Thai cooks insist on using only the freshest and best quality ingredients. Their food is spicy and rich with a characteristic blend of sweet, sour, and salty tastes, beautifully arranged easy thai recipes that greatly influenced by other countries.
Many varieties of rice are grown in Thailand. In fact, the thai saying for a stroke of good luck is to have "fallen into the rice bowl". Short-grained sticky rice is often eaten by the central and northeastern thai. Another especially delicious variety is jasmine, or fragrant, rice. A big serving dish of hot, fluffy white rice is always in the center of the other foods on the table, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In fact, all the dishes on the table, soups or curries, stir-fries or salads, are called gap kao, meaning "with rice".
Chicken soup and beef curry are typical of the saucy main dishes that add flavor and liquid to plain rice. Diners usually add a little of each of the foods offered to their rice for the first plate, then go back for a second portion of their favorites.
Soups can be sour or "mixed". Sour soups include lemon grass and lemon juice and sometimes lemon leaves. Mixed soups often have more ingredients than sour soups and include meat, poultry, or seafood, and vegetables. Thrifty cooks make delicious soups from inexpensive vegetables, such as cabbage and onions, and from cheap meats, such as fish heads.
Curries are the specialty of southern Thailand, where chilies are included in every meal. Curries often include coconut milk for a sweeter and milder taste.
In Thailand noodles are usually served at lunch. Busy vendors sell delicious noodle dishes on the streets all over Thailand. The noodles are not cut because long noodles are a sign of good luck.
Noodles made of rice are popular in Thailand and can be added to soups or to stir-fried, steamed, or simmered dishes, including curries. Very thin egg noodles are also eaten, as are cellophane noodles, which are made from mung beans. Noodles provide the something soft and something bland that balance the crunchy and/or spicy foods in the thai kitchen. Noodles work well in many foods, such as thai spring rolls.
Thai food is healthy and delicious, yet quick and easy to prepare. Meats, vegetables, and fruits are cut up before cooking so that they cook quickly. This saves time and fuel and makes the foods easy to eat with just a fork and spoon as the thai like to do.
Many favorite thai foods are stir-fried. Stir-frying probably originated in China and was then borrowed by the thai. You can use either a wide skillet or a chinese wok for this very quick cooking method. Have your ingredients chopped, measured, and ready near the pan before you start to stir-fry.
Thai cooks also like to cook on a grill. Grilling is a cooking technique that the thai may have learned from the people of Java (an island in Indonesia). If you do not have a charcoal grill, use your oven to broil or bake these foods.
Thai cuisine is known for its combinations of sweet, sour, and salty flavors, which are created by adding herbs and seasonings to meats, fish, and tofu and vegetables. Popular herbs include basil, coriander, galangal (a milder tasting cousin of ginger), garlic, ginger, lemon grass, and lime leaves. Dips and sauces are planned to contrast with these key flavors. For example, a sweet and sour sauce of cooling cucumbers is the perfect accompaniment for pork satay. The cucumber sauce contrasts with the salty fish sauce and spicy curry flavors of the satay.
This section includes recipes for a variety of thai dips and sauces that can be served as accompaniments for many dishes. It also includes recipes for salads and for a stir-fry, all of which may be served as side dishes or as an accompaniment to rice, which the thai consider to be the main food at any meal.
The thai are known for their fondness for snacks. No matter how many foods might be offered in the home at mealtime, the thai cannot resist the snacks sold at food stalls. Street vendors call out to passersby, describing the tasty foods at their stalls and the sauces that go with them. To the thai, a snack, whether soup or noodles or finger food, is not really food, it is sanuk, or fun!.
Fresh fruit is the typical sweet in this tropical country, where fruit trees produce much lush fruit. Mangoes, rambutan, bananas, melons of all sorts, mangosteen, papayas, lychee, pineapple, and durian are widely available. Fruit vendors display baskets of ripe fruit in open-air markets. If a cook decides to prepare a dessert, coconut milk and palm sugar, as well as sweet or sticky rice, mung beans, and bananas, are often used.
The thai enjoy many holidays and festivals. They delight in visiting friends and family, or inviting family and friends to come to their home, to celebrate special days. They may watch parades of floats, view brightly lit public buildings, or tour exhibits of beautiful fruits and flowers. But the best part is sharing fun, conversation, laughter, and food.
Any of the recipes in this section could be served at a feast to celebrate a holiday or to mark a festival day. The more people sharing the feast, the greater the variety of dishes Thai cooks will prepare. And if there is a trained carver of garnishes in the family, fruits and vegetables will be carved in the shape of flowers and then used to decorate the serving platters. The recipes that follow are reserved for holidays because they require extra work. On festive occasions, additional family members are on hand to help with food preparation.