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Thai Fruit

Thailand is popularly known as the “land of smiles”, “land of yellow robes” and probably another popularity of Thailand is a land of tropical fruits as the country is blessed with a myriad of delicious tropical and temperate fruits which only vary depending on the season.

Even though a fruit may not be in season, it can be found in candied or preserved form. Moreover, some fruit like grapes are even coached to bear fruit all year round. Indeed, Thailand is a paradise for those who love fruit. Generally Thai fruits are sweet including those which are traditionally sour such as santol and tamarind.

Since fruit crops in Thailand are plentiful all the year round, they are becoming more and more important export earners for the country which in 1989 earned up to 8,503.74 million baht from its export of fresh and processed fruits to nearby countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan which prefer Thai mangoes especially their favourite type known in Thai as “Nang Klang Wan”.
Regarding seasonality, Thai fruit crops can be classified into two groups. The first is a seasonal fruit crop which includes mangoes, durians, rambutans, longans, sugar apples, mangosteens and lichees. The second group is a year-round crop which includes pineapples, bananas, papayas, and jackfruits. This is the reason why fresh fruit is available in the local market everyday of the year.

Recently, several temperate fruit crops such as apples, peaches and strawberries have been successfully grown in the hilly areas of northern Thailand. Actually, the major fruit-producing areas are located mostly in the eastern and southern regions of the country, even then the central region also produces a variety of fruit for the markets in every season, for example pomeloes are largely grown in Nakhon Pathom Province while Ratchaburi Province is widely known as the grape-producing area etc.

As Thai fruit farmers are always eager to plant new varieties and improve the existing varieties, Thailand is never without fruit. In the country side, some fruit trees such as bananas are also used as a fence around their houses, though they are far inferior to barbed-wire, they provide greenery and fresh air to all living nearby.

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Kaffir Lime Leaves : Aromatic & Flavor-Rich

One never seems to forget encountering a Kaffir Lime Leaf for the first time. Its scent and taste is incredible-there’s nothing quite like it. In fact, this leaf is so aromatic that when you’re served a Thai dish containing it (such as Tom Kha Soup), you may not be able to tell what is stronger-the scent or the taste. Both combine in a powerful sensory experience that is one of the unique joys of Thai food.

Kaffir Lime Leaf has been known to clear the mind and cleanse the body. In fact, this Thai herb has recently been touted for use in spa treatments by celebrities such as Martha Stewart, plus many Hollywood stars. But what exactly is Kaffir Lime Leaf, and what is its role in Thai cooking?

What is Kaffir Lime Leaf? : If you were to look up “Kaffir Lime Leaf” in the Oxford Companion to Food, you would find a warning of sorts concerning the name of this leaf. This is because “Kaffir” is considered to be a bad word in certain cultures, while in others it is simply a word with negative connotations, meaning anything from “backward” to “infidel” and other terms used in “name-calling” (much of it racial). For this reason, this world-renown dictionary recommends referring to the leaf by its Thai name: “Makrut” (pronounced more like “Ma-groot”). But for now, at least, the leaf is still popularly known as Kaffir.  fresh kaffir lime leaves thaifood and kaffir lime leaves

At first glance, it would be easy to confuse Kaffir limes with our own Western limes; however, there are some marked differences. Kaffir lime fruit isn’t quite round, but has a small peek at its top. But the most noticeable difference is its skin-unlike Western limes, Kaffir Lime is severely wrinkled and course, not smooth. Zest from this “old-looking skin” is often used by cooks in Thailand, as it is very pungent and lemony tasting. But it is the leaf accompanying this fruit that is most highly prized in the Thai kitchen.

Kaffir lime leaf actually looks like 2 leaves joined together: the lower leaf is oval, while the upper leaf attached to it is more heart-shaped. Together, the leaves are several inches long (though they can come in various sizes). When fresh, these leaves are shiny and bright green, rich with natural oils. Today, Kaffir Lime Leaf is harvested in Thailand by hardy pickers (the branches of the tree are very thorny), and shipped around the world. While sometimes you can find Kaffir Lime Leaves being sold fresh in the produce section of Asian/Chinese stores and markets, it is more likely to be found in the freezer section. Frozen Kaffir Lime Leaves keep anywhere from several months to a year, and do not require thawing before use (so this is a great way to keep them handy and available in your kitchen!).

More Interesting Tidbits about Kaffir Lime : If you were to visit rural Thailand, you would find that nearly every family has a Kaffir Lime tree growing in their backyard. And if you were to approach and ask about the tree, they would tell you it helps keep the whole family clean-both inside and out! Kaffir Lime Leaf is thought to be very healthy, and excellent as a digestive aid. Thais also believe it cleanses the blood, maintains healthy teeth and gums (when rubbed or brushed on), cleans hair and scalp, and even prevents hair loss. It is used as a personal deodorant and cleanser for the body, but also as a cleanser for the mind, clearing away negative thoughts as well as helping to ward off evil spirits!

A little of the natural Kaffir Lime oil makes an excellent household cleaner, and is often used to get stubborn stains out of clothing. The scent of Kaffir Lime also cleans the air, and can be used in an atomizer as a natural scent-spray in and around the home.  chopped kaffir lime leaves thaifood and kaffir lime leaves

How is Kaffir Lime Leaf Used in Thai Cooking? : Together with lemongrass, Kaffir Lime Leaves help create that quintessential Thai aroma and taste that is so special in dishes such as Thai Soups (like our own CurrySimple Coconut Soup) and Thai Curries. Sometimes the leaf is left whole and simply added for extra flavor, like a bay leaf would be added to Western soups and stews, while other times it is chopped or ground up as part of the curry or soup paste. Either way, you won’t be able to escape the unique taste, scent, and flavor of this most marvelous of leaves!

Tips for Using Kaffir Lime Leaf : When cooking Thai curries, try adding 1-2 Kaffir Lime Leaves to the pot for extra flavor. Add them at the same time as the meat, fish or seafood, tofu or wheat gluten and just mix in.

Note that whole lime leaves are not meant to be eaten, but merely added for extra flavor-be sure to warn your guests about this, or there will be a lot of chewing going on!       To chop up Kaffir Lime Leaf : separate the “twin leaves” into single leaflets and place on top of each other. Then roll them up tightly and slice thinly with a sharp serrated knife. Another easy way to cut Kaffir Lime Leaf is with scissors. In Asia, scissors are a common kitchen utensil, and they do work extremely well for cutting this leaf. Simply snip the leaves into small pieces and add to your paste or curry pot.

Kaffir Lime Leaf can also be pounded with pestle & mortar to create a pulpy kind of paste that is then easily added to curries (it’s also easier to digest when prepared in this way).       Larger Kaffir Lime Leaves contain a hard, central stem-be sure to discard this (cutting or slicing the leaf around it), and it will be easier to eat. For soups, simply add the leaf whole and then enjoy the additional aroma and flavor as you slurp your way to a “clean” mind and body!

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Specialty Thai Cooking Ingredients

When preparing a Thai meal, there are several sauces you will need to have on hand. Depending on the dish (and which region it comes from), fish sauce is as important (or more important) than soy sauce in Thai cooking.

If you are vegetarian, soy sauce can be substituted for fish sauce in nearly every instance. Note that there are two types of soy sauce—dark and light—both of which are used in Thai cooking. “Light” simply refers to regular soy sauce, while “dark” is a stronger and thicker sauce, best used sparingly.

Another ready-made ingredient you will want to have on hand is shrimp paste. This fishy-tasting paste is a stronger version of fish sauce, and once you’ve tried it, you’ll find a little goes a long way.

Most Thai recipes use coconut in one way or another, and most often it is coconut milk that is called for. Be sure to buy good-quality coconut milk, and don’t be taken in by its reputation among the general population as cholesterol-raising. Recent studies show that coconut oils and milks contain “good fats” that help lower cholesterol, not raise it.

Another healthy ingredient in Thai cooking is mushrooms. Various types are used, including shiitake, wood ear, and straw. Every Asian store sells a variety of dried shiitake mushrooms, which are both convenient to keep in the kitchen and just as nutritious as the fresh variety.

When cooking Thai, you will need to have a good supply of Thai fragrant (jasmine) rice on hand. If you prefer brown rice, I recommend using whole grain Thai (or, if unavailable, whole grain basmati) which may be available at your Asian grocer or health food store. Two other types of Thai rice used in desserts are sweet rice and black rice. Both are sticky in texture and have a sweet flavor. Black rice is especially nutritious and also wonderfully exotic-looking. If you can’t find black rice at your local Asian store, try a health food store or organic market.

Instead of using cling wrap or tinfoil, Thai chefs use a natural alternative: banana leaves. These leaves are enormous and inexpensive—great for wrapping up food. Banana leaves are also excellent for use in steaming and barbequing (ingredients are tucked inside, like small packets or envelopes). When cooked in this way, foods gain a slight aroma and taste from the banana leaf that is quintessentially Southeast-Asian and very tropical.

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Thai Cuisine – Here is Your Health!

All the world seems to be falling in love with Thai food. But did you know this marvelous-tasting world cuisine is also incredibly good for you? With its ancient blend of both fresh and dried herbs and spices, Thai food offers us a delicious way to get the nutrients, antioxidants, and disease-fighting potential we need to achieve lifelong health and fitness. Want to learn more? Here are just a few of the health benefits you’ll receive while enjoying a fabulous Thai meal:

You’ll Have More Immune-boosting Power! : Common Thai ingredients such as turmeric, coriander, galangal, and basil have powerful antioxidants that help fight inflammation and protect the body from damage by toxins and free radicals.

Your Heart Will Be Happy! : Chilli pepper and coconut milk, two everyday ingredients in the Thai kitchen, both work to keep the heart running smoothly. Previously, coconut had earned a bad reputation for its fat content. But now coconut milk and oil are emerging as healthy substitutes for more traditional fats, such as butter and vegetable oils. Unlike most “bad fats”, the fatty acids in coconut helps to lower bad cholesterol, while promoting good cholesterol.

You’ll Fight Off Cold and Flu Viruses! : A key ingredient in Thailand’s favorite soup (Tom Yum Soup), lemongrass has long been used in Chinese medicine as a tonic for fighting off flus and colds. Lemongrass also relieves headaches and stomach cramps commonly associated with such viruses. Enjoy lemongrass in your Thai food, or use it to make soup or tea.

You’ll Look (and Feel) Ten Years Younger! : Thai holy basil, coconut milk, plus the numerous vegetables used in Thai cooking (such as broccoli, sprouts, and other “greens”) offer anti-aging benefits. From calming elements (as in Thai holy basil), to the skin-enhancing fatty acids in coconut milk/oil, and the anti-inflammatory protection of turmeric (which also fights arthritis), Thai food has much to offer those who wish to look as young as they feel.
You’ll Sleep Better! : Yes, recent studies prove that consuming just a little chilli pepper (fresh or dried) each day helps us fall asleep, and stay asleep longer. In other words, enjoying just one Thai dish per day is enough to keep you sleeping soundly.

The verdict is in: Thai food not only tastes good, but it also benefits your health. So go ahead and indulge in some tasty Thai dishes today. Your body will thank you for it!

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The Magic of Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice commonly used in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and many other Southeast-Asian countries. Its magic comes in myriad forms. First, as a spice it adds both aromatic and warm, earthy tones to curries and other dishes. Secondly, turmeric is often used as a natural tint or dye to color everything from food to clothing to hair tints, skin creams, and other cosmetics. Third, turmeric has been found to have various medical applications and is currently under study for its role in treating a variety of physical ailments including wounds and infections, digestive disorders, and even cancer.

Like ginger, turmeric is a rhizome-a gnarly type of root that appears brownish on the outside, but is bright orange on the inside. When dried and made into a powder, turmeric is bright yellow in color. While fresh turmeric is available at some specialty cooking shops and Asian stores, normally it is the dried form that is used in Thai and other Asian cuisines. For example, turmeric is what gives Thai Yellow Curry its distinctive golden hue. At the same time, the spice lends this dish a distinctive flavor we instinctively recognize as “curry”-warm and fragrant, with slightly bitter overtones that are balanced out in Thai cooking with the saltiness of fish sauce, plus the richness and subtle sweetness of coconut milk. Turmeric is also used to “spice up” other Thai dishes, such as Thai Massaman Curry.

In ancient Southeast-Asian cultures, as well as in modern times, turmeric has been in demand as a dye or coloring agent. In Indian as well as certain Thai and other South-east Asian religious traditions, turmeric has been used for centuries to imbue holy robes and other clothing with color. In India and various parts of the East, women have been known to rub turmeric on their skin, both to enhance their appearance with a natural glowing color as well as to inhibit unwanted hair growth(!). In modern-day Thailand, one company is currently developing a skin cream offering the anti-inflammatory and skin enhancing properties of turmeric.

In Thailand, turmeric is also one of the main ingredients in a common spa treatment. A steam bath is created using a “tea” made of herbs and spices such as turmeric, lemongrass, tamarind, and bergamot. It is said to be an effective treatment for sore muscles, skin rashes, inflammation, respiratory ailments, and other ailments.

In fact, it is perhaps in medical applications more than in any other area that turmeric is now being touted as a rising star. Today turmeric is under study in the scientific community as well as in common use throughout various alternative and traditional medical disciplines. Turmeric is an antioxidant with strong anti-inflammatory capability. It can be used as a digestive agent, as well as a balm for wounds, burns, and deeper skin infections. More recently, curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been found to be effective in inhibiting cancer cells, including breast and prostate tumors. Curcumin is also currently under investigation as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease as well as liver disorders. These days, curcumin is often ingested by healthy individuals as a daily supplement to ward off disease (taken in capsule form), available at health food stores around the world.

However, there is perhaps a better, more enjoyable way to add the health benefits of turmeric to your diet. Instead of popping pills, many health care professionals advise eating one to three servings per week of an appetizing dish containing turmeric, such as Thai Yellow Curry.

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Thai Rice – For Life !

Shopping for rice these days can be as complicated as shopping for clothes: there are so many different types and colors available, it’s hard to know what to choose. But if you’ve ever sampled the various types of rice on the market-from Chinese short grain to Indian Basmati, Italian Arborio (used for “Risotto”), or even the Native North American Wild Rice-you would have to agree that Thai Jasmine Rice is one of the best-tasting, not to mention one of the most nutritional of all types of rice.

Thai rice is often sold in our local grocery stores or Asian stores as “Fragrant Rice”, “Jasmine Rice”, or “Scented Rice”. In Thailand, Thai rice is known as “Kao Hom Mali” (Jasmine-scented Rice), because of its naturally fragrant properties. With jasmine rice’s good-taste and high-quality, it’s no wonder that Thailand is the number one rice exporter in the world. In fact, if you were to venture via river boat out of Bangkok toward the Central Plains, you would see nothing but rice paddies for miles and miles, and the vibrant bright green of rice shoots growing.

In Thailand there is a well-known saying: “A meal without rice leaves the stomach empty”. It’s hard for those of us in the West to understand how important rice is to Thai people-even more important than bread or potatoes are to us. For the average Thai cook, rice comes first before any other dish or food type, and every Thai household will have a pot of warm steamed rice available to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even in between.

thai food : jasmine rice
thai recipe : steamed jasmine rice with panaeng curry

One advantageous property of Thai rice over other types is its ability to retain its moisture content, nutrition, and taste long after it has been cooked. Even after several days in the refrigerator, Thai rice is still moist and flavorful, making it an excellent choice for dishes that call for “day-old” rice (or rice that is several days old), such as fried rice or rice soup. It also makes for good-tasting, everyday leftovers.

For those who prefer an even healthier variety of rice, another option is “Thai Brown Rice” or “Thai Whole-grain Rice”. This is the same jasmine-scented rice, except that the bran covering has been left on the rice kernel, giving it extra fiber plus valuable vitamins that are normally lost in the milling process. Sometimes this type of rice is also sold under the name, “Cargo Rice”.

Another popular type of Thai rice is “Thai Glutinous Rice”, also known as “Thai Sweet Rice”. Mostly used for desserts, this type of rice is sticky and as elastic as wheat gluten (hence the name “glutinous”). Before cooking this type of rice, be sure to soak it for several hours or overnight, otherwise the hard outer shell of the rice kernel may not soften and you’ll be left with crunchy bits of rice instead of that lovely soft and sticky texture that has made Thai desserts famous around the world.

Thai Rice: Cooking Tips : By far the easiest way to cook Thai rice is with a rice cooker. Just follow the instructions that come with the cooker to make perfect rice every time. Or go by the ratio of 2 cups water to every 1 cup of rice. Then simply turn the rice cooker on and wait until the rice is done.

If cooking rice in a pot on the stove: You will need a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid. First, measure 2 cups of rice into the pot (this will feed 2-4 people). Add 3 + 1/2 cups water. Adding a pinch of salt is optional. Bring rice-water to a boil (stirring occasionally to loosen grains from the bottom of the pot). Once rice-water has started to bubble, partially-cover with the lid (leaving just enough room for steam to escape) and reduce heat to medium-low. There is no more need for stirring. Allow the rice to cook for about 20 minutes, or until all the water is gone. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner and cover completely with the lid. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes or more (until the rest of your Thai dishes are ready). Then fluff with a fork, and serve.

thai food : sticky rice
thai recipe : sticky rice with grilled pork

To cook brown rice, double the amount of water you would normally use for white rice (also double the cooking time). Then follow the same instructions (as written above) for white rice.

To reheat day-old rice (or rice that is several days old), place in a covered glass container and heat in the oven for 10-20 minutes (at 350-375 degrees). You can also reheat using a microwave; however, reheating in the oven preserves the rice’s valuable nutrients. If the rice is more than 2 days old, add 2 Tbsp. water and stir before reheating in order to sufficiently soften it.

As mentioned above, to cook Thai Glutinous Rice, soak the rice for several hours first, then cook in a rice cooker, or boil the same way you same way would for regular white rice at the ratio of 2:1 (2 cups water for 1 cup rice). Be sure to leave the lid on tight for at least 10 minutes after all the water has disappeared (this will make it soft and sticky). If you want to “mold” the rice for special desserts or snacks, place the pot (covered) in the refrigerator for an hour or two, or until cold-this will make the rice even stickier and more pliable.

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Thai Food in The Central

The Thai in the central plain prefer food with smooth and lasting taste with a touch of sweetness. The way the food is served is an art in itself. The dinning table is often decorated with carved vegetable and fruit. Cuisine of the central plain sometimes combines the best of the foods from various regions.

Rice is strictly the staple food for every family in the central region. There are on the average three to five dishes to go with rice. Typical are soup, gang som (chili vegetable soup), gang phed (Thai red curry), tom yam (spiced soup) and so on. Chili fried meat dishes are for instances, pad phed, panaeng, masaman, fried ginger and green pepper, Thai salads or yam are yam tua pu, salad with sliced roasted beef. Dishes that regular feature fin a Thai meal of the central region are vegetable, namprik (chili sauce), platoo (local herring), and perhaps omelette (Thai style), fried beef of roasted pork. On the whole Thai meal should meet protein and vitamin requirements with plenty to spare.

Traditional Methods of Serving : Thai Food of the Central Region The central plain of Thailand has always been known for its progress and advance in all areas of human activity, be it intellectual, technological or cultural.

thai food : chicken wings in red sauce
thai recipe : fried rice with prawnsk

The Thai in the central region have adopted spoon and fork and a common ditching spoon as the standard cutlery set for Thai meals. For affluent families, napkins simply folded or folded into various geometrical shapes are also to be seen depending also on individual family’s tradition and taste. Dishes, boiled rice and drinking water are laid on the dinning table and for the family which can afford the service of a maid, will be replenished by a waiting maid as the meal progresses. Less well to do families may do without shared spoons together, and family members take food from the dish by their own spoons.

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Thai Food of The North

Thai food of the north, in some way, is cooked with the sole thought for the taste for the northern people. The recipe consists of vegetable and ingredients available in their immediate vicinity. The common meal includes steamed glutinous rice, chili sauces which come in a host of varieties, such as “namprik noom”, “namprik dang”, “namprik ong” and chili soups (gang) such as gang hangle, gang hoh, gang kae. In addition there are also, local sausages such as sai ua, and nham; steamed meat, roasted pork, pork resin, fried pork, fried chicken and vegetable to go with them.

The northern people have penchant for medium cooked food with a touch of salty tastes almost to the exclusion of sweet and sour tastes. Meat preferred by the northern people is pork followed by beef, chicken, duck, bird etc. Sea food is the least known on account of the remoteness of the northern region from the sea.

Thai food of the north does not lack in varieties. These are dishes to be consumed at different times of the day. The northern breakfast known in the local dialect as khao gnai consisting mainly of steamed glutinous rice. Cooked in the early hours of the day, steamed glutinous rice is packed in a wicker basket made from bamboo splints or palmyra palm leaves. The farmer takes the packed basket to the working rice field and eat the glutinous rice as lunch, known in the dialect as “khao ton”. Dinner or “khoa lang” is an familiar affair is served on raised wooden tray or “kan toke”. The tray which is about 15 to 30 inches in diameter is painted in red.

thai food : traditional kantoke northern food
thai recipe : sticky rice with grilled pork

Traditional Method of Serving Northern Food : The northern people are known to follow their traditions in a very strict and faithful manner, in particular the tradition of serving and partaking of the evening meal. Food is placed in small cups placed on “kantoke” which could be an inlaid wooden or brass tray depending on the economic status of the house owner. Served together with “kantoke” is steamed glutinous rice that is the staple food of the northerner packed in a wicker basket. There is also a kendi containing drinking water nearby. Water is poured from the kendi to a silver drinking cup from which water is drunk. After the main course come desserts and local cigars to conclude the evening meal.

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Preparation is Everything

The importance of being earnestly ready The secret to successful Thai cooking lies in the preparation of ingredients ahead of time, as the actual cooking is fast and furious. Most Thai stir-fries (including noodle dishes) are cooked at high heats and for only a few minutes, which is what makes them particularly fresh and delicious. Another advantage of this method is that most of the nutrients remain in the food—vegetables, especially, maintain their vitamin content as well as their satisfying crunchiness.

When preparing Thai dishes, start with anything that requires grinding. This can be done the old-fashioned way with a pestle & mortar, or you can use a food processor (or a coffee grinder, if the ingredient to be ground is a dry spice, such as coriander seeds). Next, chop all vegetables and place them aside on the counter, keeping them separate according to their cooking order.

Lastly, chop up the meat (if using) or meat substitute (tofu or wheat gluten). Thai cooking requires a minimum of cooking tools and utensils. The wok is the primary cooking tool (a deep frying pan is a good substitute), used with wooden spoons or “shovels” (spatulas) to stir-fry ingredients. When purchasing a wok, look for high-quality stainless steel. If you prefer a non-stick coating, be sure only to use soft spatulas during cooking, as anything harder will scrape the surface off and into your food.

coconut milk
food preparation : chopped lemongrass + chilies

In Thailand, chefs commonly use coconut or peanut oils for stir-frying and deep-frying. Try these (I recommend buying organic oils for the highest nutritional benefits), or other heat-tolerant oils such as safflower, corn, sesame, and almond (or other nut oils). Before beginning to stir-fry, make sure your oil and all other ingredients—including sauces—are close by, as there won’t be time to look for anything once you start. For most stir-fries (including noodles), keep the heat on high to medium-high, as this ensures a good result. If the oil in your wok splatters, the heat may be too high, although usually this effect goes away as you continue to add more ingredients.

Lastly, have your serving platter clean and ready to go, and make sure those lucky people who’ll be enjoying your Thai meal are also nearby. Thai food is best when eaten fresh out of the wok.

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Cuisine of Thailand

Influence and Western popularity : Thai food is known for its enthusiastic use of fresh (rather than dried) herbs and spices as well as fish sauce. Thai food is popular in many Western countries especially in Australia, New Zealand, some countries in Europe such as the United Kingdom, as well as the United States, and Canada.

Serving : Instead of a single main course with side dishes found in Western cuisine, a Thai full meal typically consists of either a single dish or rice khao (Thai: ข้าว) with many complementary dishes served concurrently.

Rice is a staple component of Thai cuisine, as it is of most Asian cuisines. The highly prized, sweet-smelling jasmine rice is indigenous to Thailand. This naturally aromatic long-grained rice grows in abundance in the verdant patchwork of paddy fields that blanket Thailand’s central plains. Steamed rice is accompanied by highly aromatic curries, stir-frys and other dishes, incorporating sometimes large quantities of chillies, lime juice and lemon grass. Curries, stir-frys and others may be poured onto the rice creating a single dish called khao rad gang (Thai: ข้าวราดแกง), a popular meal when time is limited. Sticky rice khao neow (Thai: ข้าวเหนียว) is a unique variety of rice that contains an unusual balance of the starches present in all rice, causing it to cook up to a sticky texture. It is the daily bread of Laos and substitutes ordinary rice in rural Northern and Northeastern Thai cuisine, where Lao cultural influence is strong.
Noodles, known throughout parts of Southeast Asia by the Chinese name kwaytiow, are popular as well but usually come as a single dish, like the stir-fried Pad Thai (Thai: ผัดไทย) or noodle soups. Many Chinese cuisine are adapted to suit Thai taste, such as khuaytiow rue, a sour and spicy rice noodle soup.

There is a uniquely Thai dish called nam prik (Thai: น้ำพริก) which refers to a chile sauce or paste. Each region has its own special versions. It is prepared by crushing together chillies with various ingredients such as garlic and shrimp paste using a mortar and pestle. It is then often served with vegetables such as cucumbers, cabbage and yard-long beans, either raw or blanched. The vegetables are dipped into the sauce and eaten with rice. Nam prik may also be simply eaten alone with rice or, in a bit of Thai and Western fusion, spread on toast.

Thai food is generally eaten with a fork and a spoon. Chopsticks are used rarely, primarily for the consumption of noodle soups. The fork, held in the left hand, is used to shovel food into the spoon. However, it is common practice for Thais and hill tribe peoples in the North and Northeast to eat sticky rice with their right hands by making it into balls that are dipped into side dishes and eaten. Thai-Muslims also frequently eat meals with only their right hands.

thai recipe : spicy fish paste + fresh vegetables
thai stir-fried noodle with prawns

Often Thai food is served with a variety of spicy condiments to embolden dishes. This can range from dried chili pieces, or sliced chili peppers in rice vinegar, to a spicy chili sauce such as the nam prik mentioned above.
Ingredients : The ingredient found in almost all Thai dishes and every region of the country is nam pla (Thai น้ำปลา), a very aromatic and strong tasting fish sauce. Shrimp paste, a combination of ground shrimp and salt, is also extensively used.

Thai dishes in the Central and Southern regions use a wide variety of leaves rarely found in the West, such as kaffir lime leaves (Thai ใบมะกรูด). The characteristic flavour of kaffir lime leaves’ appears in nearly every Thai soup (e.g., the hot and sour Tom yam) or curry from those areas. It is frequently combined with garlic, galangal, lemon grass, turmeric and/or fingerroot, blended together with liberal amounts of various chillies to make curry paste. Fresh Thai basil is also used to add fragrance in certain dishes such as Green curry. Other typical ingredients include the small green Thai eggplants, tamarind, palm and coconut sugars, lime juice, and coconut milk. A variety of chilies and spicy elements are found in most Thai dishes.

Other ingredients also include pahk chee (cilantro), rahk pahk chee (cilantro roots), curry pastes, pong kah-ree (curry powder), si-yu dahm (dark soy sauce), gung haeng (dried shrimp), pong pa-loh (five-spice powder), tua fahk yao (long beans or yard-long beans), nahmahn hoi (oyster sauce), prik Thai (Thai pepper), rice and tapioca flour, and nahm prik pao (roasted chili paste).

Although broccoli is often used in Asian restaurants in the west in pad thai and rad na, it was never actually used in any traditional Thai food in Thailand and is still rarely seen in Thailand.

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