……..And now for my favourite part of the 1st March ‘Friends of Thavorn’ Prizedraw party – the Traditional Thai food! A word of warning – Reading the following may cause you to develop sudden hunger pangs and a craving for Thai food !
Pad Thai (Thai Fried Noodles)
Let’s start with probably the most famous Thai dish of all, well known the world over. ‘Pad Thai’ translated word for word means ‘Fried Thai’, this fried flat noodle dish is made with egg, garlic, meat or shrimps (optional), and tamarind juice . It’s a light dish whilst at the same time balancing so many flavours such as sweet, savoury and sour, which the Thai culinary artform does so well.
In Thailand ‘Pad Thai’ is normally served with a topping of bean sprouts, grounded nuts, fresh lime and sprigs of Chinese chives, and seasonings such as; dry chilli flakes, fish sauce and vinegar so you can mix up the flavor even more to suit your taste.
Gai Yang (Grilled Chicken)
A street food favourite here is ‘Gai Yang’ which is marinated chicken grilled over a low heat on a charcoal flame for a long time to bring out the best flavours. The marinade typically includes fish sauce, garlic, tumeric, coriander (cilantro), and white pepper. Many variations exist, for example it can include black soy sauce, hoy sin sauce, shallots, coriander seeds, lemongrass, chillis, ginger, vinegar and palm sugar.
Moo Sa-Te (Pork Satay Sticks)
Tantalizing sweet-flavoured grilled pork on skewers, ‘Moo Sa-Te’ can be eaten as a snack, side dish or even main course. The grilled meat on skewers is seasoned with tumeric and curry powder. It is always served with a dipping sauce, there are 2 kinds, one is a mildly spicy coconut milk based thick curry flavoured sauce made with ground peanuts and the other is a sweet and sour vinegar sauce with chopped shallot, pepper and cucumber. The latter sauce serves to help lower the oiliness of the satay. Whilst its origins are not strictly from Thailand , it is a classic example of neighbouring Malaysia’s influence on Thai food. Nowadays ‘Moo Sa-te’ has been integrated into everyday Thai street food stalls, variations of this are chicken and beef satay.
Som Tam (Papaya Salad)
‘Som Tam’ otherwise known as ‘papaya salad’ is probably the second most well known Thai dish, second only to ‘Pad Thai’ and is famous not just in Thailand but the world over for its fiercely spicy and sour flavors. ‘Som Tam’ which literally translated means ‘Sour Pounded’, is a spicy salad made from a mix of fresh vegetables including shredded un-ripened papaya, green beans and tomatoes.
What makes Som Tam unique though is the spicy dressing which is pounded with the fresh vegetables using a mortar using a pestle. This dressing includes; Dried shrimp, small crabs, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar and the most important of all –chilli !!
Thais traditionally eat Som tam with grilled chicken and sticky rice, although nowadays it can be eaten as a side dish with just about anything. Som Tam is good for your health as it contains no fat, low calorie and is high in vitamins. In Thailand it can be made to order, for example, without dried shrimps or crabs, extra beans, or less fish sauce, just tell the waiter. There are also regional variations such as Som Tam ‘Isan style’ or Som Tam ‘central Thailand’ style.
As it is perfectly normal for Thais to have 10 small red chillies in their Som Tam , here’s a handy tip for you, just say ‘Mai Phet’ which means ‘not spicy’, it could save you from a mouth burning experience!
Keng Riang Goong Sod (Vegetable Soup with Fresh Shrimps)
A popular healthy Thai soup made of mainly shrimps and vegetables such as pumpkin, mushrooms, carrots and seasoned with ingredients such as; salt, lemon basil, shallots, galangal, white pepper powder and shrimp paste. Interestingly, the most popular reason to eat this soup in Thailand is the belief that it helps mothers produce breast milk.
Park – Moh (Savoury Rice Flour Dumplings)
A light and healthy snack, these are small white steamed dumplings, the skin is made of rice flour and tapioca batter. The fillings can vary but can include; minced chicken, shrimp, pork, beansprouts, shallot, preserved radish, grounded nuts
Traditional Thai Desserts
The following 3 desserts we enjoyed all include the name ‘Thong’ which means ‘Gold ‘ in Thai. This name is symbolic, as all these desserts were traditionally served for VIP guests, the Royal family or at important occasions such as weddings.
Foy – Thong (Golden Egg Yolk Shreds )
Literally translated means ‘shredded gold’. Made from egg yolks and sugar boiled in sweet syrup then shredded into fine threads, traditionally Thais believe the long shreds will bring long lasting love and good fortune. This shows the Chinese influence on Thai cuisine, because the Chinese also believe that long golden noodles bring long lasting love, life and prosperity.
Thong – Yhip (Golden Egg Yolk Flower Tart)
Thong Yip is made from egg yolk, sugar, flour and water boiled into a sugar syrup and formed into flower like shapes using finger tips. If it’s good Thong Yip it will never smell of yolks or eggs. Thais believe this will bring wealth, as literally translated Thong Yi’ means to ‘get gold’
Thong- Yod (Golden Egg Yolk drops)
Often served with Thong Yip, Thong Yod means ‘golden drop’ which symbolizes getting richer drop by drop and therefore continuous wealth.
The main ingredients are the same as Thong Yip but is formed into teardrop like shapes instead of flowers.
Thai Dessert Interesting Fact
Did you know that most Thai desserts, including all those above were not invented in Thailand but are borrowed from Portuguese desserts ? Brought to Thailand by a half-Portuguese half-Japanese lady called ‘Marie Guimanr” who taught the royal kitchen how to cook these desserts in the 17th Century. For more about this interesting tale stay posted…….