The Black Orchid looks into: What are the healthy ingredients used in Thai cuisine? How are these ingredients beneficial? And which of The Black Orchid dishes are the healthiest?
It is a misconception that Thai food isn’t healthy, purely because it is a “fast-food” but it is quite literally just a: Fast. Food. Not like MacDonald’s, or KFC, but it is simply cooked super-fast with fresh ingredients, straight form the wok into your mouths.
Authentic Thai food is even considered to be one the healthiest cuisines you can eat!
So, what exactly is it that makes Thai food healthy?
The Core Ingredients
The beneficial elements of Thai food are rooted in the core ingredients used in Thai cooking; and almost all Thai food is a combination of these core ingredients: Chilli, garlic, turmeric, lemongrass, coriander, coconut milk, basil, and galangal; And these are the health benefits of eating these ingredients:
There have been studies that show the cardiovascular benefits of eating chillies, as it lowers cholesterol and keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level, it can clear congestion, and boost your immune system as they are rich in vitamin C.
This is a common ingredient used to combat illnesses & infections, it also has compounds that reduces cholesterol and blood pressure and is packed with vitamin B and C
This root vegetable is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, that is believed to help and protect heart and brain health, and it is used in Thailand as a form of skincare to keep the face bright, clean and youthful.
Aside from being a highly refreshing tea, lemongrass can be used for detoxifying and weight-loss. Very much like green tea, it increases your metabolism and reduces water retention; it can even help with women's once-a-month pains!
This intensely fragrant herb, promotes digestion and gut health, as it is a good source of dietary fibre. But most importantly it is the perfect herb to flavour any dish.
For some, dairy milk/products can be harmful, making coconut milk a good alternative. It is considered to be a healthy fat, which aids in weight loss, as it has a prolonging food cravings satisfaction , and it contains high quantities of iron. Plus, what would Thai curries be without its coconut milk?...
It has been found that basil can help reduce stress and anxiety, It supports liver function and detoxifies the body, and basil contains natural antibacterial properties, that fight off infection, while naturally boosting you immune system. On a side note, basil can even be used to treat insect and snake bites!
Referred to as "the spice of life" by St.Hildegard, this root herb has been used for thousands of years, in both medicinal remedies and food. If you have nausea or suffer from sea/motion sickness, chewing pure galangal root, will help prevent this. It fights inflammation, enhances blood circulation, aids in digestion, and it has, been linked to increased fertility rates! This ingredient truly is a super food.
What Are The Healthiest Dishes On Our Menu?
The most obvious choices are all the salads…obviously:
· Papaya salad
· Spicy beef salad,
· Spicy mushroom salad
· Barbecued beef salad
· Spicy king prawn salad
· Seafood salad
(No. 21 - 25 on our menu)
But the other healthy options you can choose from are:
· Tom yum soup (No.18 - Hot & Sour Soup)
· Tom kha soup (No.19 - Coconut Soup)
· Jungle curry (No. 30)
· Ginger stir-fry (No.37)
· Grilled sea-bass, salmon, or tiger prawn (No. 45, 46 & 50)
· Lemon steamed cod or tiger prawn (No. 47 & 51)
· Sea-bass grapow (No.55)
The entire Black Orchid menu could be listed out, but these are the main dishes that I would like to highlight, as they are so densely packed with the discussed core ingredients, as well as being exceptionally delicious meals.
The Possible Negatives
There are undoubtably going to be downsides to any cuisine, and the negatives of Thai cuisine, is all down to the chefs cooking choices. It depends on how much of an ingredient the chef will use, whether that be oil, salt, sugar, or even the M-word... but this can be easily fixed, by requesting for less or none of the ingredients, that may be harmful or unhealthy to you. Thai food is all about tailoring to your needs and preferences, so don't be afraid to ask for what you want!