Essential Kitchen Tools for the New Thai Cook
Starting out as a Thai cook, you can probably get by with the utensils and kitchenware you already have, but as you get a little more serious (and it is hard not to do that, the food is simply so darn delicious) you'll probably want to make the investment in a few extra kitchen tools that will make the process of creating delicious Thai cuisine easier and more authentic. Most of the tools suggested here can be easily found at Asian markets but they are also readily available online as well.
An Electric Rice Cooker
Most homes in Asia in general contain an electric rice cooker. It may not be the most 'traditional' way to cook rice but it is certainly the most convenient and certainly a way to help ensure evenly cooked rice every time. Most such cookers allow you to whip up a large batch of rice in less than ten minutes, leaving you free to concentrate on the other, often slightly trickier to prepare , components of a Thai dish.
A Sticky Rice Steamer
If on the other hand you do want to try your hand at a slightly more authentic way to cook sticky rice then picking up a bamboo sticky rice steamer may be something to consider. This is basically a 'contraption' that consists of a generously sized bamboo basket designed to sit on top of an aluminum pot. The pot is filled with water, the basket is filled with rice and within 15 minutes or so (with a little practice) you should be able to create near perfect sticky rice every time.
A Three Tray Steaming Pot
Usually made from aluminium and rather generously sized, these handy pots allow you to steam several ingredients at once efficiently without allowing them to get all muddled and mixed up before you are ready to put your final dish together. This is actually a great utensil to have in your home in general, as steaming things that vegetables, fish and chicken really is the healthiest way to go.
There are those Western cooks who feel that there is no need to invest in a wok in order to create great stir fried Thai dishes and that a deeper skillet will do the job just fine. Most Asian cooks however will wholeheartedly disagree, and for many good reasons.
Firstly, the deep, curved shape of a wok allows for different temperature zones to be created - the sides are cooler, the bottom is hotter - which is a big help when frying meats and vegetables together. The meat can be cooked at the high heat it really needs while the vegetables, that often need slightly more delicate preparation so that they do not wilt can be cooked on the cooler sides without wasting any time (or creating more of a mess to clean up later!)
Secondly a wok is far more versatile than a skillet. It can be as easily used to create a delicious soup as it can to whip up a tasty stir fry, something that you really cannot do in a skillet.
Bamboo Serving Dishes
In Thailand usually rice is taken to the table for diners to serve themselves, along with extras like dumplings. These offerings are never left uncovered and lidded bamboo serving dishes, which are easy to find in Asian markets, are the perfect way to do all of this with efficiency and style. Many of the baskets you will find are carted with brightly colored woven patterns, adding a touch of Thai flair to the dinner table that is very attractive.