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.
Plus: Thai Grilling Temple
Cilantro (pak chee)
Thai cooks use the leaves in soups and salads, the stems in stocks, and the roots in curries and sauces.
- Thai Grilled Chicken with Cilantro Dipping Sauce
- Thai-Style Chicken In Lettuce Leaves
- Grilled Chicken Liver Skewers
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.
- Sweet Sticky Rice with Mangoes and Sesame Seeds
- Steamed Mussels with Coconut Milk and Thai Chiles
- Thai Chicken, Zucchini and Tomato Curry
Dried Chiles (phrik haeng)
Ricker prefers Thai bird’s eye chiles; look for dark red, pliable (not crumbly) ones.
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.
- Green Bean Salad with Dried Shrimp and Peanuts
- Spicy Fried Okra with Crispy Shallots
- Charred Eggplant Salad with Lime-Chile Dressing
Fish Sauce (nam pla)
Thai fish sauce is generally made from salted, fermented fish. Ricker prefers the brands Tiparos and Squid.