Thai cuisine

Exotic cuisine has become increasingly popular in recent years. Fans of Chinese, Japanese and other oriental food can be found in specialized restaurants almost every day. The craze for such food is due not only to the fact that it is very tasty, but also extremely healthy.

Today we will talk about Thai cuisine, which came to us from sunny Thailand and embodies the best traditions of Indian, Chinese and European cuisines.

The history of Thai cuisine

Thai cuisine is considered one of the oldest cuisines in the world. Its formation was greatly influenced by the culture of India, China and Japan. Being close to such large states, Thailand has absorbed many of the subtleties of Chinese and Indian cuisine, but at the same time retained its zest in cooking, making them exquisite and unique.

Of course, the delightful climate of Thailand and its extraordinary culture played a significant role in the development of this exotic cuisine.

The humid tropical climate of this eastern country allows you to grow many different crops, and harvest them more than once a year. Even the well-known fruits and vegetables acquire their characteristic taste and enchanting aroma here. Proximity to the sea also left its mark: Thai cuisine is replete with fish and seafood. And oyster sauce is generally an indispensable ingredient in almost any oriental dishes.

A significant influence on the development of Thai recipes is that the religious beliefs inherent in the people of Thailand do not restrict the use of certain products.

The philosophy of Thai cuisine

Thailand is not in vain considered the land of smiles. You will hardly find gloomy faces here. Thais are always friendly and smiling, which in a special way affects their physical health. As you know, Thailand is famous for a large number of centenarians. And if you think about it, then all this is really interconnected: it is unlikely that a sick person will have a good mood. People who live in harmony with each other, with their own bodies and with the nature around them, are fundamentally different from others. Physical health and spiritual well-being are very closely intertwined. Thais take care of their own health from the very first days of life, while proper, balanced nutrition plays an important role, which embodies their national cuisine.

The indigenous people of Thailand are not accustomed to eating on the go. Their meal is a kind of ritual. They are used to eating slowly, enjoying both the wonderfully prepared food and the process itself. Communication with relatives and friends during lunch is very much appreciated in Thailand, therefore, a revolving round table is often used for such purposes, richly served and laden with an abundance of various dishes and potions.

“Our body is a sacred temple, where you can’t let everything that comes to hand” - this phrase perfectly conveys the main essence of the philosophy of Thai cuisine. It is this truth that teaches a responsible attitude to food itself and to the products from which it is prepared. Every cook in Thailand must know how certain ingredients affect human health.

Food is an inexhaustible source of energy and health. By using some products, you can saturate the body with energy and vitality, while others allow you to maintain youth and beauty, thanks to others, metabolic processes in the body improve. It is in the harmonious mixing of such ingredients, their various proportions and ratios that the true skill and professionalism of the chef lies. A real ace of his craft is not only obliged to know the secrets of culinary traditions that have been kept since the time of ancient Siam, but also to intuitively feel the magic of each ingredient.

Initially, in Thailand it was not customary to use cutlery for eating. In some regions, food is still eaten exclusively with fingers. Around the beginning of the nineteenth century, the habit of eating with a fork and spoon steadily came into use. This became possible thanks to the European trips of King Mongkut, from where he learned a lot of new things and rooted them in his country.

Moreover, in Thailand, a spoon is considered the main device, and a fork is necessary only in order to put food on a spoon. Bringing a fork to your mouth while eating is considered bad manners. Chopsticks are not used in Thai cuisine, this is the prerogative of Chinese culture. The only exceptions are noodle dishes. Soup in Thailand is eaten holding a spoon in the left hand, using it exclusively for broth, and chopsticks in the right, with which they eat the noodles themselves, fish, vegetables or meat.

Features of Thai cuisine

The basis of the exotic cuisine of Thailand is a combination of five tastes: salty, spicy, sour, sweet and bitter. And the chef's skill lies in the ability to properly combine these tastes and skillfully balance them with each other.

Ripe pineapple, sugar palm and sugar cane are the quintessential sweet flavors in food. Lime and Lemon add exquisite sourness, among other things, saturating the food with useful and necessary for the body vitamin C.

The word “boring” in Thai literally sounds like “lime without juice”, therefore lime juice is an indispensable ingredient in many different dishes, diluting their monotony and monotony, eliminating from boredom and bringing to them a touch of revival. Also sources of sour taste are unripe pineapple and mango, as well as a plant of the nightshade family Solanum Ferox, which in appearance is somewhat reminiscent of eggplant.

Such dishes owe their bitter taste to the bitter cucumber - in Thai ma-ra, and the basis of the island of taste is the hot chili pepper brought to Siam by Portuguese missionaries.

In general, the use of chili in Thailand is welcome in any form and at any time. Dry or fresh, as part of various sauces, it is present in the diet of any Thai. It is eaten regardless of the time of day: in the morning for breakfast, in the afternoon, and for dinner in the evening.

All this is due to the fact that chili peppers are endowed with powerful healing properties: it helps with colds, improves digestion, helps prevent diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tract.

There are several varieties of hot chili sauce. But the most popular is the spicy curry sauce Gaeng Pet. In addition to seasoning, it includes garlic, salt, hot chili, coriander, lime, lemon leaves, as well as galangal and Chinese ginger leaves. The invariable ingredient of such a dish is Thai shrimp sauce - kakpi.

The burning taste and spiciness of such a sauce is best eaten with rice rather than putting out a fire with water.

Chili sauce opens the top three ingredients of this exotic cuisine. Next comes coconut milk, or ka-thi. It is a sweet viscous pulp that is extracted from ripe coconuts. Such milk is used as a component of fish and meat dishes, due to its ability to soften the sharp taste of other components. In addition, coconut pulp is a valuable supplier of calcium to the body and a powerful source of energy, which is important for health-conscious Thais.

Closes the top three of Thai cuisine - the king of oriental cooking - fig. Thailand is one of the leading rice importers in the world. Of course, he is given the most important place in Thai cooking. Some experts even give him a special - sixth - taste element - fresh.

The word "eat" in Thai sounds like "kin khau", that is, literally - "eat rice." And any meat, vegetables or fish is translated as "kap khao" - "what is served with rice."

One of the healing properties of rice is an increase in appetite. Its main use is considered to be served with any other dishes, equivalent to our bread, which in Europe is used as an addition to the main food. In addition, delicious desserts are made on its basis.

The most popular jasmine rice in Thailand is considered to be a rather expensive variety grown in Isan. In the northern and eastern provinces, glutinous rice, which is a rich source of valuable starch, took over the palm. One of its features is steam cooking. Glutinous rice is very popular among the population of Laos, where it is used as food on a daily basis.

Unlike traditional European cuisine, Thais don't serve a main course punctuated by salads or side dishes. Their main dish is a huge portion of rice, which is additionally served with spicy and not very spicy dishes. In this case, the leading role is given to the balance of such dishes and ingredients.

Black rice is used to make desserts.

Many national dishes in Thailand are prepared on the basis of "nam phrik" - a spicy mixture of garlic, various herbs and chili peppers. To prepare, you need to grind all the ingredients in a mortar and pour into a wok, previously flavored with vegetable oil. Later, the main ingredients - fish, meat, noodles or vegetables - are fried in this mixture.

Another of the most popular components for cooking Thai dishes is kuay thieu noodles, which are usually served as a main dish or as a component of various soups.

One of the hallmarks of Thai cuisine is the extensive and ubiquitous use of various herbs, spices and spices. It is also important to know their useful properties and skillful application of this.

The most popular spices in Thailand are:

Due to such an abundance of spices and seasonings, Thai dishes have an exquisite and unique aroma and bright taste. An interesting fact is that on average, about forty different spices and seasonings are usually used to prepare a standard meal in Thailand.

Cooking Thai food is a lengthy ritual that requires thorough and lengthy preparation. However, the cooking process itself takes a minimum period of time, which allows you to save the valuable and useful properties of all its components.

Most often, a grill, coals or an open fire is used for cooking. Dishes cooked on an open fire are considered the most healthy, have a certain taste and intoxicating aroma.

In addition to the taste of food, aesthetic pleasure from eating food is also considered important in Thailand. The chef can show all his artistic feelings and creative impulses there: there you can see various still lifes of vegetables, sculptures of fruits and herbs, and other bizarre decorations.

The main dishes of Thai cuisine

Once in Thailand, many seek to try the popular exotic national dishes, which are a landmark of this country. These include:

  • tom yum - spicy and sour soup with chicken and seafood, based on chicken broth;
  • teok - rice porridge, usually served for breakfast;
  • khau phat - rice fried with beef, chicken, pork, crab, shrimp, pineapple and coconut pulp;
  • phat thai - fried rice noodles with lime juice, sugar, tamarind, egg, fish sauce and crushed peanuts, served with chicken, tofu cheese or seafood;
  • kai phat ka-phrau - chicken with chili, garlic and basil;
  • cha-yen - soft drink from Thailand;
  • pickled mango;
  • baked pumpkin with coconut cream;
  • coconut milk and rice flour pancakes ;
  • grilled seafood (shrimp, cuttlefish, crabs and others);
  • pickled fried fish with spices;
  • fish pate with eggs and coconut milk;
  • salad with peanuts, papaya, beans, garlic, lime juice, chili and fish sauce;
  • green and sour curry.

In addition to all this, Thailand is a country of outlandish and exotic fruits. You will not find such a large number of them anywhere. Here you can try coconuts and mangoes, pomelo and mangosteen, guava and papaya. One cannot pass by pitahaya and carambola, rambutan and tamarind, not to pay attention to syzygium and annona, logan and lychee, green plums and pineapples. And of course, one cannot but recall the king of exotics - durian. This amazingly delicious fruit has a terrible stench. There are even some public places in cities where its use is prohibited. This fruit is not exported, as it cannot be stored, so you can only try it in Thailand.

Fruits are eaten both fresh and pickled and canned. They are used to make various juices and jams, marmalades, desserts and candied fruits, they are used as salads and garnishes, boiled and even fried.

The benefits of Thai cuisine, healing Thai soups

Thai cuisine is considered to be an inexhaustible source of useful vitamins and elements, vitality, as well as youth and beauty. Many dishes are used as a treatment and saturation of the body with healing substances. For example, one of the popular dishes in Thailand is a spicy soup with chicken, spices and vegetables in coconut milk - Tom Kha Kai.

This soup eliminates calcium deficiency in the body, thanks to the coconut milk included in it. However, in addition to this, it contains a unique spice - galangal, rich in valuable vitamins and minerals, which improves digestion and stabilizes blood pressure. Galangal also helps to effectively eliminate heartburn and significantly improve complexion.

Stir-fried noodles with shrimp, soy sprouts and cabbage are quite a low-calorie and nutrient-rich dish.

Thai tom yum soup is considered one of the most healing dishes of national cuisine. In the old days, it was often used as a cure for colds. Scientists agree that the beneficial and healing properties of this soup lie in the perfect combination of spices that make up its composition. And these are lime leaves, which are an excellent antioxidant, and lemongrass, which is used to treat influenza, colds, cholera and malaria, and ginger, which significantly increases the protective properties of the human body and improves immunity.

The use of such a large number of spices in Thai dishes, due to their valuable properties, helps to strengthen immunity, improve sleep, good spirits, improve mood and fight colds.

Spicy spices help to charge the body with energy and vigor, and help retain moisture in it. In addition, they have a detrimental effect on various bacteria and microorganisms that multiply rapidly in the hot and humid climate of Thailand.

The most common diseases in this country are: intestinal infections; malaria; hepatitis.

But life expectancy in Thailand is quite high: 71 years for women and 75 years for men on average. Thailand is rightfully considered a country of centenarians.

Instead of conclusions

Thai cuisine is considered to be one of the most balanced and healthiest cuisines in the world. Having tasted her dishes for the first time, many remain fans until the end of their lives. By enjoying Thai food, you can improve both your health and your appearance, and such harmony leads to a long and happy life. In Thailand, it is difficult to meet a full native, such food does not lead to weight gain. Now many Thai restaurants are opening all over the world, where they offer to taste the most popular dishes of the national cuisine of Thailand. However, connoisseurs of Thai cuisine claim that the true taste can only be known by visiting this outlandish country.