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Thai cuisine

 Thai seafood curry
 Tom yum : spicy, sour soup




Thai cuisine refers to typical foods, beverages, and cooking styles common to the country of Thailand in Southeast Asia . Thai Cuisine is well-known for being hot and spicy and for its balance of five fundamental flavors in each dish or the overall meal – hot (spicy), sour, sweet, salty, and bitter (optional).

Although popularly considered as a single cuisine , Thai food would be more accurately described as four regional cuisines corresponding to the four main regions of the country: Northern, Northeastern (or Isan), Central, and Southern, each cuisine sharing similar foods or derived from those of neighboring countries. Southern curries, for example, tend to contain coconut milk and fresh turmeric , while northeastern dishes often include lime juice. The cuisine of Northeastern (or Isan ) Thailand is heavily influenced by Laos. Many popular dishes eaten in Thailand were originally Chinese dishes which were introduced to Thailand mainly by Teochew people who make up the majority of the Thai Chinese. Such dishes include Jok, Kway teow Rad Na, Khao Kha Moo (also known as Moo Pa-loh) and Khao Mun Gai.


Thai food is known for its enthusiastic use of fresh (rather than dried) herbs and spices as well as fish sauce. Thai food is popular in many Western countries especially in Australia, New Zealand, some countries in Europe such as the United Kingdom, as well as the United States, and Canada.

Serving

 Tom yum goong served in Bangkok, Thailand.

Instead of a multiple main course with side dishes found in Western cuisine, a Thai full meal typically consists of either a single dish or rice khao (Thai : ข้าว) with many complementary dishes served concurrently and shared by all.


Nowadays, Thai food is eaten with a fork and spoon but traditionally, it was eaten with the right hand. Only noodle dishes (and then mainly only the noodle soups) are eaten with chopsticks and a spoon.

Rice is a staple component of Thai cuisine, as it is of most Asian cuisines. The highly prized, sweet-smelling jasmine rice is indigenous to Thailand. This naturally aromatic long-grained rice grows in abundance in the verdant patchwork of paddy fields that blanket Thailand’s central plains. Steamed rice is accompanied by highly aromatic curries, stir-frys and other dishes, incorporating sometimes large quantities of chillies, lime juice and lemon grass. Curries, stir-frys and others may be poured onto the rice creating a single dish called khao rad gang (Thai: ข้าวราดแกง), a popular meal when time is limited. Sticky rice (khao neow, Thai: ข้าวเหนียว) is a unique variety of rice that contains an unusual balance of the starches present in all rice, causing it to cook up to a sticky texture. It is the daily bread of Laos and substitutes ordinary rice in rural Northern and Northeastern Thai cuisine, where Lao cultural influence is strong.

Noodles, known in much of Southeast Asia by the Chinese name kway teow (Thai: ก๋วยเตี๋ยว), are popular as well but usually come as a single dish, like the stir-fried Pad Thai (Thai: ผัดไทย) or noodle soups. Many Chinese cuisine are adapted to suit Thai taste, such as kway teow rua (Thai: ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ), a sour and spicy rice noodle soup.

There is a uniquely Thai dish called nam prik (Thai: น้ำพริก) which refers to a chilli sauce or paste. Each region has its own special versions. It is prepared by crushing together chillies with various ingredients such as garlic and shrimp paste using a mortar and pestle. It is then often served with vegetables such as cucumbers, cabbage and yard-long beans, either raw or blanched. The vegetables are dipped into the sauce and eaten with rice. Nam prik may also be simply eaten alone with rice or, in a bit of Thai and Western fusion, spread on toast.




Thai food is generally eaten with a fork and a spoon. Chopsticks are used rarely, primarily for the consumption of noodle soups. The fork, held in the left hand, is used to push food into the spoon. However, it is common practice for Thais and hill tribe peoples in the North and Northeast to eat sticky rice with their right hands by making it into balls that are dipped into side dishes and eaten. Thai-Muslims also frequently eat meals with only their right hands.

Often Thai food is served with a variety of spicy condiments to embolden dishes. This can range from dried chili pieces, or sliced chili peppers in rice vinegar, to a spicy chili sauce such as the nam prik mentioned above.

 

 Ingredients

 Fresh herbs, fresh spices and vegetables sold at a stall in Thanin Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The ingredient found in almost all Thai dishes and every region of the country is nam pla (Thai น้ำปลา), a very aromatic and strong tasting fish sauce. Shrimp paste, a combination of ground shrimp and salt, is also extensively used.

Thai dishes in the Central and Southern regions use a wide variety of leaves rarely found in the West, such as kaffir lime leaves (bai makrut, Thai ใบมะกรูด). The characteristic flavour of kaffir lime leaves appear in nearly every Thai soup (e.g., the hot and sour Tom yam) or curry from those areas. It is frequently combined with garlic, galangal, lemon grass, turmeric and/or fingerroot (krachai), blended together with liberal amounts of various chillies to make curry paste. Fresh Thai basil is also used to add fragrance in certain dishes such as Green curry. Other typical ingredients include the small green Thai eggplants, tamarind, palm and coconut sugars, lime juice, and coconut milk. A variety of chilies and spicy elements are found in most Thai dishes.

Other ingredients also include pahk chee (cilantro or coriander), rahk pahk chee (cilantro/coriander roots), curry pastes, pong kah-ree (curry powder), si-yu dahm (dark soy sauce), gung haeng (dried shrimp), pong pa-loh (five-spice powder), tua fahk yao (long beans or yard-long beans), nahmahn hoi (oyster sauce), prik Thai (Thai pepper), rice and tapioca flour, and nahm prik pao (roasted chilli paste).

Although broccoli is often used in Asian restaurants in the west in pad thai and rad na, it was never actually used in any traditional Thai food in Thailand and is still rarely seen in Thailand. Usually, kana (gailan) is used.

: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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