It seems like Thai food is having a moment.
All around the world, Thai restaurants are the new trendy thing, drawing crowds every time a new one opens up. Some of this is because Thai food is delicious, but did you know that this is also due in part to a concentrated effort on the part of the Thai government? It’s been called culinary diplomacy: a government program dedicated to the promotion of Thai values and culture through one of their most powerful and unique features: their food.
Thai food really is special. There’s a reason people travel all around the world to go, and it’s not just about the beaches and jungles… though those are great too. Like much food in the region, it tends toward the heavily spiced, featuring dishes thick with garlic, ginger, lime, and chili. Fish sauce, a pungent brew similar to anchovies, plays an outsize role in Thai cuisine, giving the dishes much of their funky, umami-heavy character. Aromatics like lemongrass, lime leaves, and others do their part as well.
But unlike the food of China or Japan, many Thai dishes don’t require a lifetime of learning to master. On the contrary, many of these Thai dishes are pretty simple! Just collect the right ingredients and you’re halfway there. We’ve assembled our favorite Thai recipes all in one place so that you can try your hand at the Thai way of life—no plane ticket required! Read on!
Thai-style spring rolls recipe
Spring rolls are perhaps the ultimate hot weather appetizer. Cold and refreshing but still satisfying, these chewly little wraps are perfect for entertaining. Though they come together in a flash, there’s no reason not to prepare these ahead of time and just keep them in the fridge until your guests are ready. Try mixing up the ingredients for variety: fried strips of tofu, green onions, shrimp or imitation crab… anything goes! Using different dips can also be rewarding: our favorite is a sweet and spicy chili peanut sauce, but hoisin sauce is also a great choice.
Vegetarian Thai style fried rice recipe
Fried rice might seem tired and uninteresting, but it’s the perfect canvas for experimentation and elaboration. Fried rice is one of the most easily customized and adjusted meals around. In some ways, you can link of it like a blank page: ready for you to create your vision on top of it. By using Thai spices and seasonings like lime juice, ginger, turmeric, and green onions, you transform ordinary fried rice into a Thai-style feast! Just add a little hot sauce (or throw in some Thai bird’s eye chilis) to up the spice level a bit and you have a familiar, comforting, yet exciting twist on fried rice!
Southern coconut curry of crab recipe
The first two recipes here were both fairly simple: able to be thrown together from common ingredients with a minimum of time and effort. This one is nothing like that! This traditional curry is rich with crab and coconut cream It’s a decadent and complex set of flavors. Tangy Thai lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal (a Thai spice somewhat similar to ginger) combine to create an aromatic broth. For the curry paste, you add several other traditional Thai spices like grachai, gapi, and three types of chilis! Put it all together and you have an extremely rich and decadent curry sauce that builds over time. Serve with rice and dig in: after all this effort, you deserve it.
Pad thai recipe
It wouldn’t be a list of our favorite Thai recipes if we forgot to include pad thai. This classic of Thai restaurants everywhere is everything people love about Thai food: sweet, tangy, salty, and a bit spicy, enriched with shrimp and fried egg and sprinkled with peanuts, this classic of Thai takeout is now ready for you to enjoy at home. It comes together in a flash: just cook the eggs omelet style and remove, then stir fry the remaining ingredients. Make sure you don’t skimp on the sauce: the sweet, salty sauce is the perfect counterpoint to the sourness from the lime juice and richness of the peanuts.
Green matcha chicken curry with lime recipe
Have you ever had a green tea curry? Now’s your chance. Enriched with the bracing bitterness of matcha powder, this green curry is a force of nature in and of itself. Chili, cumin, garlic, and other spices, both familiar and exotic, combine to create a curry sauce of unparalleled complexity. The sharp, citric flavors play together exceptionally well with the sweet fattiness of the coconut milk, all underlined by the umami undertones of fish sauce and, of course, the grassy notes of green tea matcha powder. If you’ve never cooked with matcha before, now it’s your chance to see it shine! It’s good for so much more than dessert!