Thai Food Recipes
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What I like about Thai food is the variety of colors and textures.  Next for me is the richness of the flavors that come from the many herbs and spices used in Thai cooking.  This is not my mother’s meatloaf recipe! Like many other cuisines, the origins of Thai cooking much depend on geography.  Thailand’s neighbors include Burma, China, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia to the south and all greatly influence Thai cooking.  In southern Thailand, coconut milk and turmeric form the base of Thai curries, an influence from southern India.  Dishes from the north often are made with fresh lime juice.  Noodles and soy seasonings plus the use of the wok for stir frying and deep frying Thai food comes from China. The most common ingredient found in almost all Thai dishes and every region of the country is fish sauce (nam pla), a very strongly flavored fermented and salted fish (usually anchovy) concoction.  I don’t care for its taste and smell right from the bottle, but I love how it transforms food in my Thai recipes.  I like to call it the ketchup of Thailand since it is so common and is often placed on a Thai table for use as a condiment. The most common herbal flavorings I encounter in my Thai recipes are fresh cilantro, lemongrass, Thai basil and mint leaves.  Other recipes will include garlic, ginger, galangal, tamarind, turmeric, onions, Kaffir lime leaves and certainly the fiery hot chilies that Thai cuisine is famous for. Since Thailand is a great rice growing nation of the world, the noodles in Pad Thai and other dishes are made from rice flour instead of wheat and eggs.  I think that rice noodles feel more light and delicate and make Thai noodle dishes very different from western and even other Asian foods.  Thai jasmine rice is very aromatic and is indigenous to Thailand.  I buy it in 20 pound bags from my local Thai grocery store.  Steamed rice is served along with most Thai entrées, and is especially useful in mopping up any leftover sauces from your meal. My kids favorite Thai recipe is for my Chicken Satay.  It calls for no exotic ingredients and is simple to make.  Since this is a grilling recipe, the most challenging part of this recipe is not to overcook the chicken.  The Thai national dish is Pad Thai:  rice noodles tossed in a wok with with lots of fish sauce plus some sugar, lime juice or tamarind with some finely chopped peanuts and egg for a garnish.  You can make this popular dish with chicken, pork, seafood or tofu. Thai curries are an important part of Thai cuisine.  You can try your hand at making your own Thai curry from scratch to see how it is done, and you can also try the easy way of making Thai curry from a small can of curry paste with my Panang curry recipe. I learned many of my Thai recipes in a Thai cooking class.  The class was taught in a Thai restaurant, so I could have a chance to duplicate my favorite authentic Thai restaurant dishes.  After the class, the teacher took us on a tour of the Asian grocery next door, where we learned all about the right ingredients to buy to make our dishes turn out right.  I talk about those same ingredients on my Thai recipe pages.
I started going to Thai restaurants in the 1980’s and it is still my favorite cuisine today.  To me it seems more exotic than Chinese cooking and lighter than Indian fare.  Like those cuisines, if you want to you may pick the most fiery hot spicy dishes you will ever taste.  But when you get to know Thai cooking you will find that there are plenty of dishes which balance sweet, spicy, sour, salty and bitter flavors.