How to achieve the balance of flavors in Thai and Khmer dishes?

To master Thai and Khmer cuisines, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the most commonly used ingredients to adjust the seasoning of recipes. By adding these ingredients sparingly and tasting the dish after each addition, you will learn to recognize the flavor balance point you are aiming for. This technique will enable you to create delicious and perfectly seasoned dishes while discovering the subtleties of these unique and flavor-rich cuisines.

    1. Palm sugar*: Sugar plays a crucial role in Thai and Khmer cuisine, balancing the salty and spicy flavors of dishes, especially in sauces and marinades. Substitutes such as white sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup can also impart a subtle and complex sweetness to the cooked dish.
    2. Fish sauce*: Fish sauce, a fermented sauce made from fish, is a staple ingredient in Thai and Khmer cuisine. It adds Umami flavor to dishes and can serve as a salt substitute in certain recipes. If needed, salt can be used as a substitute.
    3. Lime juice: Lime juice contributes a tangy and refreshing flavor to Thai and Khmer dishes. It is commonly used in vinaigrette, marinades, and for adjusting the seasoning of dishes like tom yum soup, fried rice, or curry.
    4. Chili peppers: Chili peppers provide heat and flavor to Thai and Khmer dishes. They can be used fresh or dried, whole or chopped, depending on the recipe. While chili peppers are often used, they are optional in many recipes and not essential for the success of a dish.
Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are easily found in Asian grocery stores such as Kim Phat , Kim Hour and others.

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