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What is Thai Cuisine? Thai Culinary Identity Construction From The Rise of the Bangkok Dynasty to Its Revival
By: Panu Wongcha-Um (B.A. (Hons) Melb), 2010
A Thesis Submitted For Degree of Master of Arts Department of History National University of Singapore.
Curry Paste Permeability
Bringing an exceptional approach to the discussion of curry pastes, this article – rather than providing exact recipes – introduces the concept of “permeability” as a framework for understanding how to adapt pastes to different ingredients. This approach guides cooks in focusing on core principles rather than precise measurements.
From indigenous tribes to a national culinary identity
An old Thai expression – Saang baan bpaeng meuuang (สร้างบ้านแปงเมือง) – condenses into four words the complicated dynamics involved in the founding of a country with a national identity from a group of families and their tribes.
Interview: Hanuman Aspler – Unearthing the Language of Ancient Siamese Cuisine and The Three Trees Farm Experience
In this revealing interview, Asha Tanna sits down with Hanuman Aspler to explore his one-of-a-kind philosophy on Thai cooking. Located a mere 40 minutes from central Chiang Mai, Hanuman’s Three Trees Farm offers more than just a cooking class—it provides an education in ancient Siamese cuisine. But Hanuman isn’t interested in merely passing on recipes. Drawing from old manuscripts, he treats Thai cooking as a language with its own set of rules and syntax. His unique blend of historical understanding and hands-on practice makes his teaching style a standout in Thailand’s culinary scene. Continue reading to delve into his unique approach.
Siamese Culinary Legends of the Rattanakosin period
By: Hanuman, Thaan Khun
In this series of short articles highlighting their lives and work, we salute and pay homage to the most prominent individuals who influenced and shaped the Siamese culinary arts bpaa ga sin (ปากะศิลป์) of the Rattanakosin Era.
King Chulalongkorn’s travels and culinary collections from Java
King Rama V made three trips to Java in 1871, 1896, and 1901, where local rulers and Dutch officials welcomed him warmly. As a result of these visits, Javanese food was introduced to the Siamese aristocracy’s awareness and taste. In this series of recipes and articles, we will trace the origins and recreate these dishes based on manuscripts and cookbooks written by several individuals who had a first-hand account of King Chulalongkorn’s travels and were known for their culinary skills.
The complete story of turtle curries in Siamese cuisine (เจาะลึกประวัติศาสตร์เรื่องแกงตะพาบน้ำ)
This masterclass examines the exalted position once held by turtle curry, and follows through – using turtle meat substitutes – to recreate the venerable charm of a dish that slowly aged into obscurity.
Faux turtle curry recipes are common in old Siamese food textbooks; similarly, the objective of this masterclass is not to advocate for the consumption of turtle meat but rather to resurrect this dish using substitutes, as generations of Siamese cooking masters have done in the past.
Introduction to Siamese Culinary Codes
Traditional Siamese cuisine can be challenging to decipher: the culinary codes are complex and ingenious, as well as resourceful. It uses a creative set of flavor layering tools that strengthen the flavor and amplify the umami through chemical synergy without neglecting the dishes’ aroma, color, and texture.
Siamese Chili Relishes – The Professional Chef’s Guide – น้ำพริก และ เครื่องจิ้ม
At the intersection of culinary culture and traditional lifestyles are Siamese chili relishes – probably the oldest type of Siamese food. In ancient times, relishes were essential to the diet, providing a flavorful accompaniment to rice, the staple food. Then – and today – relishes also are served alongside meats or vegetables, producing a tasty meal as well as promoting healthy nutrition. Chili relishes are an expression of ancestral Siamese culinary emotions, and the foundations of modern Thai cuisine.
In this complete companion to chili relishes, we embark on a journey to discover the origins, classifications and regional varieties of chili relishes. Along the way, we will learn about their ingredients, food pairing rules, and essential and practical preparation techniques.
This comprehensive Masterclass covers everything you need to know about preparing chili relishes creatively and authentically.
Thai Curries: The Professional Chef’s Guide – แกงไทย
This masterclass covers Thai curries’ origins, classifications, regional varieties, curry paste composition, ingredients, spices, and color adjustments, along with essential and practical cooking techniques, and the superb flavor layering practices that master chefs use in crafting Thai curries.
Thai Salads, The Professional Chef’s Guide เรื่องยำๆ
Modern-day Thai salads are often identified with a flamboyant appearance, and loud and often over-sweetened seasoning. In contrast, old-fashioned Siamese salads were gentle, soft and flavorful. In this immersive and uniquely designed masterclass, we decipher the intricacies of old-fashioned Siamese salads’ culinary codes, using Thaifoodmaster’s revolutionary visual approach to layering flavors.
The art of Siamese old-school menu design สํารับอาหารไทย
This masterclass explores the art of Siamese old-school menu design, as reflected in pre-WWII aristocratic Siamese manuscripts. The masterclass includes detailed reference materials with a large number of set menu ideas for everyday or special occasion meals, as well as a seasonal food calendar providing a year-round list of suggested ingredients based on their availability and optimal quality.
Introduction to Thai Clear Soups
The popularity of clear soups is gradually being eroded. Conversely, the most notable characteristics of fine clear soups – their simplicity, clarity and intense flavor – tend to paint them as boring in contrast to the thick, colorful and rich alternatives modern Thai cuisine knows to offer. Moreover, the name in Thai (gaaeng jeuut or dtohm jeuut) (ต้มจืด แกงจืด), translated into ‘mildly seasoned soup’, also can be read out of context as ‘uninteresting, tasteless and bland’
Laap (ลาบ), Saa (ส้า), Luu (หลู้), gaawy (ก้อย) – an Ethno Culinary Journey
Generally speaking, laap is made from minced meat, raw or cooked, to which – depending on the type of laap and the region in which it is being created – different ingredients and seasonings are added. Laap is prepared much like a salad, by mixing together all the ingredients, including minced meat, internal organs, other meat cuts, spice blends, seasonings and herbs. It is served accompanied by a diverse assortment of vegetables, young leaves and herbs. There are two main styles of laap – laap from Lanna, and laap from Isan. The Lanna version, known as laap muang (ลาบเมือง), features a rich blend of dry spices, resulting in a mildly spicy, pungent, salty and aromatic dish. Neither lime juice or ground roasted rice is used in laap muang. The seasoning blend for laap muang is called naam phrik laap (น้ำพริกลาบ), and contains sought-after spices that were originally imported to the region by trade caravans from India and China.
Khaao man sohm dtam and the first-ever recorded recipe for papaya salad (ข้าวมันส้มตำ)
History’s first-ever recorded recipe for papaya salad is recreated in this Masterclass, along with all the other dishes that were part of the old-fashioned samrub (set meal) called khaao man sohm dtam (ข้าวมันส้มตำ).
Would you be surprised if I told you that the three-flavored papaya salad is not an authentic Northeastern cuisine (Issan) dish but, rather, one that originated in the Central Plains of the Kingdom?
Furthermore, this dish was not eaten with sticky rice, but served as part of a full set meal called khaao man sohm dtam (ข้าวมันส้มตำ). The set included a spicy curry with coconut-enriched rice, a papaya salad, tamarind chili relish, crispy-sweet pork or beef threads, salted fish fried in egg batter, and other accompaniments.
This Masterclass describes the evolution of the dish and revives the first-ever documented recipe for khaao man sohm dtam, dated 1935, to its finest details, restoring its former glory.
Patterns – Decoding the Complexity of Siamese Curry Paste: A Multidimensional Exploration
In this groundbreaking masterclass, I invite you to join me on a transformative journey through the complex world of Siamese curry paste. We’ll go beyond the culinary surface to examine the elaborate layers of cultural, philosophical and even metaphysical influences that shape the art of curry paste making. Utilizing a four-tier analytical framework, we’ll explore the concept of ‘sub-pastes’, each contributing its own set of cultural, medicinal and philosophical elements to the overall paste. This masterclass is designed to be more than an educational experience; it is a comprehensive guide for anyone who is committed to unraveling the intricate patterns hidden within curry paste and understanding their broader significance in Siamese culture.
Aromatic Alchemy – The Art and Science of Pounded Curry Pastes
Creating a curry paste is a meticulous process that requires the right mindset, dedicated time, and some basic skills. While some authors dismiss the mortar and pestle as primitive tools, I hold a contrary belief. Although using a mortar and pestle requires effort, and it is unquestionably an ancient – almost primordial – method, curry pastes made with a mortar and pestle far surpass those produced with modern equipment.
Those seeking the flavors of bygone days know that there is no substitute for the old-fashioned manual pounding technique to truly unlock the essence of curry pastes. In this article, I explore the intricate aromatic and molecular transformations that occur through the stone-age art of pounding curry paste using a mortar and pestle.
This Masterclass is intended to give you, the modern Thai cook, the knowledge and tools to craft better curry pastes and the ability to have full control over flavor development in your curries, allowing you to create curries that are not only rounded, gentle and intense, but are mature and yet not overworked – and that therefore present an exquisitely complex taste.
Join me as I uncover the science behind the aromatic modifications and the intricate interactions that happen inside the mortar. I aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complex world of pounded pastes, from the release of oils and essences to the impact of moisture and the effect of heat, oxidation and the enzymatic reactions that bring forth the paste’s unique flavor identity.
Reflections on the Lifecycle of Heat: Mastering Vibrancy and Maturity in Green Curry (แกงเขียวหวาน)
There’s an intriguing paradox at the core of Thai green curry. In making a curry paste, the traditional method – pounding an array of aromatics with a mortar and pestle – is intended to create a cohesive, well-blended aromatic profile. Yet, the green curry, at its essence, embodies vibrancy and liveliness, a spirit of growth and renewal – a telling contrast to the mature complexity of Siamese curries made with rehydrated red chilies.
To address this contradiction and preserve the dynamism of freshness while introducing complexity, we delve into advanced flavor layering techniques. These techniques are key to crafting a multidimensional flavor profile that captures the essence of nature and freshness. Our masterclass explores these methods in detail, introducing the innovative concept of animating flavor to ensure a dynamic, complex taste experience.
This exploration into Thai green curry extends beyond the kitchen, intertwining culinary techniques with historical and cultural insights. We examine the evolution of green curry, as well as its diverse influences, including its connection to Muslim cuisine, and its symbolism in the Siamese culinary tradition.
Join us for a sophisticated and enlightening session that is more than just a guide to preparing green curry. This masterclass is an immersive experience into the historical, cultural and gastronomical context of the dish. It is a tribute to the multifaceted nature of Thai green curry, in which participants will engage in the story behind every spicy, aromatic bite.
Chili Choices in Curry – Crafting Flavor, Heat, and Aroma
The type of chilies – fresh, dried or rehydrated – and how they are processed into the curry paste have a significant influence on the dish’s flavor, color, aroma and heat profile. Fresh chilies inject an immediate, sharp spike of heat that rushes in with a piercing, punctuating intensity, a grassy aroma and fruity liveliness. Dried chilies, on the other hand, impart a subtle warmth alongside rich, earthy notes that gradually build up into a steady, lingering burn. The choice of the chili variety will also shape the curry’s flavor. Through an informed selection and processing of chilies, cooks can navigate between mild and spicy, fruity and earthy, and bright and mellow flavors, creating a complex and nuanced heart for their curries.
A resurgence of creative Thai cuisine
By: Chef Jason Bailey, Paste at Gaysorn
Of late there has been a resurgence of Thai Cuisine naturally located within Thailand. Paste Restaurant located in Bangkok has a predominately Thai clientele. This is due to a few factors but largely due to their innate understanding of the central, internal frame work of Thai Cuisine. This in turn leads to an appreciation of the different versions of refined Thai Cuisine.
Making Fermented Rice Flour Noodles (การทำเส้นขนมจีน ; sen khanohm jeen)
Khanohm jeen (ขนมจีน) are noodles made from rice starch. Their strands are long, round, thin and elastic, with a beautiful white sheen and a pleasant chewy texture.
It is unclear exactly when khanohm jeen production arrived in Thailand; however, it is likely that production was already active during the Ayutthaya period (1351-1767), in communities along the Khanohm Jeen canal, a main water artery in Ayutthaya’s Senna district (คลองขนมจีน อ.เสนา จ.พระนครศรีอยุธยา).
Posts with Thai Culinary, Historical and Cultural References: