Easy Thai (and Thai inspired) recipes you can make at home from pad Thai and tom kha soup to Thai beef salad, summer rolls, and more.
How to set your kitchen up for easy everyday Thai recipes
If you think making Thai food is out of your league, I’m here to tell you it’s totally doable. You just need a few essentials easily found in your grocery store and a collection of easy Thai recipes to get you started. I make a point of keeping all my Thai condiments in one section of my fridge door so I can grab them when the urge strikes. If you pick up a few fresh items on the way home from work, you can have authentic Thai any night of the week!
SPICES AND CONDIMENTS for Thai recipes
(These will keep in the refrigerator for at least a year) If you can’t get to a Thai market, look for the brand Thai Kitchen, which sells all of the condiments below. They’ll all be together in your larger supermarkets.
- Thai curry paste ~ buy both the red and green varieties, they come in small jars.
- chili paste ~ this is a hot red chili paste and there are many varieties.
- tamarind paste ~ a thick, sour fruit paste
- lemongrass paste ~ this is a substitute for fresh lemongrass, which can be hard to find.
- fish sauce ~ an umami rich sauce made from fermented fish that is quintessential Thai. If you’re vegetarian, substitute Tamari soy sauce.
- soy sauce ~ I like Tamari brand, which happens to be gluten free.
- sweet chili sauce ~ i make this myself, it’s better than any bottled stuff.
- rice vinegar ~ lighter and less sharp than regular vinegar, you’ll find yourself reaching for it all the time.
SPICES & PANTRY STAPLES for Thai cooking
- coconut milk ~ canned and unsweetened. I stockpile it.
- rice noodles ~ these come dried in cellophane packages, in many varieties. You’ll use them in noodle bowls and soups.
- peanuts, raw or roasted ~ cashews are nice to have around, too.
- peanut butter ~ I prefer Jiff, and you’ll use it as the base for sauces and dressings.
- jasmine rice ~ this rice is beautifully aromatic and I use it as my all-around rice, even when I’m not cooking Thai.
- tofu ~ for vegetarian Thai recipes.
FRESH HERBS & PRODUCE for authentic Thai flavors
The stuff you might have to make a special trip for, but worth it!
- fresh limes
- basil (Thai basil is most authentic, but regular will do)
- hot peppers (Thai chili peppers are small and hot, substitute serrano or cayenne which are more easily available)
This soup is characterized by simple yet strong flavors and a light, refreshing consistency. Coconut milk was first introduced to Thailand by Indian traders, and it quickly became a staple ingredient in Thai cuisine, I love the light creamy consistency it brings to this soup.
If you’re used to picking up your salads in plastic bags at the supermarket there’s something incredibly exotic about a recipe like this. Thai salads are typically made with a combination of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty flavors, which is a common flavor profile in Thai cuisine overall and very different from what we in the West expect in our salads.
This recipe is not by any means authentic, but the wonderful summer leaning Thai flavors are there. We’re taking inspiration from Thai rice noodle salads, but using what we’ve got in the pantry.
Everybody’s favorite Thai peanut sauce couldn’t be easier to whip up at home. Use it for dips and dressings all summer long.
I can pretty much guarantee that Thai mango salad will be one of the more unusual dishes to come out of your kitchen this summer, and also one of the most delicious. The colors are gorgeous, the textures range from crunchy veggies and toasted cashews to silky mango, and the flavors will knock your socks off, promise.
Summer rolls are similar to spring rolls, but they are not fried and typically contain fresh vegetables, herbs, and rice noodles. They’re also known as “fresh spring rolls” or “salad rolls.” Summer rolls are a naturally gluten free meal or snack that’s incredibly refreshing.
This irresistible sweet/hot sauce is the universal Thai dipping sauce, but it also doubles as a glaze, a stir fry sauce, and a marinade!
Nutty toasted cashews, golden raisins, warm spices, fresh pineapple, and colorful veggies all come together in a dish that is sure to brighten up a tired meal plan. You can add chicken or shrimp if you like.
This gluten free noodle bowl is made with rice noodles, and is just as delicious hot as it is cold from the fridge. Pad Thai is a beloved dish in Thailand and is a great example of classic Thai food.
Another example of how Thai food is some of the most refreshing on the planet ~ my pad Thai/steak salad mash-up is pure delicious genius on a hot night.
A 30 minute Thai inspired curry bowl recipe that doesn’t disappoint with plenty of cilantro, lime, and ginger to balance out that buttery sweet salmon. While salmon may not be a traditional ingredient in Thai cuisine, it’s become increasingly popular in modern Thai cooking
The very first time I had this salad in a Thai restaurant I knew I had to recreate this wonderful dish with with ribbons of rare steak, tons of fresh herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro, feathery slices of red onion, crunchy cukes, hot peppers, and a tangy garlic ginger dressing ~ and I did!
This is an epic chicken salad, Thai style! It doesn’t miss a beat, down to that peanut dressing we all crave.
How to Make Coconut Rice “khao man gai”
Why make plain rice when you can make coconut rice? This moist fragrant rice is just as easy to make, and adds so much to curries and stir fries.
The MOST irresistible peanut sauce-drenched chicken threaded on skewers and layered into the summer dinner bowl of your dreams! This modern take on a classic Thai street food is one of my favorite meals.
Rainbow Summer Rolls
- 10 9-inch rice paper spring roll wrappers, find them here
- 3 rainbow carrots of assorted colors
- 1 orange carrot
- 1 watermelon radish
- 1/2 jicama
- 2 Persian cucumbers
- 1 1/2 cups sprouts, any type
- handful cilantro or basil leaves
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- juice of 1-2 limes
- Peel and cut your carrots, radish, jicama, and cucumbers into very thin matchsticks, about 5 inches long, or as close as you can get to that. Don’t stress too much about the length. Keep them under a wet kitchen towel so they won’t dry out as you work. If you plan to chop your veggies ahead of time, make sure they are well wrapped and kept damp.
- Pour a little cool water into a large pie plate or other dish that is large enough to fit the spring roll wrappers. Work one at a time and immerse a wrapper into the water for about 15 seconds, just until it starts to soften.
- Lay the wrapper on a flat surface and arrange a few of the cilantro or basil leaves, face down, onto the center of the wrap. Pile the cut veggies on top of the herbs. Bring the edge of the wrap up and over the pile of veggies, folding in each side as you go, just like you would wrap a burrito or flatbread sandwich wrap. Slice in half with a very sharp knife before serving. Place the rolls under a damp paper towel while you make the others, to keep them moist.
- To make the sauce whisk the coconut milk together with the lime juice, adding the lime juice to your taste. If you are making it ahead, the coconut milk will solidify in the refrigerator, so bring it to room temperature before serving.
- Experiment with different types of sauces, or serve a selection for people to sample.
- Summer rolls can be filled with lots of different kinds of things, including fruit! Consider cutting matchstick pieces of apple, pear, or mango, and serving with a sweetened sauce for a snack or dessert roll. The rice paper wrapper has no flavor of its own, so it can go sweet or savory.
- Try my Chicken Salad Summer Rolls for something completely different!