Food For Thought...
A question I get quite often from HTK fans is: “Pai, I had [this Thai dish] at [this Thai restaurant], and it was delicious, do you have a recipe for it?" Sometimes I can say, "Yes! Here it is!" and both you and I walk away happy. But other times, my answer is, "Sorry, I don't actually know what that dish is...[insert awkward, guilty silence here]."
I'm bringing it up in this newsletter because it highlights an important point about Thai cooking.
Typically, when I am asked this type of question, the person has already done some Googling on it, but with no good results. So then, the question comes to me. So why is it that sometimes I can't do any better than Google?
Implicit in this question is the assumption that because the dish is being served in “an authentic Thai restaurant," perhaps even in Thailand, it would be an existing, traditional dish that most Thai people would know about—a dish with a name, a dish I would see a photo of and go, "oh yes, I know what that is."
But in fact, most Thai restaurants, either in or outside of Thailand, don't serve only traditional dishes. They also add their own unique creations on the menu (like I do in some of my videos).
Having said that, your dish might also be an existing, traditional dish that I simply don't know about! Thai cuisine is SOOOO vast with countless variations and region-specific dishes, that I haven't even come close to knowing them all.
So the important point I was referring to is that Thai cuisine isn't a finite collection of traditional dishes, but an ever-evolving cuisine with new dishes and techniques being created everyday by people like you and me, and every traditional recipe of today was once new and different.
And what I really was trying to tell you is that you do have the creative license to try out new things in the kitchen, just like all those Thai restaurants out there. And when you do, don't forget to share your results with me!