Close your eyes. Picture a long white beach curling around the bay. Feel the hot, humid air. Now imagine you can smell bright green limes being squeezed and a hint of fresh ginger sizzling in a deliciously fresh lemongrass paste.
Keen for some of that? Of course you are. So keep your spices, chillies and pickles close by instead of storing them for next year’s winter because you’re going to want to play around with some Thai-inspired flavours this summer as the days heat up.
Short of jumping on a plane for a cooking class, I went for a quick demo given by the man behind Fetty’s Street Food. Authentic flavours and the right combinations of ingredients make all the difference when it comes to recreating Thai food back here at home.
So what do you need to know to get started?
Meals are a combination of sour (zest, slices and juice from limes and tamarinds), sweet (sprinklings of palm sugar, diced onions and other sweet veg), salty (a dash or two of fish sauce or oyster sauce), bitter (from beautiful grapefruits, pomelos and pickled limes), and bite (measured amounts of chilli and ginger).
Once you have your combos sorted, the easiest place to start is with cooked rice and chicken chucked into a hot pan along with your choice of paste and flavour combinations. And don’t forget to add handfuls of peanuts or cashews for texture, and even a little coriander. Too yummy!
Of course it takes a little practice to get the food looking and tasting just right, but the ingredients are easy to get your hands on. And they’re familiar enough that you don’t have to walk into a shop and ask, firstly, where to find them and secondly, what they actually look like! So try a real deal dish just to get an idea of what you’re aiming for, and then get cracking on something simple like a chicken salad to serve after a day spent on the beach.
KAUAI also has a tasty Thai chicken wrap, salad or sandwich which you can sink your teeth into, and if you live in the Mother City, check out Fetty’s Street Food.