Thai cuisine’s distinctive taste can be attributed to coriander, which often appears as either an ingredient or a fragrant garnish. Coriander has a fundamentally important role in Thai cooking, as well as Thai garlic, with its richer, more robust flavour and aroma. Combining these two herbs with spicier and more flavourful white peppercorns may be one secret to Thai cooking, suitably captured in its expressive moniker, Saamkler (The Three Buddies). It is also called Raak Pakchi Kratiem Prik Thai.
Raak Pakchi Kratiem Prik Thai is a classic and essential Thai seasoning paste that Thai kitchens cannot do without. Made with only three natural ingredients: coriander root, garlic, and pepper, this aromatic mixture is used in a wide variety of Thai dishes and is quite possibly the reason why Thai food is so special. This phenomenal paste is used to marinate meats, create soup stocks, and flavour stir-fry dishes. Plus, it’s easy to prepare, and its versatility makes cooking fun.
The paste is made using a granite mortar & pestle, another Thai kitchen essential, traditionally used to make spice mixtures and curry pastes. Blending these three ingredients together in a mortar produces a very fragrant aroma that helps amplify the flavours in any dish. The garlic gives the paste its texture and wonderfully pungent aroma, the pepper gives it its spiciness, and the coriander root gives the mixture its fragrant punch.
Easy to make
Start by tossing a tablespoon of white peppercorns into your mortar and grinding them well with your pestle. Then, crush and blend in about fifteen peeled fresh cloves of Thai purple garlic or Thai fire garlic. Next, add freshly chopped coriander roots (about five medium-sized roots, clean and rinsed). Finish by pounding and grinding the mixture until everything is blended well together and becomes a smooth, thick paste.
Pounding the ingredients together in this way melds their distinctive flavours into a moist and incredibly aromatic paste. You can also make the paste in reverse order, starting with the coriander roots, followed by the garlic cloves, and then the peppercorns. Any remaining paste can be stored in a small, well-sealed plastic bag and kept in the freezer for long-term use.
A healthy, versatile paste
- Raak Pakchi Kratiem Prik Thai can be used as a soup base, especially for the classic Thai gaeng jued (clear soup). The mixture instantly enhances the soup’s flavour and aroma. The pepper gives it a spicy kick and goes well with the citrusy zest of the coriander and the flavour powerhouse that is Thai garlic.
- Use the paste when preparing any type of meat – pork, chicken, beef. It is perfect for baking, grilling, or roasting. Just add it to your marinade to boost the taste and aroma of any meat dish.
- Use it to begin any stir-fry dish. Fry the mixture in oil first before adding an egg or any other ingredient. You will never stir-fry again without it!
This remarkably simple combination of cilantro root, garlic, and pepper is guaranteed to make all your Thai dishes taste delicious.