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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National Granola Bar Day

Granola Bars with oats and nuts on the tableThe United States is a country that is obsessed with food. Now that can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Today is another day of observing a food item. Yes today is – National Granola Bar Day.

A granola bar includes whole grains, like oats, and quinoa and barley are also used. There are also dried fruits and nuts. To sweeten the bar either honey, molasses, agave nectar or sugar syrup is used. There are a variety of combinations that can add flavor and nutrition.

Making granola bars is a simple task. You mix the ingredients which are then pressed into a baking pan, and later cut into bars.

Granola bars are a go to food, because of seen as a energy bar. The are conveniently carried on hiking trips or biking trails. The bars can be high, but despite that, they are a healthy alternative to a candy bar. Eating a granola bar as a snack is okay, as long as you are active so as to burn the calories.

Outside of the United States granola bars are known by several names, including flapjack, meusli bars and cereal bars.

Here’s our rendition of a all organic, gluten free, paleo approved Granola Bar, and the following is what you will need.

mixed oats, nuts, seeds, raisins, honey and coconut oil, black background, selective focus

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1cup wheat germ

1cup flax seed, slightly ground

14  cup sunflower seeds, optional to use sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds

1 cup almonds, sliced, these nuts can also be used cashews, walnuts, peanuts, macadamias or pecans

1cup dry shredded coconut

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

1cup honey, optional to use raw honey

4 tablespoons butter

1cup brown sugar

1 cup dried fruit, including cranberries, golden raisins, pineapple, apricots, cherries, papaya, and prunes (optional to use fresh fruit)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, sesame seeds and almonds.

NOTE: If you chose to mix in another nut with the almonds, divide the nuts up into 1/2 cup servings, such as 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and 1/2 cup of the nut of your choice.

Spread mixture out evenly over the baking sheet and toast for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Stir mixture once or twice, to evenly toast the grains.

NOTE: We slightly ground our flax seeds, as whole flax seeds can not be digested whole, therefore not receiving the benefits of the seed.

In a large bowl combine salt, coconut, cinnamon and dried fruits, and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the vanilla, honey, butter and brown sugar. Stir continuously, bring mixture to a soft boil.

NOTE: You can use raw honey because of it dense nutritional content, but after baking the bars much of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes will be destroyed from the high heat, therefore processed organic honey would be okay to use.

When oat mixture is done toasting, transfer to the same bowl with coconut mixture and stir to evenly combine, then add the honey mixture and stir to incorporate.

Line a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with waxed paper. Spread the mixture, using the back of a wooden spoon, pressing the mixture out over the waxed  paper evenly to create a smooth, even surface.

Place another piece of waxed paper over the top, pressing down to evenly compact the mixture.

NOTE: Compacting is important so the bars won’t fall apart when cut. You can place a smaller pan within the 9 X 13 inch baking pan to press the mixture out evenly. You can also use a large drinking glass, by rolling it over the wax paper.

Homemade Granola Bars on the tea cup backgroundCool, than refrigerate about 2 hours. Doing so ensures a clean cut. After cutting the baked granola into bars, wrap them in waxed paper and store in a covered container and store in the refrigerator.Ty can even be store in the freezer for up to between 6 to 8 months.

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