Thai chilis are a type of chili pepper renowned for their searing heat, playing a pivotal role in Southeast Asian cuisines. Their distinctive flavor has captivated the palates of many, making them a sought-after ingredient in dishes that demand a spicy kick.
Here are some of our favorite recipes that harness the power of Thai chilis.
1. Red Thai curry paste
For those who crave the robust flavors of Thai cuisine, this Easy Spicy Thai Red Curry Paste recipe offers a vegan-friendly alternative that’s rich in authentic tastes. Including Thai red chili peppers, the paste delivers a zesty punch and allows for personalized heat levels.
Whether you choose to use a mortar and pestle for a traditional touch or a food processor for convenience, this homemade version gives you complete control over ingredients, ensuring an additive-free and flavorful base for your curries.
2. Vegetarian Thai basil fried rice
This Thai Basil Fried Rice is a quick and simple vegetarian dish that takes under 20 minutes to make. Thai chilis are combined with garlic and shallots to create a spicy paste, adding a kick to this comforting rice dish. The use of Thai basil and specialized sauces lend it an authentic Thai flavor. Ideal for using up leftover rice, it’s a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on taste.
3. Gà Xào Xả Ớt (Vietnamese spicy lemongrass chicken)
Gà Xào Xả Ớt, or Vietnamese Spicy Lemongrass Chicken, is a stir-fried dish that’s a staple in Vietnamese cuisine. This recipe uses Thai bird’s eye chilis for a fiery kick, beautifully complementing the aromatic lemongrass and other spices.
Unlike grilled lemongrass chicken, this stir-fried version offers a bold, intensified flavor, ideal for those who enjoy a spicy culinary adventure. In less than 30 minutes, you can serve this dish hot with steamed rice, capturing the essence of Vietnamese flavors in a single meal.
4. Thai green chili sauce
This Thai Green Chili Sauce, also known as Nam Jim Talay, is a Thai condiment you can easily prepare in your kitchen in just a few minutes. The sauce blends fresh Thai green chilies, herbs, and classic Thai ingredients like fish sauce and lime juice, offering a balanced profile of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. It’s versatile enough to serve as a dipping sauce for seafood, a marinade, or even an ingredient in various dishes.
5. Mayak avocado
Mayak Avocado is a no-fuss Korean side dish that combines ripe avocado cubes with a tangy, umami-rich soy sauce marinade. This no-cook recipe is perfect for summer, as it serves up a light and refreshing dish in under 15 minutes. The combination of soy sauce, onions, and optional cherry tomatoes offers a multidimensional flavor profile, making it a versatile companion to white rice or a stand-alone salad.
Conveniently, all ingredients are easily sourced from a regular supermarket, eliminating the need for a special trip to an Asian grocery store.
6. Thai-style peanut sauce
I love Thai peanut sauce so much I could eat it straight from a bowl like soup. This Thai-style peanut sauce recipe brings the authentic flavors of Thai cuisine right into your kitchen. The sauce is crafted from unsalted peanut butter, coconut milk, and bird’s eye Thai chili, among other aromatic ingredients.
The versatility of this sauce is remarkable; it can serve as a dip for fresh vegetables, a rich marinade for tofu, or even as a drizzle over noodle dishes like vegan Pad Thai. Personalize the spice level and consistency according to your liking, and enjoy a sauce that is as easy to make as it is delicious.
7. Banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes)
Banh Xeo, often known as Vietnamese sizzling crepes, offers an explosion of flavors and textures, from its turmeric-infused crispy batter to its succulent pork and shrimp filling. The dish allows for versatile customization in fillings, encouraging you to explore beyond traditional choices. It offers an interactive dining experience as you can wrap pieces of the pancake in lettuce leaves or rice paper before dipping them in a tangy fish sauce-based dipping sauce.
Whether you’re a gluten-sensitive eater or just someone searching for a light yet profoundly satisfying meal, Banh Xeo is an exemplary choice that brings a slice of Vietnamese culinary tradition to your table.
8. Vietnamese fish sauce chicken wings (Cánh Gà Chiên Nước Mắm)
This Vietnamese-inspired dish is a lower fat twist on a classic dish. The chicken wings are coated in a savory marinade before being air fried to crispy perfection, cutting back on excess oil. The pièce de résistance is the lustrous fish sauce glaze, a blend of sweet and savory flavors with a hint of spice from Thai chilis. Not only are these wings deliciously golden-brown and crispy, but they’re also gluten-free, making them a crowd-pleasing and guilt-free treat for gatherings.
9. Spicy enoki mushrooms
Looking for a quick and flavorful side dish? Try this spicy enoki mushroom recipe. Enoki mushrooms are known for their mild taste and unique texture, which allows them to absorb the flavors of the spicy garlic sauce they’re cooked in. The dish requires minimal ingredients, making it easy to whip up. Pair it with rice or noodles, or include it in a hotpot for added depth of flavor.
10. Glass noodle salad
This glass noodle salad is a delightful fusion of glass noodles, fresh veggies, and a tangy Nuoc Cham Sauce, which gets its kick from bird’s eye chilis. Not only is this dish a nutritious and fiber-packed option, but it’s also versatile and can be whipped up in under 30 minutes. The bold flavors of the sauce perfectly complement the ingredients, making it a standout recipe for those who love a hint of spice. For added protein, options include baked tofu, chicken, or shrimp.
11. Thai basil tofu
This Tofu Pad Krapow combines ground tofu with Thai basil, crunchy green beans, and red bell peppers, creating a flavorful stir fry that’s ready in just 15 minutes. Utilizing Thai chilies, the dish allows for a customizable heat level while the tofu soaks up the rich, spicy, and herbal notes. Ideal for busy weeknights, it promises an authentic Thai experience. Serve it over rice and consider topping it with a crispy sunny side up egg for an added layer of richness.
Most common questions about using Thai chilis
Thai chili peppers typically range from 50,000-100,000 SHU, making them a pretty hot pepper.
If you are a daring heat lover, you can eat Thai chili peppers raw! However, they have little flavor other than pure heat.
Most supermarkets carry fresh Thai chili peppers in the produce section. If you can’t find them, you might try a specialty Asian grocer.
If you can’t find Thai chilis, use cayenne or serrano peppers instead.