If you know your Jackie Chan from your Jet Li, the five elements of Shaolin are an intricate part of King-Fu philosophy and unrivalled badassery. However, did you also know there are five elements of Thai food? Probably not! Although Thai cuisine might not freeze one of your pressure points before going for the vital organs, if you are untrained in Thai food flavours, you could most certainly be disarmed by the spiciness hidden in, for example, tom yum goong and floored by the local delicacies. Lucky for you that you are under the tutelage of a 9th Dan expert and Grandmaster in Thai food elements. Enjoy the journey through Thai sweets, Desserts and curries.
Thai Noodles and Rice Dishes – Yellow Belt Discipline in Thai Food
Just by having a mouth and digestive system and you know what Thai food is means you already have your white belt, which is just holding up your pants. To pass the discipline to get your yellow belt, you must consume at least one Thai noodle and a rice dish in Thailand. To eat it is a simple as it gets, and even those of you who struggle with spicy food should be able to complete this task with the minimum of fuss!
We all know fried rice dishes, and in Thailand, it is called Khao Pad (rice fried) and is available with all manner of proteins that include chicken, pork, prawn, shrimp, crab or fish. The most famous noodle dish in Thailand is Pad Thai, which is stir-fried rice noodles with chicken in a tangy sauce. There is all manner of noodle types such as flat-noodles, yellow noodles (Chinese style), glass noodles (Vermicelli) and regular rice noodles. Even a 5-year old could consume these rice and noodle dishes daily so that should be quite an easy way to attain your yellow belt.
Thai Seafood Dishes – Green Belt Discipline in Thai Food
If you live near the sea, then tackling this green belt discipline might be more comfortable than someone who has to drive hours to see the sea! Being from the middle of the UK, seafood has always freaked me out. Shellfish such as mussels, cockles and jellied eels ever made me wretch. If you are holidaying in a beachside destination in Thailand such as Phuket, Koh Samui or Pattaya, the Thai seafood restaurants and dishes need to be sampled, especially if you want to gain your green belt.
Thai seafood and fish dishes such as fried or steamed snapper or grouper with garlic and pepper, plum sauce or sweet and sour sauce is an excellent introduction to Thai seafood. If you want to impress the Master with your otherworldly abilities, try out some of the tasty prawns, shrimp, lobster or shellfish dishes. To pass your green belt discipline, you must try out the famous Thai signature dish of Tom Yam Goong, which breaks down in translation as spicy shrimp and seafood soup. It is a bit spicy, but it is also delicious. You need to sacrifice to learn these five elements, so don’t wimp out or Master will be disappointed and send you to the Siberian salt mines for re-indoctrination!
Thai Sweets/Desserts (Khanom) – Brown Belt Discipline in Thai Cuisine
After trying Thai seafood for the first time, Master would like to introduce you to one of the unique elements of Thai cuisine – Thai sweets and desserts, known locally as Khanom. Consuming proteins, seafood, and rice might be all well and good, but if you do not have a sweet tooth, how can you have total command of the Thai food elements? You can’t! You can find a vast array of Thai desserts in most markets, as they are very popular with locals and tourists alike.
Wrap up the banana leaves, which is the easiest way to spot them on the market. Most of these sweets are using sweet syrups, coconut creams, tropical fruits and the accompanying sweet sticky rice. One of the most popular is mango with sticky rice and milk. Some of the most famous are Khao Tum Mud (banana leaf sticky rice), Khanom Gluay (banana treat), Kaho Mak (fermented rice pudding), and Khao Lam (sticky rice in bamboo). You need to sample 3 or more of these Thai desserts to claim your brown belt in Thai cuisine.
Thai Curries – Black Belt Discipline in Thai Cuisine
Consuming rice and noodle dishes, chomping down seafood specialities and sampling Thai desserts is tough enough for the Thai cuisine first-timer. But we are now getting to the business end of the disciplines. You can never claim you are a Thai food expert or pugilist specialist if you cannot master Thai curries. Gaining your black belt in Thai cuisine can be an arduous task, and by consuming these 3 Thai curries below, you will be on your way to almost levitation-level of Thai food consumption and understanding.
Here are the five curries you need to sample to get your black belt:
- Thai Green Curry – Known as Kaeng Khiao Wan in Thai, a Green Curry is a standard-bearer for Thai curries. It is the Chicken Korma of the Thai curry world and a starting point for many people using chicken, green curry paste, coconut milk, palm sugar, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and Thai Basil.
- Massaman Curry – A Massaman curry is a little spicier than Green Curry. It is from the more Muslim-dominated areas of southern Thailand, so is usually made with chicken, beef or prawns. This curry is one that is more like an Indian curry, and if you are a curry-lover, this one might be the most delicious of all. The main ingredients are potatoes, onions, fish sauce or salt, tamarind paste, sugar, coconut milk and peanuts.
- Thai Red Curry – This hot and spicy curry is your last test on your way to becoming a black belt in Thai cuisine. Thai red curry consists of a spicy red curry paste with any meat or seafood with coconut milk. If your taste buds can pass this tasty test and enjoy the spicy bowl of tom yum goong, you are almost a Grandmaster.
Thai Delicacies – 9th Dan Black Belt Discipline to become a Grandmaster in Thai Food
Master is very proud of the progress you have made fighting your way through these disciplines to attempt to become a 9th Dan Grandmaster in Thai food. You have already mastered rice and noodle dishes, tom yum goong, seafood, desserts, and the immense difficulty level of Thai curries. However, a Master never teaches his pupil everything!
The final element of Thai cuisine is not anything to do with spicy or sweet but is much more of a grotesque and gut-wrenching finale. Your final task is to consume a full bag/portion of fried insects. Don’t play the fool with me Grasshopper (excuse the pun). You have seen the market stalls with all those seemingly inedible insectile delights that are being deep-fried for consumption. That’s right, to become a true Grandmaster of Thai food to claim your 9th Dan blackbelt, you must consume one full portion of cockroaches, a part of insect lava and a piece of locusts without projectile vomiting.
Now leave our dojo to spread the world of Thai food across the planet to gain more disciples on your quest for immortality as you completed your training.
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