Women's Tips

Thai cuisine - features, products and national dishes

The most famous chef of Thailand, Mac Dang, talks about the secrets of royal Thai cuisine, which he knows not by hearsay. Mr. Mac Dang grew up and was raised in the palace.

Guests, visitors to restaurants in Bangkok or elsewhere in Thailand, believe that the "royal Thai cuisine" is endowed with a kind of mystical meaning and the food is prepared somehow in a special way. And indeed it is!

But it is unlikely that the restaurant can afford to reproduce exactly the royal Thai cuisine. Restaurants just want you to feel that way. In fact, their use of the words "royal Thai cuisine" is only a marketing ploy.

I can confidently say, I know what royal Thai cuisine is, since I was brought up and grew up in the palace of my great aunt, Queen Rambai Barney.

First, the royal Thai cuisine does not differ from those eaten in most Thai houses. Soups, tom yam, green curry with chicken are served on the table in the palace, that is, the same that they eat in every family.

And yet, there are some differences - it is very important how the food is prepared and from what, how it is served and how the table is served.

Only the finest and freshest ingredients are used to prepare the royal Thai cuisine.

In addition, there is no extremes in taste, that is, the food is not too spicy, not too salty, not too sour and not too spicy.

One very bright feature that distinguishes royal Thai cuisine is the preparation of fruits and vegetables.

Only even, full fruits are selected, they should not have dents, seeds, seeds or pollen. Fruits are stoned and sometimes cut, then attached to a branch as decoration.

If it is a large fruit, it is never put whole. It is cut into pieces, which then fasten together. The basic idea is that it is safe and pleasant to eat, that is, a balanced taste plus aesthetics.

And when meat comes into play, this is the unwritten rule of royal Thai cuisine: "No bones." Even in fish.

So, when cooking fried mackerel, cooks of the royal kitchen first fry the fish, then remove the fish from hot oil, and using a thin knife, cut the finished fish along.

Then tweezers carefully and carefully remove all the bones from both halves of the fish.

After that, both parts will be combined, formed into fish and lightly fried, so that the halves are burnt. Finally, after the fish is removed from the oil, its head is attached back to the body. Well, how do you like the presentation?

One day, when I was a child, my dad took me to dinner outside the palace. I ordered Us Prik (shrimps with chili paste) with fried Thai mackerel. Accustomed to the fact that I can eat fish without fear. In general, that day I was disappointed.

When they brought my dish, I thought that someone had forged my food. Only later, to my surprise, I found that in fact, Thai mackerel has bones, as well as fins and tail! Who knew?

But perhaps the main thing is not that you forget that there are bones in fish. More important, in my opinion, is true royal etiquette.

Service à la russe

For lunch, everyone orders what they want. Traditional family style is not acceptable, although it allows the whole family to enjoy a Thai dish, all together - one menu for everyone.

Therefore, when we eat, my great aunt is served, giving her Prik and rice to her - this is her choice. The rest of us ate at a separate table and served us in the Russian style "service à la russe".

The highest level of service when it comes to the Russian style: each guest has a personal butler.

The butler, bypassing my left, places a plate of rice in front of me. Subsequently, the butlers will present the guests the remaining dishes, still on the left, on a tray. We take what we need and lay on our crescent-shaped plates.

Next, soups and curries will be served separately and put them in the upper left corner of the table. Then, when the queen starts dinner, we are kindly allowed to join.

Dish of royal cuisine

Khao Che, one of the few culinary creations, which is the original dish of royal Thai cuisine.

During the reign of King Rama II, culinary creations of royal descent were presented to the people in the palace: "Kao Che" summer food - rice with flavored chilled water and jasmine flowers. The recipe for this dish is quite tangled, with complex operations.

Years passed, each king, each of princes and princesses added new ingredients to the repertoire of their dishes, which they prefer with cold rice.

When I realized that royal Thai cuisine is simply impossible outside the palace, I began to stick to traditional Thai dishes, spicy and appropriate to my temperament.

Understanding and knowing all the subtleties, I can guarantee that for any business model of the restaurant it will be impossible to maintain the service at the highest level of the palace. So next time, if some restaurant promises you "royal Thai cuisine", ask them to serve you in the Russian manner or to cook boneless fried fish.

McDang is the fictitious name of a famous chef, TV host and writer.
He was born and grew up in the Thai royal family, McDang was educated in the UK and the USA, graduated from a culinary institute in the United States.

In 1993, McDang returned to Thailand, publishes books on food and hosts cooking shows on TV.
For nearly two decades, McDang has been the most well-known culinary expert and respected ambassador for Thai cuisine.

Main products

1. Fig. The main Asian crop is the basis for most dishes.

Recipes include the use of only two types of this cereal: white crumbly and sticky rice. As a garnish, the first type is eaten with a spoon in which rice is placed with a fork. And from the second roll small balls, which are completely thrust into the mouth.

Rice is the main component of many dishes.

Sweet and sour rice, roast with rice and spices, thin rice soup - this is only a small part of what is prepared from this product.

2. Noodles and pasta. It is not difficult to guess that the popularity of noodles came to Thailand from China. Only in this country, the noodles from the side dish turned into a completely independent dish.

3. Meat. Many Thai recipes include meat. But because of its high prices, it’s not often that the people of this country eat such dishes. The most popular duck and chicken meat.

4. Seafood. Thailand - a country with access to the sea. Not surprisingly, this has influenced the cuisine of this country. Seafood is the staple after rice in the Thai diet.

5. Sauces Sweet, sour, spicy - they are able to give a new taste to any dish. The cooks of this country know the recipes of not one hundred original sauces. The most original salad here, seasoned with fermented fish sauce, of vegetables and rice is kao-yam.

6. Condiments. The leader among the spices of Thai cuisine is yellow curry. Incredibly spicy, he won incredible popularity in this country and is the basis for many sauces. The abundance of spices and spices is a characteristic feature of this country's dishes.

7. Vegetables and fruits. The tropical climate has awarded Thailand a huge variety of incredible fruits. Some bananas here are more than 20 species.

In addition to all the well-known pineapples, eggplants, papayas, exotic fruits such as lychee, guava, durian, tangerini, sapodilla, mangosteen, rambutan and others are growing here.

Fruits of Thailand.

Most of these species of Europeans will be able to try only on arrival in this hospitable country. The peculiarity of the Thais is that they prefer to eat fruits as part of any dishes than as a separate product.

Thai principles

An interesting feature of Thai cuisine is that recipes are not always clear. Even professional chefs are often cooked by eye. The main secret of delicious dishes Thais believe the perfect balance between the five tastes: sour, bitter, salty, spicy and sweet.

A variety of seasonings and sauces are used to give a certain shade to the dish. For example, chili or curry will make the dish incredibly spicy, a bitter cucumber will make the food taste bitter, and sugar cane or ripe pineapple will add sweets.

Lemon and lime is used to add sour taste.

Thais prefer small portions, but they eat often. Therefore you should not be surprised if it seems to you that the waiter on the plate brought too little food. The use of knives is not common in Thailand. Thais prefer dishes where all food is cut into small pieces.

Thais prefer dishes where all food is cut into small pieces.

At the end of the meal are fruits. In Thailand, many kinds of different drinks, but the most common is naam yen, simple cold water without any flavorings.

Cooking features

The basic principle of cooking is to keep food fresh. Thais prefer to cook over an open fire. Rarely when cooking takes more than twenty minutes.

Cooking speed is a characteristic feature of Thai cuisine.

The Thai wok has gained great fame - special dishes for frying over an open fire. Thick walls, a special form accelerate the process of cooking compared to a frying pan at times. A cook needs no more than 5 minutes to fry vegetables until cooked.

Thai wok - special dishes for frying over an open fire.

Often, the vegetables are fried and the salad, which surprises many Europeans.

Serving dishes

Thai cuisine is different exquisite type of food served. Not one respectful chef will bring a dish that is not beautifully served. An interesting presentation, sculptures of vegetables, decoration of greens allow you to enjoy not only the taste, but also the aesthetics of the dish.

A dish of Thai cuisine.

A salad will always surprise you with a careful layout of vegetables, and a meat dish with additional serving elements.

Main Thai dishes

Thai recipes count in the hundreds. And in order to try these delicious dishes, you should definitely visit this wonderful country. Yes, there are many restaurants of this cuisine in the world that give a chance to their clients to get acquainted with the cuisine of Thailand.

But they can offer to try only a couple dozen dishes. True gourmets should go to this country and enjoy exotic dishes.

Salad is an integral part of the Thai diet. Their recipes surprise with their simplicity and ease of execution. The most popular in the country is Som Tam salad. More than 10 ingredients included in its composition. This includes peanuts, fish sauce, and sugar cane paste, and much more.

Som Tam (Som Tam): Thailand's most famous dish

Unforgettable taste, the balance of simultaneous sour salty, sweet and spicy, brought this salad to the top of Thai cooking skills.

A salad with the curious name "Morning Glory" or Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng intrigues many. In an oyster sauce, with a slice of garlic and a small amount of chilli, a mixture of vegetables, basil, greens and impumei is fried.

Salad "Morning Glory" served hot.

No less famous is the soup Tom Yang Kung. Its feature - the preparation of all ingredients occurs in coconut milk. Shrimps, tomatoes, mushrooms, kolgan, a little bit of lemongrass and a couple of lime leaves - that's all that is necessary for him. The dish is served either in coconut milk or without it. Therefore, there are two types of this dish: Nam Kom and Nam Sai.

Thai recipes include hundreds of meat dishes. But the main one is Panang Gai. Chicken, fried in your favorite Thai curry and served in coconut cream, is adored by many fans of Thai cuisine. The sharpness of the dish is freshened by the leaves of lemongrass.

The unusual balance of sour and spicy highlights Panang Guy among other dishes.

It is also worth noting:

  • Po Pia Sod - buns with sausage, scrambled eggs and vegetable salad.
  • Mi Krop or "Crispy Noodles" - well-done pasta with sweet and sour sauce.
  • Yum Nua - grilled meat, cucumber, onions with pepper and lime juice.
  • Larb Gai- chicken with chopped onion, lime juice and pepper.
  • Pad Thai - rice noodles in a special sauce, eggs, shrimp, bean sprouts and green onions.

For dessert, Thais prefer to eat jelly or fruit pudding. The favorite delicacy of many are pancakes with a banana. Of course, this is only a small list of dishes that you can try in Thailand.

From antiquity to modern times

It is believed that the formation of modern Thai cuisine was strongly influenced by the powerful neighbors China and India, but the pleasant fact is that, despite their strong influence, Thai cuisine still retained its individual and very characteristic features.

Many features were adopted from Chinese cuisine: small slices of products, now such traditional combinations of all five tastes, love of rice (in Thailand it is consumed, like in Europe bread), and also love of all sorts of sauces (especially fish).

India also shared another distinctive feature: the most violent, colorful and numerous spices, especially curry sauce, as well as numerous dishes cooked with it. In modern Thai cuisine, everything remained virtually unchanged, although Thais turned out to be very resourceful people who love experiments and, apparently, do not like constancy.

Two Thai chefs can cook the same dish in completely different ways, and the culprit is their love to mix and spice up the dishes to your taste, and the composition and quantity of spices can vary depending on anything, such as the mood of the chef.

But, surprisingly, the dishes still turn out to be incredibly tasty, savory and fragrant, and, what to hide, incredibly exotic for a Russian person.

The secret of this feature is simple: the Thais perfectly master all five flavoring elements and use the most unexpected spices for this. For example, spicy is chili or curry, salted is fish or sea, sweet is ripe pineapple, sugar cane or basil, bitter is fresh herbs, sour is lemon, lime, lemongrass (the personal invention of the Thais).

It should be noted that the traditional Thai cuisine for the European tourist may seem incredibly burning, and the reason is the favorite Thai spice - chili pepper.

Virtually no local dish can do without it, it is actively added to salads, appetizers, soups and even desserts, and this is not the only hot spice!

The fact is that in a hot climate it is very difficult to avoid the occurrence of various infections, and such acuteness - the best helpers in this matter, moreover, allow you to constantly keep the body in good shape.

Many travelers are advised to be very careful not to lean on traditional local dishes, and in restaurants to order dishes without pepper (“no spicy”).

True, the sadness is that the same dishes without this pepper lose their characteristic Thai charm, which is why many brave souls still decide to experience national tastes to the fullest.

Specialties and traditional dishes

It should be noted that the cuisine of local residents of Thailand is very fast, one might say, lightning-fast, because it takes about 5-10 minutes to cook one such dish. The whole secret is that everyone, without exception, products are subjected to fine cutting, which allows them to prepare for a very short period of time, while retaining all their useful substances and vitamins.

Most Thai dishes are cooked in a special pan with wide rounded walls - wok, which also contributes to the most rapid cooking.

Most vegetables and meat pieces are only brought to the formation of a crispy crust, which are fried in hot oil, seasoned with pepper, ginger and other numerous spices in advance. If the cook decides to cook soup or stew, he will only fill the entire contents with broth and stew over low heat.

Of course, you can cook something similar with your own hands, but for this, at least, you need to have a standard set of Thai spices, and, as a maximum, go to the coast of the Indian Ocean and try to recreate something like that under the open sky what is served by locals.

Another feature is that Thai housewives almost never cook at home, because the streets always have a stormy network of cheap and fast food, they cook it right under the open sky and serve it on anything: on carts, bicycles, boats or in small cafes.

For example, the recipe for the simplest Thai soup includes noodles, vegetables, meat. True, the noodles here are also unusual - they are made from your favorite rice or bean flour, and in shape they resemble Italian fettuccines.

In short, Thai cuisine is a colorful kaleidoscope of fruits, vegetables, meat, greens and a huge amount of spices, which merge into one unique, incredibly tasty and useful direction of world cooking.

What to eat from Fruit in Thailand

Thai cuisine is an exotic country, but what about in such countries without fruit. Фрукты здесь всегда свежие и сочные, тайская кухня с фруктовыми начинками очень разнообразна и является самой любимой у туристов.

В стране почти нет таких привычных нам фруктов как яблоки, груши, клубника или виноград, но зато здесь можно повстречать папайю, тамаринд, манго, личи, лонган, мангустин, дуриан и многие другие сочные фрукты непривычные нашему вкусу. Готовы поспорить, что больше половины перечисленных фруктов вы ни разу не пробовали.

Fruits are always juicy and fresh, they always have a place as a dessert or snack. With the help of fruit, they cook simply delicious desserts, such as dessert. Khan Chan - puff dessert made from rice flour and coconut milk. Hanom mo keng - pudding with coconut milk and palm sugar.

300 seconds and octopus on a stick

Contrary to popular belief, Thais do not eat their dishes with chopsticks and do not even use knives, since everything here is served peeled and finely chopped. But in restaurants and knives, and chopsticks always lie next to a fork and spoon. This is done, of course, for tourists.

Thai food is fast food. On the preparation of any dish, be it a soup, hot or salad, local chefs spend an average of 5 minutes. Such high-speed heat treatment of products allows to preserve their useful properties, which is especially important for dishes from vegetables and seafood. So that the ingredients have time to prepare for a short time, they are very finely cut. And in the kitchen every Thai mistress will certainly have a mortar and pestle.

The basis of Thai cuisine are seafood. Sharks, snails, crabs, calamari, mussels, lobster ... - the Indian Ocean is very rich in all this. His generous gifts here are so cheap that even the local poor people (of whom there are many on the streets of big cities) can afford a kebab from a freshly caught octopus. Fashion for pieces of fish or meat, strung on thin sticks and roasted on the grill, came to Thailand from the West quite recently. About 30 years ago, the Thais did not know about this snack, which is being sold at every corner. The kebab is only 10 butt - about 10 rubles. Food prices are generally one of the most democratic in the world. Dinner for two people of five courses can cost just 150 butt. The guides are already at the airport warning: bargain in Thailand everywhere, except catering establishments. They just have nowhere to bring down the price.

Some like it hotter

In cooking, Thais love to use hot chili. These peppers are not just added to the dishes here - sypyat! Cowards are advised to warn the cook in advance by telling him "no spicy" (which means "no pepper"). However, Thai dishes without this “spice” are no longer Thai. So, only the most courageous travelers can experience national tastes in all their magnificence.

The meaning and magic of local food is in fancy combinations of sweet, spicy, sour, meat and dairy, fish and fruit. And it's not just pepper. In all dishes Thais certainly add an intricate set of spices, which each cook has his own. The main seasonings are ginger, galangi root, lemon grass, garlic, coriander, dill, several types of basil. Another additional and at the same time fundamental ingredient in local cuisine is fish sauce. It is made from anchovies, water and salt, but the cooking process is rather complicated and tedious, so cooks often use a ready-made mixture. It is sold in any supermarket in large half-liter bottles.

Rice - all head

Like other Asian cuisines, rice is an important component of Thai. The word "food" is translated from the local language literally as "eat rice." Especially love here is an expensive variety - jasmine. In northern and eastern Thailand, sticky starchy rice is preferred. It is not boiled in water, but steamed in bamboo knapsacks. Of rice, they make another major Thai product - noodles. It can be wide and thin, yellow, white and even transparent. Rice noodles are stewed with seafood, added to salads and soups. To learn how to cook all these dishes, balancing on the verge of sweet and spicy flavors, is best in Thailand itself. In large cities of the country, the so-called cooking school is open - quick cooking courses (from one lesson to weekly classes). Here, tourists from different countries are told how to prepare seafood, show how to grind the ingredients for the sauce in a mortar, and help them to properly cut their first real Som Tam (a landmark for Thailand, spicy-sweet green papaya salad).

Pan fantasy

Cooking soups always starts with an already boiling broth. Everything that is at hand is sent to it - seafood, ginger, lemon leaves, chili ... The taste and imagination of the culinary specialist, not the cookbook with its strict grams and degrees, rules here. The cooking process thus turns into a real improvisation, and the result of the flight of the Thai gastronomic fantasy turns out to be a surprise for the tourist. Behind the same name in the menu of different restaurants may be hiding fundamentally different tastes. Even the business card of the country - the world famous Tom Yam soup - here everyone cooks a little in his own way.

Make Tom Yam Soup. Mix in a saucepan a glass of chicken broth and fresh coconut juice, boil. Place the fresh ginger sliced ​​into circles (10 pieces) and cut into small stalks of cymbopogon (lemon grass). After a minute of boiling, add a glass of any finely chopped mushrooms and 15–20 peeled fresh shrimps. Two minutes later, add 1/4 cup of coconut milk, 1.5 tbsp. spoons of chili paste and 2 tbsp. spoons of fish sauce (both are sold in stores), 2.5 tbsp. spoons of lime juice and 2 chili. Let me boil for another half a minute.

Open air

"The art of Thai street food" or just street food - this is the name of most cookbooks with Thai recipes. The local tradition of cooking and eating right on the street for many centuries. Everything happens at the "macawitz" - a variety of nomadic canteens. The streets and canals of Thai cities are teeming with trays and carts, bicycles and boats, from which they sell various snacks day and night. Most often makashnits resemble small carts on wheels. Inside - prepared in advance ingredients, on top - the working surface, where the cook-merchant fries, mixes and flavors his creations. Watching the process is no less interesting than trying the result. Daredevils who are ready for anything for the sake of gastronomic impressions, are surprised to find that, by eating street food, they have never managed to recall the problems with digestion. There are several explanations for this. Firstly, all Thais are scary clean guys. Secondly, they cook only from fresh produce. And thirdly, the monstrous amount of chili, which is seasoned here everything - from soup to dessert, perfectly supports immunity.

Boxing, cocktail or all together

Thais are Buddhists and therefore alcoholic beverages are mostly despised. But to say that this is a country of sober-tempered nonetheless. For beer, the indigenous people make an exception. The most popular brands are Singha and Chang, they are sold in stores at 30 baht per can. Another truly popular drink is rice brew. It is cooked with yeast and served in a large saucepan, from which a turbid liquid is drawn with a bowl. On the basis of moonshine, Thais make the most common (among the indigenous population) cocktail: in equal parts they mix mash with orange, pineapple and watermelon juices, add a little grenadine and a lot of ice.

The most famous cocktail with a Thai name is the refreshing sweet-and-sour “Muay Thai”. Apparently, the drink is named after the popular street boxing here (“Muay Thai” is translated as “free fight”). At the stadiums of large cities in the country, battles take place every week. A parody of street boxing can be seen in the evenings in local bars. In the center of the institution is usually located ring, where two actors portray the fight. True, the fighters here are more photographed with visitors than they fight.

Make the famous “Muay Thai” cocktail!Mix 30 ml of dark rum and as much light, 15 ml of orange liqueur, 15 ml of almond syrup and 10 ml of lime juice. Add more ice and enjoy!

Breakfast lunch dinner

Morning coffee, croissant with butter and scrambled eggs in Thailand can be found, perhaps, only in hotels. It does not divide meals for the morning, afternoon and evening, and eat the same foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At the same time, the Thais cannot be blamed for the monotony - they prepare several different dishes for each meal: the menu always has soup, spicy vegetables, salad, rice and algae. One of the most favorite Thais and exotic for Russians is morning glory. This sea weed is grown specifically in the coastal areas of Thailand and harvested exactly in the third week after sowing. Crisp bright green thin strips of "morning glory" complement the taste of spicy soups and various snacks. Or add enough to a bunch of morning glory lime juice, garlic, fish sauce and, of course, chili - and a refreshing light salad is ready.

As for the local desserts, any farang (from the word foreign is “foreign”, as Thais call tourists) they seem unusual. Thai cuisine does not know our usual animal milk, wheat flour, butter. It uses coconut juice and coconut cream (thick coating on the top of the fruit), rice flour and cane sugar. Finding something really sweet is difficult here. Fruits, eggs and rice are the basis of local desserts. Sticky rice with ripe mangos baked in bamboo, rice flour dumplings in sweet coconut milk, egg yolk crispy sticks, rice noodle pandan dessert ... Most of these traditional delicacies are not found in restaurants. You can buy them only at night bazaars or from street vendors.

Cook Thai fried bananas. Mix 1 cup rice flour, 1/2 teaspoon soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup sugar and tapioca (can be replaced with starch). Pour 3/4 cup of water and mix. Add 1 tbsp. spoon of sesame seeds and punched coconut pulp in a blender. Cut 6 bananas - each into 4 parts: far and wide. In a pan, heat 2 cups of refined vegetable oil. Dip bananas in batter and fry until golden brown, then spread on a napkin, letting excess fat drain out, and serve with a scoop of ice cream.

And the king is naked!

Red hairy rambutan, extraordinary lychee, sour tamarind, soft noyana ... Thais love fruit, and the real king among them is durian, the local elixir of youth and aphrodisiac. The large fruit of durian is covered with solid spines, under which lies a yellow flesh with a unique taste. It is similar in texture to custard, and to taste - to ambrosia with hints of vanilla pudding, cream liqueur, and nut-cheese dessert ... But do not forget the common Thai proverb: “Durian has a taste of paradise and the smell of hell.” What does their royal amber do not compare to - with a rotten onion, dirty socks, rot ...

Because of the disgusting smell, durian cannot be carried to public places and taken with him in a taxi. There is even a special sign - durian, crossed out by a red line. For the same reason, durian is not exported from the country. So travel to Thailand is one of the few opportunities to taste it.