Jenny Huang/The Pepper Thai Cookbook: Recipes from Everyone’s Favorite Thai Mom
Whether you grew up eating your mae’s food or discovered the cuisine via takeout, there is no denying the allure of Thai flavors. With ingredients like coconut, peanut, lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, lime, fish sauce and curry pastes as the backbone of many Thai recipes, it’s no wonder they have a tendency to be so fresh, bright and absolutely delicious.
From pad Thai to coconut chicken soup and from tamarind glazed ribs to a sweet and fiery glass noodle salad, here are a few of our favorite Thai — and Thai-inspired — recipes.
You may not immediately think of cucumber as a base for soup, but this recipe will make you imagine the possibilities. This plant-based soup is packed with tofu, herbs and veggies — including a diced cucumber. Light yet satisfying, this soup would make a great appetizer, lunch or light supper.\
Somewhat similar to Indian samosas but in a category all their own, curry puffs are typically filled with curried coconut chicken, potatoes and onion. This recipe takes a shortcut for the wrapper by using frozen puff pastry instead of homemade dough. As a bonus, it makes a few dozen and they freeze well, so you can have curry puffs at your fingertips for months to come.
This noodle dish comes together quickly and requires little cooking, making it perfect for hot days. The base consists of glass noodles cooked in a water and vinegar mixture, which are then tossed with an array of colorful ingredients like papaya, chayote, cilantro, basil and peanuts. The entire dish is coated in a spicy chili vinaigrette with two types of chilis, two types of vinegar and plenty of fish sauce.
If you like your noodle salad to be a little more substantial, then try this version with chicken. The chicken is marinated in a mixture of fresh basil, cilantro, mint, lime juice, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce and honey. Talk about flavor!
Who couldn’t use more quick meal ideas in their culinary arsenal? This sesame peanut noodle bowl is ready in 20 minutes flat from start to finish and uses primarily pantry staples, so you can throw it together at the last minute. Dinner: saved.
One of the most popular Thai takeout orders, chicken satay is a fun and delicious option for kids and adults alike. Once the chicken has been marinated in a sweetened coconut milk and curry mixture, it is threaded on skewers, grilled and served with a creamy peanut sauce and a cucumber, carrot and almond salad.
For a fun twist on satay, try this recipe that pairs the Thai classic with a pumpkin-peanut sauce.
If you’ve been ordering pad Thai from your local restaurant, it’s time to try making it at home. Thai rice noodles and fish sauce can be found in most major grocery stores, making this recipe accessible to home cooks across the United States. The pad Thai recipe calls for chicken, but you could easily substitute tofu, shrimp or beef.
We love making chicken wings in the air fryer. They still come out perfectly crispy and there’s no oil, no mess. These air-fried wings are coated in a sweet and spicy glaze loosely inspired by the flavors of Thailand with ingredients like sweet chili sauce, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and Korean gochujang for a bit of heat.
If you prefer your Thai-inspired wings fried, try this recipe. Wings are marinated in a mixture of lime juice and zest, vanilla extract, fresh ginger, chipotle powder and soy sauce, then fried. But they’re not done yet. Next, they’re coated in a creamy peanut sauce and baked to ensure layers upon layers of flavor.
If you’re a fan of Chrissy Teigen and her delightful mother Pepper Thai, then you have to try this shrimp toast recipe from “The Pepper Thai Cookbook.” A restaurant favorite, shrimp toast is a mixture of shrimp, cilantro and garlic pressed between pieces of white bread and fried until crispy. Yum!
Short ribs are a comforting yet elegant favorite year-round. Here, they’re braised with orange, lemongrass and chile garlic paste, among many other ingredients, until they’re fall-apart tender.
If you love ribs, you’ll go wild for this recipe, also from “Pepper Thai.” Rather than American-style barbecue sauce, these pork ribs are deep fried and coated in a sticky, sweet-and-sour tamarind and fish sauce glaze that is finger-licking good.
Burgers may not be a part of the traditional Thai culinary canon, but Thai flavors sure do brighten up an American burger. At your next cookout, consider mixing some ground ginger, chopped green onions and chili sauce into your beef patties. Then go all out by topping them with lime-marinated shredded cabbage and a creamy peanut sauce.
Whether you’re tired of the plain steamed rice you typically make or are looking for a good side to pair with one of the dishes above, coconut brown rice is a flavorful and nutritious way to shake things up. Rather than cooking rice in just water or broth, try cooking it with water, coconut milk and shredded coconut for a crowd-pleasing grain option.
If you’re looking for a quick, easy and delicious way to give some Thai flare to pretty much anything you’re eating, peanut sauce is a no-brainer. Use it as a dipping sauce for meat, tofu or veggies, toss it with noodles, brush it on ingredients before grilling or baking or thin it with some oil for a creamy salad dressing. It also can replace other condiments.
Once you’ve got Thai recipes like this mastered, you can explore other takeout favorites to make at home.
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