Thai cuisine changes naturally with the fruits of the seasons, and with the absence of any chemicals in the cooking process, this makes the food highly nutritious and tasty. One of the cuisines most unique aspects the herbs and spices that have their own medical benefits has ensured its popularity around the globe, There is an important distinction between the samun prai used the herbs and the krueng thet, the spices: Herbs, for the purposes in Thai food, are the leaves of annual crops, and are used to season food, Spices can be the roots, blossoms, shoots, seeds or leaves, or the cores of the stalks, invariably indigenous to the tropics and sub-tropics. The use of herbs and spices vary. They can be fresh or dried, depending on the cooking process. Fresh ingredients are mostly used in tom yum, tom kha (the coconut-milk soup) and spicy salads and sometimes just served as accompaniments. Each has a different natural flavour, from sweet, salty and sour to oily, hot, bitter and tannin, but the tastes are usually combined in well-blended Thai dishes. It is important, though, to know your herbs and spices and what they individually bring to a dish. The right amount is crucial: too little or too much can change the flavour or even ruin the dish. The global and ever-increasing popularity of Thai cuisine has made the needed herbs and spices more readily available. What cannot be grown form seed overseas can usually be imported in any quantity from Thailand. Along with original recipes and their modern variations, this book offers a list of the herbs and spices commonly used in Thai dishes, as well as tips on how and where to select the right ones at the right stage of their growth and how to store them.
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