This topic is about basic sauce that we use often in Thai food.You should always have it in your pantry for modern Thai cooking. I will start with
1.Fish sauce – “Num pra”. Num-Pra is the heart of real Thai food.It makes Thai food different from another Asian food (in my opinion). You can find it in any kitchen in Thailand. Num pra is made from little fish fermented with salt for a long time, then we use the juice of it. I know this sounds stinky (actually it is), but it makes Thai food taste like real Thai food. Since I live in the USA, sometimes people cannot stand that smell. I have to use soy sauce instead and it does not taste the same but close (I still high recommend fish sauce if you want to taste real Thai food).Almost every Thai restaurant in the USA uses fish sauce. They do not put it on too much, so you cannot smell it, but if they don’t put in fish sauce that means your not eating real Thai food.
2.Soy sauce; soy sauce actually comes from china a long time ago. In Thailand we have a lot of kinds that we use for different kinds of food like
oRegular soy sauce-- “See-Ew”: It’s just like the soy sauce you find in the USA made from
fermented soy with salt, it makes the food taste salty. It is used in a lot of Thai food like
fried rice, stir fried and used as a marinade. Some time I use it instead fish sauce
oLight soy sauce or white soy sauce –“See-Ew-Khaw”: It tastes less salty then Japanese light soy sauce (light soy sauce in the USA) and milder than regular soy sauce.Some of them have a dry shitake mushroom flavor. Used mostly in a non-spicy soup and vegetarian food.Also can be used for seasoning food after cooking Ex. rice soup “Joke”.
oSweet soy sauce –“See-Ew-Dum”: This sauce is darker and thicker than regular soy sauce and has a sweet taste. Mostly used for making a dark color in noodles like Pad-see-ew and Dry thai noodle with meatball. Also used in some strews.
oSoy bean paste –“Tao-Jew” : This sauce is mostly like paste and you still can see soy bean in it.In Chinese foods sometimes it is called black sauce. It tastes salty. Mostly uses in stir fried and some sauce to dip.
3.Oyster sauce – “Sauce-Hoi-Nang-Rom” : This sauce is made from oysters (to be honest with you I don’t know how). It’s a really thick taste with a little bit sweet and salty. Mostly used in stir fried.
4.Sriraja sauce -- “Sauce-Prick-Sriraja” : This sauce is Thai chili sauce made from chili, garlic, vinegar and sugar.The name Siracha comes from Siracha city (close from my family city) who discovered the recipe and became famous around the world. Most use for dipping fried food.
That’s all the basic sauce you should have in your kitchen to make Thai food.