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Delight Your Tastebuds with Thai Food

Thai cuisine is one of the most enticing in the world. The words bland and tasteless will be blown away from your vocabulary, and you will have an amazingly different perspective of spicy and flavorful. If you are wary of Thai food because of the penchant of Thai people for spicy flavors, I suggest you discard your wariness. While they do have some of the most fiery of dishes, they also have a lot of other dishes that cater to more sensitive tastebuds. Either way, there is something in Thai cuisine that will delight everyone.

Thai Food

Pad Thai

Some time ago, a reader pointed us to a nifty infographic showcasing the best of Thai food. For sure, you are familiar with some of them. To be honest, I am mostly familiar with the dishes from the central part of the country, but I would not hesitate to try out the food from the other regions.

If you want to explore Thai food, take a look at these dishes, which are outlined in the Thai food roadmap infographic.

Khao Soi

Thai Noodle Curry Soup

Khao Soi

Also known as Kao Soi, this dish is from the northern part of Thailand. You might be familiar with Chiang Mai, which is the area known for its majestic elephants and the efforts of locals and visitors alike to keep them safe. When it comes to food, Khao Soi reigns in this region.

Khao Soi is a curry-based noodle dish. It has both soft and crunchy noodles, as well as chicken or beef. Here is a recipe for Khao Soi.1

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste or 2 tablespoons panang curry paste
  • 3/4 lb boneless chicken, cut in big bite-sized chunks or 3/4 lb boneless beef such as tri-tip steak or 3/4 lb flank steak, thinly sliced crosswise into 2-inch strips
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric or 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce or 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 lb fresh Chinese noodles or 1/2 lb dried Chinese noodles or 1/2 lb angel hair pasta or 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped shallot
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion

Preparation

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and then add the garlic. Toss well and add the red curry paste, mashing and stirring to soften it in the oil, about 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook 1 to 2 minutes, tossing now and then to brown it evenly and mix it with the curry paste.
  2. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, turmeric, soy sauce, sugar and salt and stir well. Bring to a gentle boil and adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer. Cook about 10 minutes until meat is cooked through.
  3. Stir in lime juice, remove from heat and cover to keep curry warm while you prepare the noodles.
  4. Cook the noodles in a large pot of rapidly boiling water until tender but still firm, as little as 2 minutes for fresh noodles and 7 minutes or more for dried. Drain, rinse well in cold water, drain again and divide the noodles among individual serving bowls. Ladle on hot curry, and sprinkle each serving with the shallots, cilantro and green onions. Serve hot and garnish with crunchy noodle nests as noted in description if using.

Som Tum

Thai Papaya Salad

Som Tum

The name Som Tum may not ring any bells, but I am willing to bet that you have heard of this dish before. You might even have tried it! Does Thai Papaya Salad bring back delicious memories? That’s what Som Tum is, basically. This salad is from the northeastern part of Thailand and is very popular in and outside of the country.

To make Som Tum, or Thai Papaya Salad, you of course need green papaya, and a few other vegetables such as snake beans (green beans will do), bean sprouts, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber. Depending on the specific recipe, the ingredients will vary. This particular recipe for Som Tum is very easy to make and will give you a great starter or side dish in a few minutes.

If you want some meat in your salad, you can add chicken. Some people even add crab. Also, don’t forget to throw in some chili in the mix if you want a little kick. Here’s another easy recipe for Chicken Som Tum.

Pad Thai

Thai food

Pad Thai

I could be wrong, but I think that Pad Thai is the most popular Thai dish in the world. I have to say that in every Thai restaurant I have been to, Pad Thai is always on the menu. Pad Thai is made of egg/rice noodles which are stir fried together with eggs, fish sauce, tamarind juice, chili pepper, bean sprouts, chicken, tofu, and shrimp. It is one awesome tasting dish which can be eaten for lunch or dinner. I think that when I was in Bangkok, I even ate it for breakfast once!

As with practically any other dish, there are countless variations to Pad Thai. Here’s one version that takes less than an hour to make and requires rice noodles instead of egg noodles: Pad Thai.

If you can’t get enough of shrimp just like I can’t, this Pad Thai with Shrimp recipe will suit you better. Use more shrimp if you want a heartier dish! Alternatively, add some chicken into the mix with this Pad Thai with Chicken and Shrimp recipe.

Of course, we can’t forget our friends who do not eat meat. For them, this Vegetarian Pad Thai will be perfect. To add some texture and protein, tofu is used.

Tom Yam

Thai hot and sour soup

Tom Yam

Tom Yam is another Thai dish that is well-recognized around the world. It is also spelled Tom Yum, which I like better, simply because it gives you – and correctly so – an idea of just how yummy this soup is.

No idea what Tom Yam is? Think Thai hot and sour soup! This soup will definitely keep you warm on a cold winter night. And even if you don’t need warming up, Tom Yam is absolutely delicious. Tom Yam has a lot of variations as well, with differences found in the soup base and the meat/seafood included. One thing is for sure: this soup can burn your tongue.

Here are some recipes for Tom Yum to try out:

Thai Food Roadmap

Here is the infographic I was telling you about. Check out the other signature dishes of Thai regions, and make sure you pay attention to the spice levels as well!

Thai food infographic

Thai Food Roadmap

Thai Food Roadmap via Exotissimo
Food photos via chiujason, Food.com, Supatra, Andy Ciorda, Your Haunness

  1. Source: Food.com []

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