Archive for the ‘Thai Cuisine’ Category

Thai Curry – The Taste of Thai

Thai Curry is one of the most popular category of dishes and you’ll find many different styles of curry on the menu in Thai restaurants throughout the world.
Thai Green CurryConsidered native to India, the curry cooking style was introduced throughout Southeast Asia, including Thailand, by people immigrating from India over the last several centuries.

In Thailand, the curry dish has been adapted to the local and regional tastes and preferences. A Thai curry tends to be a bit more soup-like than the thicker Indian varieties.

A basic Thai curry recipe consists of coconut milk or water as the base combined with various styles of curry paste and prepared with different meats including chicken, beef, pork and fish.

Curry is called gaeng phet in Thai. Gaeng means liquid and refers to both soups and curries and phet means “hot” in the spicy sense. So literally, gaeng phet means “hot/spicy liquid”. While Thai curries are not necessarily soups, gaeng is also used to refer to soups (liquid), for example gaeng joot (clear Thai soup).

What’s in a curry paste?

Unlike the Indian curry varieties which are often prepared from a mixture of dry spices and powders, Thai curry pastes are an aromatic mixture of freshly ground herbs and spices which creates a more moist paste consistency.

The key ingredients in most Thai curry pastes are moist and fragrant and include fresh chilies, lemongrass, galangal (or ginger), garlic, shallot, kaffir lime, cilantro, and shrimp paste (kapee). The spices usually include tumeric, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. These herbs and spices not only create the marvelous curry flavors, but are also believed to have certain medicinal qualities.

The freshness, amount and type of chilies used to prepare the curry paste typically governs the level of heat or spiciness from one curry to another. If you prefer your curry less spicy you can always ask the restaurant to go easy on the chilies. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Cuisine from Thailand’s Central Region

Central Region of Thailand - Chao Phraya River

Central Region of Thailand - Chao Phraya River

The central region of Thailand, considered the traditional heartland of the country, is the source of some of Thailand’s best known dishes.

The Chao Phraya river runs through the middle of the central plain as it winds it’s way down through Bangkok and out into the Gulf of Thailand. The earliest style of cooking in this area, dating back to the ancient capital of Sukhothai, was a simpler form based on the rice that grows so abundantly all through the region as well as the fresh fish and native spices including garlic, salt and black pepper. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Lemongrass – A Thai Cooking Signature Flavor

Pyrmont Growers Market - Organic LemongrassLemongrass is a favorite herb found in Southeast Asian cuisines and is one of the special ingredients that make Thai cooking unique. The delicate, lemony essence is a signature flavor in Thai soups, salads and curries.

With increased popularity in East-West cuisines, this tropical herb is now widely available throughout the US, and can even be found in some supermarket chains. There is definitely no excuse to use the lesser-quality dry or powdered variety. Always use only the freshly grown lemongrass. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Galanga Root – Essential to Thai Cooking

galangalGalanga root, also referred to as Galangal (Kha in Thai), is a mainstay ingredient that you will find in every authentic Thai kitchen. Galanga has a delicate and unique flavor with a subtle sweet taste, a hint of citrus, and a spicy quality, similar to the spicy heat of fresh ginger.

The galanga root is a relative of the ginger root, but the outer skin is a little more red-ish in color than the brown color of ginger. And the inside is very white unlike ginger which has a more yellow-ish tint to the flesh.

More widely used in Thai cooking than ginger, this traditional root is sometimes referred to as “Siamese Ginger”. Galangal can be used fresh, dried or powdered. Of course, the fresh form is the most exciting way to use this unique herb. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Thai Cooking Philosophy – It’s About Balance

Thai Food For Thought – The Philosophy of Thai Cooking

You may be surprised to know there is actually a philosophy behind Thai cooking, one of the world’s truly magnificent cuisines. Perhaps you are saying to yourself “I enjoy eating great Thai food, but I don’t think about what makes Thai food so wonderful”. Well, just in case you might be wondering, let’s take a moment and talk about some of the principals and traditions behind great Thai cooking. Then let’s go out and enjoy a great Thai meal.

The underlying foundation of Thai cuisine derives from the early Chinese cooking influence that date backs as early as the 10th century. This cooking tradition establishes a relationship between five fundamental tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Achieving a satisfying and exciting taste experience is accomplished by combining flavors from these five basic taste categories. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Only The Freshest Thai Chiles at Rachada Thai Cuisine

Thai Chiles on display at outdoor fresh Thai market Thai chiles play a distinctive role in authentic Thai cuisine. When people refer to certain Thai dishes as “hot and spicy”, it’s most often the “chile peppers” that they’re talking about that produce this “spicy heat”.  This is not the “temperature” kind of heat, it’s the “spicy” kind of heat.

Thai chile peppers add more than just “punch and kick” to the cooking.  Fresh chiles provide a clean and fresh flavor that gives Thai cooking a bright distinctive quality.

There are many varietals of chiles that are popular in Thai cuisine.  The above picture shows a display of different chiles in an outdoor fresh market in Thailand. The most popular variety of chili from Thailand is called “prik ki nu“, or “bird chile“. We also use jalapeno chiles in many our of dishes.  Jalapeno chiles are popular and freshly available in many of the local markets here in the US.

The key to great Thai cooking is fresh ingredients. At Rachada Thai Cuisine, we only use the freshest chiles available.

We’re also sensitive to our guests and want to insure everyone has a delicious and pleasant dining experience at Rachada Thai.  While we love to share the best that Thai cuisine has to offer, we won’t go overboard with the chili peppers unless you ask.  Of course, if you’re not bashful and like a dish to bring a few tears to your eyes (tears of joy from the chiles, not tears of sadness), just ask and we’ll be happy to accommodate.

When you order from the menu, you can always ask for the spicy level of your dishes prepared either “mild”, “medium” or “hot”. And we’ll always do a “chile check” and make sure you’re aware when you order dishes prepared with chiles.

We do want to clear up a common misconception that Thai food is  “too spicy”.  Great Thai cooking is all about balance. The proper balance between seasoning, herbs and spices including the chiles. When you achieve the right balance right, the flavors jump out, not just the heat sensation from the chiles. Great Thai food can definitely be delicious and tasty without being overpowered by too much “chile spiciness”.

 

It’s Mango Season at Rachada Thai Cuisine

mango fruitIt’s a favorite time of year when mangos are in season. Here in California, mangos are at their best and sweetest between March and July, with the mango season ending by about September.

By the way, did you know that the first Mango was introduced into California (in Santa Barbara) in 1880?

Traditionally, the mango is indigenous to India, and Southeast Asia.  There are many varieties of mangos, and this sweet and wonderful tropical fruit is very popular in Thailand.

At Rachada Thai Cuisine, we have a very special desert that we serve during Mango season, “Mango with Sticky Rice“.  You have to come in soon and try this scrumptious mango delight for dessert.

 

Cuisine from Thailand’s Southern Region

Ginger SalmonSouthern Thailand is a long peninsula, stretching down to Malaysia and bordered by the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

Known for its beautiful scenic beaches and resorts, it is also noted for the cuisine in which the abundant fresh seafood from the surrounding waters plays a prominent role.

The fresh seafood of this region includes marine fish, lobsters, crabs, squid, scallops, clams and mussels.  Coconuts are also widely used.  The milk of the coconut tempers the heat of chili-laced soups and curies.  The coconut oil is used for frying and fresh coconut is used as a condiment.

open_mangosteenOther regional specialties include cashew nuts from local plantations.  Fruits such as mangosteens and small, sweet pineapples are common.  A pungent bean called Sato which provides a somewhat bitter flavor is popular.  And distinctively southern dishes like Khao Yam Nam Budu (rice salad with southern fried fish sauce) will delight.  Spicy soups like Kaeng Lueang (yellow curry) and Kaeng Tai Pla (spicy curry of fish) are full of flavor.

beef-sate-smallThe majority of Thailand’s Muslim population lives in the Southern most provinces, and their influence is presented in such dishes as Kaeng Massaman, a mild curry seasoned with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

Sa Te is the well-known and popular bits of meat, usually chicken or beef, prepared on a skewer with a spicy peanut sauce.

 

Regional Thai Cuisine

thailand-mapUntil more recent times, Thailand’s rich culinary heritage has been one of the country’s best kept secrets. As you explore Thailand’s cooking diversity, you might be surprised to find out how many different cooking styles and tastes abound from the various regions of the country.

There are four primary regions in Thailand, and each of these regions has a unique style of Thai cuisine. Some of the regional style reveals some of the foreign influence assimilated over the centuries, but always retaining the distinctive flavor of Thai cuisine.

Thailand’s Central Region is regarded as the traditional heartland of the country. The fertile plain along the winding Chao Phraya River, has beent he setting for the evolution of many of the best-known dishes.

Sharing borders with Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos), and Myanmar, Northern Thailand was for many centuries an independent kingdom called Lanna Thai, “Land of a Million Rice Fields”. This area of Thailand is sealed off from the rest of the country by a range of high mountains until it came under the rule of Bangkok in the 19th century. Through the centuries, a culture markedly different from other areas of Thailand has flourished not only in languages and customs but also in cuisine.

The rolling plateau of the Northeast Region of Thailand stretches to the Mekong River and shares borders with Laos and Cambodia.  The Northeast is perhaps the least-known area of the country to the average visitor.  Yet I-San, as it is popularly called in Thailand, covers over a third of the country’s total area.  This area contains many sights of historical interest, and has a highly distinctive culture and cuisine of its own.

Southern Thailand is a long peninsula, stretching down to Malaysia and bordered by the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.  The Southern region, famous for scenic beaches and resorts, is also known for the wonderful cuisine that embraces the abundant fresh seafood from the surrounding waters.  Experience many varieties of seafood dishes that include the marine fish, lobsters, crabs, squid, scallops, clams and mussels.

 

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