It is not a secret that Thai cuisine is extremely spicy- seems that all types of pepper, chilly, garlic and so on only build it! Really, this cuisine is rather a hard trial for a beginner and quite a pleasure for a gourmet.
There are so many types of chili pepper in Thailand. Variations of curry pastes are surprisingly numerous, but, speaking roughly, Thai recipes can be water-based and coconut milk-based.
Therefore, practically all Thai recipes name fruit, coconut milk, rice, seasonings and chili as the main ingredients.
Rice serves as the basic or side dish in many Thai recipes to make the fiery taste of the meals softer and in many cases, even if the rice is not mentioned in Thai recipes, it can be a vital part of the dish.
A characteristic of Thai cuisine is the combination of five main flavors- sweet, sour, salty, bitter and fiery. It is really a difficulty for a beginner to define the result of any Thai recipes will it be sour or sweet, salty or bitter? In any case, this is the Thai cuisine and sometimes to cook a common meal you can find about forty different seasonings, written in Thai recipes as main ingredients.
Coconut milk replaces common diary, and with a great advantage: coconut milk is extremely low-fat, that is why Thai recipes which use this milk are so much popular among vegetarians.
Instructions how to make curry is a great part of Thai recipes, and not surprisingly - curry is a popular and favorite meal not only in Thailand, but in Asia as well. On the contrary, to Indian curry, Thai recipes offer quicker and easier way of Thai cooking. It is interesting to know, that though chili appeared in Thai recipes about the 11th century, it acquired such popularity only in the 16th cent. So you see, it is impossible to find any of Thai recipes without chili, which is the basic part of any curry. So, why not to cook this spicy meal?
For example, to make a yellow curry you should have some fresh vegetables: mushrooms, asparagus, onions, zucchini and what ever else -- depending on your fantasy (this is an absolute advantage of Thai recipes- that they allow a great space for improvisation). 2 potatoes, peeled and cut in pieces, pre-cooked, 1-2 carrots, cut in bite-size pieces, pre-cooked, frozen peas, vegetable oil, red curry paste, usual coconut milk, fish sauce, dash salt, some sugar, yellow curry powder, water and bay leaf.
The process described in Thai recipes book, is as follows: pre-cook potatoes and carrots, but don't cook them too done, since they will simmer with the main dish later. Wash and cut fresh vegetables into bite-size pieces. In a heavy saucepan on medium heat, heat the vegetable oil, red curry paste, and about one third of the coconut milk. Heat it all for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring until it forms a thin gravy. Then add the fish sauce, sugar, salt, and rest of the coconut milk, and mix well. Stir in the curry powder, potatoes, carrots, and water/stock. If desired, add 1/s bay leaf. Let your curry simmer just a minute or two.
Add the fresh vegetables and the frozen peas, and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes more, until the fresh veggies are just done. Serve it with jasmine or common rice.