Misc. ingredients we use in our recipes:
There are many interesting miscellaneous ingredients that create perfect dishes and traditional Thai and Akha Food. Some may be easy to find and get at your supermarket, some may be difficult to get. Some you can eventually make your own from scratch. For example, Tom Yum Paste (Nam Prik Pao) makes Tom Yum Goong. You can get this paste from Asia Market or learn to make it from our cookbook.
A lot of these miscellaneous ingredients you are able to get at your supermarket or Asia market. Like fish sauce or soy sauce. It may not be the Thai chef’s favorite brand, but you can get Chinese or Vietnamese soy sauce or fish sauce which can be used to cook Thai Akha food.
List of Misc. Ingredients
Banana Leaf – ใบตอง – Bai Tong
The banana leaf is the leaf of the banana plant. The leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof. They are used for cooking, wrapping, and food-serving in a wide range of cuisines. The leaves are not themselves eaten and are discarded after the contents are consumed. They impart an aroma to food that is cooked in or served on them, and keep juices in and protect food from burning as a foil does.
Cashew nuts are used in various Thai stir-fried dishes.
Coconut cream is made in a similar way to coconut milk. The difference is mainly its consistency. It has a thicker, more paste-like consistency, while coconut milk is generally a liquid. Once the flesh is boiled, a thick layer of white pulp will rise to the top of the pot, to where it can be skimmed off and used as thick delicious coconut cream. Cream is used to congeal Thai curries while adding a deep, rich blend of nutritional coconut taste to the dish.
Grown and used in abundance throughout Asia, coconuts were originally named by Spanish explorers who used the term “cocos”, meaning grinning face. Coconuts are prized for being a diversely usable fruit, not nut, and can be harvested for their meat, milk, sugar, water, oil, and even husks. Coconut milk is extracted from the boiled flesh, and is used as a key ingredient in Thai kitchen. Its health benefits are numerous, and include many pertinent vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
The cooking oil that it most commonly used in Thai cuisine is vegetable oil, e.g. Palm oil, soy bean oil, rice oil and other type of vegetable oils. In our kitchen, we use soy bean or soya bean oil because it is easy to find and more affordable than palm oil or other types of vegetable oil. The Northern part of Thailand grows most of the soy beans in the country. If you are in the South of Thailand they likely to use palm oil.
Egg noodles or Khao Soi Noodles in Thailand are made from egg, rice flour, water, added arrowroot or tapioca starches to enhance the texture and uniformity of the strands. The unleavened dough is cooked in boiling water. And then allowed to dry for a period of time, before actually using.
The egg tofu that is used in Thailand is originally from Japan. It is soft and firm at the same time. It is made from eggs and soy milk. The most common use for egg tofu in Thai dishes is the Clear Soup with Egg Tofu and Glass Noodles. It is the perfect soup for days you don’t feel good.
Another vital resource of Thai kitchen, fish sauce is added to most dishes for a different sort of layered twang that makes Thai cuisine ever so unique and irresistible. Fish sauce is the liquid left in a barrel that is produced by fermenting fish in sea salt. With a notably stronger taste, fish sauce can be used in smaller quantities to tweak your dish to perfection.
Fusilli are a variety of pasta that are formed into corkscrew or helical shapes. In the U.S commonly known as Rotini.
Garlic is often used as a flavor for cooking in many or most dishes. Pickled Garlic is made by soaking young bulbs in vinegar with sugar, salt, and water for about 3 to 6 weeks.
Oyster Sauce is a rich dark brown, almost black in color, and has thick consistency that is commonly used in Asia cuisine. It is made from oyster extract, sugar, soy extract, wheat flour and cornstarch.
Glass Noodle or Cellophane Noodle
The Glass Noodle, also known as Cellophane Noodle or Crystal Noodle, not be confused with Rice Vermicelli, which are rice-based, is a part of many Asian cuisines. They’re made of Mung beans and often called Mung Bean Threads. Dried Glass Noodles need to be soaked in water for 10 to 15 minutes before use. These thin and round or narrow flat noodles start off gray and mostly opaque, but they turn clear, slippery, and extra flexible when fully cooked. They’re often added to Thai Spring Rolls, Thai Yam Wun Sayn salad and other vegetable stir-fried dish or soup.
Pickled Mustard Green
Thai Pickled Mustard Green is preserved in water for about 2-3 days with salt, and sugar. Sometimes they use rinse rice water or cooked sticky rice instead of sugar to feed the microbes. When the pickled mustard is ready, it becomes yellowish green and tastes salty and more sour than salty.
Roasted Mung Beans
The Mung Beans, also known as Moong Beans or Daal from Indian food, are light yellow when peeled. Mung Beans are commonly used across Asia. In Thai cuisines, they are used in both savory and sweet dishes, such as Mango with Sticky Rice, where you’ll find them as a toasted crispy yellow seed on top of the sticky rice.
Typically made from shrimp, small fish and/or krill, Shrimp Paste is fermented and then dried to create a perfect paste. This flavorful paste is the base for numerous Thai dishes, and is a key ingredient for curry. We also call it “”The Smell of Thailand””, as you are likely to smell this in every corner or street you go to.
Also known as “”magic””, this special sauce derives from fermented soy bean paste, and acts as a very important tool in Thai cooking. When something doesn’t taste quite right, or one feels a dish is lacking something, all one typically needs is simply some magic. Soy sauce should be used in small quantities due to its strength, and can make all the difference for an authentic tasting meal.
Sticky Rice (also called Glutinous Rice) is a type of rice grown primary in Southeast Asia and East Asia that sticks together when cooked and is firmer than normal rice. Please note that this is not the same thing as sushi rice. It needs to be soaked in water for 4 or 5 hours or over night before being ready to be steamed.
Steamed Rice or Rice
Eating Rice is the biggest part of Thai people and food. We eat rice with pretty much everything (even ice-cream). Thai Jasmine Rice, named after the sweet-smelling jasmine flower, is a long grain rice, that, when cooked, has a slightly sticky texture and clings together. White Jasmine Rice is the most consumed rice in Thailand.
Tamarind Sauce is made from tamarind pods and used in dishes, such as Pad Thai or Papaya Salad. The bean-like pods are filled with seeds and surrounded by fibrous pulp. The pulp of the young fruit is green and sour, but becomes juicy and sweet as it ripens. The ripened pods are brown. They are then peeled, and the pulp is removed from the seeds. The seeded tamarind pulp is put in a jar filled with enough warm water to cover all the tamarind, with about 3 cm left on the top. You let it sit 15-20 minutes, and after stirring with a fork to break down the mixture, it turns into its saucy, thick texture.
Thai Chili Paste
A concentrated blend of combined spices and red chilies. This diverse paste is used habitually in the Thai kitchen in soups, stir-fry, as a spicy condiment and more. Spicy and sweet, with rich flavors from roasted veggies.
Tofu also know as bean curd, can be soft, firm, or extra firm, and is made from soybean. The Thai common use tofu that is firm, and yellow outside and white on the inside. They often use turmeric to preserve to keep fresh. Its’ flavour is generally described as bland. The tofu in Thailand is a substitute for meat and fish by buddhist monks or vegetarians. Also, tofu is used in a variety of dishes in Thailand such as Pad Thai.
Pad Thai Noodle
Pad Thai noodle or rice noodle made from rice. Their principal ingredients are rice flour and water, however sometimes there will be starch added in order to improve the transparency or increase the gelatinous and chewy texture of the noodle.
During World War II, Thailand suffered a rice shortage. To reduce domestic rice consumption, the Thai government promoted noodles from China instead. At the same time, the country’s name was changed from Siam to Thailand, and to spread the word about this change, the Thai Nationalists used a new rice noodle dish. As a result, Pad Thai was created.
Thai Spring Roll Wrapper
The Vietnamese roll wrappers are easy to find. They are usually sold dried, in thin, crisp, translucent round sheets. The sheets are dipped briefly in hot water to soften them, then used to wrap. They are different from Thai spring roll wrappers. They’re square (about 20 x 20 cm) with a similar appearance to fresh Mexican tortillas but made from rice flour, tapioca flour, salt and water. They don’t need to be soaked in water, and are often sold fresh and are ready to be used.
Vegetable bouillon is a combination of many dried and pulverized vegetables, and is added to dishes in Thai cooking to amplify flavors. You will see the powdered version of this bouillon used in many different Akha dishes.
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