Thai cooking is very easy and it is not really necessary to have any special equipment in order to cook Thai food. Any pots and pans that you have at home will do but we would like to introduce you to some of the utensils that are commonly used in Thailand.
Thai cooking involves making curry pastes and all the ingredients need to be combined together so that they form a paste. A large, heavy granite pestle and mortar is used for this. Thai families will always have one in their kitchen and they can also be used for grinding dried spices. If you do not have one, you can use an electric blender to make the pastes and a coffee grinder to grind the dried spices. Wooden pestle and mortars are used for making salads, most notably, papaya salad.
The most important and most used cooking utensil is probably the wok. If you are thinking of buying some cooking equipment especially for cooking Thaifood. we would suggest purchasing a wok. They are very versatile and can be used for all sorts of cooking. They distribute the heat evenly and are excellent for stir-fries. However, if you do not have one, you can use a frying pan instead, but you may find that it is not easy in stirring process as all ingredients might fly everywhere!
Woks can be made of iron, aluminum or brass. For our point of view, we like to use an iron wok and normally most of Thai popular restaurants in Thailand always use these too. However, they have to be burnt in a flame until they are red and turn to black color. Before using, they need to be seasoned by putting little oil into the surface and heating it with medium heat for a couple of minutes. Aluminum and brass woks also need to be seasoned with a little oil as above. The purpose of this oil seasoning process is to make the wok to be non-stick when cooking.
Woks come in various sizes. The size you get should depend on the portion of food you normally will be cooking each time. Cooking Tip, if you cook small amount of food in a large wok will mean that the food will dry up easily and burn more readily. On the other hand, cooking a large amount of food in a small wok will also mean that the food will not be in contact with the heat evenly and will take longer to cook. Woks with wooden handles will enable you to hold it even when the wok is hot, but those with mental handles mean you have to use oven gloves or a kitchen towel.
A steamer or double boiler is used to steam sticky rice, fish and vegetables. There are various types of steamers, but the most common are the aluminum multi-tier steamer and the bamboo steamer. The aluminum steamers consist of two or three steamer baskets and a bottom pan. The steamer baskets consist of holes which allow steam from the bottom pan to rise to cook the food. A bamboo basket is also used to drain the water out of the sticky rice after it has been soaked. Bamboo steamers are less expensive than the aluminum type, but sun-dry them after use to prevent mould growth. As they do not come with their own bottom pan, place it snugly in a wok or pan or pot of boiling water.
Cleaver is useful for separating bones from meat, tenderising meat, finely shredding vegetables and also smashing garlic.
Spatula in Thai cooking is used for stir-frying. The rounded corners of the shape enable food to be easily moved around the wok without scratching the non-stick surface.
Apart from above utensils, you can apply to use whatever equipment in your kitchen instead. After you get use to Thai cooking way, you will know that you can use which equipment for which purpose and which one you can use for other purpose. For example, you can use wok for boiling soup (instead of using pot only).