Mussels are the easiest choose-your-own-adventure one-pot meal around, and I intend to prove it to you. This version uses my standard steamed mussel technique and combines it with flavors from Central Thailand to create a dish whose basic process is pretty much identical to the French version, but whose end results are entirely different.
'Thai' on Serious Eats
Thai pomelos tend to be dryer and less sweet than their American-available counterparts, but that shouldn't stop you from using them in a Thai-inspired salad nonetheless. Heck, even bitter grapefruit would make a great addition to this salad that combines fiery heat, bitterness, and sweetness in perfect balance.
This salad combines the classic flavors of Northeastern Thailand with ingredients readily available in the average supermarket. Sliced steak, onions, and tomatoes are tossed in a fiery dressing made with pounded garlic and chilies flavored with lime juice and fish sauce. Fried lemongrass adds crunch and lemongrass flavor without the fibrous strands raw lemongrass leaves behind.
This pot of noodles with Thai coconut curry and fresh shrimp can be made ahead and taken to work. Just add boiling water, seal it up for three minutes, add the contents of the fresh herb packet, and you've got a hot lunch ready.
Think of the best chicken soup you've had: steaming hot, rich, comforting, and soul-satisfying to the core. Now add to that the complex fragrance of fresh Thai herbs like lemongrass, galangal, a sweet shallots. And wait, we're not done yet! To that base, add a big fat pinch of warm Northern Thai spices and you're starting to get an idea of what yum jin gai is all about.
This ain't your grandma's pork larb. Unless your grandma happens to be of Lanna descent and native to Northern Thailand, in which case, this is probably very much like your grandma's pork larb. Unlike Isan larb, this is a darker mince, with tender bits of lean pork mixed together with chunks of fat, chewy bits of intestine, and a rich, thick sauce flavored with crushed spices and pork blood. It's not larb for the faint of heart, but it's one worth seeking out or cooking at home if you've got any interest in offal.
If you're anything like me, when you first taste nam phrig noom, the smoky, garlicky, roasted chili dip from Northern Thailand, it's gonna blow your mind. Made with roasted green chilies, shallots, and garlic, it's served as a side dish alongside all sorts of raw and cooked vegetables, boiled eggs, or—my favorite—crispy pork rinds.
Deeply fragrant with smoky charred edges, cabbage takes on a nutty, sweet flavor when grilled over blazing hot coals with a great texture that's simultaneously tender and crisp. Its layered structure also makes it the ideal vessel for picking up both smoke flavor from the grill and whatever sauce you choose to serve it with. In this case, we're going with a spicy Thai dressing that packs in chili, garlic, fish sauce, and a ton of herbs.
This variation on a classic Thai chicken and banana blossom salad hits every note, with its accessible, clean flavors of tender poached chicken breast and crunchy banana blossom, rich fried shallots, garlic, and lemongrass, and a bright, bracing garlic, chili, and lime juice dressing.
Thai-style grilled chicken coated in a marinade flavored with cilantro, white pepper, and fish sauce is one of the tastiest things you'll ever pull off of your grill. There's a reason you can't walk more than a few blocks in Bangkok without catching a whiff of its intense aroma. Here's how to make it in your own backyard.
Inspired by Thai grilled beef salad (neua nam tok), this salad replaces the meat with grilled vegetables and adds fragrant jasmine rice. It's loaded with fresh herbs and dressed with a bracing, fish sauce-spiked lime vinaigrette. Plus, because the vegetables are grilled, they give the salad a deeper, smoky flavor.
Scratch-made chicken curry is a thing of beauty, with far greater complexity than anything that comes out of a jar. Add supple rice noodles and an array of toppings, and consider me satisfied for the next week.
Grilled Steaks With Roasted Tomato Dipping Sauce (Crying Tiger, or Suea Rong Hai Kap Jaeo Ma-Khuea Thet) From 'Simple Thai Food'
Like son-in-law eggs, this "crying tiger" dish of grilled steak with spicy tomato sauce has a mysterious name. No one really knows if the tiger is crying because the steaks are good or bad, or if the sauce is just so spicy that it generates tears. I'm inclined to believe the latter, because if you're grilling rib-eye, it'd be a shame to serve it tough.
Most connoisseurs of Southeast Asian food know that Thai salads are not often leafy, vegetable-based dishes. In fact, they are much more likely to be filled with meat and tossed in a funky, fish-sauce laden dressing. This duo of pork and broccoli in Leela Punyaratabandhu's new cookbook, Simple Thai Food, is no exception.
This fragrant, hearty, Thai-style chicken curry tastes like it took hours to prepare, but it cooks in a pressure cooker in just 20 minutes. Pieces of sweet kabocha squash and eggplant break down into the coconut-milk-based sauce, thickening it and adding layers of flavor.
A classic sweet, spicy, and savory accompaniment for grilled meats.