Getting Acquainted with Thai Select Ingredients

Posted by Nads on October 7, 2013

Thai fruits

I’ve been very lucky to have visited Thailand on many occasions.  It was without a doubt love at first sight, and I was overtaken by the incredible beauty of the country and it’s happy, friendly, gentle people.  Since that first visit my relationship with the food of this beautiful country has been an ongoing and very serious love affair.

Traditional Thai ingredients

I’ve spent hours in cities across Thailand, meandering about lively, bustling markets, fascinated with local dishes, discovering many unique techniques and ingredients.  I’ve talked to cooks, mothers, grandmothers and tuk tuk drivers, snuck into kitchens, driven waiters and chefs crazy with

Thai ingredients

questions.  Determined to soak in as much knowledge as I could, I attended cooking courses several times throughout different parts of the country and also studied Thai Cooking here at George Brown College.  It is one of the tastiest cuisines on the planet and  much to my delight (and to anyone who is invited over for Thai night) one of the healthiest.  The more time I spend learning how to create these yummy dishes, the more I realize this is one of the cleanest and healthiest cuisines on the globe.  At the heart of all Thai cooking techniques, there is always a base for building flavors that is focused on the freshest of ingredients used to create different pastes.

thai ingredients

Comprised of power foods like ginger, galangal, turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, basil, tamarind and hot peppers, these pastes provide intense flavor and huge health benefits as a bonus.  Salt is replaced by fish sauce and fat is replaced with coconut milk.  Coupled with an array of vegetables, rice based noodles and various proteins, this cuisine takes cake and is always a favorite at my house.

Here in Toronto, authentic Thai ingredients are readily available at a number of Asian grocery stores and used in fabulous dishes at a number of restaurants.  I was invited to an event hosted by Linda Modern Thai to celebrate their participation in the Thai Select Cuisine designation.  This program recognizes authentic ingredients that meet the highest standards and identifies restaurants across Canada using Thai Select designated ingredients and cooking techniques.  There are only 22 restaurants in Toronto that have received this designation, Linda Modern Thai being the first.  The event was an incredible celebration of traditional and modernized Thai dishes, with course after course prepared using ingredients hand picked from the Thai Select line-up.  Here is a gallery of most of the fantastic dishes we were invited to sample.  Have a look and next time you are feeling a little Thai inspired, head up to visit Linda Modern Thai or better yet, head out to your local Asian grocery store and have a go at creating some of these lovely dishes right at home.



24 Responses to “Getting Acquainted with Thai Select Ingredients”

  1. DeBalino says:

    This looks just delectable. I never attempted cooking Thai at home – it always seems easier to just go to the restaurant – but you’re right, it’s all about stocking up the ingredients. As long as there’s an Asian Market nearby, I’m sure I can find all I need. Thanks for the idea. My husband will love it! 🙂

    • Nads says:

      You should really try it, once you make your own curry, it’s difficult to find something better. Plus it freezes and re heats really well, actually tastes better the more the flavors sit, so it’s a great recipe for the family or for entertaining!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I love Thai food! I’m determined to master some spring rolls, and I have a go-to pad thai recipe; it’s much easier than I thought -and far cheaper than getting take-out for every craving 🙂

  3. Cheryl says:

    I was in Thailand over 10 years ago and it was such an amazing trip. I wish I had been more adventurous there when it came to trying new foods.

    • Nads says:

      Yes Thailand was breathtaking and the people made it that much more memorable. The good news is that you can find Thai almost anywhere now!

  4. Dawn says:

    I would love to try the Royal Pad Thai, Pad Thai is a favorite dish here!

  5. Jenna Em says:

    I LOVE Thai food, although I’ve never tried cooking it. There is something about coconut rice with green curried vegetables that is so delicious and satisfying.

  6. That Crispy Beef Curry looks delish! I am a huge fan of good curry but it can be hard to find! Now I’m craving Thai…

    • Nads says:

      Its true – so hard to find great Thai food. Its usually just coconut milk and spice. It really helps to check out some of the Thai Rated restos. The crispy beef at Linda’s Modern Thai is over the top.

  7. Heather says:

    It was a poor decision to read this post at lunch time – I’m drooling all over my keyboard! The photos of the ingredients are so beautiful. With all those amazing colours and textures it’s no wonder Thai dishes have such complex and delicious flavours.

    • Nads says:

      They are so healthy and good for you too. It made me want to figure out how to cook them because I they are tasty and healthy – when does that happen?

  8. Alex says:

    One day I swear I will be brave enough to try and cook my family some pad thai b/c I used to order it all the time for lunch when we lived downtown. In the suburbs you don’t get much authentic take out selection for this food. So I’d better sort out how to make it.

    • Nads says:

      You’d be surprised how easy it really is. Look around for an authentic recipe or check out You Tube, the secret with Pad Thai is to have all your ingredients and paste on hand cuz it’s got to be assembled and cooked quickly. That’s why the videos work a little better than a recipe.

  9. Thai inspired cooking is something I would love to try… your post has me all revved up to give it a go!!

    • Nads says:

      It’s really so much easier than you think. If you buy a good quality paste at your local Asian supermarket, the rest is a piece of cake. Just beware that most of the re-made pastes are really spicy, so I always use a couple of tablespoons and then food process extra lemongrass, garlic, shallots to add more flavor without so much heat.

  10. Hmmmm…. I have never tried Thai food… but I want to now!

  11. yummmy, i love thai food

  12. Oh I love Thai and those dishes there all look sooo good – thanks!!

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