Authentic Thai Cuisine uses a mixture of different seasonings, fresh ingredients, and spices to create a burst of sublime flavors. The balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors is what transforms a typical dish into Thai cuisine. Here are some of the common ingredients used in Thai dishes.
Fish sauce may not sound appealing, but it adds a salty and spicy kick to your food. It is known as ‘nam pla’ in Thai and is made from fermented anchovies. Many dipping sauces use fish sauce as a base along with other ingredients. It is also used to season dishes like Phad Thai and other stir-fried foods. Fish sauce is ubiquitous in Thai cooking.
Authentic Thai Cuisine is generally spicy because of fresh or dried chilis in the dishes. They are usually fried in oil with garlic before adding other ingredients. You can also use chili paste, which has garlic, salt, oil, and chili pepper. Chili is common in salad dressings, stir-fries, soups, and dipping sauces. Unfortunately, if you don’t like spicy food, you will have to forgo this flavorful ingredient.
Coconut milk is a sweet ingredient used in many Thai curries and stews. It tones down the heat in food with its creamy sweetness. Coconut milk is made from coconut meat by squeezing out the oils using warm water. While canned coconut milk is widely available, the fresh version is much more nutritious and flavorful. Palm sugar also adds extra sweetness to food, alongside coconut milk.
Lime juice is added to almost every Thai dish, including salads, fried rice, and grilled meats. It adds a citrusy and floral aroma to soups and curries and helps tone down the spiciness of the food. If you don’t have limes, you can add lime leaves to your food when cooking.
Thai cuisine isn’t complete without fresh herbs. Mint, cilantro, Thai basil, and coriander add distinctive and fresh flavors to salads, curries, and fried rice.