Thai food has long earned its place at the top of the tasty food chain alongside other gourmet favourites like Italian, French and Indian cuisine. The variety of flavours used in a single dish, as well as the emphasis on fresh, as opposed to frozen or dried ingredients means that even the simplest of Thai meals comes hurting with tastes and textures that keep your senses happy with minimal need for seasoning or fancy beverages to liven up the experience.
Thai cuisine is also known for being healthy as the most popular dishes are often based on seafood, poultry and salads with a liberal infusion of natural herbs that are added as fresh as the day they were picked (usually the same day they're served) and even in some cases placed on the table as a complementary garden condiment for diners to add a liberally as they please. Even the cooking process is designed to cause minimal intrusion on nature's intended tang with stir-fired and flash dishes filling the pages of Thai menus and highlighting the natural taste on the plate.
What you may no realise beyond the enjoyment of Thai food, however is that it is also a cuisine that takes healthy eating to the next level. Many of the core ingredients in Thai cuisine are actually beneficial to the body and are even known to help cure specific health issues. In fact, if you compare the ingredients on a Thai restaurant menu with the essences used in the world's best spas, you will quickly notice the same names cropping up in the dishes and the treatments.
Here are 5 essential Thai flavours that also keep you healthy.
Lemongrass is one of the most ubiquitous elements in Thai food. It's fragrant aroma and subtle citrus influences are used in everything from curries to soups and stir-fried creations. What's more, lemongrass is also used in Thai and Chinese traditional medicine to help digestion and even cure colds and flu.
Another Thai favourite is coriander, and anyone who say they don't like it based on tasting it as a garnish or when used over zealously should definitely give the herb a second chance in Thai dishes that balance its strength with other robust flavours, which it gives a much richer expression that adds depth and character to the dish. Once again, Cilantro, as it is also known is known as a medicinal herb in Asia, helping digestion, strengthen the immune system and even removing toxins from the body.
Coconut milk is an absolute must for any self respecting Thai cook in places like Phuket
and Koh Samui
, and dishes like Tom Ka Gai, coconut milk soup with chicken or Thai yellow coconut curry with seafood actually taste like the tropical surroundings that spawned them. What's even better is that If you're worried about losing those youthful features, indulging in delicious southern Thai cuisine may even help you age well.
Next on the list of key ingredients that you will find gracing many a Thai dish with its presence and flare is Kaffir Lime. The peel of this odd looking bumpy fruit is a foundation for most Thai curries and adds a complexity of flavour that you won't taste in many other fragrant creations around the world. And you guessed it, Kaffir Limes are also known as anti-oxidants, they help purify the blood and help protect the body from pesky free radicals.
Finally theres those contentious chillies, which for most people take a bit of getting used to, especially because Thai people like to ingest them to the point where most other nationalities would be sent running for a bucket of ice cream. Luckily, most Thai chefs appreciate the need for restraint when preparing spicy dishes for foreigners and if you bear with the spice, the food comes alive on your tongue and you soon begin to wonder how you survived eating bland western food for so many years. Once again, the fast sensation comes with benefits. In fact, chillies are known as one of the most powerful healing foods at the market and can help maintain a strong cardio vascular system, as well as cure skin ailments, assist with insulin production and even cure insomnia.
So when you're next in one of the world's culinary meccas, Thailand, make sure you make the most of the incredible range of tastes and curative properties on offer: explore, indulge and give yourself a health boost, all in one sitting.
by LVH Marketing