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Common Thai Cooking Mistakes - What To Look Out For

What’s there not to love about Thai food? The combination of spices and herbs, the flavorful ingredients, and the variety of dishes all work together to make quite the mouth-watering dining experience.

You may think that this is an exaggeration, but it isn’t. You’ll realize this when you savor the taste of Thai food. Chances are that you’ll be left drooling over the likes of Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, Massaman Curry, and Som Tum.

Given the complexity of Thai cooking, it’s easy for those cooking to fail to include the right ingredients or forget an essential step. If you are a customer at a Thai restaurant, you don’t want to be shortchanged and leave the restaurant unsatisfied. If you are a cook and love making food, what better way to prepare dishes than to ensure that you’ve put your all into it?

Although the soul certainly makes a difference in cooking, there are some Thai food no-no’s that you should be wary of. Here are five:

Too Much Chilli

Alright, alright, we all know that Thai food is known for being hot and spicy. The chili augments the flavor, enticing you to eat more despite the tears in your eyes. But what if you’ve put too much chili in a dish? Doing so will not only numb your taste buds but also drown out all the other flavors and aromas that you should be enjoying. Excessive chili only defeats its purpose. As they say, do not ‘over-egg the pudding.’

Wrong Rice

The second most common Thai cooking mistake is using the wrong rice. Steamed rice is usually served along with side dishes. If you use substandard rice or purchase the wrong grain, however, the quality of the entire meal will be affected. It’s best to purchase Jasmine rice when eating traditional Thai food. Jasmine rice has a lovely aroma and is soft, light, and fluffy when properly cooked. You won’t need to add any butter or salt for a delicious flavor! If you can’t afford Jasmine rice, there’s nothing wrong with selecting another one. However, try to select a similar alternative that won’t compromise the cuisine.

No Ingredient Hierarchy

Most Thai dishes involve a variety of ingredients such as spices, leaves, and roots combined with fruits and vegetables. Each has a specific flavor and requires a certain amount of time to cook. Therefore, there should be a hierarchy when it comes to mixing in ingredients for a dish. It’s not like you can mix them in all at once, waiting until everything is cooked. The trick to perfection is to ensure that you mix in the right ingredients in the right order.

Over Cooking

We know that overcooking is a big no-no. This is one big mistake made by cooks all across the globe. It’s easy to leave your food on the stove just a few minutes longer than necessary. Overcooking is a cooking mistake that every Thai cook should be wary of. In fact, it is said to be one primary cause of Thai food disaster. This is because the majority of Thai food is very lightly cooked. Overcooking could cause the ingredients to lose their flavor or texture, compromising the taste of the final dish.

Wrong Ingredients

Finally, using the wrong ingredients for a dish you’re preparing is a mistake that all of us has made at one time or another. We know how strong the flavors of Thai ingredients are. Mixing them all together using the wrong ingredients can result in an unappetizing dish. Holy basil, for example, is very different than sweet basil. They may be both basils, but since they have incredibly different flavors, using the wrong one will completely alter the taste of the final dish.


For more tips on Thai cooking, join us for a cooking class in Bangkok at The Market Experience

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