Thai food is a popular type of cuisine all over the world for its strong flavors that strike the right balance between sweet and sour.
Not only is it incredibly delicious, but Thai food is also very healthy, with few calories and lots of fresh green vegetables.
If you have recently made a delicious Thai curry or other Asian style dish, then you may be looking for some traditional sides to enjoy alongside it.
Look no further, as this list has compiled 15 simple and easy to make Thai side dishes that are perfect for appetizers or as a companion to a larger meal.
You can’t find a more classic Asian side dish than steamed dumplings or pot stickers, as they are colloquially referred to.
The dough for the skins has to be prepared in advance, since it needs to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. To avoid this problem, you can easily buy pre-made wrappers from any Asian food store.
One of the best things about this recipe is that you can use any choice of fillings that you like, from ground pork and chicken to fried mushrooms or even just a mixture of diced vegetables.
Green beans make a refreshing and healthy side dish for almost any type of meal, especially Thai food.
For this recipe, the beans are lightly fried until golden brown in a skillet with sesame oil and garlic. While they are cooking, you can make a delicious Thai peanut sauce for covering your beans and making them even more succulent.
Once everything is done you can garnish this side with green onions, sesame seed and crushed cashews.
This delicious dish can be made in 27 minutes and works equally well as a side or as a meal in its own right.
You can choose any combination of vegetables for adding to your stir-fry, but for an authentic Thai experience you will want broccoli, shallots, bell peppers and shitake mushrooms.
If you leave the oyster and fish sauce out of the marinade, then this meal can be easily made vegan.
On the other hand, if you want to add some more protein, then you can throw in some tofu or chunks of meat while you are frying everything down.
Pineapple fried rice may sound like an odd combination, but the acidity of the fruit brings a beautiful piquant edge to the rice.
Although fresh pineapple is the best for this dish, you can just as easily use the canned variety if you want to save time on prep.
The recipe includes three options for Thai sauces, all of which taste amazing and offer their own subtle contributions to the flavor of this side.
These corn fritters are completely vegan and use flax seeds to replace the eggs from the traditional recipe. They are seasoned with red Thai curry paste and shredded lime leaves, which creates an excellent range of sweet and sour flavors.
You can make these fritters in 45 minutes which makes them a great impromptu recipe that goes well with a variety of Asian meals.
The fritters can also be enjoyed on their own with a sweet and sour dipping sauce of your choice.
Sticky rice is a very traditional side dish that goes particularly well with curry or stir-fried vegetables. There are many different ways to make this side and to get the right texture you will need to find a method that works for you.
That’s why this recipe includes 7 techniques you can use to make sticky rice with any equipment you already own in your kitchen.
This rice goes very well with a whole range of meals, from barbecued meat to Thai curry.
If you are looking for something fresh and healthy, then why not try this green papaya salad. To make it, you will need to use an unripened papaya that you can buy from most Asian supermarkets.
The papaya is grated into thin strips and mixed with cherry tomatoes, bean sprouts, and peanuts or cashews.
Seasoned with granulated sugar, chili pepper and freshly squeezed lime juice, this salad is the perfect combination of sweet, sour and spicy.
Peanuts are a staple of many traditional Thai dishes, and can be prepared in a variety of different ways. These nuts are fried in their own oil to make them extra crispy and spiced with garlic, lemon leaves and red chilies.
This is a great side for having alongside a meal, and it works even better as an appetizer. You can easily use this recipe to fry other nuts like cashews for a simple but delicious snack.
Water spinach isn’t actually related to spinach at all, and you can tell them apart by the longer hollow stems with smaller leaves.
Water spinach is a succulent vegetable that takes on other flavors very well, which is why is tastes so good when stir-fried.
For this recipe the water spinach is mixed with diced garlic cloves and Thai red chilies which are all fried in oyster sauce and soy bean paste.
You’ve probably had spring rolls before, and it is easy to say that they may be one of the best side dishes for any Thai meal.
If you can buy sheets of rice paper from your local Asian store, it is easy to make these fresh vegetable packed delicacies yourself at home.
Remember to not let your wrapper sit too long after you have dipped it in water, or it may tear while you are folding it over your chosen filling.
Vegetable spring rolls are the most traditional option, but you can also enjoy this side stuffed with ground pork or fried mushrooms.
This is another crunchy side dish that works equally well as a savory snack. Frozen garden peas from the supermarket will work fine for this recipe, but you will need to thaw them in warm water first.
Be careful not to cook the peas too much, as they may quickly become too mushy for this recipe.
The peas are tossed in oil and a blend of delicious spices that include cumin, paprika, chili and coriander before being roasted in the oven until perfectly crispy.
These wonton wrapper cupcakes are crispy and can be filled with a variety of sumptuous fillings. The honey used in the peanut sauce can be easily supplemented out with agave nectar if you want to make this recipe suitable for vegans.
With a sweet peanut sauce for the base and shredded veggies sprinkled on top with whole peanuts, this side dish is a delicacy in its own right.
You can enjoy it alongside a Thai curry as an appetizer or as a tasty light lunch for those days when you can’t be bothered to cook.
Nothing beats a nice fresh salad for balancing out a rich meal like curry. The shredded vegetables in this salad include red cabbage, bell pepper, scallions, snow peas as well as succulent smoked tofu and sliced avocado.
This offers a crispy side dish that is also creamy in some parts. Fresh cilantro leaves, basil and mint help to season this side along with a few salted peanuts added for that authentic Thai taste.
The entire thing is finished off with a dressing made from minced garlic, vinegar and soy sauce.
This is a much simpler salad that requires fewer ingredients to make but is still bursting with sweet and sour flavors.
It is made from cucumber, bell pepper, carrot and green onions with roasted cashews and coriander sprinkled on top. There is a similar dressing to the last recipe made from white vinegar, lime juice and fish sauce.
All these ingredients combine to offer a classic Thai salad with a variety of flavors including elements of sugar, spice and bitter citrus.
If you aren’t a fan of mayo, then you may have finally found a coleslaw that works for you.
There isn’t a single drop of mayonnaise in this dish, instead it is made from diced napa cabbage, scallions and radish for a slightly bitter dish with sweet carrots and salted peanuts added on top.
Fans of crunchy dishes will probably eat this whole side before they even get to the main meal.
If you want to make this meal vegan, then you can supplement the oyster sauce for regular soy sauce without losing much of this side’s unique flavor.
Thai cuisine is famous for its combination of bold and contrasting flavors which incorporates elements of spice, sweetness and bitter citrus fruits.
These versatile side dishes will work well with any traditional Asian foods, and even go with a variety of other dishes as well.
Most of the recipes on this list take no time at all to make, and can be whipped up while you are waiting for your main meal.
They are also very low in calories and contain lots of vitamins and minerals thanks to all the vegetables they use.
So give them a try next time you are enjoying Thai food and bring a whole new delicious dimension to your meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does Thai Food Differ From Other Asian Cuisine?
Thai food incorporates many of the same ingredients and techniques as Chinese and other Asian cuisines.
Where is stands apart from these other styles of cooking is in the mixture of flavors. For a start, Thai food often uses a lot of different spices, which makes it much hotter than a comparable Chinese meal.
There is also a greater mix of contrasting ingredients, which means the hot spice is coupled with sweet vegetables and bitter citrus fruits for a bold blend of flavors.
What Is The Healthiest Thai Food?
Thai food is generally very healthy thanks to the use of multiple different vegetables, and lean proteins.
It is typically low on carbs as well, which makes it a good choice for anyone who is trying to cut back on their calorie intake.
Steamed fish, papaya salad, and tofu green curry are some of the healthiest Thai dishes that you can find, but there are also many others that are equally nutritious and delicious.
What Is Pad Thai Food?
You will regularly hear people refer to ‘pad Thai’ food when they are ordering Thai cuisine.
Pad Thai simple means a Thai dish that incorporates rice noodles typically stir-fried with shrimp, chicken, tofu and peanuts.