5 Essential Thai Ingredients

One of America’s best Thai restaurants is a place called Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon. It was opened in an old house by a young chef named Andy Ricker and is a shrine to thai grilling. Here are Ricker’s five must-have Thai ingredients.
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Thai Grilling Temple

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Cilantro (pak chee)

Thai cooks use the leaves in soups and salads, the stems in stocks, and the roots in curries and sauces.

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Coconut Milk (ka ti)

While Andy Ricker uses Aroy-D brand milk, he prefers to make his own by pulsing fresh coconut in a food processor, moistening it with hot water and squeezing out the milk through cheesecloth.

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Dried Chiles (phrik haeng)

Ricker prefers Thai bird’s eye chiles; look for dark red, pliable (not crumbly) ones.

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Dried Shrimp (kung haeng)

Sweet, umami-rich dried shrimp come in many sizes; Ricker recommends medium. Look for them in the refrigerated sections of Asian markets.

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Fish Sauce (nam pla)

Thai fish sauce is generally made from salted, fermented fish. Ricker prefers the brands Tiparos and Squid.

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PUBLISHED June 2009

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