You can cook Thai food in any kitchen since it requires minimal amount of equipment. For this course, we will use modern equipment that is readily available in most Western kitchens. The following equipment is worth having in your kitchen if you don’t already have it, since it will make your cooking much more efficient. Most of this inexpensive equipment is readily available in Asian grocery stores and department stores:
Wok – used for stir-frying, deep-frying, and steaming. Woks with thick carbon steel work and last longer than thin stainless or aluminum. A flat-bottom work is preferable since you can place it directly on the stove instead of placing it on the metal ring, which will raise it from the source of heat, especially if you have an electric stove. A 14 inch wok is more practical than the smaller ones, since it has enough room for tossing the food without spilling. After each use, wash it with soapy water (you can soak it for 30 minutes to loosen the sticky residue), rinse with water, and put it back on the stove with the heat turned on. Dry it with a paper towel, then add about 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. When the oil starts to get smoky, rub the oil all over the wok (on both sides) with paper towel, turn the heat off, and remove it from stove. If you do this every time, your wok will get darker and darker and will not become rusty or develop hot spots, which cause sticking. A large frying pan or a skillet can be used as a substitute, but it will be more difficult to toss the food without spilling while making a mess around your stove. A non-stick electric wok can be used as well, but it doesn’t give as much heat as the heavy steel wok. For deep-frying, an electric deep fryer can be used instead of a traditional wok.
Pestle and Mortar – used for grinding and pounding of spices. Some are made of stone, wood, or baked clay. They are readily available in Asian markets. Small modern food processors or blenders can be used with similar results.
Steamer – metal or bamboo steamers can be used for steaming vegetables, fish, appetizers, desserts, and sticky rice. They are easily found in most Asian markets and modern kitchen stores.
Rice Cooker – the electric rice cooker is widely used throughout Asia including Thailand. A regular metal pot will do as well. More details regarding how to cook rice will be discussed in Lesson 5.
Cleavers – used in both heavy-duty and regular cutting of meat and vegetables as well as pounding spices and herbs to release their fragrances.