Thai cuisine emphasizes foods that are simply made and have strong aromatic and spicy undertones. Thai cookery, unlike many other cuisines, according to Australian chef David Thompson, an authority on the cuisine, is “about the juggling of disparate elements to create a harmonious finish.” It must have a smooth exterior, just like a difficult musical chord, but what happens beneath is irrelevant. Here, simplicity is definitely not the rule.
The four broad kinds of traditional Thai food are tom (boiled dishes), yam (spicy salads), tam (pounded appetizers), and kaeng (curries). Chinese cuisine introduced deep-frying, stir-frying, and steaming as cooking techniques.
Thai cuisine was influenced by Indian cuisine, claims the Thai monk Venerable Buddhadasa Bhikku in his book “India’s Benevolence to Thailand.” He claimed that Indians taught Thai people diverse methods to employ spices in their cooking. The Indians also taught the Thai how to make herbal medicines. Some plants were imported from India, including sarabhi of the Guttiferae family, panika or harsinghar, phikun or Mimusops elengi, and bunnak or the rose chestnut.
With the exception of the incorporation of Chinese cuisine as a result of her thriving international trade, Thai cuisine during the Thonburi period tended to resemble that from the Ayutthaya period more.
Western culinary influences can be seen in dishes like foi thong, which is a Thai adaptation of the Portuguese fios de ovos, and sangkhaya, where coconut milk is used in place of cow’s milk to make a custard, dating back to 1511 when the first diplomatic mission from the Portuguese arrived at the kingdom of Ayutthaya. According to legend, these foods were introduced to Thailand in the 17th century by Maria Guyomar de Pinha, an Ayutthaya-born woman with mixed Japanese, Portuguese, and Bengali origin who later married Constantine Phaulkon, a Greek advisor to King Narai.
Did you know these facts before?