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Thai Food Recipes

As exotic as Thai food tastes and as expansive as your typical Thai restaurant’s menu is, Thai food is not particularly difficult to prepare.  In fact, Thai food recipes are quite straightforward (provided you can get the proper ingredients or suitable substitutes.  Although many Thai ingredients may be difficult to obtain outside of Thailand, many recipes indicate substitutes and with some experimentation you may find a creative substitute that makes the dish a unique creation of your own.  Armed with the ingredients and a recipe, the only other things you should have are the proper instruments, such as a wok and a mortar and pestle (if you wish to make your own chili paste or spicy salad.) Browse Popular Recipe of Thai Culinary from the list below

Gang Keo Wan / Thai Green Curry

Typically gang keo wan (Thai green curry) is prepared with beef, though chicken, pork, or fish can be substituted. This dish also lends itself well to vegetarians, who may add different vegetables, such as carrot or zucchini. As a mild curry, the level of spiciness can be adjusted up or down to taste.


  • Beef 400 g (around 1lb)
  • Green Curry Paste 3 tbsp
  • Coconut Milk 2 ½ cups
  • Thai Eggplants 5 quartered
  • Red Spur Chilies 2-3 sliced diagonally
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves 2 torn
  • Sweet Basil Leaf ¼ cup (optional)
  • Fish or Soy Sauce 1 ½ tbsp
  • Palm Sugar 1 ½ tsp
  • Cooking Oil 1 tbsp (corn safflower or peanut oil)
  • Sweet Basil Leaves and Red chili slices for garnish.


1. Prepare beef by slicing into strips around 1/3” (3cm) in width.

2. Over medium heat, sauté green curry paste in oil until fragrant.

3. Reduce heat and gradually add 1 ½ cups coconut milk until green oil appears.

4. Add beef and kaffir lime leaves, cooking for 3 minutes or until beef is cooked.

5. Transfer to a pot and gradual bring to a boil with remaining coconut milk, palm sugar, and fish sauce.

6. Once boiling add eggplants and cook until tender.

7. Once eggplants are cooked, turn off heat and add sweet basil and red chilies.

Spring Rolls

While quite simple to make, getting the spring rolls to roll up and stay together takes a little practice. Fortunately these tasty treats are enjoyable to make regularly, so you are bound to get it right eventually.


  • Spring Roll sheets 300g
  • Glass noodles 25g
  • Mung beans ¾ cup (boiled hulled and mashed)
  • Cabbage 1 cup (shredded)
  • White ground pepper ¼ tsp
  • Bean Sprouts 1 cup
  • Thin Soy Sauce 1 ½ tbsp
  • Garlic 1 tbsp (chopped)
  • Vegetable oil 1 tbsp (for frying garlic)
  • Spring Roll “paste” 2 tbsp (prepared by mixing rice flour and water boiled to thicken)
  • Ingredients for Sauce
  • Vinegar ¼ cup
  • Sugar ¼ cup
  • Salt 1 tbsp
  • Tapioca flour 2 tsp
  • Red spur chili ½ chili (seeds removed and then smashed)


  1. Soak noodles in water to soften, cut into short pieces, and mix with mashed mungbeans, cabbage, bean sprouts, pepper, and soy sauce.
  2. Fry garlic in oil over low heat, adding noodle mixture once garlic yellows. Stir fry until cooked and then remove from pan to cool.
  3. After spreading out a spring roll sheet, place one spoonful of noodle mixture in middle of closest end. Roll over once and then fold sides of sheet inwards so as to close ends of spring roll while rolling.
  4. Apply paste to end of sheet and roll closed.
  5. After all rolls are prepared, fry in hot oil over low heat until crisp and brown.
  6. Drain and serve with sauce, basil, cucumbers, and lettuce.

Method for Sauce:

  1. Pound chilies with mortar and pestle.
  2. Mix together remaining ingredients.

Tom Kha Gai (Thai coconut chicken soup)

One of the tastiest and easiest Thai foods to prepare, tom kha simply requires fresh lemongrass –dried galangal and packaged coconut milk will still produce a decent soup. While technically a soup, it is typically served with rice and eaten like a curry, ladled over the rice and then eaten.


  • Dried Galangal Slices 2-3 pcs
  • Lemon Grass (fresh) 2 pcs
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Tamarind Paste 1 pinch
  • Fresh Chilies 3-4
  • Fish or Soy Sauce to taste
  • Chicken ½ lb
  • Coconut milk 13.5 oz can


  1. Boil 1 cup of water with galangal, lemon grass, garlic, and tamarind for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken (pre-cut into 2” pieces) to boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk and return to boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
  4. Add fish sauce (1tbsp), soy sauce, and 2 slices of white onion. Boil for one minute.
  5. Remove from heat and serve with rice.

Chicken Satay


  • Turmeric 1 tsp ground
  • Shallots 3-4 peeled and sliced thin
  • Lemongrass 1 stalk sliced thin diagonally
  • Galangal ¼” piece fresh
  • Garlic 1 clove peeled and smashed
  • Sea Salt ½ tsp
  • Sugar 2 tsp
  • Cooking oil 2 tbsp Canola or peanut
  • Bamboo Skewers 20


  1. Prepare chicken by slicing into long thin strips approximately ¼ x 2 inches.
  2. Stirring often, dry roast coriander seeds in a wok over medium heat.
  3. Grind coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle.
  4. Combine all spices in a bowl with shallot, lemon grass, galangal, and garlic.
  5. Place chicken in spice mix and stir. Marinate covered for a minimum of one hour.
  6. Prior to cooking, soak bamboo in water for 10 minutes.
  7. Skewer 2 to 3 pieces of chicken per bamboo stick.
  8. Grill over open flame until cooked

Thai Cup Cakes

Courtesy of David Thompson's 'THAI STREET FOOD'

These wonderful cakes are eaten throughout the day – and they deserve to be. They are addictive… Although 'cake' is perhaps not a true description of these crisp, golden-skinned wafer cups with soft and creamy centres. Be careful when they just come out as when they are fresh and hot, the centres are molten. But I suspect that won't stop you from being compelled to eat several; I certainly am.

Makes 40 cakes or 20 pairs, enough for 4-5

Grated coconut wrapped in muslin (cheesecloth) or a little vegetable oil, for greasing moulds


  • Small pinch of lime paste
  • 125 g (4oz) rice flour
  • 1 scant teaspoon arrowroot flower
  • 1½ tablespoons cooked jasmine rice
  • ¼ cup grated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons thick coconut cream
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped spring (green) onions – optional
  • 2 tablespoons boiled corn kernels – optional
  • 2 tablespoons steamed cubed taro – optional


  1. First make the batter. Dissolve the lime paste in ¾ cup of water and wait for about 15 minutes until it has completely precipitated. Drain off and reserve the lime water, discarding the sludgy residue.
  2. Mix the rice and arrowroot flours together with 2-3 tablespoons of plain water. Knead to a slightly wet, dough-like consistency. Add a further 2-3 tablespoons of plain water bit by bit to make a thick batter. Leave the batter to rest, covered, for an hour or so.
  3. Meanwhile puree the rice, grated coconut and ½ cup of the lime water in an electric blender until smooth. (Keep the remainder of the lime water for later use.) Add the coconut cream, the salt and perhaps a little more lime water, then continue to blend until a fine batter is achieved – it should be quite runny but able to coat the back of a spoon. Make sure there are no lumps whatsoever; if there are, the cakes are bound to stick. Leave to the side to settle for a few hours at room temperature or refrigerate overnight.
  4. Bring the batter to room temperature before using. It will probably be necessary to lighten and dilute it with a tablespoon or two of the remaining lime water, but do not add too much otherwise the cooked cup-cakes will be overly crisp and brittle.
  5. Now make the topping by mixing the sugar, salt and coconut cream together in a bowl, stirring until completely dissolved. Put this to the side.
  6. Heat the cup-cake pan over a low-medium heat for 4-5 minutes until quite hot – ideally over gas, but without the flames touching the base of the mould (a cake ring should be able to assist with this). Grease each well with some grated coconut wrapped in a muslin or a little vegetable oil, then pour batter into each, sizzling well until it is three-quarters full. Cover with a lid and cook over a low-medium heat until the cup cakes are just beginning to set around the edges – this should take about 3-4 minutes but it depends on the thickness of the mould and the heat underneath it. Carefully pick up the hot pan and swirl it in a circular motion to redistribute the batter so that it thinly lines each well to the top. Don’t worry if a little, or a lot, splashes onto the shoulder of the mould, it can be cut away later.
  7. Return to the heat and let any batter from the sides of the wells settle back in the centre. Cover once again and allow the batter to cook until it is just beginning to set. Gingerly add a tablespoon or two of the coconut cream topping to each cake – each well should be almost filled – then cover and let it cook for a few moments. This is the time to add a pinch of either chopped spring onions, boiled corn kernels or steamed taro to the mix, just as the topping begins to thicken. Cover once more and continue to cook until the edges of the cakes are golden and the centre is slightly but not overly set.
  8. With a small knife, cut around the edge of each well and remove the cup-cakes carefully with a Chinese soup spoon. Use the point of the spoon to lift the cupcake away from the mould, gently prising the edges of the cup cake from the well, then working your way down until the cake lifts away from the mould.
  9. If the first batch of cupcakes is not crisp enough, stir a tablespoon or two of the remaining lime water into the batter. Just be careful not to add too much or the flavour of the batter will be diluted. If, on the other hand, the cup cakes are too brittle, then stir in a few tablespoons of coconut cream. Repeat until all the batter and topping is used, greasing the wells in between batches.
  10. Serve as single cup-cakes or as culinary Siamese twins in pairs.

Caramelised white sticky rice with sesame seeds


  • ½ cup white sticky rice
  • 1/3 cup shaved palm sugar
  • Pinch of salt – optional
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


This is a sticky and slightly crunchy confection with a deep golden colour that can be found in every market and on most streets. In Thailand, this dessert is set in a mould and cut into squares, but it can simply be left to harden in a bowl then spooned out.

  • Soak the sticky rice in plenty of water for at least 3 hours or overnight.

  • Drain the rice, rinse and place in a steamer; normally the raw grains of rice cling together, so they rarely fall through the holes, but if you’re feeling cautious line the steamer with some rinsed muslin (cheese-cloth). Make sure the rice is not piled too high in the centre, nor too widely spread, so that it cooks evenly, and keep the water level below the steamer high to ensure there is plenty of steam. Steam the rice until tender (test some grains from the area where the mound of rice is deepest). This should take about 25-35 minutes.

  • Remove the rice from the steamer and spread it out on a plate to cool for about 20 minutes, turning and breaking it up into smaller pieces so it doesn’t become one large soggy clump. Once the rice is cool, carefully crumble the pieces without breaking the grains.

  • Heat the palm sugar (with a pinch of salt, if you want) in a small saucepan or brass wok and simmer over a medium heat, stirring vigilantly, until it caramelises to a rich dark brown. Be careful not to let it scorch – you’ll smell it when it approaches that stage.

  • When the caramel is the colour of dark honey, remove from the heat and quickly add the rice, working it in a wooden spoon and making sure that every grain of rice is separated and coated with caramel. It is important to do this quickly before the caramel cools and hardens – if this starts to happen, return the pan to the heat for a moment. Spoon the caramelised rice into a mould or bowl and leave to cool.

  • Meanwhile, dry-roast the sesame seeds in a tiny pan over a low heat until they are golden and aromatic, shaking the pan to prevent them from scorching.

  • To serve the caramelised rice, either cut into 2 cm (1 in) squares – you’ll need a hot knife to achieve this – or scoop out spoonfuls and shape into squares or leave free-form. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. As it cools the rice develops a crunchy, almost crispy texture. Make sure you keep it covered as it dries out quickly.

Pad Thai - Courtesy of David Thompson's 'THAI STREET FOOD'; published in 2009


  • 125 g (4 oz.) fresh pat thai noodles or 100 g (3 oz.) dried thin rice noodle (rice sticks)
  • 3 tablespoons shave palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind water
  • Dash of white vinegar – optional
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 4 red shallots
  • coarsely chopped with a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs – some cooks will use duck eggs
  • 30 g (1 oz.) yellow bean curd or firm bean curd
  • cut into small rectangles or squares – about 2 heaped tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon dried prawns
  • rinsed and dried
  • ½ teaspoon shredded salted radish
  • rinsed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely crushed roasted peanuts
  • Handful of trimmed bean sprouts
  • Handful of Chinese chives
  • cut into 2 cm (1 in) lengths
  • Extra bean sprouts and crushed roasted peanuts
  • lime wedges
  • roasted chilli powder and raw vegetables (such as Asian pennyworth
  • banana blossom
  • cabbage or snake beans)
  • to serve


Although widely associated with Thai cooking, this dish is in fact a relatively new addition to the repertoire, emerging during a period of ultra-nationalism in the late 1930s and early 40s, under the military regime of Marshal Phibun. He declared that the Thai people should endeavour to incorporate noodles into their eating habits, so competitions were held in schools, government offices and various nationalistic organisations to devise new noodle recipes, including the winning one that included tamarind and palm sugar. It was given the name Pat Thai, in keeping with the chauvinistic tenor of the times, and to distinguish it from Chinese noodle dishes, even though it has much in common with them – bean sprouts, bean curd, salted radish, garlic chives and, of course, the noodles themselves.

Since then, Pat Thai’s fame has spread and it is now considered a classic of the Thai kitchen – at least by Westerners, though it is definitely popular among the Thai too.

Thin, flat, quite chewy rice noodles are preferred here: fresh ones make a much better dish, but they are hard to find outside of Thailand. However, the dried version, also known as rice sticks, are readily obtainable.

There is now a gentrified version of Pat Thai that uses fresh prawns. If you want to stroll along boulevards rather than trawl the alleys, then add six medium-sized cleaned raw prawns as the shallots begin to fry – and omit the dried prawns called for later in the recipe.

  • If using dried noodles, soak them in water for about 15 minutes until soft but not overly so. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil. Drain the noodles well then blanch them in the boiling water for a moment only and drain once again (this prevents the noodles from clumping together when they are stir-fried).

  • Mix the palm sugar with the tamarind, vinegar (if using), fish sauce and 1
  • 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

  • Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and fry the shallots until fragrant and beginning to colour. Crack in the eggs and stir for a few moments until they begin to look omelette-like.

  • Turn up the heat, then add the drained noodles and fry for about 30 seconds while breaking up the eggs. Add the tamarind syrup and simmer until it is absorbed. Mix in the bean curd, dried prawns, salted radish and peanuts then simmer, stirring, until almost dry. Add the bean sprouts and Chinese chives and stir-fry for a moment.

  • Check the seasoning: Pad Thai should be salty, sweet and sour. Divide between two plates and sprinkle with the extra bean sprouts and peanuts. Serve with lime wedges, roasted chili powder and raw vegetables.

Mixed Seafood and Pork Egg Noodles - Courtesy of David Thompson's 'THAI STREET FOOD'; published in 2009


  • About 1 cup of light chicken or pork stock or water
  • Salt
  • 100g (3 oz) pork loin or shoulder
  • trimmed
  • 6–8 clams or mussels
  • cleaned and debearded
  • 4 medium-sized raw prawns
  • peeled and deveined but with tails left intact
  • 50g (2 oz) squid or cuttlefish
  • cleaned
  • scored and cut into 4 pieces
  • 100g (3 oz) fresh egg noodles or 75g (2½ oz) dried egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce – more or less
  • to taste
  • Pinch of white sugar
  • Good pinch of ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons deep-fried garlic in oil
  • Good pinch of preserved Chinese vegetable (dtang chai)
  • rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped or torn Chinese lettuce (green coral lettuce)
  • Pinch of chopped coriander and wedges of lime
  • to serve


Prawns, crab, squid or mussels can each or all find themselves in this happy medley. Chicken or barbeque duck or pork can also mingle successfully. It is important to blanch the noodles then rinse them well to remove as much starch as possible and make them less glutinous. Possibly as crucial, since there is no soup to augment their flavour, the noodles must be well seasoned with fish sauce, garlic deep-fried with oil, sugar and pepper.


  • Poor the stock or water into a small pan with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Add the pork and poach gently for 10–15 minutes until cooked. Take out and allow to cool before slicing finely. Keep the stock to cook the seafood.

  • Bring the stock back to boil. Add the clams and, when they begin to open, stir in the prawns and cool squid. When all the seafood is cooked – no more than a minute all together – remove and leave to cool slightly while you blanch the noodles.

  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Tease the noodles apart then rain them into the boiling water. Simmer until tender, then drain and rinse with hot water and drain once again. Place the noodles in a large bowl and dress with the fish sauce, sugar, pepper, deep-fried garlic and preserved Chinese vegetables, mixing well with chopsticks. Add the cooked seafood and sliced pork, then stir in the Chinese lettuce.

  • Divide between two bowls and serve with coriander and wedges of lime.

Chicken and Banana Chilli Curry with Assam


  • ½ medium-sized chicken or 3 chicken legs and thighs – approximately 400-500 g (12 oz-1 lb) in total
  • 2 cups coconut cream
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 7-8 assam (som kaek)
  • rinsed or 4 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
  • 2 cardamom leaves or dried bay leaves
  • 2 cm (1 in) piece cassia bark
  • 3-4 Thai cardamom pods or 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1-2 cups additional coconut milk
  • stock or water
  • 7-8 banana chillies
  • 1-2 tablespoons tamarind water – optional pinch of roasted chilli powder – optional
  • ¼ star anise
  • ½ nutmeg
  • grated
  • a few dried bird’s eye chillies
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • unpeeled
  • 4-5 slices turmeric
  • 5 slices ginger
  • good pinch of salt



  • 5 bamboo skewers

  • 9 dried long red chillies

  • 3 Thai cardamom pods or 1-2 green cardamom pods

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds

  • 3 cloves


Curry Paste

Soak the skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Nip off the stalks of the chillies then cut along their length and scrape out the seeds. Soak the chillies in water for about 15 minutes until soft.

In a dry, heavy-based frying pan, separately roast the cardamom, coriander and cumin, then the cloves and star anise together until aromatic, shaking the pan to prevent the spices from scorching. Husk the cardamom then grind to a powder with the coriander, cumin, cloves, star anise and nutmeg, using an electric grinder or a pestle and mortar.

Drain the soaked chillies, squeezing to extract as much water as possible. Rinse the dried bird’s eye chillies to remove any dust. Thread the two types of chilli, garlic, turmeric and ginger onto individual skewers. Grill or char grill all the skewers until the chillies are dry, crisp and slightly smoky, the garlic is charred and tender, and the turmeric and ginger are slightly dried and coloured. Allow to cool, then peel the garlic and chop the chillies, turmeric and ginger.

Using a pestle and mortar, pound the chillies with the salt, then add the grilled garlic, turmeric and ginger, reducing each one to a fine paste before adding the next. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in an electric blender. It will probably be necessary to add a little water to aid the blending, but try not to add more than necessary, as this will dilute the paste and alter the taste of the curry. Halfway through, turn the machine off and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then turn it back on and whiz the paste until it is completely pureed. Finally, stir in the ground spices.

Bringing it together

Cut the chicken or chicken legs into roughly 4 cm (1/2 in) pieces. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel.

Simmer the coconut cream and milk with the curry paste in a large pan over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until fragrant, stirring regularly to prevent it catching – it will still be quite wet. Add the prepared chicken and the assam or tamarind pulp, then season with the fish sauce and palm sugar and continue to simmer. While the curry is gently simmering, roast the cardamom or bay leaves, cassia and cardamom pods in a heavy-based pan until they are aromatic; the leaves won’t take long, so keep an eye on them. Add the roasted spices to the curry, together with some of the additional coconut milk, stock or water if it is becoming too dry (the consistency you want is similar to cream). Continue to simmer until the chicken is just about cooked and the curry has become tart yet slightly sweet, then add the banana chillies, cover the pan and simmer until they are tender – about 10 minutes.

By now the chicken and the chillies will be tender and there should be a nice film of oil on the surface. Check the seasoning: the curry should taste spicy, salty and a little sour and sweet. Adjust, if necessary, with a little extra fish sauce, tamarind water, palm sugar and roasted chilli powder.

Serve with steamed rice!

Northern Thai Eggplant Salad (serves 4)


  • 4 sprigs chopped cilantro
  • 10 Dried whole chillies
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 7 ounces ground pork
  • 1-2 tablespoons Pickled Fish
  • 5 shallots
  • 1/2 lb Thai Eggplant


Tips and Techniques

Pickled fish or pla rah's saltiness varies from brand to brand. You may not need fish sauce if your pickled fish is quite salty. Taste the salad before adding fish sauce.

With 10 chilli peppers, this is pretty hot for me, but if you make it hotter, add more salty agent (pla rah or fish sauce) because, the hot tends to burn your taste buds. Hence, you need more seasonings.


Grill over stove or roast in a pan the shallots, garlic and dried whole peppers. The shallots and garlic can go right in the centre over the flame but keep the chilli peppers on the farther side, they burn really fast. When ready, the chilli peppers puff up and turn from red to brown. Take the chilli peppers out and set aside. Shallots and garlic take about 5 minutes to cook directly on the flame (roasting in the pan will take longer.) They will be slightly charred on the outside but soft and cooked on the inside. When the charcoal stove was more common, the garlic and shallots are buried in the hot ashes below the fire.

Remove the peel from roasted garlic and shallots. Pound garlic, shallots and chilli peppers in a mortar until roughly ground.

Add 2 tablespoons of water or just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Let the water boil.

Add 1 tablespoon pickled fish to the pot. Bring it to a boil. Add the ground pork. Stir the pork in the sauce until it’s well cooked. Turn off the heat and set it aside.

Slice eggplants thinly and soak in salt water to prevent them from turning dark. Prepare salt water by adding a teaspoon of salt to 3 cups of water.

Mixing and seasoning:

Add the garlic, shallot and pepper mixture to the pork. Squeeze the water out from the sliced eggplants and add to the pork. Mix well, you may want to use your hand to massage the seasonings in. At this point, you might want to add fish sauce if needed. You want the flavour to be strong because the juice that drains out from the sliced eggplant dilutes your seasonings.

Sprinkle with chopped green onion and cilantro. Serve with sticky rice.

Barbeque Pork

- Courtesy of David Thompson's 'THAI STREET FOOD'; published in 2009


  • 2 kg (4 lb) pork butt (near the shoulder or shoulder)


Serves: 4-5



  • 4-5 spring (green) onions
  • 3-4 coriander roots, cleaned
  • 2-3 red shallots, peeled and bruised
  • 10-15 slices galangal, bruised
  • 20 slices ginger, bruised
  • 1 star anise
  • 2cm (1 in) piece cassia bark
  • 2-3 cloves
  • Good pinch of five-spice powder
  • 1 piece dried tangerine peel – optional
  • 3-4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fermented bean curd liquid – optional
  • 1 tablespoon red food colouring – optional



  • Generous ¼ cup maltose
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • About 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • Dash of red food colouring – optional


  1. To make the marinade, simmer the spring onions, coriander roots, shallots, galangal and ginger in 1½ cups of water for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, separately roast the star anise, cassia and cloves in a dry, heavy-based frying pan, until lightly toasted and aromatic. Add them to the simmering stock, along with the five-spice powder and the tangerine peel, if using. Stir in the soy sauces, rice wine and sugar – and the bean curd liquid and food colouring, if using – and continue to simmer for a few minutes longer. Allow to cool.
  3. Trim the pork and cut it into strips about 4 cm (1½ in) wide, following the muscle structure as far as possible. (If you plan to hang the pork strips in your oven to cook them, it might be wise to see if they will fit at this stage, when they can be easily trimmed). Add the pork to the marinade, making sure it is completely immersed, and refrigerate for about 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Make the basting syrup by adding the maltose and sugar to 1/3 cup of water in a small pan and boiling until dissolved. Stir in the soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce and red food colouring (if using), along with the star anise, cassia and cloves from the marinade, if you like, then simmer for a moment. Set aside to cool and thicken.
  5. Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) and remove the pork from the marinade. If the meat is to be suspended inside the oven to cook, pierce one end of each strip with a small butcher’s hook, making sure it is securely placed so it will hold throughout the cooking. Hold it for a few moments to let the excess marinade drip off, then carefully hang the free end of the butcher’s hooks over the topmost oven shelf. Have a solid tin sitting underneath it to collect anything that drips off the pork as it cooks. (Alternatively, lay the strips of pork on a rack set over a roasting tin.) Roast the pork for 10 minutes, then remove and brush with the basting syrup for a few minutes before returning to the oven for a further 5 minutes. (Now is the time to turn up the oven if you want the pork deliciously caramelised). Baste the pork again and return to the oven for a final 5 minutes. Check that the pork is cooked (it must be well done) by pressing, almost pinching it: it should feel firm and resilient. If you are uncertain, then cut a little slice of meat to check – apart from the coloured crust, the pork should be matt ivory, just like regular roast pork. When it is cooked, take the meat out and let it cool, keeping the tin underneath to collect any drips. Barbeque pork will keep for several days in the refrigerator.



  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 cup light stock
  • Good pinch of ground white pepper
  • Good pinch of five-spice powder
  • ½ star anise
  • 2 tablespoons leftover basting syrup
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)


In a small, heavy-based pan, dry-roast the sesame seeds over a low heat until they are golden. Remove from the pan and set aside. Pour the stock into the pan, add the five-spice powder and star anise and simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Strain the stock then return to the boil. Add the basting syrup and soy sauces and simmer for 5 minutes. Make a slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons of water into the cornflour. Stir this into the sauce and simmer, stirring constantly, for about a minute until the sauce thickens, then add the roasted sesame seeds. It should taste rich, salty and nutty. Serve at room temperature.



  • 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • ¼ long red chilli, finely sliced


Mix the soy with the vinegar and 2 tablespoons water. Stir in the sliced chillies. Pour into a small bowl. It will keep for several hours.

SOM DTAM MALAKOR (Green Papaya salad)


  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • peeled
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
  • coarsely crushed
  • 2 tablespoons dried prawns
  • rinsed and drained
  • 2 slices or small wedges of lime – optional
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • quartered
  • 2 snake beans cut into 1 cm (1/2 in) lengths
  • 4-6 bird’s eye chillies (Scuds)
  • to taste
  • 2 cups shredded green papaya
  • from about 1 small papaya
  • 3-4 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
  • to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind water
  • Steamed rice and raw vegetables
  • to serve


- Courtesy of David Thompson's 'THAI STREET FOOD'; published in 2009

There are many versions of this spicy north-eastern vegetable salad that is traditionally made, crushed and dressed in a wooden pestle and mortar. As far as ingredients go, cucumber, green mango, green beans, pineapple or white guava are some options. The salad can be flavoured with salted land crabs, dried prawns or fermented fish (plaa raa).

The traditional way to shred a papaya as seen on the streets of Bangkok, is to hold it in one hand with a sharp knife in the other hand. Every so often, the knife is used to para away the papaya, yielding a somewhat coarse, uneven shred. Many home cooks use a hand-held grater. It is certainly easier and faster but the uniform cut means the papaya loses some of its rustic appeal. A special pestle and mortar is used for making this salad: the terracotta mortar is deep and conical with tall sides that prevent splattering, and the pestle is made of wood. A more regular granite one will do, but beware of the tomatoes!

Green papaya salad is always eaten with rice: steamed sticky rice or occasionally jasmine rice dressed with coconut cream and sugar. A stall selling grilled pork or sweet pork can usually be found nearby – it is the perfect companion.

How to cook:

Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic with the salt then add the peanuts and dried prawns and pound to a course paste. Add the lime (if using), bruising it with the pestle, then add the cherry tomatoes and beans to the mortar and carefully work everything together. Next add the bird’s eye chillies, barely crushing them. The more they are pounded, the hotter the dish – how hot you want it is up to you. Add them earlier is you’re after revenge.

Finally, add the green papaya and lightly bruise with the pestle, while turning and tossing the mixture with a large spoon held in your other hand. Season the salad with palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and tamarind water. It should taste sweet, sour, hot and salty.

Place about one cup of steamed rice on each plate. Spoon over the green papaya salad and eat with fresh raw vegetables, such as cabbage, green beans and betel leaves.

Chiang Mai curried noodles and chicken


  • 2 cups coconut cream
  • 2 chicken legs and thighs
  • chopped into 2cm (1in) pieces
  • 1 teaspoon shaved palm sugar - more or less
  • to taste
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce or fish sauce
  • 3 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 cups stock
  • water or coconut milk
  • 1-2 pandanus leaves
  • knotted roasted chilli powder
  • to taste
  • 250g (8oz) fresh egg noodles or 200g (6oz) dried egg noodles
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Serves: 5



  • 3 bamboo skewers
  • 4 dried long red chillies
  • 1 ½  teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ black or brown cardamom, husked – optional
  • 4 medium–sized red shallots, unpeeled
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon sliced turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons sliced ginger
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 3 coriander roots, cleaned and chopped



  • About 25g (1oz) egg noodles, deep-fried
  • 3 tablespoons chopped spring (green) onions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 10-15 dried bird’s eye chillies, deep–fried



  • 1 cup sliced red shallots
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup pickled mustard greens, rinsed, drained and shredded

  • A small bowl of dried chillies in oil



  • 3 bamboo skewers
  • 1 cup (about 15) dried long red chillies
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled

  • Good pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Large pinch of roasted chilli powder


Soak the skewers in water for about 30 minutes.  Nip off the stalks of the chillies, then cut along their length and scrape out the seeds. Soak the chillies in water for about 15 minutes until soft.

Drain the chillies, squeezing to extract as much water as possible. Thread the chillies onto the skewers and grill until golden. When cool, grind to a powder using an electric grinder or a pestle and mortar.

Crush the garlic to a coarse paste with the salt – either by pounding it using a pestle and mortar or finely chopping it with a knife. Heat the oil in a small wok or pan, add the paste and cook until it is light golden. Add the chilli powder and simmer for a minute until it is fragrant then cool.


Most places in the north of Thailand have a version of this noodle dish, which is believed to have travelled from the South of China with Muslim traders. This version comes from Chiang Mai, the capital of the north. The soup can be made well in advance and left to simmer gently until needed. It should not be too thick and should be dappled with an alluring film of oil – rendered from simmering the coconut cream and cooking the chicken. 
It is important to have this layer of oil as it will coat the noodles, making them taste rich and luscious. The best noodles to use are flat egg noodles about 5mm (1/4 in) wide. Deep-fry a few of them in very hot, clean oil to use as a garnish, along with a small handful of dried bird’s eye chillies, but be careful – the noodles splatter as they expand and become crisp.
Black or brown cardamom is a musty, dark, ridged seed with a smoky, slightly tart flavour. Some cooks add a little star anise and cassia bark to the paste in addition to or in lieu of this spice.

  1. First make the paste. Soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes. Nip the stalks of the chillies, then cut along their length and scrape out the seeds. Soak the chillies in water for about 15 minutes until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, separately roast the coriander seeds and cardamom in a dry, heavy-based frying pan, shaking the pan, until aromatic. Grind to a powder using an electric grinder or pestle and mortar.
  3. Drain the chillies, squeezing to extract as much water as possible, then thread the chillies, shallots, garlic, turmeric and ginger onto individual skewers. Grill all the skewers: the chillies, turmeric and ginger need only be coloured, but the shallots and garlic must be charred and the flesh soft. Allow to cool, then peel the shallots and garlic.
  4. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the grilled chillies with the salt, then add the shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger and coriander roots, reducing each ingredient to a fine paste before adding the next. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in an electric blender. You will probably need to add a little water to aid the blending, but try not to add more than necessary, as this will dilute the paste and alter the taste of the dish. Halfway through, turn the machine off and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then turn it back on and whiz the paste until it is completely pureed. Finally, stir in the ground spices.
  5. Simmer 1 cup of the coconut cream until it is thick, slightly oily and just beginning to separate or ‘crack’. Fry the kao soi paste in the coconut cream until it is fragrant and quite oily – about 5 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, turn down the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Season with palm sugar, then add the light soy or fish sauce and two teaspoons of the dark soy sauce. Moisten with stock, water or coconut milk and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked – about 20 minutes. Add the remaining cup of coconut cream and pandanus leaves, then let it sit for about 30 minutes to allow the flavours to settle and ripen. Check the seasoning: the soup should taste salty, aromatic from the spices and slightly sweet from the coconut cream. It will probably be necessary to add a little roasted chilli powder.  
  6. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Tease the noodles apart then rain them into the boiling water. Simmer until tender (fresh noodles will be ready in a moment or two, but dried noodles will take a little longer), then lift out the noodles. Drain them, rinse with hot water and drain again. Blanch the noodles a second time to remove as much starch as possible, then drain well and mix with the remaining teaspoon of dark soy sauce and the vegetable oil. 
  7. Divide the noodles among five bowls and pour the curried chicken soup over them. Garnish with deep-fried noodles, spring onions, coriander and deep-fried chillies and serve with the accompaniments. 



  • 5 small crabs or 1-2 blue swimmer crabs about 600g (1 ¼ lb) in total
  • 100g (3oz) dried thin rice noodles (rice sticks)
  • 4-5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh crab tomalley
  • from cleaning the crabs – a desirable but optional addition
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • cleaned and bruised
  • ½ cup shaved palm sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons tamarind water
  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • to taste good pinch of ground white pepper
  • ¼ bunch Chinese chives
  • cleaned and cut into 2 cm (1 in) lengths – about ½ cup
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • washed and trimmed Wedges of lime
  • to serve



  • 12 dried long red chilies, deseeded, soaked in water for 15 minutes then drained

    Large pinch of salt

  • 1 tablespoon cleaned and chopped coriander roots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped galangal
  • 2 tablespoons sliced red shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled – optional, it brings a richer taste


  • Betel leaves
  • Asian pennywort, trimmed
  • Cucumbers, cut into elegant pieces
  • Banana blossoms, peeled down to white leaves then cut into quarters or sixths and steeped in salted water soured with lime juice or vinegar

Chanthaburi is a large market town and minor port of the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand. It has been settled by Malays, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cham and of course Thais, all of whom have left their mark, making the food of this province quite distinct.

There are three or four stalls in the main market in town that specialise in this rich and wonderful dish, and they have large platters piled high with the prepared noodles dotted with crabs. They use very small crabs only about 2 cm (1 in) across, which are simmered whole in the sauce. But even in Chanthaburi these crabs can be hard to find, so segmented blue swimmer crabs or small prawns are used as alternatives.

Crab tomalley is effectively the liver and pancreas of the crab – which is mostly found tucked inside the edge of the carapace. Despite its unpromising beginnings, it is delicious when cooked, imparting a rich and strong flavour. In most crabs it is either green or yellow, and it is the yellow colour that gives it its alternative name, crab mustard. Roe is comprised of the bright red or occasionally orange eggs of the crab, and it also lies beneath the carapace, running down the centre of the back. Naturally then, female crabs only contain roe at certain times of the year. And the girls are said to always have the sweetest meat too, so I am told.

These noodles are often served with bitter leaves, as their astringency counters the sweetness of the sauce.


1. First make the paste. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the ingredients in the order they are listed, reducing each one to a fine paste before adding the next.

2. Now clean the crab. In the unlikely event that you can find fresh small crabs from Chanthaburi, simply wash them. For the rest, use blue swimmers. Wash them. Remove the tail and discard, then take off the head cap and scrape out the tomalley and roe, if any. Chop the crab in half down the center of its body and then cut each half into 3 or 4, depending on its size.

3. Place the noodles in a bowl of water and leave to soak for 15 minutes until softened. Bring a large pan of water to the boil.

4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or pan then fry the paste for 3-4 minutes or until quite fragrant. Add the tomalley and, after a moment, the chopped crab. Fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes before adding the lemongrass, palm sugar, tamarind water, fish sauce and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until the crab is cooked and the sauce is thickened. It should taste sweet, hot and sour. Put to one side but keep warm.

5. Drain the noodles well, then branch them in the boiling water for a moment only and drain once again (this prevents the noodles from clumping together as they are cooked). Add the noodles to the hot sauce and simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is evenly distributed and almost absorbed, then add the Chinese chives and bean sprouts.

6. Serve with some or all the accompaniments and wedges of lime.


- Courtesy of David Thompson's 'THAI STREET FOOD'; published in 2009 Serves 2


  • 100g chicken breast fillet
  • with or without skin as preferred a drizzle of light soy sauce
  • plus 2 tablespoons extra
  • 1 garlic clove
  • peeled pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 75g cured squid (plaa meuk chae) or fresh squid or cuttlefish
  • scored and finely sliced ground white pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons preserved Chinese vegetable (dtang chai)
  • rinsed and drained
  • 2 heaped tablespoons chopped spring (green) onions
  • 2 heaped tablespoons chopped Asian celery – optional 250g fresh wide rice noodles
  • 1-2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • to taste good pinch of white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ideally duck
  • 1 cup loosely packed
  • very coarsely cut Chinese lettuce (green coral lettuce) pinch of deep-fried garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped coriander sauce Siracha
  • to serve


  1. Slice the chicken and briefly marinate it in a drizzle of light soy sauce. Crush the garlic to a somewhat coarse paste with the salt – either by pounding it using a pestle and mortar or finely chopping it with a knife.

  2. Heat the wok then add 2 generous tablespoons of the oil. Add the chicken and the cured squid and lightly stir-fry until golden and almost cooked. Stir in the garlic paste, a pinch of white pepper, the preserved Chinese vegetable and 1 tablespoon of each of the spring onions and Asian celery (if using). By now, most of the oil should have been absorbed; drain off any excess.

  3. Pull apart the rice noodle strands and add to the wok, spreading them over the contents of the wok and onto the surface of the wok itself. Leave undisturbed for a moment – up to 30 seconds – then gently begin to stir and shuffle the noodles and the wok. It is important not to break the noodle strands while doing this. Drizzle the noodles with the extra 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, the dark soy sauce and the sugar. Sprinkle them with most of the remaining Asian celery and spring onions, along with a good pinch of white pepper. Turn up the heat slightly to caramelise the noodles, stirring occasionally and carefully. After a minute or two, push the noodles to one side of the wok and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Turn up the heat, crack in the eggs and fry until they are just beginning to set and the edges of the whites are beginning to brown. Lightly break up the eggs, then gently stir and fold in the noodles, simmering them for a few minutes so that they caramelise and char slightly. Finish with the Chinese lettuce and the remaining Asian celery.

  4. Serve the noodles sprinkled with the deep-fried garlic, the remaining spring onions, the coriander and a pinch of white pepper.

  5. Accompany with a bowl of sauce Siracha.

Mixed Seafood Stir-Fried with Curry Paste

- Courtesy of David Thompson's 'THAI STREET FOOD'; published in 2009


Serves 3-4

Pat Prik Geng Tarlae


  • 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 150g (5oz) mixed mussels and clams, cleaned
  • 3 large raw prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined but with tails still attached
  • 100g (3oz) squid, cleaned and scored
  • 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Pinch of white sugar- optional
  • ¼ cup stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons shredded grachai (wild ginger)
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves, coarsely torn
  • 3-4 strands fresh green peppercorns- optional
  • 2 long red or green chillies, sliced on the diagonal, deseeded if desired
  • ¼ cup Thai basil or holy basil leaves



  • 3-5 dried long red chillies
  • 2-3 dried bird’s eye chillies - optional, but desirable
  • 2-3 fresh bird’s eye chillies (scuds)
  • Good pinch of salt
  • ½ tablespoon chopped galangal
  • 1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated kaffir lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon chopped coriander root
  • 1 tablespoon chopped grachai (wild ginger)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped red shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon Thai shrimp paste (gapi)


Cleaning clams and mussels

Clams usually need to be purged of sand and grit by being left to steep in salted water overnight, although sometimes you can buy clams that have already been cleaned. Mussels don’t need purging, but they do require a good scrub to clean the shells and they may need to be debearded- that is, to have the weeds and stands that hang out of their shells pulled out.

Stir-fried curries are usually found at a dtam sang stall. Many cooks will use a red curry paste bought from the market, but the one here is more specific, and will produce a sharp, hot and honed result. It makes a difference.

Some Cooks will add a smashed clove of garlic to the heating oil and wait for it to colour, to enhance the taste and aroma. Others will blanch the seafood first and then add it to the waiting simmering sauce, for a cleaner tasting result. Almost any combination of seafood can be used here- the selection given is merely a starting point.

  • First make the curry paste. Nip off the stalks of the dried long red chillies, then cut along their length and scrape out the seeds. Soak the chillies for about 15 minutes until soft, then drain and roughly chop them. Rinse the dried bird’s eye chillies, if using to remove any dust. Using a pestle and mortar, pound all the chillies with the salt, then add the remaining ingredients in the order they are listed, reducing each one to a paste before adding the next. Include any seeds, flowers or buds you find when cleaning the basil in the paste as well. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in an electric blender. You will probably need to add a little water to aid the blending, but try not to add more than necessary, as this will dilute the paste and alter the taste of the curry. Halfway through, turn the machine off and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then turn it back on and whiz the paste again. Som cooks like to leave this paste just slightly coarse, enjoying its texture.
  • Heat a well-seasoned wok and pour in the oil, then add the paste and fry over a medium heat until fragrant- about a minute. If it threatens to catch, moisten with a tablespoon or two of water. Add the mussels and clams and fry until they are just beginning to open before adding the prawns and then, after a few moments, the squid. Season with the fish sauce and sugar then add the stock or water, grachai, kaffir lime leaves, green beans, fresh peppercorns (if using) and sliced chillies. Simmer for a moment until all is cooked.
  • This stir-fried curry should taste rich, hot, salty and slightly oily. Finish with basil leaves.
  • Serve with steamed rice.

Boiled Sticky Rice and Banana – Kao Dtom Jim


  • 1 cup white sticky rice
  • 1 large banana leaf (1 metre in length)
  • 2 sugar bananas
  • Small bowl of white sugar


Bring a little bit of the Thai market to your breakfast table with this traditional dish.

When the sticky rice is wrapped and boiled in banana leaves it takes on a green hue, but most surprising of all is that the sugar banana turns a dark red. It is important to have a bowl of sugar ready for dipping and rolling slices of the cooled rice.


1. Rinse the sticky rice and soak overnight in plenty of water.

2. Trim the banana leaf and wipe both sides with a damp cloth, then cut into three roughly 35 cm squares and wipe once again. Place one square on a board, shiny side facing down. Place the next leaf on top, shiny side facing up, at right angles to the one underneath. Place the third one on top, again at right angles to the one beneath it. Now turn the leaves around so that two of the bottom leaves corners point to 9 and 3 o’clock.

3. Drain the rice, then spoon half of it onto the prepared banana-leaf squares, in a horizontal line across the centre.

4. Peel the bananas and trim the top and bottom. Place the bananas head to tail on the rice, then cover with the remaining rice.

5. Lift the corners of the banana leaves at 6 and 12 o’clock up and over the rice, bringing them together and lifting slightly to give the banana-leaf roll a rounded base. Fold the joined leaves over to make a 2cm fold, then repeat several times to tighten into an open-ended cylinder. To close the end, fold each side down in turn to make a triangle, exactly as you would when wrapping a parcel with paper. Fold this up and over the cylinder, then pick up the cylinder and stand it on its sealed end, pressing lightly to secure it. Repeat with the other end.

6. Tie a piece of twine around one end, being sure to cover the overlapping triangle, and knot tightly. Tie the other end, then tie two loops of twine around the middle to hold everything firmly in place.

7. Bring a large pan of water to boil. Add the banana-leaf roll and simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes, then remove and leave to cool. Cut into slices before peeling off the banana leaf, then dip in sugar and eat.