Nailing that authentic recipe comes down to achieving the perfect balance between these four essential flavors of Thai cuisine:
SALTY: fish sauce, shrimp paste
SPICY: chillies, pepper
SOUR: lime, tamarind
SWEET: palm sugar, fruits
Every dish in Thai cuisine incorporates at least two of these – sometimes all four. One flavour may be dominant, but the others will be there too, like notes in a chord. That’s what makes Thai food so interesting.
Herbs & spices
Herbs and spices are probably the most peculiar feature of Thai dishes. Almost every dish presents one or more herbs and spices. The leaves of the kaffir lime are used in many soups like tom yam or curries from central areas. Kaffir lime leaves are usually combined with galangal and lemongrass, giving the dish a fresh and aromatic flavor.
Thai basil is used to add fragrance to green curries, and other common herbs are coriander, spearmint, holy basil, ginger, turmeric, and many more. Larb is an elaborate mix of spices that includes cumin, cloves, long pepper, star anise, and cinnamon.
Among other leaves used in Thai cuisine, we can find the cha-om (acacia leaves). They can be used for omelets, soups and curries, while banana leaves are mostly used for parcelling up certain kinds of food. Banana flowers, finally, are used in salads or in curries.
Five different types of chili are used in Thai cooking; the smaller the chili, the hotter the flavor. The smallest one is the phrik khi nu suan; the bigger ones are mostly used as vegetables.
If you’re craving for some Thai dish, come and see what we have here in Yummy Thai! You’ll surely be delighted in our wide range of Thai dishes. Aroi mak mak!