Exotic cuisine is becoming more popular in recent years. Fans of Chinese, Japanese and other Oriental food can be found in specialized restaurants almost every day. The craze for such food is not only due to the fact that it is very tasty, but also extremely useful.
Today we will talk about Thai cuisine, which came to us from sunny Thailand and embodied the best traditions of Indian, Chinese and European cuisines.
The history of Thai cuisine
Thai cuisine is considered one of the oldest cuisines in the world. Its formation was greatly influenced by the culture of India, China and Japan. Being close to such large states, Thailand has absorbed many of the subtleties of Chinese and Indian cuisine, but at the same time it has retained its zest for cooking, making them exquisite and unique.
Of course, the delightful climate of Thailand and its extraordinary culture played a significant role in the development of this exotic cuisine.
The humid tropical climate of this eastern country allows you to grow many different crops, and to harvest them more than once a year. Even fruits and vegetables known to everyone to taste here acquire their own characteristic flavor and charming aroma. Proximity to the sea has also left its mark: Thai cuisine is replete with fish and seafood. And oyster sauce is generally an indispensable ingredient in almost any oriental dishes.
To a large extent, the development of Thai recipes influences the fact that religious beliefs characteristic of Thai people do not limit the use of certain products.
Thailand is not in vain considered the land of smiles. There are practically no gloomy faces here. Thais are always friendly and smiling, which has a special effect on their physical health. As you know, Thailand is famous for a large number of long-livers. And if you think about it, then all this is really interrelated: it is unlikely that a sick person will have a good mood. People who live in harmony with each other, with their own body and with the surrounding nature - are fundamentally different from others. Physical health and spiritual well-being are very closely intertwined. Thais take care of their own health from the very first days of their lives, and an important, balanced diet, which embodies their national cuisine, plays an important role.
The indigenous people of Thailand are not accustomed to the absorption of food on the go. Meal from them is a kind of ritual. They are used to eating slowly, enjoying both wonderfully cooked food and the process itself. Communication with relatives and friends during lunch is very much appreciated in Thailand; therefore, a rotating round table, richly served and filled with an abundance of various dishes and potions, is often used for such purposes.
"Our body is a sacred temple, where everything that comes handy must not be allowed" - this phrase perfectly conveys the main essence of the philosophy of Thai cuisine. It is this truth that teaches a responsible attitude towards the food itself and to the products from which it is prepared. Every cook in Thailand is obliged to know how certain ingredients affect human health.
Food is an inexhaustible source of energy and health. By consuming some foods, you can saturate the body with energy and vitality, while others allow you to preserve youth and beauty, thanks to the third, the metabolic processes in the body are improved. It is in the harmonious blending of such ingredients, their various proportions and ratios that the true skill and professionalism of the chef lies. This ace of his business is not only obliged to know the secrets of culinary traditions that have been stored since the days of ancient Siam, but also intuitively feel the magic of each ingredient.
Initially in Thailand it was not customary to use cutlery for food. In some regions, they still eat food exclusively with their fingers. Around the beginning of the nineteenth century, the habit of eating using a fork and spoon steadily enters into use. This was made possible thanks to the European trips of King Mongkut, from where he learned a lot and rooted in his country.
And in Thailand, the spoon is considered the main device, and the fork is only needed to put food in a spoon. To put the fork in your mouth while eating is considered a sign of bad taste. Chopsticks are not used in Thai cuisine, it is the prerogative of Chinese culture. The only exceptions are noodle dishes. Soup in Thailand is eaten with a spoon in its left hand, using it exclusively for broth, and chopsticks in the right, with which they eat noodles, fish, vegetables, or meat.
Thai food features
The basis of Thailand's exotic cuisine is a combination of five flavors: salty, spicy, sour, sweet and bitter. And the skill of the chef is the ability to properly put together these tastes and skillfully balance them with each other.
Ripened pineapple, sugar palm and sugar cane are the quintessential sweet taste in food. Lime and lemon bring refined sourness, among other things, saturating the food with useful and necessary for the body with vitamin C.
The word “boring” literally sounds like “lime without juice” in Thai, so lime juice is an indispensable ingredient of many different dishes, diluting their monotony and monotony, eliminating boredom and bringing a touch of revival to them. Also suppliers of sour taste are unripe pineapple and mango, as well as plant of the family Solanum Ferox, in appearance something resembling eggplant.
The source of salty taste, of course, is salt. However, fish sauce plays an important role in Thai cuisine, which is prepared mainly in the process of fermenting anchovies and adding savory and refined salinity to dishes.
Such dishes are bound to bitter cucumber - in Thai ma-ra, and the base of the island of taste is the hot chili pepper brought to Siam by the Portuguese missionaries.
In general, the use of chili in Thailand is welcome in any form and at any time. Dry or fresh, as part of various sauces, it is present in the diet of any Thai. It is eaten regardless of the time of day: in the morning for breakfast, during the day, and for dinner in the evening.
All this is due to the fact that chili pepper is endowed with powerful healing properties: it helps with colds, improves digestion, helps prevent diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tract.
There are several varieties of hot chili sauce. But the most popular is spicy sauce with the addition of curry - Gaeng Pet. In addition to seasoning, it includes garlic, salt, hot chili pepper, coriander, lime, lemon leaves, as well as galanga leaves and Chinese ginger. The constant ingredient of this dish is Thai shrimp sauce - kakpi.
The burning taste and spiciness of this sauce is best to stick with rice, and not to extinguish the fire with water.
Chili sauce opens up the top three main components of this exotic cuisine. Next comes coconut milk, or ka-thi. It is a sweet, pulpy pulp that is harvested from ripe coconuts. Such milk is used as a component of fish and meat dishes, thanks to its ability to soften the sharp taste of other components. In addition, coconut pulp is a valuable supplier of calcium in the body and a powerful source of energy, which is important for health-conscious Thais.
Closes the top three leaders of Thai cuisine - the king of oriental cooking - rice. Thailand is one of the leading importers of rice worldwide. Of course, he is given the most important place in Thai cooking. Some experts even assign him a special — sixth — taste element — fresh.
The word "eat" sounds in Thai as "Kin Kha'u", that is, literally - "there is rice." And any meat, vegetables or fish is translated as "cap khao" - "what is served with rice."
One of the healing properties of rice is - increased appetite. Its main use is considered to be serving to any other dishes, tantamount to our bread, which is used in Europe as a supplement to the main food. In addition, based on it made delicious desserts.
The most popular in Thailand is jasmine rice - a rather expensive variety grown in Isana. In the northern and eastern provinces, sticky rice, which is a rich source of valuable starch, took the lead. One of its features is steaming. Glutinous rice enjoys great success with the population of Laos, where it is used daily.
Unlike the usual European cuisine, Thais do not serve the main dish, tinted with salads or side dishes. The main dish they have is a huge portion of rice, to which are additionally served sharp and not very spicy dishes. In this case, the leading role is given exactly the balance of such dishes and ingredients.
Black rice is used to make desserts.
Many national dishes in Thailand are prepared on the basis of "us phrik" - a spicy mixture of garlic, various herbs and chili pepper. To prepare, you need to grind all the ingredients in a mortar and pour it into the wok, pre-flavored with vegetable oil. Later, the main ingredients, such as fish, meat, noodles or vegetables, are fried in this mixture.
Another of the most popular ingredients for cooking Thai dishes is Quai Tieu noodles, which are usually served as a main course or as an ingredient in various soups.
One of the distinguishing features of Thai cuisine is the widespread and widespread use of various herbs, spices and spices. Also important is the knowledge of their useful properties and the skillful use of it.
The most popular spices in Thailand are:
- ginger and almond;
- turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom;
- marjoram and nutmeg;
- curry, basil, cumin and cloves;
- mint and vanilla;
- thyme, fennel, celery and asafoetida;
- garlic and leek;
- black pepper and cayenne chili.
Due to such an abundance of spices and seasonings, Thai dishes have a refined and unique aroma and bright taste. An interesting fact is that, on average, about forty different spices and seasonings are commonly used to make a standard lunch in Thailand.
Cooking Thai food is a long ritual that requires thorough and long preparation. However, the cooking process itself takes a minimum amount of time, which allows you to save valuable and useful properties of all its components.
Most often used for cooking grill, coal or open fire. Dishes cooked over an open fire are considered the most useful, have a certain taste and intoxicating aroma.
In addition to the taste of dishes, in Thailand, aesthetic pleasure from eating food is also considered important. The cook there can show all his artistic feelings and creative impulses: there you can see various still lifes of vegetables, sculptures of fruits and greens and other fancy decorations.
Main Thai dishes
Once in Thailand, many tend to try the popular exotic national dishes that are the attraction of this country. These include:
- tom yam - spicy-sour soup with chicken and seafood, based on chicken broth;
- Toc - rice porridge, usually served for breakfast;
- Khau Phat - rice fried with beef, chicken, pork, crabs, shrimps, pineapple and coconut pulp;
- phat thai - rice fried noodles with lime juice, sugar, tamarind, egg, fish sauce, and crushed peanuts, served with chicken, tofu or seafood;
- kai phat ka-phrau - chicken with chili, garlic and basil;
- cha-yen - a cool drink from Thailand;
- pickled mango;
- baked pumpkin with coconut cream;
- pancakes made from coconut milk and rice flour;
- grilled seafood (shrimps, cuttlefish, crabs and others);
- pickled french fries with spices;
- fish pate with eggs and coconut milk;
- a salad of peanuts, papaya, beans, garlic, lime juice, chili and fish sauce;
- green and sour curry.
In addition to all this, Thailand is a country of strange and exotic fruits. Such a number as there, you will not find anywhere else. Here you can try coconuts and mango, pomelo and mangosteen, guava and papaya. You can not go past the pitahaya and carambola, rambutan and tamarind, do not pay attention to syzygium and annona, logan and lychee, green plum and pineapple. And of course, one can not forget the king of the exotic - durian. This awesome delicious fruit has a terrible stench. There are even some public places in cities where its use is prohibited. This fruit is not exported, as it is not subject to storage, so you can try it only in Thailand.
Fruits are eaten both fresh and pickled and canned. They make various juices and jams, marmalades, desserts and candied fruits, use them as salads and side dishes, boil them and even fry them.
The benefits of Thai cuisine, healing Thai soups
Thai cuisine is considered to be an inexhaustible source of useful vitamins and elements, vitality, as well as youth and beauty. Many dishes are used as a treatment and saturation of the body with healing substances. For example, one of the popular dishes in Thailand is the spicy soup with chicken, spices and vegetables based on coconut milk - Tom Kha Kai.
This soup eliminates calcium deficiency in the body, thanks to coconut milk. However, in addition, it contains a unique spice - galangal, rich in valuable vitamins and minerals, contributing to improved digestion and stabilization of blood pressure. Also, galangal helps to effectively eliminate heartburn and significantly improve the complexion.
Fried noodles with shrimps, soy sprouts and cabbage are quite low-calorie and enriched with useful substances, a dish.
Thai soup tom yam is considered one of the most healing dishes of national cuisine. In the old days it was often used as a cold medicine. Scientists agree that the useful and medicinal properties of this soup lie in the perfect combination of spices that make up it. These include lime leaves, an excellent antioxidant, and lemongrass, used to treat flu, colds, cholera and malaria, and ginger, which significantly increases the protective properties of the human body and increases immunity.
The use of such a large number of spices in Thai dishes, due to their valuable properties, helps to strengthen the immune system, improve sleep, pep, improve mood and fight against colds.
Spicy spices help to charge the body with energy and vigor, and help retain moisture in it. In addition, they have a detrimental effect on various bacteria and microorganisms that multiply rapidly in the hot and humid climate of Thailand.
The most common diseases in this country are: intestinal infections; malaria; hepatitis.
But life expectancy in Thailand is quite high: 71 years for women and 75 years for men in average. Thailand is considered to be the country of long-livers.
Instead of conclusions
Thai cuisine is considered one of the most balanced and most useful cuisines in the world.Having tasted her dishes for the first time - many remain fans until the end of life. Enjoying Thai food, you can improve your health and your appearance, and such harmony leads to a long and happy life. In Thailand, it is difficult to meet a complete aboriginal, such food does not lead to weight gain. Now all over the world opens many Thai restaurants where they offer to try the most popular dishes of national cuisine of Thailand. However, connoisseurs of Thai cuisine claim that true taste can be known only by visiting this strange country.