Feedback
Dining In 1 minute 27 February 2020

Recipe: How to Make Raak Pakchi Kratiem Prik Thai, The Three Buddies of Thai Cuisine

Brush up on your food terminology with us, from commonplace colloquialisms to obscure obsessions, as we demystify culinary lingo in our Kitchen Language column. In this edition is the classic Thai seasoning paste Raak Pakchi Kratiem Prik Thai (Coriander Root, Garlic, & Pepper), aka Saamkler (The Three Buddies) or Saam Sahai (The Three Best Friends).

cooking Thailand Thai

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.

Pounding the ingredients together in this way melds their distinctive flavours into a moist and incredibly aromatic paste.  (©: Shutterstock)
Pounding the ingredients together in this way melds their distinctive flavours into a moist and incredibly aromatic paste. (©: Shutterstock)

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.

These three buddies are also perfect for marination. (©: Shutterstock)
These three buddies are also perfect for marination. (©: Shutterstock)

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.


Dining In

Keep Exploring - Stories we think you will enjoy reading

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to get news and updates about the MICHELIN Guide
Subscribe
Follow the MICHELIN Guide on social media for updates and behind-the-scenes information