Follow these tips from the Royal Thai Embassy Office of Commercial Affairs in Pretoria:
- Use authentic Thai ingredients and only the freshest vegetables. Top supermarkets will stock most of the necessary ingredients, like Thai green curry paste, jasmine rice, coconut milk and lemongrass, but if you’re unable to source certain rare ingredients, you will probably find them at a Thai supermarket.
- Thai food is characterised by its beautiful colours, exotic ingredients and its fusions of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavours. The balance of these is very important.
- Chef Kun Bank from Padbok Thai Restaurant recommends slowly heating spices and curry pastes in cooking oil over a low heat until fragrant before adding other ingredients.
- Stir-fried dishes can be ruined by over-cooking. Blanch thicker vegetables like broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute before adding them to the stir-fry. Two minutes of stir-frying is enough to ensure crunchy vegetables that retain their nutrients.
- Rice noodles should be soaked for 10 minutes in water at room temperature before draining them and using them in a dish. Soaking them in hot water will result in soggy noodles. Non-rice noodles should be prepared in the same way as pasta, and cooked only until they are al dente.
- Jasmine rice is best prepared in a specialised rice cooker. It can also be prepared in a pressure cooker or steamed. Follow the package instructions carefully, to ensure that the rice is not too sticky and not under-cooked. Serve the rice and curry separately, topping the rice with spoonfuls of curry as you eat.
- Although some substitutions can be made, like brown sugar for palm sugar, lemon juice for lime juice and soya sauce for fish sauce, it is advised to stick to the recipe for an authentic taste.