Cooking your own Thai food
This is something worth trying particularly in Thailand where crucial ingredients are readily at hand and naturally very fresh. The deliciously aromatic spices and herbs are in abundance, and along with the fresh meat and fish, are incredibly cheap and obtainable at the colourful and splendid local Thai markets.
When cooking a Thai meal, it is possible to purchase a readymade mixture of pre-mixed herbs and spices from a
local supermarket, but this does defeat the purpose of being in Thailand! Mixing the fresh spices and herbs yourself is clearly more time consuming but the taste and aroma will be something to behold!
Anyway, what to cook and what ingredients should be used? Garlic, chilli, sugar, salt, pepper, basil, lemongrass, coriander and fish oil are popular ingredients. Fish oil is deemed a necessity by Thais when cooking most Thai meals and is made by fermenting fish in salty water. However this is very high in salt and alternatives can and should be considered to replace this pungent saltiness!
Cooking your own Thai food will enable you to cook something that is probably healthier that you would get on a Thai street and in most medium-class restaurants. It is an unfortunate fact that palm oil is used in street cooking and this, although it does not contain trans-fats, it contains damaging saturated fat which is a problem for the body. Also this oil is often re-heated numerous times which is a great health concern. Other healthier option oils should be considered, if the budget is not an issue. Olive oil should be contemplated for uncooked dishes and sunflower oil or coconut oil for cooked dishes.
Thai rice soups are delicious and again this can be made healthier by replacing white with brown rice and cutting the enormous amount of sugar added by street vendors.
It would appear that Thai food is probably better for you if you make it yourself with the suggested modification in ingredients, but it can also be tweaked to suit the western pallet. Consider the common favourite Gai Pad Gapow which definitely hits the spot for most Europeans as a favourite Thai fast food! It is savoury, spicy and uses basil, garlic and chilli to season. Served with a fried egg, it is delicious. Why not try experimenting by adding pineapple or fried potatoes to this. This combination works and is delicious, even though maybe some Thai’s would be mortified!
Thai’s have all the natural ingredients but corners are cut to guarantee that the money goes further and that there is enough food to go around and feed a working population. It is unfortunate that this does affect the quality, the healthiness and taste of the food. However when experimenting alone, it possible to use the best ingredients as suggested and this should certainly be tried!