There are plenty of options when it comes to Asian cuisine and Thai food is one of the most popular types! There are many reasons why Thai food is so loved, including the fact that it’s filled with flavor. While the majority of dishes are spicy, there are plenty of options that aren’t as hot, allowing everyone a chance to enjoy such an amazing cuisine. Thai food offers a lot of nutritional value without being very calorically dense, too, which is another reason why it’s a favorite.
Thai Food Basics
There are quite a few basics when it comes to Thai cuisine. Here are a few things you’ll typically find on a menu at a Thai restaurant:
- Noodles are a prominent staple of Thai food. You’ll find various dishes with noodles (mainly in stir fry form, such as Pad Thai). Many times, noodles are coupled with lean protein, veggies, and herbs, making for a delicious and hearty meal your taste buds will appreciate.
- Soups are often seen on menus in Thai restaurants and usually contain noodles, veggies, and meat. They are often spicy, but there are a few non-spicy options for people with sensitive taste buds.
- Curries also an important menu staple in Thai cuisine, which is a stew made with coconut milk and spices. You’ll find menus might differ in the type of curries offer, but they are always filled with flavor and very hearty.
- BBQ items are also seen on Thai menus and usually, consist of steamed or fried seafood options.
You’ll notice that many Thai dishes contain lots of veggies. Thai fried rice contains fresh peas, garlic, green onions, and carrots, while Pad Thai is made using green onions, shallots, and crunchy bean sprouts. Tom Yum soup has mushrooms, lemongrass, tomatoes and lots of green onions for a filling meal. Not only do veggies add tons of texture and color to Thai dishes, but it also adds nutrients for such delicious dishes!
Thai food is also always fresh and never frozen, which only adds to its overall flavor. Everything is simple and wholesome, given staples include rice, noodles or soups, which means you’ll practically never have stomach problems when choosing to consume Thai cuisine.
Overall, Thai food offers the ideal balance of flavors, adding authenticity to the menu options. You’ll never find a dull Thai dish, which is why it’s such a popular cuisine for foodies. Although many prefer to go out and eat at a Thai restaurant, some enjoy replicating such delicious Thai flavors at home and you can, too! Here are a few recipes of the most beloved Thai dishes you can make at home:
Pad Thai is a staple of Thai food, and is an easy dish to make at home!
- Pad Thai sauce (whisk together soy sauces, lime juice, crushed red pepper flakes, Tamarind Concentrate, brown sugar, and fish sauce)
- Pad Thai noodles
- Oil of any kind (olive, avocado, peanut, etc.)
- A protein of your choice (chicken, beef, shrimp, etc.)
- Veggies like bean sprouts, shredded carrots or any other stir-fry veggies you love!
- Green onions
- Toppings like chopped peanuts, fresh lime wedge or extra crushed red chili flakes
- First, make the Pad Thai sauce by combining all the aforementioned ingredients and put aside.
- Cook the noodles per the instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water and toss in some oil to prevent any sticking.
- Cook the protein by sautéing the chicken, shrimp or beef until it’s cooked through.
- Cook the veggies by sautéing them with the oil of your choice.
- Cook the eggs after the veggies are done. Push them aside on the pan and then scramble the eggs on the other side.
- Put everything together in one pan! Then toss it all and finish with your desired toppings. Serve and enjoy your homemade Pad Thai!
Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)
You’ll find that this spicy shrimp soup is the quintessential Thai aroma that’s bold and very refreshing!
- 4 cups of shrimp stock, water or chicken stock
- Medium-sized shrimp (head and shell on if you’d like)
- Kaffir lime leaves that have been cut or roughly torn
- Lemongrass stalk that’s been smashed and cut into 2” pieces
- 8 rounds of galangal that have been thinly sliced
- Thai chilies that are bruised and cut into big pieces
- ½ cup of lime juice
- 3 tbsp of fish sauce
- 2 tsp of sugar
- 3 tbsp of Thai chili paste if you like your soups spicy
- 3 cups of oyster mushrooms that are cut into bite-sized pieces
- Cilantro for garnish
- Combine the lemongrass, stock, kaffir lime leaves, chilies and galangal to a pot and bring to a boil for about 4 minutes.
- Once it’s done simmering, add in the oyster mushrooms and bring to a boil.
- Add in the shrimp and let the soup bubble again before turning off the heat. Let the pot sit on the burner so that the residual heat can cook the shrimp thoroughly.
- Add in the fish sauce, lime juice, chili paste, and sugar. Adjust seasoning to your liking so make sure to taste.
- Finish with cilantro leaves if desired.
You can actually turn it into a Kuay Tiew Tom Yum by simply pouring the delicious and hearty soup over rice noodles to have your very own pho-style dish that is just as scrumptious of the soup on its own.
*It’s important to note that the galangal, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass aren’t supposed to be eaten and are supposed to be left in the soup as a garnish. They are very tough and hard to eat. You can also remove all these herbs before you serve it to your guests!