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TOP 10: Quick and Easy Thai Dishes

Life has a way of getting busy.

In the last couple of years since I blogged regularly, hubby and I planned a beautiful wedding, got married, went on a magical honeymoon, and are now raising our family with a smart, handsome, and very energetic 3-year-old boy and a precious baby girl on the way.  It’s definitely been a whirlwind!  Exciting, stressful, and everything in between, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

After our son was born, I stopped cooking for a while as I was trying to adjust to the “new normal” that a baby brings.  I’ve slowly gotten back into cooking more and more Thai food for our family.  But these days, instead of spending an afternoon creating a perfect bowl of khao soi or steaming endless layers of khanom chan, I find myself reaching for recipes that are really quick and super easy to make.  So I thought I’d share with you my top 10 “go-to” Thai recipes that are both hubby and toddler approved.

Top 10 Quick and Easy Thai Dishes:

  1. Larb / Beef Waterfall

Both larb and beef waterfall take mere minutes to pull together, making them an all-time favorite in our household.  If we have chicken or pork on hand, I tend to mince them into a quick salad of larb, but if we have a steak, then it goes on the grill to be sliced into a delicious beef waterfall.  The key to making this both hubby and toddler approved is to take the toddler’s portion out before adding too much chili :)

2. Chicken with Roasted Chili Paste 

Chicken with Roasted Chili Paste and Basil | Gai Pad Nam Prik Pao | ไก่ผัดน้ำพริกเผา

Another super easy dish to make is this stir fry with roasted chili paste known as pad nam prik pao.  It can easily be made with chicken, tofu, and clams (recipes for each linked).  We also love making it with shrimp and thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves (recipe coming soon).  Serve over rice with a steamed veggie on the side and voila, dinner is done!

3. Thai Fried Rice

Thai Fried Rice | Khao Pad | ข้าวผัด

Thai fried rice is one of the first dishes that hubby taught me to make when we started dating, likely because it is so quick, easy, and delicious.  Start with some leftover rice, add an egg, some seasoning sauces, and a few fresh herbs, and you’re done!  If you want to make it into a one-pot meal, simply add a protein of your choice (our favorite is crab fried rice, but tofu, chicken, pork, and shrimp are great choices too).

4. Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay: One Year Later | Satay Gai | สะเต๊ะไก่

Our toddler is a big fan of food served on skewers, so chicken satay is a definite winner in his book.  The fact that he can dip the skewer into a scrumptious peanut sauce is the icing on the cake.  The good news is that both the chicken satay and the peanut dipping sauce are also pretty quick and easy for mom and dad to make.

5. Fried Tofu with Peanut Sauce

Fried Tofu with Chili Dipping Sauce | Tau Hu Tod | เต้าหู้ทอด

Fried tofu with peanut sauce is another delicious dipping option.  Because the tofu is flash fried in very hot oil, it takes no time at all to prepare.  We tend to make the same peanut dipping sauce that goes with satay for this tofu, so that our son can enjoy it as well (the one pictured here is a bit spicy for him).

6. Pad See Ew

Noodles with Sweet Soy Sauce | Pad See Ew | ผัดซีอิ๊ว

Compared to pad Thai, which has close to 20 different ingredients and requires a good amount of prep work, pad see ew is pretty quick and easy to make.  Once your noodles, gai lan, and seasoning sauces are prepared, it’s really just a matter of stir frying them all together over a nice flame to achieve this delightfully smokey, savory plate of noodles.

7. Pork and Tofu Soup 

Pork and Tofu Soup | Gang Jeud | แกงจืดเต้าหู้

In addition to being quick and easy to make, this “bland soup” of pork and tofu is also quite healthy.  It starts with a clear base, with the main seasonings being soy sauce and white pepper powder.  For a little extra flavor, we love adding fried garlic and ground galanga powder.

8.Chicken Stir Fried with Holy Basil

Chicken with Holy Basil | Gai Pad Gaprow | ผัดกระเพรา

Pad gaprow is the absolute first thing we make whenever we can get our hands on holy basil.  It is a very simple stir fry of holy basil, garlic, and Thai chilis with chicken (or whatever protein you like, even tofu…).  It is so easy to make that it’s not even too much to ask to make two separate dishes, one without much spice for the young’un and a spicier version for hubby and me.

9. Thai Style Fried Eggs

Thai-Style Fried Eggs | Kai Jeow | ไข่เจียว

Thai style fried eggs known as “kai jeow” is perhaps the easiest dish to make on this list.  In its most basic form, it is simply an egg beaten together with fish sauce and fried in lots of super hot oil.  Our current favorite add-in is just a thinly sliced green onion, or you can try even more complex flavors with the recipe above.

10. Chinese Chives with Tofu

Chinese Chives with Tofu | Pad Daug Gui Chai | ผัดดอกกุ้ยช่าย

With only 4 ingredients, this stir fry of Chinese chives and tofu is about as quick and easy as it gets.  Simply fry the tofu, add the chives, and season with soy sauce and white pepper powder.  Although it only takes minutes, the resulting flavor is surprisingly complex and delicious, not to mention healthy!

So there you have it: my top 10 quick and easy Thai dishes.  I hope this list helps as you think about meals for the busy week ahead, or gives you inspiration for a quick and easy Thai dinner tonight!

10 comments… add one
  • Nara October 15, 2018, 2:42 am

    hey just wanted to let you know that your subscription sign up is broken. would love to subscribe!

    • Rachel October 15, 2018, 5:17 am

      Thanks for letting me know, Nara!

  • Martin October 10, 2018, 9:02 am

    Hi Rachel, nice to hear from you. I’m so happy to have found your blog because I love your recipes. I have been to thailand 16 times and have already done several cooking classes, but your recipes are the best! Our kids 3 and 5 years love spring rolls, can you post a recipe? That would be nice.
    Greetings from Germany

    • Rachel November 29, 2018, 11:58 pm

      Thanks, Martin! I’ll put that on my list :)

  • Sam September 12, 2018, 2:38 pm

    Rachel – congratulations on son, daughter on the way, and back to writing! I was wondering if you planned to return, and am glad you did!

    • Rachel September 12, 2018, 5:25 pm

      Thanks Sam!

  • Yous September 12, 2018, 6:41 am

    I love your blog! I’m a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand and cooking Thai food has been one of my favorite pastimes, and your blog is a great resource for me to double-check that I understood how to make something correctly :). Thank you for sharing!

    • Rachel September 12, 2018, 5:27 pm

      Oh, that’s great to hear, thanks so much. Enjoy your time in Thailand!

  • Sophia September 3, 2018, 6:14 pm

    Thanks for your update, Rachel!!! I really enjoy your blog and learning more about Thai cooking. Congrats to your growing family!!!

    • Rachel September 4, 2018, 2:37 pm

      Thanks, Sophia! :)

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