Introduction to Thai Food and Medications

The food recipes I provide here are more or less authentic. By that I mean that mine have more meat, vegetables and where required, more lime. There will be less rice or noodles. However I do my best to copy the seasonings in use at the street vendor food stalls.

Various herbal remedies are also in use for common ailments and I will provide those as I become aware of them.

ข้าว kâow Rice

There are many ways to cook rice but as of now almost everyone uses an electric rice cooker. If you buy one new you will have instructions that tell you the ratio of water to rice on a volume basis. If you don't have instructions you will need to experiment. Do not bother googling this, any given water to rice ratio you read about works only for a particular quantity of rice in some particular cooker.

The actual cooking time until the cooker switches off is the only thing that actually matters. You need to cook polished rice for 10 to 12 minutes and brown rice (ข้าวกล้อง) 30 to 40 minutes according to taste.

In the days when I cooked my own rice I would store the uncooked rice in my refrigerator. I did this to stop the rice moth germination. I have no idea whether the chill killed the eggs or just stopped them hatching. But you have the choice of insect free rice, the products sold in supermarkets, or insecticide free, the rice sold in the Thai produce markets. You cannot have both in one product!

ข้าวกล้อง kâow Brown Rice

The normal translation of unmilled or unpolished rice here is "brown rice", but this brown rice comes coloured red, pink, brown, off white and a very dark blue that looks black. Mixed colours are common too, a half and half red with off white is usually available at any market.

With out doubt I had come to prefer the taste of brown rice to that of the milled variety. Moreover there is no doubt that brown rice has a greater vitamin, fibre and fatty acid content than milled rice. But it also has a far greater concentration of arsenic; the plant that grows it is a glutton for the stuff.

There are those who are now preaching against the use of any whole grain cereal at all. While acknowledging the benefits of the vitamins and fibre in the bran they say that the toxic effects of lignin in the bran outweigh the benefits. If as we now understand, all life forms have no genetic purpose except to re-produce, then the fact that cereal grains are toxic to their predators seems logical. Likewise, the benefits conferred to apple eaters by eating such a fruit make sense too.

ข้าวสวย kâowsŭwai Cooked White Rice

Picture of a bag of cooked rice

I decided to limit my carbs somewhat so I no longer bother cooking rice. Because of health concerns about brown rice, such rice as I do eat, I simply buy pre-cooked from the market. The photo shows a 10 ฿ bag of it. This bag would suit two normal adults but I split it fours ways so that I eat less of it.

มะเขือเทศ mákŏetêet Tomato

And in Northern Thai มะเขือส้ม mákŏesôm.

The tomatoes at my local market have definitely not been sprayed with pesticide. That's the good news. The bad is that you will need to buy more than you plan on using because of the need to discard the insect damaged parts of the fruit. There is a fruit fly that maggots the odd item and often you will discard that entire fruit.

A friend of mine who buys mostly from the supermarkets where he lives remarked about how cheap my market was. I suggested that he may have been getting non insect infested fruit but he said that it was not so; just as bad as mine but way more expensive.

But don't let me put you off; with the odd blemish cut away the fruit is just fine for eating as a salad vegetable or for making soup.