Thai food refers to the food eaten by the people of Thailand, a country in Southeast Asia. Thai food is characterized by light ingredients which are cooked along with aromatic herbs and spices. Thai cuisine is known for incorporating the five basic tastes present in food i.e. Hot, Sweet, Sour, Salty and Bitter in most of its dishes in a perfect manner. Pad Thai, a dish made using rice noodles, chicken and seafood. Tom Yam, a hot and sour soup is also very famous all around the world.
History of Thai Cuisine
Thai cuisine, though considered as one cuisine, it is a consolidation of the cuisines of India, China, Vietnam, Burma and also the Lao cuisine. The Royal Thai Cuisine a part of the cuisine of Thailand is said to have originated from the cuisine of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Regional sub-cuisines vary according to neighboring cuisines as well as the regional climate and terrain. It is believed that the Chinese introduced the wok and its use in stir-frying and deep-frying, to the Thai people.
Ingredients Commonly Used in Thai Recipes
Thai cuisine stresses on using fresh herbs and spices, rather than dried ones. Rice is a staple, and rice noodles are used in preparing a variety of Thai dishes. Fresh coconut, Coconut milk, lemon grass, Thai basil, Chinese cabbage, turmeric and pepper are just a few of the commonly used Thai ingredients.
Cooking Methods Adopted by the Thai Cuisine
Stir-frying, boiling and Deep-frying are the most popular methods for preparing most of the Thai food. The Thai cuisine includes various recipes for curries, stews and fried rice preparations that are prepared in a wok.
Thai Dishes Popular in Foreign Culture
Along with the highly popular green and red Thai curries, Tom Yum Goong and Tom Yum Gai, a hot and sour soup made using prawns and chicken respectively, along with other flavoring ingredients, is a dish which is highly sought after by foreigners who visit Thailand.
Traditional/Everyday/Fusion Thai Recipes
Traditional - Khao Phat and Khat Phat Khing are some of the traditional Thai main course items, whereas Chao Kuai and Khanom Chan are some traditional dessert preparations from Thailand.
Everyday- An everyday meal in Thailand would usually include either a single, wholesome dish made using Khao (rice), seafood chicken, fish and other ingredients along with a salad, or a dish made using rice or rice noodles, served along with various dishes accompanying it, such as a curry, soup or stew.
Fusion -Although most of the Thai food has been influenced with its neighboring cuisines, certain Thai food such as Nasi Goreng, Tom Yum soup and the extremely popular Thai green and red curries have been altered by Indian and American cuisines to create innovative new dishes.
Thai Cuisine- A Typical Meal
Breakfast menu in the Thai cuisine is not very elaborate. Breakfast generally comprises the same items which are consumed as main course. However, certain breakfast specific dishes are Chok, which is a porridge made using rice, and Khao Tom, a soup preparation made using rice, chicken and shrimps.
Lunch consists of standard courses like appetizers, soups salads, main course dishes, and desserts. A number of egg, vegetable and seafood dishes are served as appetizers. A few popular ones are Spring rolls, Vegetable dumplings, and Me Kroc( sweet and crisp Thai noodles ). A number of soups made of seafood, mushroom, vegetables, tofu and beef or chicken are served as the next course. A few popular Thai recipes for soups are those for Kang Some( a Thai styled shrimp soup with a tangy flavor), Tom Yum( a flavorful spiced chicken or shrimp soup ), Tom Ka Kai( a chicken stew dish cooked in a base of coconut milk . Lime juice, lemon grass and galangal root are the other ingredients of this soup that impart to it its distinctive taste ) and Tofu soup( a simple yet nutritious soup made of bean curd.).
The Thai Cuisine has a range of interesting salads. Some Tom is a delicious boiled shrimp soup made vegetables like papaya, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes with onion and or/ scallion seasonings. Yum Nuka is a broiled beef soup made with including tomatoes and cucumber and seasoned with scallions and onions and flavored with chili powder. Yum Wonsan is a salad made with bean threads including ground chicken and seafood with onion, scallion and tomato seasonings, and lime juice for a sourish taste. The Thai foods included in the main course menu are mostly rice and noodle dishes with vegetables and meat accompaniments. Pad Rard Nais a rice noodle main course dish which is accompanied by gravy made from bean sauce and broccoli. Pad Thai is a very famous main course rice noodle dish made with shrimp and chicken with peanuts, egg , bean sprouts and egg with seasonings. Mongolian beef is a delicious stir-fried beef dish that is served with rice or pasta. A variety of ice creams or fried bananas are served as desserts.
Thai Food for dinner may popularly include Tom Yum Kung a tangy hot soup made of shrimp, a sweet sour cabbage salad, and different varieties of famous Satays of Thailand. Steamed Rice is a favorite main course dish of many Thai people , though noodles may also be served. The dinner menu is completed with desserts or drinks like the much-famed Thai Iced Tea or Singha Beer.
Thai Cuisine- Famous Chefs
Sompon Nabnian is one of the famous chefs of the Thai cuisine, along with the well known food critic, Samak Sundaravej.
Health Benefits of Thai Foods
Thai food is known to have numerous health benefits. As the herbs and spices used in preparing Thai dishes are fresh (e.g. turmeric, coriander, galangal, lemon grass etc.), Thai food is known to have a positive effect on the immune system, due to the presence of such ingredients.
Thai Cuisine Trivia
Thai food is often eaten by making edible tools out of sticky rice which are pressed and shaped into round, flat balls which can be dipped in the side dishes and eaten. Another unique feature of the Thai cuisine is that chunks of cucumber are often eaten along with extremely spicy dish, as it helps cool down the mouth.