As exotic as Thai food tastes and as expansive as your typical Thai restaurant’s menu is, Thai food is not particularly difficult to prepare. In fact, Thai food recipes are quite straightforward (provided you can get the proper ingredients or suitable substitutes. Although many Thai ingredients may be difficult to obtain outside of Thailand, many recipes indicate substitutes and with some experimentation you may find a creative substitute that makes the dish a unique creation of your own. Armed with the ingredients and a recipe, the only other things you should have are the proper instruments, such as a wok and a mortar and pestle (if you wish to make your own chili paste or spicy salad.)

Kai Yang (Grilled chicken): Ingredients: 620 grm. Coconut cream; 173 grm. Milk; 120 grm. Sugar; 30 grm. Salt; 9 grm. Turmeric powder; 25 grm. Minced coriander root; 25 grm. Ground pepper; 75 grm. Maggi sauce; 30 grm. Chili sauce. Preparation: 1) Mix coconut cream, milk, sugar, and salt together, and then add ground pepper, Maggi sauce, and chili sauce. 2) Put in coriander root, and ground garlic and marinate them in the chicken. 3) Marinate chicken for at least 2 hrs. 4) Grill over medium hear for 20-25 minutes or roast at 180 degree celcius for 20 minutes. 5) Serve with sticky rice and green papaya salad.

Khao Niao Nueng (Steamed sticky rice): Ingredients: 1 kilogram. Uncooked sticky rice. Preparation: 1) Rinse sticky rice and soak overnight. 2) Dry it, and then put the sticky rice on a sheet cloth and steam for 30 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir it.

Kai Ho Bai Toei (Deep-fried honeyed chicken with sesame wrapped in pandanus leaves): Ingredients: 1kg. Diced chicken thigh; 2tbsp. Coriander root, garlic, pepper powder; 2tbsp. Falcon cream, 35 percent fat; 2tbsp. Maggi sauce; 2tbsp. Kikoman sauce; 2tbsp. Chili sauce; 2tbsp. Oyster sauce; 2tbsp. Worcestershire sauce; 1tbsp. Sweet black bean sauce; 1tbsp. Black bean sauce; 2tbsp. White sugar; 1tbsp. Sesame oil; 1tbsp. Corn flour. Preparation: Marinate 1 hour before wrapping in pandanus leaf. Ingredients for sauce: 10 grm. Glucose; 10 grm. Palm suger; 2 tbsp. Sweet black bean sauce; 2 tbsp. Black bean sauce; 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce; 1 tbsp. Tomato sauce; 1 tbsp. Chili sauce; 1 tbsp. Maggi sauce

Recipes for Thai Curry Dishes

Gang Keo Wan (Thai Green Curry). Typically gang keo wan (Thai green curry) is prepared with beef, though chicken, pork, or fish can be substituted. This dish also lends itself well to vegetarians, who may add different vegetables, such as carrot or zucchini. As a mild curry, the level of spiciness can be adjusted up or down to taste. Ingredients: Beef 400 g (around 1lb); Green Curry Paste 3 tbsp; Coconut Milk 2 ½ cups; Thai Eggplants 5 quartered; Red Spur Chilies 2-3 sliced diagonally; Kaffir Lime Leaves 2 torn; Sweet Basil Leaf ¼ cup (optional); Fish or Soy Sauce 1 ½ tbsp; Palm Sugar 1 ½ tsp; Cooking Oil 1 tbsp (corn; safflower; or peanut oil); Sweet Basil Leaves and Red chili slices for garnish. Preparation: 1) Prepare beef by slicing into strips around 1/3” (3cm) in width. 2) Over medium heat, sauté green curry paste in oil until fragrant. 3) Reduce heat and gradually add 1 ½ cups coconut milk until green oil appears. 4) Add beef and kaffir lime leaves, cooking for 3 minutes or until beef is cooked. 5) Transfer to a pot and gradual bring to a boil with remaining coconut milk, palm sugar, and fish sauce. 6) Once boiling add eggplants and cook until tender. 7) Once eggplants are cooked, turn off heat and add sweet basil and red chilies.

Phanaeng prawn (curry with lychee and prawns): Ingredients for phanaeng sauce: 2 litres Coconut cream; 600 ml. Pre-cooked coconut milk; 340 ml. Hot water; 200 grm. Phanaeng paste; 234 grm. Fish sauce; 114 grm. Palm sugar. Preparation: 1) Heat coconut cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Add water, stir until creamy. 2) Add phanaeng paste until fragrant, and then season with fish sauce and palm sugar. 3) Add coconut milk, and cook until boiling. Ingredients for phanaeng 170 grm. Phanaeng sauce; 10 grm. Ground peanuts; 110 grm. Tiger prawn; Basil leaves; 3 pcs. Fresh lychee. Preparation: 1) Boil phanaeng curry sauce. Add deep-fried tiger prawns. Stir and add ground peanuts and basil leaves with lychee.

Tot Man Pla (Deep-fried curried fish patties): Ingredients: 120 grm. Thai red curry paste; 35 grm. Fish sauce; 13 grm. Palm sugar; 2 grm. Peppercorn (crushed); 70 grm. Eggs; 1 kilogram. Fish paste; 160 grm. Wing bean (cut); 10 grm. Kaffir lime leaves (thinly sliced); 40 grm. Sweet basil (sliced). Preparation: 1) Put Thai red curry paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, peppercorn, eggs, and fish paste together; stir until well blended and it becomes sticky. 2) Add wing bean, kaffir lime leaves, and sweet basil. 3) Shape into balls and then make them flat, and round. 4) Deep-fry the curry fish paste in the hot cooking oil until they become evenly golden brown. 5) Garnish with kaffir lime leaves and serve with cucumber sauce.

Kaeng Phet Pet Yang (Red roasted duck curry): Ingredients of red curry sauce: 66.5 grm. Red curry paste; 165 grm. Hot water; 500 grm. Pre-cooked coconut cream; 665 grm. Boiled coconut milk; 78 grm. Fish sauce; 31.5 grm. Palm sugar. Preparation: -1) Mix coconut cream with hot water, and heat over medium heat until oil separates. 2) Then add the paste. Stir and season with fish sauce and palm sugar. 3) Add coconut milk and boil. Ingredients: 350 grm. Red curry sauce; 150 grm. Roasted duck; 4 grm. Shredded red chili; 10 grm. Green bell pepper; 1 grm. Shredded kaffir lime leaves; 5 grm. Seedless Chinese dried plum, boiled with red curry sauce; 8 grm. Seedless green grapes; 6 grm. Basil leaves. Preparation: 1) Warm red curry sauce and add sliced grilled duck, Chinese plums, and green grapes. 2) Before serving, garnish with shredded red chili, kaffir lime leaves, and basil leaves.

Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai (Green chicken curry with eggplant): Ingredients for green curry sauce: 500 grm. Thick coconut milk; 165 grm. Hot water; 66 grm. Green curry paste; 78 grm. Fish sauce; 31 grm. Palm sugar; 665 grm. Thin coconut milk; 450 grm. Sliced chicken thigh; 180 grm. Round eggplant (quartered); 30 grm. Pea eggplant; 15 grm. Green pepper corns; 15 grm. Long green bell pepper, shredded; 9 grm. Big red chilies, shredded; 20 grm. Sweet basil leaves (bai horapha); 3 grm. Lesser galangal roots, shredded; 3 grm. Kaffir lime leaves, shredded; Preparation: 1) Heat thick coconut milk over medium high heat; leave it to reduce until coconut oil comes to the surface. Add hot water. 2) Add green curry paste to stir-fry until fragrant. Season with fish sauce, palm sugar. 3) Add the chicken thigh to stir-fry, and then add round eggplants (quartered), pea eggplants. Keep stirring until cooked. 4) Add thin coconut milk and keep boiling. Mix in the green pepper corns, long green bell pepper, big red chilies, sweet basil leaves (bai horapha), lesser galangal, kaffir lime leaves. Leave it to boil again.

Recipes for Thai Soups

Tom Kha Gai (Thai coconut chicken soup). One of the tastiest and easiest Thai foods to prepare, tom kha simply requires fresh lemongrass –dried galangal and packaged coconut milk will still produce a decent soup. While technically a soup, it is typically served with rice and eaten like a curry, ladled over the rice and then eaten. Ingredients: Dried Galangal Slices 2-3 pcs; Lemon Grass (fresh) 2 pcs; Garlic 1 clove; Tamarind Paste 1 pinch; Fresh Chilies 3-4; Fish or Soy Sauce to taste; Chicken ½ lb; Coconut milk 13.5 oz can. Preparation: 1) Boil 1 cup of water with galangal, lemon grass, garlic, and tamarind for 2-3 minutes. 2) Add chicken (pre-cut into 2” pieces) to boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes. 3) Add coconut milk and return to boil. Boil for 3 minutes. 4) Add fish sauce (1tbsp), soy sauce, and 2 slices of white onion. Boil for one minute. 5) Remove from heat and serve with rice.

Tom Kha Kai (Coconut milk chicken soup with galangal): For the coconut milk broth: 75 grm. Galangal roots, crushed; 50 grm. Lemongrass, crushed; 3 grm. Kaffir lime leaves; 10 grm. Coriander roots; 1425 grm. (1 1/2 liter) Hot water; 525 grm. (1/2 liter) Thick coconut milk; 100 grm. Fish sauce; 100 grm. Lime juice. Preparation: 1) Heat hot water, and thick coconut milk together over high heat; add the galangal roots, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coriander roots, and bring to a boil. 2) Strain the mixture, season with fish sauce and lime juice. Continue boiling. For the coconut milk chicken soup: 980 grm. Coconut milk broth (from above); 400 grm. Chicken thigh, cut or sliced into bite pieces size; 12 grm. Galangal roots, shredded; 8 grm. Lemongrass, thinly sliced; 2 grm. Kaffir lime leaves, shredded; 96 grm. Straw mushrooms, halved and boiled; 4 grm. Bird's eye chilies, crushed; 100 grm. Thick coconut milk, boiled; 30 grm. Fish sauce (optional). Preparation: -1) Heat coconut milk broth over high heat, add the chicken thigh, galangal roots, lemongrass, and straw mushrooms; bring to a boil. 2) Add boiled thick coconut, milk and season with fish sauce. (If more flavor is prefered, then add the bird's eye chilies.) 3) Add the kaffir lime leaves, just before removing from heat. 4) Drop in some chili paste oil and garnish with coriander leaves and shredded big red chilies.

Tom Yam Kung (spicy blue river prawn soup with lemongrass and straw mushrooms): For the prawn stock: 400 grm. Prawn heads; 1900 grm. Water; 40 grm. Galangal roots, crushed; 20 grm. Lemongrass, crushed; 10 grm. Coriander roots, crushed; 2 pcs. Kaffir lime leaves. Preparation: Mix the prawn heads, plain water, galangal roots, lemongrass, coriander roots, and kaffir lime leaves and boil together for stock, and then strain. For the spicy prawns soup: 1440 grm. Prawn stock (from above); 40 grm. Chili paste; 12 grm. Galangal roots, shredded; 12 grm. Lemongrass, thinly sliced; 1 grm. Kaffir lime leaves, shredded; 132 grm. Straw mushrooms, halved and boiled; 108 grm. Fish sauce; 56 grm. Lime juice; 256 grm. Blue river prawns, shelled, deveined, and cleaned (8 pcs.); 8 grm. Bird's eye chilies, crushed; Preparation: - Heat prawn stock over high heat. Add galangal roots, lemongrass, straw mushrooms and blue river prawns; bring to a boil. Preparation: 1) Season with chili paste, fish sauce, and lime juice. 2) Add the kaffir lime leaves and bird's eye chilies. 3) Garnish with coriander leaves and shredded big red chilies.

Thai Recipes for Appetizers

Spring Rolls. While quite simple to make, getting the spring rolls to roll up and stay together takes a little practice. Fortunately these tasty treats are enjoyable to make regularly, so you are bound to get it right eventually. Ingredients: Spring Roll sheets 300g; Glass noodles 25g; Mung beans ¾ cup (boiled; hulled; and mashed); Cabbage 1 cup (shredded); White ground pepper ¼ tsp; Bean Sprouts 1 cup; Thin Soy Sauce 1 ½ tbsp; Garlic 1 tbsp (chopped); Vegetable oil 1 tbsp (for frying garlic); Spring Roll “paste” 2 tbsp (prepared by mixing rice flour and water boiled; to thicken); Ingredients for Sauce; Vinegar ¼ cup; Sugar ¼ cup; Salt 1 tbsp; Tapioca flour 2 tsp; Red spur chili ½ chili (seeds removed and then smashed). Preparation: 1) Soak noodles in water to soften, cut into short pieces, and mix with mashed mungbeans, cabbage, bean sprouts, pepper, and soy sauce. 2) Fry garlic in oil over low heat, adding noodle mixture once garlic yellows. Stir fry until cooked and then remove from pan to cool. 3) After spreading out a spring roll sheet, place one spoonful of noodle mixture in middle of closest end. Roll over once and then fold sides of sheet inwards so as to close ends of spring roll while rolling. 4) Apply paste to end of sheet and roll closed. 5) After all rolls are prepared, fry in hot oil over low heat until crisp and brown. 6. Drain and serve with sauce, basil, cucumbers, and lettuce. Method for Sauce: 1) Pound chilies with mortar and pestle. 2) Mix together remaining ingredients.

Po-Pia Spring rolls: Ingredients: 150 grm. Jelly noodles (5 cm. long); 90 grm. Bean sprout; 100 grm. Black jelly mushroom (shredded); 100 grm. Chicken breast (minced); 110 grm. Crab meat; 31 grm. Coriander root, garlic (minced); 14 grm. White sugar; 15.5 grm. Light soy sauce; 5.5 grm. Salt; 500 grm. Spring roll sheet; 50 grm. Cooking oil; 10 grm. Ground white pepper. Preparation: 1) Heat the oil (slightly hot); add coriander root and garlic; stir until fragrant. 2) Add chicken breast, crab meat, jelly mushroom, and bean sprout; then season with white sugar, light soya sauce, salt, and ground pepper. 3) Stir until well-cooked. 4) Wrap small portion of the mixture above with spring roll sheet and seal with wheat flour mixed with water. 5) Deep fry in moderately hot oil until golden brown. 6) Serve with Chinese plum sauce or Sriracha chili sauce.
Chicken Satay: Ingredients: Turmeric 1 tsp ground; Shallots 3-4 peeled and sliced thin; Lemongrass 1 stalk sliced thin; diagonally; Galangal ¼” piece fresh; Garlic 1 clove peeled and smashed; Sea Salt ½ tsp; Sugar 2 tsp; Cooking oil 2 tbsp Canola or peanut; Bamboo Skewers 20 Preparation: 1) Prepare chicken by slicing into long thin strips approximately ¼ x 2 inches. 2) Stirring often, dry roast coriander seeds in a wok over medium heat. 3) Grind coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle. 4) Combine all spices in a bowl with shallot, lemon grass, galangal, and garlic. 5) Place chicken in spice mix and stir. Marinate covered for a minimum of one hour. 6) Prior to cooking, soak bamboo in water for 10 minutes. 7) Skewer 2 to 3 pieces of chicken per bamboo stick. 8. Grill over open flame until cooked.

Satay Mu (Grilled skewered pork with peanut sauce and cucumber salad relish): For the marinade: 500 grm. Thick coconut milk; 50 grm. White sugar; 5 grm. Salt; 5 grm. Turmeric powder; 500 grm. Pork cut into size 1 1/2 cm. wide and 7 cm. long; 12 grm. (2 tsp.) Ground roasted coriander seeds (for beef only). Preparation: 1) n a bowl of coconut milk, mix in the salt, white sugar, and turmeric powder. Stir until dissolved. 2) Marinte the pork in the mixture, for one hour. 3) Skewer the pieces and grill over moderate heat. Sprinkle the meat regularly with the coconut milk. 4) Serve with peanut sauce, cucumber relish, and toast.

Recipes for Thai Dips and Sauces

Cucumber-chilli Dip: Ingredients: 500 grm. Distilled white vinegar; 400 grm. Granulated white sugar; 22 grm. Salt; 200 grm. Seedless large red chilies, finely chopped; 75 grm. Garlic, peeled and finely chopped; 10 grm. Coriander root, finely chopped; 76 grm. Cucumbers, sliced. Preparation: 1) Combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes. 2) Add the chilies, garlic, and coriander root and keep boiling over a low heat until it has the consistency of liquid honey. 3) Remove and leave to cool. 4) Add the sliced cucumber to the dip.

Red grape sauce: Ingredients: Garlic; Spring onion; Coriander; Cabbage; Lemongrass; Bird's eyes chilies; Chinese spring onion; Cucumber; Hot red and green chilies; Young sweet corn; Bean sprouts (trimmed); Peppercorns; Galangal; Cowpea; Pepper; Lettuce; Sweet red and green chilies; Dried red chilies; Cashew nuts; Shallots; Kaffir lime; Cumin seeds (roasted and ground); Straw mushrooms; Nightshade fruit (garden eggplant); Nutmeg; Onions; Lime; Mint; White grapes; Coconut; Sweet basil; Red grapes.

Nam Jim A-jat (Cucumber relish): Ingredients: 1/2 cup Vinegar; 2 tbs. Sugar; 1 tsp. Salt; 2 tbs. Cut red chilies; 1/2 cup Sliced shallots; 1 cup Sliced cucumber; Some coriander leaves. Preparation: 1) Melt sugar and salt in the vinegar over low heat and let it cool down. 2) To serve, add sliced cucumber, sliced shallots, and chilies in a cup and pour in the sauce. Sprinkle some coriander leaves for decoration. 3) Charcoal grill or roast the marinated pork and serve with the sauce and the cucumber salad.

Peanut Sauce: Ingredients: 5 cups Medium-thick coconut milk; 3 tbs. Red curry paste; 4 tbs. Palm sugar; 4 tbs. Fish sauce; 3 tbs. Tamarind juice; 1 cup Ground roasted peanuts. Preparation: 1) Heat 2 cups of the coconut milk and fry the curry paste in it. 2) Add fish sauce, sugar, and tamarind juice to taste, then the ground peanuts. 3) Add the rest of the coconut milk and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Recipes for Pad Dai, Stir-Fry and Thai Noodle Dishes

Phat Thai (Thai-style stir-fried noodles with prawns): Ingredients for phat thai chili paste: 66 grm. Dry red big chili, soaked; 83 grm. Deep-fried shallot; 57 grm. White fermented soya bean; 135 grm. Water; 200 grm. Cooking oil. Preparation: Mix red big chili, shallot, water, cooking oil and fermented soy bean into blender. Blend until smooth; then add and stir in a pan. Ingredients for phat thai sauce: 175 grm. Tamarind juice; 175 grm. Fish sauce; 500 grm. Palm; sugar. Preparation: - Mix all together and simmer. Skim until clear and caramelize. Ingredients for phat thai (1 portion): 90 grm. Small dry noodle; 50-80 grm. Bean sprout; 10 grm. Chinese spring onion; 8 grm. Dry shrimp, deep-fried; 1 Chicken egg; 10 grm. Tofu, deep-fried; 25 grm. Phat thai chili paste; 57 grm. Phat thai sauce; 5 grm. Deep-fried shrimp; 10 grm. Ground peanut; 50 grm. Blue river prawn, deveined; Condiment with lime and banana blossom. Preparation: 1) Heat oil then put phat thai paste, egg, blue river prawn; then add noodle and seasoning with phat thai sauce and Chinese spring onion, bean sprout. Stir well. 2) Serve with lime juice, bean sprout, and banana blossom.

Kai Phat Bai Kaphrao (Stir-fried minced chicken with chilies and holy basil leaves): Ingredients: 360 grm. Chicken, minced; 25 grm. Small garlic cloves, chopped; 14 grm. Bird's eye chilies (phrik khi nu), crushed; 60 grm. Cooking oil; 60 grm. Oyster sauce; 30 grm. Fish sauce; 5 grm. White sugar; 2 grm. White pepper powder; 15 grm. Black soya sauce; 100 grm. Chicken broth; 15 grm. Big red chilies (phrik chi fa), cut; 20 grm. Green bell peppers (phrik yuak), cut; 40 grm. Holy basil leaves (bai kaphrao); 12 grm. Crisp holy basil leaves, deep-fried. Preparation: 1) Heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and bird's eye chilies (phrik khi nu) and stir-fry until fragrant. 2) Add minced chicken; keep stirring until cooked (during stir-frying add some chicken broth). 3) Season with fish sauce, oyster sauce, white sugar, white pepper powder, black soya sauce and chicken broth; toss until well mixed. 4) Add the big red chilies (phrik chi fa), green bell pepper (phrik yuak), holy basil leaves. 5) Garnish with crisp holy basil leaves.

Kai Phat Met Mamuang Himaphan (Stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts): Ingredients: 150 grm. Chicken breast, sliced; 22 grm. Baby corn, sliced; 40 grm. White onion, sliced; 8 grm. Spring onion, cut; 35 grm. Straw mushroom, cut; 5 grm. Big red chili, sliced; 6 grm. Thai bell pepper; 29 grm. Cashew nuts; 20 grm. Light soy sauce; 27 grm. Oyster sauce; 0.7 grm. White pepper; 1.3 grm. White sugar; 270 grm. Chicken stock; 110 grm. Garlic, sliced; 30 grm. Vegetable oil; 5 grm. Dry big red chili, cut, pitted, and deep-fried. Preparation: 1) Stir-fry garlic in vegetable oil until nearly cooked. 2) Add chicken breast and stir-fry again. 3) Add baby corn, white onion, spring onion, straw mushroom, big red chili, Thai bell pepper, dry big red chili, and cashew nuts. Stir-fry until cooked. 4) Add chicken stock. 5) Season with light soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, and white sugar. Stir-fry until well mixed. 6) Garnish with coriander leaves and thinly sliced big red chili. 7) Remove from heat. Serve with steamed Thai jasmine rice.

Recipes for Thai Salads

Som Tam Thai (spicy green papaya salad): Ingredients for 1 serving: 80 grm. Shredded green papaya; 10 grm. Dry shrimp (soaked, pulverized, and roasted); 20 grm. Peanut (roasted and crushed); 10 grm. Cut string beans; 30 grm. Cherry tomato (quartered); 20 grm. Palm sugar; 1 1/2 grm. Lime juice; 1 3/4 grm. Fish sauce; 5 grm. Small garlic cloves; 2 pcs. Small red chilies. Preparation: 1) In a mortar, pound garlic and chilies together. 2) Add peanuts, palm sugar, green papaya, string beans, and cherry tomato. Then keep pounding until well mixed. 3) - Season with fish sauce and lime juice. Mix in dry shrimp.

Yam Nuea Yang A-ngun (Spiced grilled beef salad with grapes): Ingredients for chili paste: 20 grm. Sliced mint leaves and stems; 10 grm. Peeled small garlic; 5 grm. Small red chilies. Preparation: Blend all ingredients together until finely mixed. Ingredients for salad (1 portion): 16 grm. Fish sauce; 16 grm. Lime juice; 10 grm. Sugar syrup (1 : 1 / water : white sugar); 12 grm. Chili paste from above; 120 grm. Beef fillet (grilled and sliced); 12 grm. Finely sliced lemongrass; 4 grm. Sliced mint leaves; 1 grm. Shredded kaffir lime leaves; 34 grm. Green and red grapes (cut in quarters and pitted). Preparation: 1) fish sauce, lime juice, syrup, and chili paste together in a bowl. Then stir them well for dressing. 2) Add sliced beef, lemongrass, mint leaves, kaffir lime leaves, and grapes in dressing. Toss them well. 3) Garnish with some lettuce, mint leaves, and shredded big red chilies.

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Tourist Authority of Thailand, Thailand Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, CIA World Factbook, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Global Viewpoint (Christian Science Monitor), Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, NBC News, Fox News and various books and other publications.

Last updated May 2014

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