Most Aucklanders have been to a fair amount of Thai establishments as Thai food is one of the most popular cuisine can be enjoyed dine-in and take-out. Thai food is famous for its robust flavours, fresh herbs and heat, often demonstrating a perfect combination of savoury and sweet. Dishes like Pad Thai, Green Curry, Tom Yum, and many others have become lots of people's go-to orders. But, how well do you think you know about Thai ingredients? Where does the sourness come from in Tom Yum? What produces the tanginess in Pad Thai? The Thai diet is much more complicated than your golden asian-flavour trifecta of soy, ginger, and scallion. Now the Taste Guide has rounded up a few basic but quintessential ingredients we use in most of our dishes.
1. Coconut Milk
Let's start with something rather well-known. Coconut milk is widely used in South Asian, South east Asian and South American cooking especially desserts and curries. Coconut milk technically isn't milk, but a natural liquid comes from the flesh of coconut. It adds a creamy consistency to any stew with a hint of sweet fragrance. Coconut milk has anti-inflammatory effect and contains healthy fatty acids, which help with various health conditions such as high blood pressure and digestive issues.
Notable dishes: Curries, Tom Kha
2. Thai Basil
Basil is not an unfamiliar herb, it is a stable in western cooking and most people's pantries. It is famous for its unique sweet scent and often added to dishes last minute as garnish. Thai Basil has a slightly different flavour profile, notably its sweet, anise-like scent and a note of spiciness. In addition to its purpose in cooking, it is a herb with multiple healing benefits, due to its anti-bacterial properties, therefore great for infections and Cardiovascular health.
Notable dish: Pad Kaplao
3.Kaffir Lime Leaves
Tried it before in some exotic fusion cocktails? Those leaves are very popular ingredients in South and Southeast Asian cooking, to simply add fragrance and decrease unwanted odours. The leaves are identified by their potent citrusy and floral scent which made them great to freshen up the flavour profile of any heavy dish. Kaffir Lime and its leaves historically have several medicinal uses such as aiding acid reflux, treating infections and preventing cancer.
Notable dishes: Thai beef salad, Panang Goong
Lemograss is a tropical plant that can be found in lots of countries across the world, used as a culinary herb in many Asian countries and medicinal herb in India. Many know Lemongrass for its sharp lemon-like smell and taste, an important ingredient in Thai cuisine for contributing the tangy flavour besides a lemon squeeze. As for its medicinal usage, it was proved to be particularly affective for digestive problems, high blood pressure, convulsions, pain, vomiting, cough, rheumatism, fever, the common cold, and exhaustion.
Notable dishes: Tom Yum, Curries
Tamarind is a tree with pod fruits and edible pulps. Tamarind pulps are traditionally used in cooking and medicine, or some times, metal polishing. The fresh pulps are juicy, sweet and sour in taste, high in fatty acids, sugar, Vitamin B and unusually calcium. Tamarind could be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Tamarind paste is often used in chutneys and curries. People take tamarind supplements to treat digestive disorders, gallbladder and liver issues, some even use tamarind for beauty routine in order to get glowy skin.
Notable dish: Pad Thai
Also known as Thai ginger, Galangal seems to be a doppelgänger of ginger but these two taste nothing alike. Galangal is earthy, sweet and citrusy while ginger is spicy. Galangal is naturally rich in iron and vitamins, good for nausea and decreases bloating. The herb could stimulate appetite hence is often used to treat eating disorder.
Notable dish: Tom Kha
Know what you eat to eat better. Now you know the sourness is not just lemon, the sweetness is not just sugar. Be adventurous, try different flavours and you might just find your new cup of tea. Order all recommended dishes at The Taste on Uber Eats, our website, or visit our store at 3/67 Lake Rd.