8 Best Thai Recipes

Full of bright, bold flavors, these Thai dishes put takeout to shame.

Ubiquitous street food in ThailandUbiquitous street food in Thailand
Shrimp Pad Thai

Quick and delicious, pad Thai is a ubiquitous street food in Thailand.

Yield: Serves 8
Total: 35 Minutes


12 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
1/3 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 ounces (30 to 35 per lb.) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 green onions, cut into 2-in. pieces
1 tablespoon dried shrimp*, minced
2 cups bean sprouts, divided
1/3 cup Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts (optional)
6 to 8 lime wedges
Sriracha* (Asian red chile sauce; optional)


1. Soak vermicelli noodles in a bowl of very hot water until soft, about 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large wok or frying pan over high heat. Pour in oil and carefully swirl to coat sides. Add garlic, shrimp, and green onions and cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in dried shrimp, 1 cup bean sprouts, the fish sauce, ketchup, sugar, and chile flakes. Push shrimp mixture to one side of pan and carefully pour eggs onto other side, trying to coat pan evenly. Let cook undisturbed 1 minute, then quickly scramble with other ingredients.

3. Drain noodles and add to egg mixture. Cook until noodles start to brown slightly, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once or twice.

4. Transfer to plates. Top with remaining bean sprouts, the cilantro, and peanuts. Serve with lime wedges and Sriracha.

*Available in the Asian-foods section of well-stocked grocery stores.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
Calories: 321
Calories from fat: 34%
Protein: 13g
Fat: 12g
Saturated fat: 2.2g
Carbohydrate: 41g
Fiber: 1.4g
Sodium: 643mg
Cholesterol: 97mg
More quick Asian favorites

Flavorful alternative to traditional chicken soupFlavorful alternative to traditional chicken soup
Thai Chicken Coconut Soup
Often called tom kha gai, this coconut milk-based soup is a rich and flavorful alternative to traditional chicken soup.

Yield: Serves 4
Total: 20 Minutes


1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
1 can (14 oz.) reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 quarter-size slices fresh ginger
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut in 1-in. pieces
1 pound boned, skinned chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1-in. chunks
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Thai chili paste
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro


In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, broth, ginger, and lemongrass and bring to boil over high heat. Add chicken, mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chili paste. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is firm and opaque, 5 to 10 minutes. Discard lemongrass. Garnish servings with basil and cilantro.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1 1/2-cup serving.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
Calories: 357
Calories from fat: 63%
Protein: 29g
Fat: 25g
Saturated fat: 19g
Carbohydrate: 7.2g
Fiber: 0.5g
Sodium: 484mg
Cholesterol: 79mg
Pair some wine with your Asian dinner

Fish sauce adds barely detectable pungencyFish sauce adds barely detectable pungency
Spicy Thai Fried Rice with Shrimp
Day-old leftover rice gives this fragrant fried rice the best texture, but you can also make it with rice cooked and cooled the same day.

Yield: Makes 4 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
4 teaspoons minced seeded fresh jalapeño chiles
3 cups cooked jasmine or long-grain white rice, cold
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 1/4 cups shelled, cooked tiny shrimp or diced cooked pork or chicken (about 8 oz.)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


1. Pour olive oil into a 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat; add garlic, onions, and chiles and stir often until limp, 2 to 4 minutes.

2. Add rice, sugar to taste, soy sauce, and fish sauce; reduce heat to medium and stir often until ingredients are well coated and hot to touch, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Add shrimp, cilantro, basil, and sesame oil; stir often until shrimp are hot to touch, about 3 minutes.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
Calories: 345
Calories from fat: 25%
Protein: 18g
Fat: 9.5g
Saturated fat: 1.4g
Carbohydrate: 50g
Fiber: 1.4g
Sodium: 953mg
Cholesterol: 111mg

You can also make it with clamsYou can also make it with clams
Thai Red Curry Mussels

Mussels' rich taste of the sea goes beautifully with spicy-sweet curries like this one. You can also make the dish with littleneck clams--or both mussels and clams. You'll want a loaf of crusty bread or a pot of jasmine rice on hand to sop up the sauce.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Total: 25 Minutes


1 shallot, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3-in. pieces and crushed with a mallet or hammer
1 can (about 14 oz.) coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste*
2 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and beards* pulled off
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves, plus slivered leaves
2 limes, cut into wedges


1. Sauté shallot and garlic in oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until very fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add lemongrass and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Pour in coconut milk, then stir in curry paste, fish sauce, and sugar. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

2. Add mussels, stir until well coated, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mussels open, 5 minutes. Stir in chopped basil and spoon into wide, shallow bowls, discarding any unopened mussels. Garnish with slivered basil and serve with lime.

*Find curry paste in your market's Asian-foods aisle.
A mussel's "beard" is the clump of filaments it uses to attach itself to rocks.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
Calories: 288
Calories from fat: 60%
Protein: 18g
Fat: 19g
Saturated fat: 13g
Carbohydrate: 12g
Fiber: 0.1g
Sodium: 1055mg
Cholesterol: 37mg

Also good for banh miAlso good for banh mi
Thai Barbecued Pork
We loved the salty spice of these pork pieces served over rice. You could also use them in a banh mi sandwich.

Yield: Serves 4
Total: 30 Minutes


1 stalk fresh lemongrass, stem and coarse leaves trimmed, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 quarter-size slice fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
A few cilantro sprigs, plus leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste*
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-in. slices
How to cook with Asian herbs


1. Heat grill to high (450° to 550°). In a food processor, pulse all ingredients except for pork into a paste, adding a bit of water if needed. In a medium bowl, mix pork with paste. Let sit 15 minutes.

2. Grill pork, turning once, until browned, about 6 minutes total. Serve with rice, vegetables, and cilantro leaves.

*Find in grocery stores' Asian foods aisle.

Notes: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
If you're starting the meat ahead of cooking and want to marinate it longer, leave the tenderloin whole.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
Calories: 210
Calories from fat: 41%
Protein: 23g
Fat: 10g
Saturated fat: 1.8g
Carbohydrate: 5.9g
Fiber: 0.1g
Sodium: 846mg
Cholesterol: 62mg
Grilling, Asian-style

Served for breakfast in ThailandServed for breakfast in Thailand
Thai Chicken and Rice Soup

If you're sick, but also sick of ordinary chicken soup, give this Asian-inspired soup a try.

Yield: Serves 4
Total: 35 Minutes


1 qt. reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
1 red jalapeño, halved and sliced


1. Put broth in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Add chicken, rice, salt, and ginger; simmer 15 minutes to let flavors develop.

2. Heat oil in a small saucepan over high heat until it registers 350° on a deep-fry thermometer. Fry garlic, turning constantly with a slotted spoon, until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

3. Put shallots in a small bowl and toss with flour to coat and break into rings. Fry shallots in same oil at 350° until golden brown. Drain on fresh paper towels.

4. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with herbs, a sprinkle of fried garlic, a few slivers of fried shallot, and a few slices of jalapeño.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1 1/2-cup serving.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
Calories: 319
Calories from fat: 58%
Protein: 18g
Fat: 21g
Saturated fat: 2.9g
Carbohydrate: 15g
Fiber: 0.5g
Sodium: 397mg
Cholesterol: 55mg

Serve with jasmine riceServe with jasmine rice
Thai Catfish Curry with Sweet Potatoes
Serve this coconut milk-based curry over steamed jasmine rice.

: Makes 4 servings


2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat (light) coconut milk
2 to 3 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (see notes)
1 teaspoon firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 pound Garnet or Jewel sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound boned, skinned catfish fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cups slivered napa cabbage (8 oz.)
3 cups lightly packed spinach leaves, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Pour oil into a 12-inch frying pan (with 2-in.-tall sides) or a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add shallots, ginger, and garlic and stir often until shallots are limp, about 5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, curry paste, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer.

2. Stir in sweet potatoes; reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Gently stir in catfish, cover, and cook until sweet potatoes are tender and fish is opaque but still moist-looking in the center (cut to test), 8 to 10 minutes longer.

3. Gently stir in cabbage and cook, uncovered, until limp, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, cilantro, and lime juice and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
Calories: 361
Calories from fat: 40%
Protein: 23g
Fat: 16g
Saturated fat: 5.2g
Carbohydrate: 34g
Fiber: 5.4g
Sodium: 533mg
Cholesterol: 37mg
Cooking with Asian greens

Whirl broccoli stems in a food processorWhirl broccoli stems in a food processor
Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs with Spicy Broccoli Slaw

If you can't find packaged broccoli slaw, whirl broccoli stems in a food processor, using the grater attachment. Throw in a carrot and some red cabbage if you like.

Yield: Serves 6
Total: 30 Minutes


2 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce*
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, white parts only, minced
2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons mirin*
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 serrano chile, minced
12 ounces broccoli slaw
2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced


1. Heat grill to high (450° to 550°). Mix fish sauce, sherry vinegar, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, the brown sugar, garlic, and lemongrass; add chicken and toss to coat.

2. Mix remaining 1 tbsp. soy sauce, the rice vinegar, oil, mirin, ginger, and chile. Toss with broccoli slaw and green onions.

3. Grill chicken, basting with marinade and turning once, until cooked, about 10 minutes. Serve chicken over slaw.

*Find in the Asian-food aisle.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
Calories: 316
Calories from fat: 44%
Protein: 32g
Fat: 15.3g
Saturated fat: 2.8g
Carbohydrate: 11g
Fiber: 1.9g
Sodium: 1029mg
Cholesterol: 126mg
10 Asian noodle bowls