Thai Curries

Culinary explorers whose thoughts turn to certain India when the word "curry" is mentioned will be surprised at the Thai approach to these dishes. The Thai word gaeng, usually translated as "curry," embraces a huge variety of recipes that range from variants on familiar Indian favorites to clear, bland soups and even semi-dry stir-fried dishes. There is a basic distinction between curries that include coconut cream and those that do not.

Gaeng Khio Waan Probably the most popular Thai curry of all, gaeng khio waan, or "sweet green curry," is a spicy marvel of the former type that stews one or more of the small types of eggplant grown in Thailand with sliced chillies and some form of meat or fish in a rich, potently seasoned coconut cream sauce.

Gaeng Jud The fiery wallop packed by gaeng khio waan contrasts strongly with the fragrant blandness of the generally Chinese-influenced gaeng jued dishes. These are clear soups that typically combine clear glass noodles, various types of mushrooms, minced pork seasoned with garlic, and various vegetables in a light broth.

Thailand's regional cuisines include many local curry types that cover a broad spectrum of flavors and textures from the nuclear heat of the (coconut cream-less) gaeng lueang and gaeng tai plaa of the South to the curries of the North, with their heavy use of fermented bamboo shoots.

Gaeng Tai Plaa Gaeng Lueang Gaeng Naw Mai

Nam Phrik Noom Most of the standard Thai curries are based on a combination of herbs and other seasonings that are pounded together in a mortar and pestle to form a specific nam phrik, or curry paste. Thai cooks often prefer to pound their own, but most are available in pre-blended, ready-to-use form in local markets and supermarkets. Very acceptable prepared versions of the most common types are widely exported now.

Panaeng Muu Gaeng Phed Muu Saam Chan Gaeng Khua Naw Mai Gaeng Khio Waan Plaa Gaeng Khee Lek Muu Yaang

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