Soup plays a big part in the Thai cuisine in which I would categorize into three different ways the base or stock is used.
The first is a clear stock and Mee Sua is a good example. You create that good base using chicken bones or pork bones. This clear stock is known as Gaeng Jeud in Thai which can literary be translated to mean "Bland Liquid". To this clear broth, you can then add other ingredients like prawns, calamari, mince pork, fungus, cellophane noodles, waterlily flowers etc ..
It is a plain broth used to complement spicy Thai food. This is supposedly to cleanse your palate in between mouthful of spicy dishes served at dinner time. However, unlike what you hear, let me tell you that Gaeng Jeud is anything but plain.
Then we have the spicy based stock like Tom Yum or Oxtail. This broth is usually clear and made tasty using prawn heads, fish heads or even fish bones. Herbs like chilies, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and coriander are very often used. Because of the distinct taste with the 4"s" blending, this is one dish that lingers on in your memory and that is why many people immediately associate Tom Yum to be one of Thailand's finest dish - local or internationally.
Finally, we have the slightly thicker and creamier curry based type of soup. The classic example is the Tom Kha which has the coconut milk in the base stock. This is then infused with the likes of galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, limes and chilies. The coconut milk is what makes this stock rich and tasting creamy and delicious.
A typical Thai dinner usually comprise of a seafood dish, a meat dish, a stir fry vegetable dish and a soup dish accompanied by a variety of chili sauces and/or chili relish. This forms the main part of their textural satisfaction in a meal and is a part of the whole meal that the Thais enjoy every night. What stock base is used depends on the mood of the cook and the core dishes served. However, note that all three types of stock base will NOT be served at the same time --- it is always either --- or ----
Want to enjoy some of the Thailand's finest broths? Click below to find out step by step how to make it:
1. Mee Sua
3. Tom Kha Gai
4. Tom Yum Goong