Here’s an article we publish this year last March 2014, Amazing Ways Food is Used in Thai Cooking .

Of course every country that is part of the Asian world has their own way of cooking the food, but with the same outcome, its health benefits.

Today we present Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken. Of all the Asian foods, Thai is our favorite.

Here is what you will need:

ingredients-for-Pad-Thai-Noodles-with-Chicken8 oz. rice noodles, fresh or dried

2 tbsp. peanut oil

scallions, coarsely chopped

2 garlic gloves, minced fine

2 fresh red chilies, seeded and sliced

8 oz. chicken breast, trimmed and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup fresh bean sprouts

¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/3 cup chopped unsalted peanuts

Soak the noodles in a large pot of boiling water, covered for 10 minutes or cooked according to package instructions. When the noodles are done and tender, rinse noodles under cold running water. Set aside.place-rice-noodles-into-boiling-water-for-10-minutes.jpgAdd peanut oil to a wok (large frying pan, if you have no wok )over high heat. Once the peanut oil is heated add scallions, garlic and red chilies. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes.heat-peanut-oil-and-add-vegetables-and-stir-fry-1-2-minutesNext add the chicken, lime juice, fish sauce and eggs. Stir-fry over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until eggs have set and pink is no longer in chicken or heated through.add-chicken-lime-juice-fish-sauce-and-eggs...stir-fry-2-3-minutesNext add the bean sprouts, most of the cilantro and the noodles and stir-fry for 30 seconds or until heated through and beans and cilantro are mixed in thoroughly.adding-bean-sprouts-and-cilantroTransfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with peanuts and remaining cilantro and serve right away with lime wedges if you wish.Pad-Thai-Noodles-with-Chicken

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