This Week’s Menu
The Return of "Thai Spring Rolls"
There were a few requests for Thai Larder's jumbo spring rolls last week. You asked, so we responded! Our spring rolls use premium free range Tasmanian pork pan fried with shitake mushrooms, mung bean noodles and secret spices to a recipe Ann learned as a child from her next door neighbour - a traditional "street food" Thai chef. Thai Larder spring rolls are bigger than most and packed with flavour! .
Last week Tasmania suffered from a Thai Basil drought as the weekly shipment had succumbed to mould. We searched high and low but none was to be found. Than you to all our customers who ordered dishes with Thai Basil in them for choosing alternatives - there really is nothing like Thai Basil and the Australian version simply doesn't work with Thai cuisine. This week we are told by our supplier that the shipment is due to arrive safe and sound so we have put Stir Fried Mince Pork back on the menu again.
Our two curries this week are Massaman curry, our mildest and most popular curry, and Thai red curry which has medium heat and is called Kaeng Ped. It uses dried red chillies and is less sweet than Massaman curry. Both curries on the menu are gluten free. Each week, we make a new batch of curry paste for each curry. Our pastes are all made from authentic ingredients and "from fresh ingredients", none of your supermarket processed paste for us. Commercial supermarket pastes rely heavily on creating a heat profile that masks their lack of herbs and spices which is why we steer clear of them and use a pestle and mortar to pound the flavour out of our natural ingredients. As a result of traditional preparation methods, our curry flavour profile is different from every Tasmanian restaurant we have tried so far (unless it is the one we supply!).
Now, it's our opinion of course but, In our view, the best Thai curry is not the hottest curry (in fact the Thai's didn't start using chillies until the 18th century). The best Thai curry allows you to taste the complex flavours of the herbs and spices before the "heat notes" from the chilli hits your taste buds to elevate the experience still further. If you have never had a Thai curry based on a "fresh" paste before, please do try ours. Like many of our customers, we think you will never go back to shop bought curry paste again. If your taste buds have a high resistance to the heat of chillies (or sweating while you eat is your thing!), don't forget to add a sachet of chilli with fish sauce to your order.
The History of Thai Cuisine
Thai food is known for its enthusiastic use of fresh herbs and spices and its cuisine places an emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. Because the ingredients are cooked quickly and are not allowed to over cook, the fresh natural ingredients retain more of their natural goodness and flavour.
There are five fundamental taste sensations in pretty much every dish although some of the core tastes are accentuated more than others depending on the dish and the chef. The five tastes are: hot (i.e. chilli spicy), sour, sweet, salty, and (optional) bitter.
Thai food can also be described as four regional cuisines corresponding to the four main regions of the country: Northern, Northeastern, Central, and Southern. Each regional cuisine has been influenced by their neighboring countries: Burma, the Chinese province of Yunnan and Laos to the north, Cambodia to the east, and Malaysia to the south. In addition to these four regional cuisines, there is also the Thai Royal Cuisine which can trace its history back to the palace cuisine of the Ayutthaya kingdom which was pre-eminent before Bangkok became the capital in the mid 18th century.
These regional variations make Thai cuisine one of the most diverse of the world’s great culinary traditions with many different ingredients and ways of preparing food. Despite this variety, the ingredient found in almost all Thai dishes and every region of the country is fish sauce. Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in Thai cuisine and imparts a unique character to Thai food.
While Thai food is famous for its spicy nature there are flavours and styles to suit every taste – including those who like their food mild. Thai curries tend to contain coconut milk and fresh turmeric and also often include lime juice. Many popular dishes in Thailand were originally Chinese dishes which were introduced to Thailand by the Teochew people who make up the majority of the Thai Chinese (my family are Teochew). The Chinese also introduced the use of a wok for cooking, the technique of deep-frying and stir-frying dishes, and noodles and soy products.
Curry pastes are prepared by crushing together various ingredients and shrimp paste. They taste best when crushed using a mortar and pestle, rather than a blender. Many of the ingredients used in Thai curry paste (and in Thai food in general) have medicinal properties that have long since been used in traditional Thai herbal remedies. Using such ingredients in your everyday cooking not only ensures that your food is delicious but can help maintain a healthy body.
For example, curry paste includes a number of super food herbs. Kaffir Lime Leaves have antioxidants, contain volatile oil, and are traditionally thought to aid digestion, cleanse the blood and help maintain healthy teeth and gums. Lemongrass detoxifies the liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and the digestive tract. It reduces uric acid along with blood pressure, cholesterol, excess fats and other toxins. Lemongrass stimulates digestion, blood circulation, and lactation. Galangal Root also contains volatile oils. It stimulates digestion and reduces inflammation of the stomach and ulcers. Galangal root boosts the immune system, is used to treat colds and flu, reduces fever and rheumatism. It is also thought to have antibacterial and antispasmodic properties.
Refer a Friend
As a thank you to our regular customers we have introduced a refer a friend program. Just ask your friend to mention to us when they order that you referred them and we will give you 10% off your next order. You can do this with as many friends as you like, and each time you refer a different friend who has not ordered from us previously you will be entitled to the same 10% discount! All we ask is that either your friend mentions you when they order or you drop us an email to let you know who you have recommended them before they order.
I hope you enjoyed our second newsletter! If you have any questions or suggestions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Patcharin (Ann) Atkinson