Achieving that Authentic Thai Taste
Don’t be shy with the spices
If you watch a Thai person cooking, they take a fairly cavalier attitude with herbs and spices. They never measure anything exactly, instead they add these ingredients to their own taste, using their experience of cooking the dish in question. In the west we are used to measuring herbs and spices in small measures, as we tend to add these things to bring subtle flavours to the dish, this is not so in Thailand, where the herbs and spices form the backbone of the flavour. So don’t be conservative with them, always add plenty.
Chillies do have a taste
Most people presume that chillies are added to a dish to simply make it spicy. This is simply not true, chillies in quantity has a distinct flavour of its own, and one which the Thais seem to cherish. So how do we add plenty of chillies to a dish without making it too spicy? Simple, we add other ingredients to counteract the spiciness of the chillies. Sugar is the usual ingredient used for this, and many Thai recipes add several heaped spoons of sugar simply to counteract the fiery chillies. Salt and vinegar are also used in the same way, although in nowhere near as large a dose as sugar.
So there we have it, to achieve a great tasting Thai dish do not stint on the herbs and spices. Forget your traditional Western way of cooking, adding just a little spice to a dish to add some flavour, instead throw away your measuring tubs and start adding herbs and spices by the handful.