Thai Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)
This has been a late arrival in this country, and in the beginning was only available in specialist oriental food shops.
Now it is much more widely distributed, and in supermarkets at last. You could almost say this is an Eastern version of Worcestershire sauce, not so much in flavour but in the way it gives the same kind of lift to other ingredients.
As its name suggests, it is a fermentation of small, whole fish (sometimes shrimps) and is quite salty, so a little goes a long way. It's an essential ingredient in Vietnamese and Thai cooking, and because of the growing popularity of these cuisines (which I personally love), it has become a staple storecupboard ingredient.
Pineapple crops up in many Thai dishes and here it offers a juicy, tangy counterpoint to fat, succulent prawns, all cooked in a spicy sauce. Quick and easy, Thai curries are the perfect midweek solution when you are tired and hungry.
A Thai Tom Yum soup full of flavour and with hardly any fat, this lovely recipe is just as good made with prawns.
Thai chicken curry is hugely popular but can take a while to cook. This speedy version, however, has all the flavour but none of the faff - no wonder it's one of your favourite recipes on the site!
This is a low-fat variation of Thai Grilled Beef Salad with Grapes. In Thailand they serve it with pomelo, which is very similar to grapefruit.
This recipe was given to me by chef Norbert Kostner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok when I visited the cookery school there. It's lovely served as a first course or included in a cold-buffet menu.