Thai cuisine, celebrated globally for its distinct flavors, is a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy elements. Originating from the culinary practices of Thailand’s various regions, it is characterized by aromatic herbs, fresh vegetables, and an array of spices. Core ingredients like coconut milk, lemongrass, Thai basil, and fish sauce contribute to its unique taste. This culinary tradition emphasizes lightly prepared dishes with strong fragrant components, often serving as a communal experience promoting togetherness. Now, we introducing you to 10 Thai cuisine recipes you can recreate in the comfort of your home.
Basic Thai Ingredients
- Rice: The mainstay of every Thai meal, Jasmine rice is a popular variant, known for its fragrant aroma and slightly sticky texture. In North and Northeast Thailand, sticky rice is also widely consumed.
- Fish Sauce (Nam Pla): This salty and tangy condiment made from fermented fish is the heart of Thai cuisine, adding depth and savory flavors to a multitude of dishes.
- Coconut Milk: Used to add a creamy texture and a delicate sweetness, coconut milk is a key ingredient in many Thai curries and soups.
- Chilies: Thai Bird’s Eye Chili and dried red chilies are common, lending heat and spice to Thai dishes, varying from subtly warm to extremely hot.
- Herbs and Spices: Lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, Galangal, Thai basil, and Coriander are used frequently, infusing Thai dishes with their distinct aromas and flavors.
- Tamarind Paste: Essential for achieving the sour notes in many Thai dishes, Tamarind paste imparts a tangy, fruity flavor.
1. Classic Pad Thai
“Classic Pad Thai” is a hallmark of Thai cuisine, merging sweet, tangy, and savory elements into a harmonious dish. Now we see the classic thai recipe to try at home:
- 8 oz flat rice noodles
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, finely sliced
- 4 oz protein (tofu, shrimp, or chicken)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
- Garnishes: crushed peanuts, lime wedges, bean sprouts, and green onions
- Soak the rice noodles until soft.
- Sauté the garlic and shallot in vegetable oil in a wok.
- Add your chosen protein and cook until done.
- Push everything to the side and scramble the eggs in the wok.
- Mix in the softened noodles and the sauce made from tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar.
- Stir-fry until well combined and noodles are tender.
- Garnish with lime wedges, crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, and green onions, then serve.
2. Thai Green Curry
“Thai Green Curry” is a vibrant and aromatic dish, characterized by its distinct flavor profile, imparted by the green curry paste and creamy coconut milk.
- 2 tbsp green curry paste
- 400 ml can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
- 2 small eggplants, cut into chunks
- 1 bell pepper, sliced
- A handful of Thai basil
- 2 red chili, sliced
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- Heat the oil in a pan, then add the green curry paste. Stir until it starts to sizzle.
- Add the chicken to the pan and sauté until it’s browned.
- Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
- Toss in the eggplant chunks and bell pepper, and cook until they’re soft.
- Stir in the fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Adjust the seasoning to your preference.
- Add the Thai basil and red chili. Cook for another minute, then serve over jasmine rice.
The Thai green curry is a creamy and flavorful delight that showcases the vibrancy of Thai flavors.
3. Tom Yum Soup (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup)
“Tom Yum Soup”, also known as Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup, is a staple in Thai cuisine, renowned for its vibrant, refreshing, and spicy flavors.
- 1 liter chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 stalks lemongrass, smashed and cut into 2-inch lengths
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces
- 3 slices galangal root
- 5 Thai bird chilies, smashed
- 200 grams shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 200 grams mushrooms, sliced
- 2 small tomatoes, quartered
- 1 onion, quartered
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
- Bring the broth to a boil in a pot. Add lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, chilies, tomatoes, and onion. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and mushrooms. Cook until the shrimp turns pink, about 3-5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, then add the lime juice and fish sauce. Adjust seasoning according to taste.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves before serving.
This Tom Yum Soup recipe results in a beautifully tangy and spicy soup that is rich in authentic Thai flavors. It’s an ideal start to any Thai meal.
4. Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)
Thai Basil Chicken, or “Pad Krapow Gai”, is a popular dish in Thai cuisine, known for its delicious combination of savory, sweet, and spicy flavors.
- 500 grams chicken breast, minced
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 5 Thai bird chilies, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups Thai basil leaves
- Steamed jasmine rice for serving
- Heat oil in a wok over medium heat, then add the garlic and chilies. Stir-fry until aromatic.
- Add the chicken and cook until it changes color, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.
- Mix in oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sugar, stirring well to evenly coat the chicken.
- Toss in Thai basil leaves and stir just until wilted, then remove from heat.
- Serve hot over a bed of steamed jasmine rice.
Basil Chicken is a simple yet flavorful thai dish that delivers a punch of traditional Thai tastes, making it a favorite for home cooks.
5. Massaman Curry
Massaman Curry is a delicious Thai dish rich in flavor, embodying an exquisite blend of sweet, sour, and spicy tastes.
- 500 grams chicken, cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons Massaman curry paste
- 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
- 2 medium potatoes, cubed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
- Roasted peanuts for garnish
- Steamed jasmine rice for serving
- Heat 1/4 of the coconut milk in a pan on medium heat. Stir in curry paste and fry until fragrant.
- Add chicken and cook until browned. Pour in remaining coconut milk.
- Add potatoes, onion, fish sauce, palm sugar, and tamarind paste. Mix well and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and cook on low heat for about 45 minutes, until the chicken and potatoes are tender.
- Serve hot, garnished with roasted peanuts, alongside steamed jasmine rice.
Massaman Curry, with its aromatic flavors and hearty ingredients, is a comforting meal that showcases the diversity and richness of Thai cuisine.
6. Thai Spring Rolls
Thai Spring Rolls are a versatile and delightful appetizer, showcasing a colorful array of vegetables and flavors enclosed within a crispy wrapper.
- 15 spring roll wrappers
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- Oil for frying
- Sweet chili sauce for dipping
- In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, carrot, bell pepper, green onions, and bean sprouts. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper, mixing well.
- Lay a spring roll wrapper on a clean surface, place about two tablespoons of the vegetable mixture on it, and fold according to package directions, sealing with a bit of water.
- Heat oil in a deep pan over medium heat. Fry spring rolls until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Drain on paper towels and serve hot with sweet chili sauce for dipping.
Thai Spring Rolls are a crowd-pleaser, offering a tantalizing mix of textures and flavors that perfectly embody Thai cuisine’s vibrancy.
7. Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice is a vibrant dish that combines sweet, sour, and savory flavors in one delicious meal.
- 3 cups cooked jasmine rice
- 1 cup diced pineapple
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft.
- Add the beaten eggs and scramble until cooked.
- Stir in the rice, then add peas and carrots, pineapple, soy sauce, and curry powder. Mix well and cook for a few minutes until everything is heated through.
- Add green onions and cashews, stir well, and cook for another minute.
- Serve hot, garnished with additional green onions if desired.
This Thai Pineapple Fried Rice recipe is a fun, tropical twist on traditional fried rice, showcasing the sweet and savory harmony that defines Thai cuisine.
8. Thai Mango Sticky Rice (Dessert)
Thai Mango Sticky Rice is a sweet, refreshing dessert that balances the creaminess of coconut milk with the tanginess of fresh mango.
- 1 cup glutinous (sticky) rice
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
- 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- Rinse the sticky rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in cold water for a few hours, then drain.
- Steam the rice until tender (about 20 minutes).
- While the rice is steaming, heat the coconut milk, sugar, and salt over medium heat until hot, but not boiling.
- Once the rice is cooked, slowly pour three-quarters of the hot coconut milk over it, reserving the rest. Let it absorb for about 20 minutes.
- To serve, place a portion of the rice on a plate, lay some mango slices alongside it, and drizzle the remaining coconut milk on top. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds for extra flavor and crunch.
This recipe is a must-try for those with a sweet tooth who are seeking to explore the delightful desserts Thai cuisine has to offer.
Related: 8 Delicious Vegan Dessert Recipes!
9. Thai Iced Tea (Drink)
Thai Iced Tea is a deliciously sweet, creamy beverage that offers a refreshing counterpoint to spicy Thai dishes.
- 1 cup Thai tea leaves
- 4 cups water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup half-and-half (or a mix of evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk)
- Bring the water to a boil in a pot. Once boiling, add the Thai tea leaves.
- Reduce the heat to low, let the tea simmer for about 30 minutes to fully infuse the water.
- Strain the tea leaves from the water using a fine mesh strainer. Add the sugar to the hot tea and stir until it is completely dissolved.
- Allow the tea to cool to room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve, fill glasses with ice, pour the tea until it’s about three-quarters full, then top with the half-and-half for a layered effect.
This iconic beverage is a perfect addition to any Thai meal and a delightful way to cool off on a hot day. Enjoy the aromatic sweetness of Thai Iced Tea!
10. Papaya Salad (Som Tam)
Som Tam, or Papaya Salad, is a vibrant, refreshing salad with a balance of tangy, sweet, and spicy flavors that embodies Thai cuisine.
- 1 green (unripe) papaya, shredded
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 fresh red or green chillies
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1-2 teaspoons palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons dried shrimp
- 2 small tomatoes, chopped
- A handful of crushed peanuts
- A handful of fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
- In a mortar, pound garlic and chillies into a paste.
- Add green beans and lightly crush them.
- Add the shredded papaya, dried shrimp, chopped tomatoes, fish sauce, lime juice, and palm sugar. Pound lightly with the pestle while mixing with a spoon.
- Toss the salad well, ensuring the ingredients are coated with the dressing.
- Top with crushed peanuts before serving.
Som Tam is a light, healthy dish that packs a flavorful punch. It’s an ideal starter for your Thai feast. Enjoy its fresh crunch and vibrant flavors!
Thai cuisine is renowned for its intricate flavors and dishes, balancing sweet, sour, salty, and spicy elements. With this guide, you’ve discovered ten iconic Thai recipes you can recreate in your kitchen, each dish offering a unique taste of Thailand. From the comforting Pad Thai to the tantalizing Mango Sticky Rice, you’ve embarked on a culinary journey that captures the essence of Thai food. Remember, cooking is about exploration and enjoyment, so feel free to adapt these Thai recipes to suit your taste and have fun cooking!