Essentials in Thai cuisine
When I went to Thailand the first time in 2010, I had no idea how many different herbs, plants and vegetables exist except the one I know in Germany. In this post I want to introduce you to some of the essentials in Thai cuisine.
This picture shows my cooking teacher Vatcharin holds some of the ingredients for making Thai red curry paste in his hands also called Khaeng Ped in Thai language (เครื่องแกง).
There is galgant root also called Ká (ข่า) which belongs to the ginger family, red small shallots (หอมแดง), lemongrass also called Takrai (ตะไคร้), garlic and kaffir lime leaves (มะกรูด).
In the following picture you will see me cutting an unripe papaya to make a Thai papaya salad called SomTum or SomTam (ส้มตำ). It is very common in Asia to eat this unripe because it has this crunchy texture when you cut it and fits perfect to the strong flavors (sour, sweet & spicy).
In this picture above you can see how Thai people cut an unripe papaya.
You can use a large-size grater to grate the papaya. In Thailand, they shred it using only a knife, making many long cuts in the flesh, then thinly slicing it off the top layer into a bowl, continuing until the papaya is shredded. Any remaining pieces can be chopped up into strips with your knife.