As a starving student living off of over salted cup of noodles, can foods, bland oatmeal, and excess amounts of take out, I want to start cooking, also I’m terrified to get fat by the amount of takeout I actually eat (which is A LOT). I want to start off by making something simple, yet complex in theory dishes for myself, but still on a student’s budget (which let me tell you isn’t much to begin with). Let’s start off with a Thai yellow curry, and take a crack at making a Thai ice tea, which is one of my favorite go to dishes, if I am doing take out (obviously after pizza).
When I think of Thai food I think of a couple key dishes, Pad Thai (of course), yellow curry, and Thai ice tea. Of course there are several other types of dishes out there that make up this cuisine, these are just a few of my favorites. Although let’s take Pad Thai, which is found in almost every American Thai restaurant, as an example, it’s actually not an authentic Thai dish, it is the noodles in the dish that actually makes it Chinese. Pad Thai didn’t come around until the 1940’s by a revolutionary figure Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsongkram (shown below), who thought that Thailand needed more noodles, he figured that it would help the country’s economy, while exporting more rice.
Many Thai dishes are curries, not like an Indian curry which is mostly with dried spices and is usually looked to as a gravy or stew. Curries from Thailand are usually light and made up with fresh herbs and vegetables. What makes Thai food different from other Asian cuisines is the use of different flavors together, which has a crazy combination of sweet, sour, salty, and a lot of heat. In most dishes you are going to find: chilies, coconut milk, galangal (mostly resembles ginger), herbs (cilantro, mint, and basil), lemon grass, lime leaves, nam pla (fish sauce), rice noodles. Like a traditional Asian dish, most are served with rice, but what is mostly popular in Thai cuisine is sticky rice or sweet rice, which is even served with desert.
Now obviously I am not going to find galangal very easily, or even at all, but most of these flavors and ingredients can be substituted, when you are making it at home, and of course made to the flavor the way you want. But if we are going to try and make a Thai dish let’s try and make it as authentic as possible, with lots of sweet, sour, salty and of course bring on the heat.