Oct
30
2010

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Four Part Harmony

by Tara

Any time we go out to eat in Thailand, whether at a street vendor or somewhere a bit fancier, we can count on there being four containers at our table, each with their own little spoons. When we paid a visit to my Thai Uncle, this was one of the first things we asked about.

It is called a Kruang Prung, a condiment carrier providing four primary flavors with which diners can season their own meals. Here are the flavors one can generally expect to find in the kruang prung:

Thai Kruang Prung

Sweet

First up in the four part flavor harmony is sugar. I like to sprinkle a spoonful or so over a savory plate of noodles or a bowl of soup. Tyler thought it was strange at first, but I think it makes sense (and he loves it now). After all, I add a bit of sugar when I'm making tomato sauce and chili and salad dressing, because I find that it balances out the flavors. The same holds true here.

Sour (& Spicy)

Next up, providing sourness is prik dong. It's a sauce of bird's-eye chilies sliced into a dish of rice vinegar, whose tang cuts through the heaviness of greasy fried rice or stir-fried noodles. Plus it just tastes good, especially against the aforementioned sprinkling of sugar.

Straight Up Spicy

Next up, is phom prik, or ground dried red bird's-eye chilies. As far as I'm concerned, chili flakes can be added to anything and everything for a little bit of a spicy kick. Back when we used to camp and cook all the time, we added them to nearly every dish we made.

Salty (& Spicy)

Finally, there's Thai staple, nam-pla prik. It's salty fish sauce with slices of bird's-eye chilies infusing it with spice. A little bit goes a very long way with this one! Used in the right amount, I find that it enhances the flavors already present in the dish. Too much, though, and my food becomes a salty, fermented, fishy mess.

A fifth option, often available, is prik siyu wan, green Thai serrano peppers in dark sweet soy sauce. I like to spoon this over plain white rice, or to a dish of overly plain/dry noodles that could use a bit more gravy.


I like the variety of flavors you can produce with the kruang prang so much, I'll be making my own four-part harmony of condiments for the dinner table when we get home. They will live right next to our French sea salt and black pepper!


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2 comments

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Posted by Website on February 11th, 2014 at 5:54 AM
Future students on the UEL course will learn about the practice based on its origins rooted in Chinese philosophy orlando sports chiropractic and beliefs.
Posted by Sonja on April 19th, 2014 at 2:38 AM
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