From sweet Thai Iced Tea with chewy boba to spicy, savory chicken curry (who knew basil and carrots could go together so well?), we can all agree that Thai food is amazing. But while most entrees usually don’t cost over ten bucks a piece, the frequent trips to Thai Express may leave a shocking toll on your credit card bill. But here’s the good news: most Thai dishes use such simple, fresh ingredients that you can make tons of things on your own. As long as you have access to a working kitchen (and possibly a few friends to share your amazing creations with), you can make your own satay in no time. Here are our top DIY Thai dishes that nearly anyone can make.
Things You’ll Need For Most Dishes
Just, generally speaking, if you stock up on the following ingredients, you should have minimal trips to the grocery store.
- Red Curry Paste (usually comes in a jar)
- Coconut Milk
- Protein- Chicken Breast, Shrimp (peeled and deveined), flank steak
- Bell Peppers (preferably red)
- Pad Thai Noodles
- Fish Sauce
- Chili Powder, Salt, Pepper
- Oil or Butter for frying
And now, without further ado, let’s get cooking!
With their unique texture and versatility, shrimp is a staple in Thai cuisine. Thai shrimp dishes bring out the richness of shrimp with mellow, nutty notes such as coconut and aromatic notes like garlic. This recipe from Damn Delicious is inexpensive, easy, and will leave the whole kitchen smelling amazing. Plus…since you’re in control of how spicy or sweet you want the dish, it’s totally customizable to you! How many times have you asked for a “5” on the spice level at a Thai restaurant and gotten a “100” instead? Now you can taste it as you go along.
This particular recipe makes for six servings- so you can come home to a warm bowl for several nights in a row after your night classes. The key to keeping it tasting fresh? Just chop up some cilantro and put it in your soup. Delicious!
Chicken Pad Thai
This is probably the first Thai dish you ever ate…you were out with some friends, had absolutely no idea what to order, but when your turn came up, you panicked and ordered the Pad Thai. Luckily for you, it was amazing, and even the leftovers were just as good as you binged Friends. Well, regardless of whether or not you were introduced to the wonderful world of Thai Food with this dish, you can make it just as well (or better) at home. This recipe includes mung beans, mushrooms and four types of protein (eggs, chicken, shrimp, and cashews) so you’ll definitely find yourself full after a sitting (just save room for boba!). Needless to say, you could totally sub out any of the proteins for whatever you’d like (you could even make a vegetarian version with cashews only). That’s the beauty of Thai cooking- everything goes with everything!
Coconut Curry Noodle Soup
If we told you that we had a recipe for curry noodle soup that only took fifteen minutes to make, would you call us crazy? This quick but flavorful dish can be made in one pot in a quarter of an hour and is so much better tasting (and better for you) than yet another pack of instant ramen. The thin rice vermicelli noodles are super scoop-able and pair nicely with the bit of lime juice and creamy coconut milk.
You’re free to use either chicken thighs or breasts for this one (breasts are easier to cut but thighs are a bit tastier) and of course, pack on the red chilis, cilantro, and green scallions to garnish. Want to blow your family away the next time you come home? Make a double or triple batch of this recipe and set up a buffet where everyone can put their own garnishes on a bowl. If that’s not enough to get their mouths watering, we don’t know what is!
Thai Beef Skewers
We’ve already gone over a couple of spicier dishes, so for this one, we’re going to showcase a milder dish that’s more palatable for beginners (ie, your younger brother or vanilla-loving friend). For these skirt steak beef satay skewers, you can opt for less chili paste or just forgo it altogether. This recipe involves marinating tender cuts of skirt steak (flank steak) for 30 minutes (or overnight) in lemon juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, and ginger. The strips are then placed on wooden skewers and grilled (or broiled). These tasty skewers make a great, filling snack or a crowd-pleasing appetizer. The slight tanginess of the marinade goes wonderfully with the coolness of the peanut sauce. You can even serve it to your grandparents- this recipe includes a helpful chart for reducing sodium. Who said delicious couldn’t be heart-healthy?
Thai Boba Tea
All of these savory dishes have us wanting something sweet- and Thai iced tea with boba is the perfect thing. Most of us would rather not pay up the five bucks to treat ourselves (or go around town looking for a boba place), and fortunately, we don’t have to! We’ve found a great Thai tea recipe that includes black tea, sugar, simple syrup, and milk, and of course, boba pearls. Just make the tea (just a personal opinion: the stronger the brew, the better) and add as much boba as you like.
PSA about boba: boba seems like a giant, complicated thing that no one can do on their own. But fear not! All you need to make your own boba is a bag of uncooked black tapioca pearls and tapioca flour (both can be found on Amazon) and to boil them per the bag’s directions. While this part’s pretty easy, it’s also time-consuming, so make sure to make a batch of boba in advance before sharing a Thai iced tea with your roommate.
Which DIY Thai Dish are you going to try? Tell us in the comments below!
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Anna Livia is a Junior Communications student at John Paul The Great Catholic University. Her hobbies include reading how-to guides on being an adult, exploring the many pockets around North Country (San Diego) and attempting whatever new pasta recipes appear on Pinterest. She hails form Los Angeles but aspires to live in Houston one day for a career in Magazine Editing (not to mention the low housing prices). Her perfect afternoon would include cats of any kind, hot cider, and Malcolm In The Middle.