How to make your Thai dishes more authentic!
February 24, 2007 1:48am CST
There are a lot of Americanized versions of Thai recipes out there, which have altered recipes with the Western palate or cooking style in mind. A lot of people simply don't know how to use the more common ingredients in Thai cooking, so I'll try to make it easy for you. Peanut sauce: Thais don't use it. Don't buy it. Instead, simply get some peanuts, put them in a plastic bag and crush them until they are in very small pieces, and sprinkle it on the dish. But what about the sauce? Read on. Sauce for Pad Thai: It's extremely easy to make. You'll need a can of Tamarind paste, which you can find at many health food or Asian stores. Also, any kind of non white sugar. Brown sugar is ok, but raw sugar is better. Fish sauce. You can get it at many health food or Asian stores as well. Just put a cup of warm water in a decent sized bowl, add a tablespoon (or slightly less) of the tamarind paste, a tablespoon or so of sugar and a tablespoon of fish sauce. Stir it until the tamarind paste and sugar are dissolved. Takes less than 5 minutes! Use the sauce for boiling the noodles, instead of water. Better to do it in a wok, if you have one. Kaffir lime leaves: they can be hard to find, but there's really no substitute for them. Regular lime leaves won't do it. See if your local asian market has them. They're usually kept frozen. Lemongrass: it's for flavoring, not to be eaten! Many dishes call for it, and all you have to do is cut them into pieces about 2 or 3 inches long (just the white part), and bruise them using the flat edge of your knife. You can tie them in a knot for easy extraction once you're done cooking. Mae Ploy curry paste: I know, you don't want to or don't have the time to make your own curries from scratch. If you want the most authentic curries for your Thai dishes, try to find the cans of Mae Ploy curry. They are the best thing I have ever tasted next to freshly made. You can get Red, Green, Yellow, Massaman, and Panang curries from them. Again, check your health food store or Asian market. Chilis: The tiny Thai chilis can be hard to find, so I often use serrano chilis as a substitute. So many recipes say to remove the seeds when you cut up the chili. However, if you like your dishes spicy like I do, keep 'em in! That's where the heat is! If you can find Thai chilis, remember to put them in whole for flavoring so they're easy to pick out. You don't want to eat one of them whole! Remember, if you're using a curry, it already has those things ground into it, so the whole ones are just for extra flavor. Coriander leaf: It's cilantro. Exact same thing. If the recipe calls for coriander leaf, you now know what to buy. I hope this helps!
• United States
24 Feb 07
You know what also goes great with a green curry, sticky rice. A big bowl of sticky rice and sauces to dip it into to. :) You can get the Thai chilies at Sunrise, that's where i always get mine at. XD As for fish sauce, thank goodness it tastes good when used in dishes because it smells like dirty dirty things. o_O I have the urge to cook something up this weekend now.