Thai food has become an Australian favourite, with its creamy curries and spicy stir fries. But if you had to cook Thai food yourself, would you know what ingredients to get? Here are some of the key ingredients in Thai dishes:
Coriander roots, garlic and white peppercorns: This is considered a near-sacred combination in Thai meals and is usually pound into a paste to be used in Thai marinades and relishes.
Palm sugar: This type of sugar comes from coconut and is used extensively in both savoury and sweet dishes. It is often sold as a solid mass that must be grated.
Fish sauce: Fish sauce that is transparent and golden brown in colour is a sign that it is good quality.
Sri Racha chilli sauce: An hour out from Bangkok is the province Sri Racha, where this hot sauce gets its name. It is commonly a dipping and finishing sauce in Thai food.
Thai basil: You'll find thai basil atop many Thai meals, adding a fresh, peppery hit.
Chilli: The Thai people like it hot, and they will take their chilli fresh or dried – and in almost anything!
Kaffir lime: The skin and leaves of this special variety of lime is most often used in Thai cooking. The leaves may be shredded into salads.
Lemongrass: The lemon grass root is used in its dried, powdered and fresh forms and adds a sour quality to dishes.
Where to go for good Thai
If you want to experience a truly authentic Thai dining experience, you can't go past Paladarr in Alphington, Victoria. This is a restaurant where all the curry pastes are made by hand and there are all the classic curries, stir fries and soups you could want. Think prawns with ginger, lemongrass and chilli, or beef stir fries tossed with garlic and Thai basil. Even the desserts have classic Thai flavours, such as ginger and lime ice cream.
Learn how to do it yourself!
If you'd love to make those dishes at home then you should consider paying a visit to the Paladarr Fine Thai & Cooking School. Classes run from 10am to 1pm and are limited to six places, so it is an intimate and hands on cooking experience. You'll learn how to make the classic Penang curry paste from scratch, along with Tom Yum Goong, Pad Thai and many more. The best part? You get to eat what you create and at the conclusion of the course you can relax with a glass of wine and curry puffs.