Mumbai: It’s exotic, refreshing and scrumptious! From the creamy goodness of coconut milk to the freshness of herbs, Thai food is an ideal treat for people who can appreciate the viridity and rawness of natural ingredients.
The sumptuousness of Thai cuisine is based on the fusion of different flavours. The blend of fiery curry paste and cooling coconut milk, stir fried noodles with crunchy nuts, squid salad with tangy and citric sauce, this food is the perfect example of opposites attract.
“Thai food defines freshness and taste of nature. Ingredients like coconut, galangal, Thai ginger, shallots, chilies, kaffir lime, and leaves, cilantro roots and shrimp paste, fish sauce are some of the main ingredients that brings out the best, even in the most simple dish,” said Mr. Manav Koul, Executive Chef, Sofitel Mumbai BKC.
But these big, bold flavours are often accompanied with lots of fats and carbohydrates.
The coconut milk is a key ingredient in many dishes and a mere half-cup of it contains over 200 calories. On the other hand the fish sauce, the curry paste are high on sodium.
However, there are always some healthy choices that one can make when opting for Thai cuisine. Many ingredients used in preparing Thai dishes have a lot of health benefits...it's all about making the right pick.
“Thai cuisine uses a lot of ingredients that have a lot of health benefits. For example, Galangal assists in digestion and improves blood circulation. Cilantro helps to alleviate bacterial and fungal infections. Chilies help maintain consistent glucose and insulin levels,” said Mr. Manav Koul.
Here are some healthy and mouthwatering dishes that you should try out the next time you plan to binge on some Thai cuisine.
- Som Tam Salad (Raw papaya salad):
This is Thailand’s most famous green papaya salad. The fresh ingredient that’s goes into making this salad often includes: fresh shredded green papaya, tomatoes, chopped garlic, chillies, peanuts, string beans.
This papaya-based salad has sweet and sour lime juice dressing. However you can always customize it according to your taste and liking.
- Gai Yang Som Tam (Thai style grilled chicken):
In Thailand, one will find Gay Yang grilled chicken all over the place. However, you don’t really need to travel all the way to the land of white elephant to savour this dish, as it is easily available in most of the Pan-Asian restaurants in India.
This Thai-style grilled chicken is coated in a marinade flavored with cilantro, white pepper, and is one of the tastiest things you'll ever pull off of the grill.
- Lab Kal (Spicy ground chicken salad):
Full of wonderful flavour and texture, Lab Kai is a luscious treat. Made up of fresh herbs, cilantro roots, boneless, skinless chicken with no oil, this low-fat dish is worth a try.
It is spicy, citric and has crunchiness of onion that takes the salad to just another level.
- Yum Pla Muck (Spicy squid salad):
Although delicious when eaten right away, this salad tastes even better when chilled for a while before serving it. This light refreshing seafood salad is made up of squid, fresh lemon juice, chilies, red onion, fish sauce, finely sliced tomatoes and Thai basil. With perfect combination of various ingredients, this salad offers fresh and delicate flavours in a wholesome package.
“I am not a squid fan, but trust me I never thought it could take so wonderful,” says Neha Pandit at Thai Food Festival held at Sofitel BKC, Mumbai.