Thai Cuisine is known for its use of herbs, spices, and other fragrant ingredients. One of the major parts of becoming better at making Thai dishes is to understand how these ingredients blend together to create a more complex flavour and aroma profile. This is something that Thai people have perfected hundreds of years ago and it’s still alive and well today. For example, the use of aromatics such as shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger are beautifully integrated into almost every Thai dish. When combined with the other ingredients, it creates completely distinct flavours and textures that no other cuisine in the world can match.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the principles of Thai cooking that you should be aware of so that you can craft a true masterpiece. With that said, let’s get to it:
Keep the sauces handy
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.
Similar to Chinese cooking, Thai cuisine is all about seasoning sauces. You have to familiarize yourself with the different sauces to understand how they are used in Thai cooking and how the Thai people perceive them. For example, both light soy sauce and fish sauce are used to add saltiness to the dish, but they are not used in the same context. Fish sauce is typically used for dishes that need a strong aroma to help to create a more distinct profile. You wouldn’t see Thai people splashing soy sauce into their noodle soup or tom yum soups, but they will use it to flavour their eggs.
Speaking of soy sauce, there is also a wide variety of them that you need to be aware of, as they aren’t used in the same way. For example, dark soy sauce is used to season dry noodles and chicken rice while light soy sauce is used more for Chinese-inspired Thai dishes such as fried rice and pad see iw.
Be prepared to take on all the vegetables
Thai people are never seen without some greens on their plates, so if you want to get better at making Thai dishes, you have to understand how vegetables are used in Thai cuisine. Most western dishes that you will think of when it comes to vegetables are salads, but when it comes to Thai cooking, there are so many more options. For example, pad puk or stir-fried veggies are among the most popular dishes in Thailand, as there are so many varieties you can go for. Additionally, soup dishes like gang jeud and various curries are also packed with vegetables such as pumpkin, mushrooms, Thai eggplants, and turkey berries. The greens are an integral part of Thai cooking, so you should never overlook their importance.
Get used to natural ingredients
Traditional Thai cooking doesn’t use much plastic or tinfoil, as everything is done using banana leaves, rock salt, and hay instead. You will find many baked and roasted dishes in Thailand that use these as an alternative for the more modern cooking materials. Not only are these ingredients easy to find, but they also don’t leave behind such significant carbon footprints, making them a much more sustainable alternative.
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