- Healthy 30-Minute Thai Dinner Recipes!
- Thai Chicken Coconut Curry
- Thai Chicken Curry
- How to Make Thai Chicken Curry (The Easy Way!)
- More About Making Thai Red Curry Chicken
- The Difference between Red Curry and Panang Curry
- Serving and Storing Thai Chicken Curry
- More Delicious Recipes with Thai Red Curry Paste
- Tools to Make Thai Chicken Curry
- Healthy Thai Food: 21 Delicious Dishes that are Actually Good For You!
- Here are 21 Healthy Thai Food dishes to try:
- 1. Som Tam ส้มตำ
- 2. Yam Mamuang ยำมะม่วง
- 3. Pad Pak Ruam Mit ผัดผักรวมมิตร
- 4. Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng ผัดผักบุ้งไฟแดง
- 5. Pad Pak Gachet ผัดผักกะเฉด
- 6. Nam Prik น้ำพริก
- 7. Jim Jum จิ้มจุ่ม
- 8. Pla Chon Lui Suan ปลาช่อนลุยสวน
- 9. Kuay Teow Lui Suan ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลุยสวน
- 10. Gaeng Liang แกงเลียง
- 11. Gaeng Jued Pak Ruam Tao Hoo แกงจืดผักรวมเต้าหู้
- 12. Miang pla too เมี่ยงปลาทู / Miang pla pao
- 13. Suki Nam สุกี้น้ำ / Suki Haeng สุกี้แห้ง
- 14. Makua Yao Prik Pao มะเขือยาวพริกเผา
- 15. Gaeng Om Gai แกงอ่อมไก่
- 16. Khao Yam ข้าวยำ
- 17. Yam Talay ยำทะเล
- 18. Yam Woon Sen ยำวุ้นเส้น
- 19. Larb Het ลาบเห็ด
- 20. Tom Jab Chai ต้มจับฉ่าย
- 21. Som Tam Ponlamai ส้มตำผลไม้
- The 15 Healthiest Thai Food Dishes in Thailand
- The Healthiest Local Thai Food Dishes for Fighters
- How to Ask for NO MSG in your FOOD
- 1. Khao Man Gai (Chicken and Rice)
- 2. Gai Yang (Marinated Grilled Thai Chicken)
- 3. Satay Gai (Braised/Marinated Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce)
- 4. Pla Nueng Manao (Poached Fish with Lime)
- 5. Som Tam ส้มตำไทย (Papaya Salad)
- 6. Yam Mamuang (Green Mango Salad)
- 7. Yam Talay ยำทะเล (Seafood Salad)
- 8. Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng ผัดผักบุ้งไฟแดง (Stir Fried Morning Glory with Oyster Sauce)
- 9. Kuay Teow Lui Suan (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลุยสวน) (Fresh Spring Rolls)
- 10. Nam Phrik (น้ำพริก) (Chili paste with fresh or boiled vegetable)
- 11. TOM YUM GOONG (prawns) NAM SIGH (Hot and Sour Soup)
- 12. Gaeng Pah Curries
- 13. Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad)
- Gai Pad Mamuang (Stir Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts)
- 15. Thai Fresh Fruits
- Top 10 Thai Recipes!
- Healthier Red Thai Chicken Curry – without the shop-bought sauce!
Healthy 30-Minute Thai Dinner Recipes!
If you’re as busy as I am at this time of the year, you’re probably making quite a few trips through the fast food drive thrus and considering three pickles and a Godiva chocolate bar a nutritionally balanced dinner.
I thought that it would be nice for me to put together a quick list of quick, easy, and healthy meals that you can throw together on a busy weeknight in under a half hour. And, because it’s me, and I’m a total Thai food fiend, it had to be delicious Thai recipes!
Thus, I give you:
These five recipes are all super fast and perfect for the busy week you have ahead of you. I’d suggest making one shopping trip at the beginning of the week, then coming home and making a big pot of jasmine rice to serve along side these dishes.
It isn’t strictly necessary to have a wok to make Thai food, but if you’re in the market for one, I use this wok
and I love it. You can also use a large frying pan if needed.
Now, without further adieu, let’s get started, shall we?
1. Thai Chicken with Cashews
Reasons why you’ll love it:
This recipe is full of rich and complex flavors that taste like it took all day to make it. It requires no marinating and comes together in just 20 minutes. Stir-frying over high heat speeds the process right along! It also doesn’t hurt that this is my favorite Thai dish of all time. Serve it with some of that rice you made earlier in the week. Oh, and be sure to make enough for lunch leftovers because it reheats really well!
2. Peanut Panang Beef Curry
Reasons why you’ll love it:
My grandma came over for dinner recently and it was her first time trying Thai food. I made this, she loved it, and then she told me that she had been planning to stop at McDonald’s on her way home but ate so much of this curry she was totally stuffed. I’d consider that a success! Tender beef with a creamy curry-peanut sauce? It’s killer. Oh, and did I mention it only takes 20 minutes and is under 300 calories per serving? Boo-yah.
3. Rustic Thai Beef Soup
Reasons why you’ll love it:
This is a perfect recipe for this time of year because it is incredibly hearty and filling. You’d never guess that this wasn’t full of fat, because the curry paste adds an incredible depth of flavor that makes it taste really rich.
4. Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce
Reasons why you’ll love it:
I like to keep the essentials for this dish on hand at all times: (frozen) tilapia, curry paste, coconut milk, and fish sauce. The lime leaves called for in the recipe are totally optional, but if you happen to see them at the store go ahead and pick some up. Start to finish you can have this on the table in under 30 minutes! It’s also very healthy as tilapia is low in calories and the curry paste adds a lot of flavor without a lot of fat. Score!
5. Thai Coconut-Curry Meatballs
These little babies are delicious with rice or noodles and take just 25 minutes to put together. Again, it’s easy to keep some ground beef, coconut milk, curry paste, and fish sauce around the house so you can put these together in a snap whenever you’re in need of a quick and delicious dinner. You could swap the red curry paste for yellow if you prefer a milder taste rather than the rich spice the red curry provides. Using lean ground beef and light coconut milk helps keep the fat and calorie content low in this quick and easy Thai dinner!
Thanks so much for reading – I hope you’ll share!
Last Updated on September 9, 2019
Thai Chicken Coconut Curry
Updated on December 23, 2019 by Averie Sunshine
Thai Chicken Coconut Curry – An EASY one-skillet curry that’s ready in 20 minutes and is layered with so many fabulous flavors!! Low-cal, low-carb, and HEALTHY but tastes like comfort food!!
A few months ago I made Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry and since then have fallen in love with all things Thai curry.
This is an easy Thai chicken curry that’s made in one skillet, ready in 20 minutes, and is naturally gluten-free. According to the computer-generated nutrition stats, there’s only 141 calories and 4 carbs per serving – no rice or naan included.
With cold weather upon us, nothing is better than diving into a bowl of this hearty yet healthy comfort food that’s layered with flavors. I could just drink the coconut milk-based sauce.
The curry is savory, salty, there’s natural sweetness from the sweet Vidalia onions, carrots, and coconut milk. There’s perfect acid balance from lime juice and a very gentle heat from the Thai red curry paste.
Thai red curry paste adds a richer and smoother flavor profile than curry powder (Indian) does, but if all you have is curry powder, go for it knowing that the flavor of Thai versus Indian curry products is vastly different and your dish won’t taste like mine.
As with all curry pastes and powders, they vary in intensity and everyone’s preferences for spice and heat vary, so adjust to taste. I used 2 rounded tablespoons and I wouldn’t call it spicy at all but very flavorful. My 10-year-old wasn’t at all phased by it but we like spicy food.
If you have extra veggies you want to incorporate such as cauliflower, bell peppers, tomatoes, or edamame, add them when you add the coconut milk and carrots.
Yield: serves 6
Total Time:about 20 to 25 minutes
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:about 15 to 20 minutes
Thai Chicken Coconut Curry – An EASY one-skillet curry that’s ready in 20 minutes and is layered with so many fabulous flavors!! Low-cal, low-carb, and HEALTHY but tastes like comfort food!!
5 5 / 5 (117 Reviews) Did you make this recipe? Leave a review “
- 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil (olive oil may be substituted)
- 1 medium/large sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, diced small
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 2 to 3 teaspoons ground ginger or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- one 13-ounce can coconut milk (I used lite; full-fat will deliver a richer/thicker result)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 to 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, or to taste (curry powder may be substituted, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- about 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar, optional and to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped for garnishing (basil may be substituted)
- rice, quinoa, or naan, optional for serving
- To a large skillet, add the oil, onion, and sauté over medium-high heat until the onion begins to soften about 5 minutes; stir intermittently.
- Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is done; flip and stir often to ensure even cooking.
- Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir frequently.
- Add the coconut milk, carrots, Thai curry paste, salt, pepper, and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium, and allow mixture to gently boil for about 5 minutes, or until liquid volume has reduced as much as desired and thickens slightly.
- Add the spinach, lime juice, and stir to combine. Cook until spinach has wilted and is tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and optionally add brown sugar, additional curry paste, salt, pepper, etc. to taste.
- Evenly sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately. Curry is best warm and fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Adapted from Sweet Potato Chickpea Coconut Curry
Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
Favorite CHICKEN RECIPES HERE
Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry – An easy one-skillet curry that’s ready in 30 minutes and is layered with so many fabulous flavors! Healthy comfort food that tastes amazing!
Crock-Pot® Pressure Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala – Make this Indian favorite at home in 30 minutes! Juicy chicken is coated with an ultra flavorful creamy sauce! You don’t need to go to a restaurant because this easy recipe tastes better!
Thai Coconut Chicken Stir Fry – Chicken, sugar snap peas, bell peppers, and carrots simmered in a rich coconut milk broth that’s irresistible! Layers of flavor, easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthy!
Thai Peanut Chicken Salad – Eat the rainbow with this easy, healthy salad that’s ready in 20 minutes! Juicy chicken and crisp vegetables are tossed in the best peanut sauce ever!
Better-Than-Takeout Cashew Chicken – Juicy chicken, crisp-tender vegetables, and crunchy cashews coated with the best garlicky soy sauce! Skip takeout and make your own restaurant-quality meal that’s easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthier!
Easy Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice – One-skillet, ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll never want takeout again after tasting how good homemade is! Way more flavor, not greasy, and loads of juicy chicken!
Sesame Mango Chicken – An easy Asian-inspired recipe with tender sesame chicken, juicy mango, and soy-garlic-ginger infused cabbage and carrots! One skillet, ready in 15 minutes, and perfect for busy weeknights!
Chicken Egg Roll Bowls – Deconstructed egg roll bowls reduce the calories, fat, and carbs of traditional egg rolls without sacrificing flavor! Easy, ready in 15 minutes, and way better than takeout!
Mandarin Orange Chicken Stir Fry – An easy Asian stir fry with tender chicken, juicy oranges, and veggies! Skip takeout and make this one skillet recipe that’s ready in 15 minutes and perfect for busy weeknights!
posted in 30-Minute Meals, All Recipes, Chicken, Entrees, Gluten-Free, Thai
Thai Chicken Curry
I’m over-the-moon, giggly-girly giddy to tell you about today’s Thai Chicken Curry! It’s one of those special recipes we all want and need more of in our lives: a healthy, one-pan dinner that’s dead simple to prepare yet so outrageously tasty, it will leave you wowed by your own kitchen prowess. Ready in about 45 minutes (more than half of which is hands off) this Thai coconut curry recipe is fast enough for a weeknight but special enough for company.
The first time I made this Thai Chicken Curry with coconut milk, I was worried I would find it lacking, because my expectations for it were especially (bordering on unrealistically) high. Not only do I want you to find the very best recipes here, but also I’ve eaten my way through copious amounts of authentic Thai chicken curry in Thailand, so I know exactly how fabulous it can be.
Could a recipe that is as easy to prepare with such a short list of ingredients as this Thai Chicken Curry live up to my self-induced hype?
Forget “live up to.” This recipe BLEW ME AWAY. Meet one of the best Thai Chicken Curry recipes you will ever make at home (and it was even better than some of the curry I ate in Thailand, believe it or not)!
How to Make Thai Chicken Curry (The Easy Way!)
Whenever I’m working on a recipe for the first time, I’m tempted to rifle around my pantry to throw in a little of this, followed by a dash of that. After all, isn’t more, well, more?
Not this time.
I know cooking Thai food at home can be intimidating if you’ve never tried it, but the ingredient list here is short, approachable, and you can find every one of the (few) ingredients you need at your local grocery store.
Yes, yes, I realize Thai food purists will (correctly) point out that authentic Thai curry has many more things added to it than this recipe does. For our purposes, I love that this easy version of Thai Chicken Curry can quickly come to life in your kitchen, no access to specialty ingredients required.
The chicken curry recipe prep is a breeze, and the final effect is deeply rewarding: a rich, not-too-spicy, yet-oh-so-flavorful thick coconut sauce that’s brimming with ginger, garlic, and authentic Thai chicken curry flavor.
When you read this Thai Chicken Curry recipe, you’ll see how straightforward the steps are:
- Season and brown the chicken.
- Sauté the vegetables, Thai red curry paste, and spices.
- Add the coconut milk.
- Pop into the oven.
Um, that’s it.
What you won’t see is how the flavors bloom and develop together. I was eating this sauce out of the skillet with a spoon, and the chicken was perfectly browned and juicy.
I owe this whiz of chicken skillet dinners to a lady I have long admired, Jessica of the beautiful blog How Sweet Eats.
This Thai Chicken Curry with coconut milk recipe is from the pages of Jessica’s latest cookbook, The Pretty Dish, and if the rest of the recipes in it are even a fraction as delightful as this Thai red coconut curry chicken, then we are all in for a fabulous 150+ pages of stellar eating and drinking.
Cooking this Thai Curry Chicken recipe—which wowed me in every way if you can’t tell already—and paging through The Pretty Dish was especially meaningful to me because Jessica’s blog is one of the very first I ever followed. Nearly six years ago, when I first clicked “publish” here at this corner of the internet, I hardly knew what a blog was, let alone that other people, cool people I’d like and admire and even meet in person one day, could be doing the same crazy thing.
I have a vivid memory of typing “what are some food blogs” into a Google search bar. How Sweet Eats was one of the first names I came across.
This is going to sound borderline creepy in that special way only blogging can, but as soon as I visited Jessica’s blog, I became lost in her writing and, a few hours later, felt like I had made a friend. Her voice is warm and authentic in a way that’s rare to find online. “If only we could meet in real life!” I thought.
Fast forward a few years and a few hundred recipes later. I have had the pleasure to spend time with Jessica “in real life.” She’s just as personable, kind, and genuine as I (and everyone else who reads her lovely blog) imagined she would be. I’m honored to be sharing her book with you today, and I do hope you will buy a copy, because it’s incredibly special. The recipes feel fresh and creative yet are totally, absolutely doable.
Case in point: Thai Chicken Curry. Can you chop vegetables and stir coconut milk? YOU CAN MAKE THIS RECIPE!
More About Making Thai Red Curry Chicken
- You can make this Thai Curry Chicken with chicken breasts or chicken thighs, or keep your entire household happy like both Jessica and I do by using a mix of both.
- The star flavor-maker in this Thai red chicken curry recipe is Thai red curry paste. Curry paste is available in the Asian food section of most major grocery stores or online here.
- If you’d like to make the Thai chicken curry green, you could swap the red curry paste for green curry paste (not yet tested and it will have a very different flavor, but I suspect it will be quite tasty).
- The same is true for Thai yellow chicken curry: use yellow curry paste instead of the red curry paste.
- I insist you use full-fat (not light) coconut milk. I promise the boss sauce will be worth it. I like to swap in light coconut milk anytime I can, but it just isn’t the same here.
- As written, this recipe is Whole30 compliant! It’s also Paleo. (For more Whole30 chicken recipes, check out my Harvest Chicken Skillet, Whole30 Chicken Salad, or many of these Whole30 recipes).
The Difference between Red Curry and Panang Curry
- Panang curry (also called as Penang or Penaeng curry) is a red curry that originates from Penang, an island located off the west coast of Malaysia. It is usually less spicy than traditional red curry because of the fact that it uses fewer red chiles. Panang curry also includes coconut cream and peanuts, thus making it sweeter than other Thai curries.
- This red curry isn’t strictly one or the other. It’s not overly spicy by any means, but it has a distinct Thai flavor I think you’ll love!
Serving and Storing Thai Chicken Curry
- We served ours with rice, and it was delicious. Jessica also suggests dipping the sauce with sourdough, which, after trying the sauce, I am 1,000% certain would be outstanding.
- To make reheating leftovers easier, I diced up the extra chicken and then mixed it in with the rice.
More Delicious Recipes with Thai Red Curry Paste
- Coconut Curry
- Chickpea Curry (swaps green for the red)
- Cauliflower Curry
- Slow Cooker Thai Chicken
Tools to Make Thai Chicken Curry
- All you really need is a killer skillet. I used this one; this brand is also excellent. For an affordable, high-quality option, check out this one.
- The Pretty Dish. Obvi. I love this cookbook and am so happy it brought this yummy recipe (and so many others) into my life.
Last, a note Jessica, this Thai Chicken Curry’s recipe author: Congratulations on your book! Thank you for being your creative, positive, one-of-a-kind self and for inspiring so many of your fellow bloggers (this one included) to do the same. I’m so happy our paths crossed, in blog life and in real life too.♥
4.91 from 30 votes Leave a Review ” Yield: 4 servings Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 40 mins Total Time: 50 mins Easy ONE PAN Thai Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk recipe. Filled with authentic red Thai curry flavor, not too spicy, and the coconut milk sauce is to die for! Serve with rice for a fast, healthy weeknight dinner.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts — or thighs (or a mix!)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 red bell pepper — thinly sliced
- 1 leek — thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic — minced
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk — (14 ounces) (do not use light or the sauce won’t thicken properly)
- 3 tablespoons torn fresh cilantro
- Prepared brown rice or sourdough for serving
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper.
- In a large, ovenproof skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides until deeply golden brown. Transfer to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the bell pepper, leek, garlic, and ginger, and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, until slightly softened. Stir in the curry paste. Cook for 5 additional minutes, stirring often. Slowly pour in the coconut milk while stirring to combine. Return the reserved chicken to the skillet.
- Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 25 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of the chicken registers 165 degrees F and the juices run clear (my smaller breasts were done closer to the 15-minute mark). Top with cilantro. Serve with rice and fresh sourdough bread for mopping up the sauce if desired.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Course: Main Course Cuisine: American, Thai Keyword: Easy One Pan Recipe, Thai Chicken Curry All text and images © Erin Clarke / Well Plated.
Amount per serving (1 (of 4), including sauce) — Calories: 477, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 25g, Cholesterol: 109mg, Potassium: 942mg, Carbohydrates: 9g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 39g, Vitamin A: 2535%, Vitamin C: 45%, Calcium: 52%, Iron: 5%
Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!
Healthy Thai Food: 21 Delicious Dishes that are Actually Good For You!
By Mark Wiens 32 Comments
Is Thai food in Thailand healthy?
That’s quite a complicated question, mainly because there are so many different Thai dishes available in Thailand, ranging from processed, greasy, and sweet, all the way to fresh, spice filled, and vegetables galore.
As a long term Thai food eater, and overall Thai food addict, I’ve been able to explore and taste quite a few Thai dishes.
In this article I’ll be highlighting some of what I think are the most healthy Thai foods for you to eat when you’re in Thailand (or even if you make Thai food at home or eat Thai food at a restaurant no matter where you may be).
Traditional Thai food is known to be quite healthy, making use of natural and fresh ingredients, paired with lots of spices, herbs, and vegetables. But the problem is, some Thai dishes taste amazing, but then surprise you with how much sugar, oil, or MSG is used.
Knowing what to order, and how to order it, can give you the upper hand when it comes to eating healthy Thai food.
In this article, I’ll share a few of the best dishes you can eat that I think are pretty healthy.
Disclaimer: Quickly, before I get started, I just wanted to tell you that I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor, so don’t take anything in this article seriously if you have real health concerns (consult a real doctor).
Here are 21 Healthy Thai Food dishes to try:
Som Tam ส้มตำไทย
1. Som Tam ส้มตำ
Famous and widely available throughout the country, is Thailand’s green papaya salad, known much better as som tam (ส้มตำ).
The fresh ingredients that go intosom tam (ส้มตำ) often include: shredded green papaya, tomatoes, string beans, dried shrimp, garlic, and chillies, peanuts, and sometimes (depending on where you go and what’s available and what version you order) fresh raw Thai eggplant and carrots.
There are many variations of som tam (ส้มตำ), some including fermented fish sauce or crab, here are some of the versions you can taste:
- Som tam thai – This version of Thai green papaya salad is the least fishy flavored, and is pretty much slivers of green papaya dressed in a sweet and sour lime juice dressing. The full recipe is quite healthy, but sometimes, because it includes palm sugar, it can be a little too sweet. So normally if I order som tam thai, I’ll ask for, “mai wan,” which means not sweet.
- Som tam boo pla ra – This is probably the most beloved by locals Thais, especially those who are from Isan (northeastern) province of Thailand. Along with green papaya, the salad also includes fermented fish sauce and crab.
- Som tam Laos – Probably my favorite version of som tam, is the Loas version, which is also widely available at any Isan restaurant in Thailand. Som tam Laos uses the fermented shrimp paste, but not the crab. What I really like about it is its bold and spicy flavor, without being sweet (and usually no sugar is added).
Eaten along with sticky rice, and an assortment of other Thai Isan dishes, green papaya salad is a fresh and vegetable packed Thai dish.
Yam Mamuang – Green Mango Salad
2. Yam Mamuang ยำมะม่วง
Yam mamuang (ยำมะม่วง) is quite similar to som tam thai, except instead of green papaya, the main ingredient is shredded sour green mango – so it’s the Thai version of sour green mango salad.
What I really love about yam mamuang (ยำมะม่วง) is the tartness of the mango, which is contrasted by the saltiness of the fish sauce and a touch of sweetness from palm sugar. Again, when you’re in Thailand at a restaurant, you could order “mai wan,” not sweet, or “sai nam tan nidnoy” with just a little bit of sugar.
If you love sour and flavorful, yam mamuang (ยำมะม่วง) is a great healthy Thai dish for you to taste when you’re in Thailand.
Pad Pak Ruam Mit ผัดผักรวมมิตร – Healthy Thai Food
3. Pad Pak Ruam Mit ผัดผักรวมมิตร
There’s a term in Thai called “ahan dtam song,” which means along the lines of “made to order,” and it usually refers to fresh stir fried Thai dishes – because you put in your order before it’s cooked.
Many Thai food restaurants like this are able to stir fry almost any combination of ingredients that you would like to eat, ranging from a single stir fried vegetable (with or without meat), to a mix of whatever vegetables are on hand.
Pad pak ruam mit is just a stir fried combination of whatever vegetables are on hand at the moment. When you order, to make it a bit more healthy, you might want to ask for it with nam man nidnoy, just a little oil.
Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng ผัดผักบุ้งไฟแดง
4. Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng ผัดผักบุ้งไฟแดง
One of the most popular vegetable dishes in Bangkok is pad pak bung fai daeng, stir fried morning glory infused with tasty red chillies and lots of garlic.
Pad bung is the Thai word for morning glory, also commonly known as ong choy or water spinach.
It’s a vegetable that nearly all Thais love, and therefore it’s available at nearly all Thai restaurants and street food stalls that sell stir fried dishes. It’s a standard Thai dish, and overall, I think it’s pretty healthy.
This green stalk oriented vegetable is stir fried on an extremely high heat, so it’s usually served flaming hot, and scorched just so the vegetable is wilted, but remains nice and crisp. The seasoning often includes oyster sauce and often a bit of fermented soy bean sauce.
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Pad pak bung fai daeng (meaning with chilies) is a wonderful and quite healthy food to eat in Thailand.
Pad Pak Gachet ผัดผักกะเฉด
5. Pad Pak Gachet ผัดผักกะเฉด
One of my personal favorite vegetarian Thai dishes is pad pak gachet, or stir fried water mimosa.
The tough textured vegetable is packed with earthy flavor and usually it is stir fried up with a generous amount of garlic, chillies and flavorful sauce. The really tough chewy texture may be different from most vegetables, but that’s what I really love about it!
Healthy Thai Food – Nam Prik น้ำพริก
6. Nam Prik น้ำพริก
Nam Prik is the general name for a variety of different Thai chili dipping sauces that are normally served along with a garden of freshly boiled and steamed vegetables (and sometimes fried fish).
In my opinion, nam prik makes a wonderful Thai meal, and I think it doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves on menus outside of Thailand.
There are many different types of nam prik, some that are more meat based like nam prik ong (it almost tastes like spagetti sauce to me) to versions that are more vegetable based like nam prik noom (kind of like a roasted green chili salsa).
As far as healthy Thai food goes, eating nam prik, along with a wide selection of steamed vegetables that can include eggplant, string beans, cucumbers, bitter melon, okra, cabbage, winged bean, can be pretty healthy.
Normally in local Thailand, nam prik is found at markets stalls where you get nam prik in a bag and choose your own vegetables to takeaway. At restaurants, nam prik is often ordered as an appetizer type of dish, a bowl of the chili sauce surrounded by an assortment of vegetables.
Jim Jum – Thai Vegetable Hot Pot
7. Jim Jum จิ้มจุ่ม
Jim jum is the Thai street version of a personal hot pot – a selection of ingredients self cooked by each customer on their own table.
An aromatic blend of herbs boiled together forms the soup foundation of jim jum and then it’s up to you to add as many vegetables and pieces of pork as you want.
You can easily order a pot of jim jum without getting any pork and just enjoying the basket of vegetables and the mungbean clear noodles.
Healthy Thai Fish – Pla Chon Lui Suan ปลาช่อนลุยสวน
8. Pla Chon Lui Suan ปลาช่อนลุยสวน
Within the realm of Thai cuisine in an incredible range of different fish and methods of cooking fish. Pla chon, or snakehead fish is one of the most popular kinds of fish eaten on the streets of Bangkok.
With pla chon lui suan, the fish is steamed, covered in garlic, chillies and mint leaves and then placed on a plate of steamed garden vegetables making it quite a healthy Thai food.
It’s also normally served with an incredible sauce that ignites glorious flavor!
Kuay Teow Lui Suan ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลุยสวน
9. Kuay Teow Lui Suan ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลุยสวน
This sort of the Thai version of fresh spring rolls (non-deep fried) which are a handful of fresh raw vegetables encased in a little bit of a rice noodle wrapper to give it some substance.
Places that usually sell kuay teow lui suan (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลุยสวน) usually have a few different choices of fillings, including mackerel fish, tofu (for a fully vegetarian version), and sometimes pork. I usually like either the mackerel or the tofu filling.
Along with the tofu or fish, inside of a Thai noodle roll like kuay teow lui suan (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลุยสวน), there will also usually be leaves of lettuce, carrots, and lots of Thai sweet basil.
Finally, this pretty healthy Thai dish is served with a chili dipping sauce that’s sour with lime juice to pucker things up. It’s not really a full meal for me, but it sure makes a nice healthy and delicious Thai snack.
Gaeng Leung – Vegetable Herb Soup
10. Gaeng Liang แกงเลียง
The sheer components that make up a bowl of gaeng liang must make it one of the healthiest Thai foods available.
The vegetable herbal soup consists of a collection of earthy tasting things like, pumpkin, corn, squash, ivy gourd, mushrooms, and a bunch of other herbs and random veggies.
This herbaceous blend is like scooping healthy detoxification medicine into your body – and it tastes great too!
Gaeng Jued Pak Ruam Tao Hoo – Vegetables Soup with Tofu
11. Gaeng Jued Pak Ruam Tao Hoo แกงจืดผักรวมเต้าหู้
For a simply made, but quite delicious and a healthy Thai food, try a bowl of gaeng jued pak ruam tao hoo (แกงจืดผักรวมเต้าหู้).
The name of this dish in Thai basically means “plain soup/stew,” so it’s not the most vibrantly flavorful Thai dish, but it’s still pretty good, and includes a nice colorful medley of vegetables boiled with tofu in a minced pork broth.
The soup is normally a meat stock, often either pork or chicken, and then in this particular dish, they often use a bit of minced pork, which is used in moderation, mostly for flavor.
Miang Pla Too เมี่ยงปลาทู
12. Miang pla too เมี่ยงปลาทู / Miang pla pao
Probably one of my favorite choices for a healthy Thai food, and one of my top choices on this list, is something known as miang pla too (เมี่ยงปลาทู) or miang pla pao.
Miang is the Thai word for a food that’s wrapped in vegetables, so sort of like a taco, but instead of a tortilla, a piece of lettuce or cabbage is used. It’s quite similar to the Korean style of eating barbecue.
Anyway, miang pla too (เมี่ยงปลาทู) is the version made with mackerel fish, which is tasty and healthy, and miang pla pao, is the version usually served with a roasted tilapia fish, both served with a similar mixture of vegetables, herbs, rice noodles, and sauce.
To eat miang pla too or miang pla pao, the simplest thing is to grab a piece of lettuce, load it up with a piece of fish, some rice noodles, add some sweet basil and mint, and then spoon on a bit of the sour chili sauce (sometimes peanut based as well), and enjoy.
Miang pla is so delicious, and I love to eat it when I want something that’s fresh and light, and tastes extremely delicious.
Suki Haeng สุกี้แห้ง
13. Suki Nam สุกี้น้ำ / Suki Haeng สุกี้แห้ง
There are two variations to this healthy dish: suki nam (soup version), and suki haeng (dry version).
A selection of vegetables that usually includes cabbage and morning glory are cooked with a portion of clear mung bean noodles and a combination of seafood or whatever meat of your choice.
The dish is served with a fantastic red chili sauce that truly makes it a flavor to cherish. Most Thais enjoy eating suki as a standalone dish, but I prefer to eat it along with a plate of rice.
Makua Yao Prik Pao มะเขือยาวพริกเผา
14. Makua Yao Prik Pao มะเขือยาวพริกเผา
I’ve always been a big fan of any dish made with eggplant. In Bangkok the purple eggplant isn’t all that common, but they do have a similar long skinny eggplant that is green on the outside and tastes pretty good too.
My favorite way to eat eggplant is stir fried in roasted chili sauce along with sweet basil and chillies, a dish known as makua yao prik pao. The eggplant soaks up all the delicious sauce making it one of my favorite vegetarian Thai dishes.
Gaeng Om Gai แกงอ่อมไก่
15. Gaeng Om Gai แกงอ่อมไก่
Gaeng Om is a type of healthy herbaceous northern Thai stew made from a selection of different vegetables along with either chicken or pork (or another meat of choice).
Among the plethora of green leafy vegetables that go into the production of a delicious gaeng om, is a host of fragrant herbs. Dill is the protruding flavor that really gives it a kick!
Khao Yam ข้าวยำ
16. Khao Yam ข้าวยำ
One of the classic dishes of southern Thai food is known as khao yam, in English basically rice mixed salad.
Though it may look similar to khao kluk kaphi, khao yam is quite a bit healthier as it usually doesn’t include any pork.
The dish is basically rice mixed with toasted coconut and topped with chopped green beans, bean sprouts, cucumber slices, and shredded kaffir lime leaves. It’s most often enjoyed with a sweet soy sauce on the side.
Yam Talay ยำทะเล – Healthy Thai Food
17. Yam Talay ยำทะเล
When it comes to healthy Thai food, yam talay (mixed seafood salad) can rally be a make or break dish. Break if the seafood is overcooked or the vegetables are over ripe but Make if the seafood is not overcooked and the vegetables are crisp and not overly ripe.
A selection of prawns, squid, and sometimes fish is boiled, mixed with freshly ripe tomatoes, mushrooms, and a few other garnishing vegetables and flavored with a Thai style sour and sweet dressing.
The salad is fresh, quite healthy and overall it’s extremely tasty!
Yam Woon Sen ยำวุ้นเส้น
18. Yam Woon Sen ยำวุ้นเส้น
Another fresh dish in Thailand is clear mungbean noodle salad.
It’s a very popular dish to eat in Thailand and though it contains bits of minced pork and some seafood (sometimes even hot dogs), the dish is full of great vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and celery.
I like to order my yam woon sen extra sour, so it bursts with lime juice!
Larb Het ลาบเห็ด
19. Larb Het ลาบเห็ด
You know the classic Thai / Laotian dish of larb moo (Isaan minced pork salad)?
This is the same dressing and ingredients, but instead of pork, a variety of mushrooms are used in the recipe. This obviously makes the dish much more of a healthy Thai food!
You can find this dish in the Vegetarian Thai Food Guide as a fantastic Isaan substitute dish.
Healthy Thai Food – Tom Jab Chai ต้มจับฉ่าย
20. Tom Jab Chai ต้มจับฉ่าย
Available at mostly Chinese Thai restaurants, tom jab chai is a soupy stew that consists of mainly super soft boiled down veggies.
Often flavored with chunks of pork, tom jab chai is not as healthy as it could be, but it still has lots of green healthy vegetables within it. The vegetables are cooked so long that they really melt in your mouth.
You can also get it as a vegan (Thai Jay) dish at Tien Sin Vegetarian restaurant in Bangrak.
Healthy Thai Food – Som Tam Ponlamai ส้มตำผลไม้
21. Som Tam Ponlamai ส้มตำผลไม้
Nothing is better than a mixed fruit salad EXCEPT a mixed fruit salad covered in chillies, peanuts and a salty Thai dressing!
At first it did sound a little strange, fruit and chillies? But after sampling my first plate of som tam ponlamai, I fell in love – in Thailand it just works! Try it!
In order to eat healthy Thai food avoid the dishes that consist of heavy coconut creams (like lots of Thai curries), dishes where the main ingredient is pork or another red meat, and unfortunately the scrumptious Thai desserts. Also avoid all the deep fried snacks!
Vegetarian Thai Food Guide
To be a bit more health conscious try ordering stir fried dishes with just a little bit of oil (náam man nít nòi), or no oil at all (mâi sài náam man).
Whatever you do though, don’t be afraid to hit the streets of Thailand to discover some more healthy Thai dishes!
Lastly, I just wanted to announce that the Vegetarian Thai Food Guide is complete and now available!
Not only is it extremely useful for vegetarian and vegans, but also if you want to start eating Thai food that’s healthy and extremely delicious!
The 15 Healthiest Thai Food Dishes in Thailand
There is a bit of a misconception that just because there is an abundance of freshly-cooked food sourced from local ingredients that Thai food is inherently healthy.
This is not true.
Most of the local dishes are very high in sodium, sugar, fat, and MSG. They are also heavy on carbs and very light on protein, with the protein usually being the fattier, cheap pieces of meat, especially if you eat Thai food from street stalls or the cheaper restaurants. If you are down here training Muay Thai, it’s important to get enough protein in your diet to repair muscle (not to mention keep what muscle you have if you are doing a lot of cardio). It’s hard to do that if you don’t go out of your way to pick protein-heavy dishes.
However, there are a number of healthy (and cheap!) options you can choose if you look around. Many of these dishes are quite common and can be found in local-style restaurants or street stalls (the cheapest option). I personally eat at a mix of street stalls and local style restaurants. The quality of the food (quality of meat cuts, cleanliness, portion sizes etc) tend to be better at the cheap-eat in restaurants by the side of the road but actual street stalls are your cheapest option if you need to save money.
Most of the healthier Thai dishes come from the North Eastern part of Thailand (Issan) and are generally more simple fare like grilled chicken or fish dishes and vegetable salads with some type of sauce on top. By healthier options, I mean Thai dishes with lean, grilled proteins, salads, soups, and basic carbs that are not fried (steamed rice or sticky rice). I will warn you, though, if you do stick to the healthy food options, you may shortly find yourself pretty tired of Thai food. This has been the case for me, having lived down in Thailand for 3 years. I find myself rotating between local (cheap) Thai food options on this list and western food every two days or so.
Want to Learn How to Cook Thai Food?
If you ever want to learn how to cook Thai food, I highly recommend you pick up the book Nong’s Thai Kitchen: 84 Recipes that are Quick, Healthy and Delicious. This book is full of all of the traditional Thai dishes and teaches you how to make the sauces all from scratch. Nong became famous after she beat celebrity Chef Bobby Flay with her pad thai, in the food networks cooking competition.
I have learned a few different Thai cooking recipes over the years, and this book is by far the most comprehensive cook book you will find. If you want to impress people at home with your Thai cooking skills, I recommend you check out this book.
The benefit of cooking food yourself is you know exactly what ingredients are added to the recipes, so you can cater it to your own needs.
Before we go into a list of The Best Healthy Thai Food Dishes, let’s talk about what you should generally try and avoid, especially if you are conscious of calories, heavy carbs, sodium, sugar, MSG, and the like. If you are in Thailand and trying to lose weight, well this article goes perfectly with my other article How to Lose Weight for Real and How to Lose Weight in Thailand. You can use it to guide your meal choices, which of course determine your caloric intake. Note that this list of foods is not specifically Paleo (we are including dishes with starchy carbs). However, we’ve written a number of Best Paleo Thai Food articles IF you are following a more strict Paleo Diet program.
Avoid These Foods
- Coconut-Based Curries (loaded with sugar and coconut cream thus calorific)
- MSG-ridden soups (the debate is still open about MSG, but I find it gives me a racing heart)
- Pad Thai (heavy on refined carbs, loaded with oil and fat, high in sodium — around 600 cals)
- Deep Fried Fish (full of salt and oil)
- Spring Rolls (soaked in oil)
- Tom Ka Gai (calorific with the coconut milk and sugar added)
- Coconut Rice (loaded with sugar and milk, very high on calories)
- Mango Sticky Rice (loaded with sugar and milk, very high on calories)
- Thai-style coffee/tea (loaded with condensed milk and sugar, very high on calories)
General Tips for Making Healthy Thai Food Choices
- If you can stand it, get the chef to crank up the heat. Thai food is spiced with fresh chilies, which contain capsaicin; these come with a host of health benefits such as lowing cholesterol, boosting your metabolic rate (burn more calories) and contain lots of vitamin C.
- Choose grilled meats over fried
- Avoid the fried foods (spring rolls, fried meats, etc)
- Avoid stir fried noodle dishes (pad thai, etc)
- Choose broth-based soups, not coconut-based ones. Ask for NO MSG
- Choose jungle curries over regular curries (red, green, yellow). Avoid Massaman curry, which is the most caloric of the curries.
- Opt for the salty over sweet dishes. Many of the sweet dishes contain coconut milk, sugar, oyster sauce, pineapple, sweet-and-sour sauce and are heavy on calories because of the sugar.
- Order steamed rice over fried rice and fragrant rice options. A serving of steamed rice will be around 300 cals. Fried rice and coconut rice around 600 calories.
The Healthiest Local Thai Food Dishes for Fighters
With hundreds (or more) of local dishes in Thailand, there are obviously other healthy food dishes to be found, especially if you go to some remote village corner and find some unique rural dishes. But all the food listed on this list are all fairly well-known Thai dishes that you can pretty much find ANYWHERE in Thailand at most restaurants across the country. So please don’t nail me to the wall because some dish you tried while attending some meditation camp in a rural part of Thailand did not make the list!
Want More Healthy Thai Eats? Check out our Top 10 Paleo Street Food Dishes in Thailand
These dishes are good for people who are looking for:
- high protein, low/moderate carb
- fresh vegetables/salads
- Low-calorie meals
- healthy snacks
- low sodium, low sugar
- no MSG
People who would benefit from eating the food on the following list:
- fighters training in Thailand
- people trying to lose weight
- those on Paleo/Keto/low carb diets
- those who want natural, non-processed food
How to Ask for NO MSG in your FOOD
Thai Phrase: Mai Sai Pong Shu Rot (pronounced: My Sigh Pong Shoe Rote)
This phrase literally means No Put MSG. You will find that even some of the healhtier Thai dishes like Som Tam will have the cooks load them with MSG. By telling the cook this phrase, they will avoid tainting your food with high sodium junk. Sometimes they will try and add it when you aren’t looking, but this is your best bet to get the healthiest food possible.
1. Khao Man Gai (Chicken and Rice)
Cost: 30-60 baht
Find it at: Street Stalls and Local Restaurants
(PROTEIN MODERATE, CARB HEAVY, MODERATE CALORIES)
What it is: chicken and rice, basically (‘’Khao Man Gai’’ literally means ‘’rice fat chicken’’ in Thai). You get about half (or 1/3, depending) a chicken breast cut up and placed on top a portion of rice with a small bowl of soup on the side and a plate of Thai-style vegetables.
Why You Should Eat It: this is one of the healthier, cheap eating options in Thailand that you can find among street food vendors. It’s the staple of many Thai’s due to the cheap cost and carb + protein combo. If there was any ”staple” fighter diet, this would probably be it. Plenty of the Thai Nak Muay (Thai Boxers) will eat this for lunch or dinner. The protein helps with muscle repair while the carbs fuel you through the long cardio workouts.
Khao Man Gai has the highest protein-to-carb ratio out of any street food that you are likely to find in a single one-off “all-in-one dish”. And for a price ranging from 30-60 baht (1-2 dollars), it’s hard to beat that price. Personally, I can get away with one, but with double chicken portions and an egg added to the mix. Mind you, if you are roaring hungry, you can probably do two of these. Or three. I knew this one guy I used to train with who would literally take down 4 of these for lunch! Mind you, this is a guy who, at group dinners with people from my Muay Thai gym would, after eating an entire pizza himself, would ask for everyone’s left over pizza crusts.
Now, if you are comparing the ‘’health’’ aspects in this dish to say something you’d find at an all-vegan restaurant back home, well, you might find yourself a bit disappointed. But you’re going to have to relax your requirements a bit, seeing as you are IN THAILAND. And for fuck’s sake, it’s 1-2 bucks!
Overall, if you are in Thailand, on a budget, and want something healthy with protein, Kao Man Gai is a pretty good bang for your buck and fairly healthy to boot, if you are not trying to go low-carb here.
Local Eating Tip: watch out for the variable quality of the meat, depending on the place you order from. Some restaurants/stalls include chicken skin on the meat, while some do not; some food stalls give you lean chicken breast meat while others opt for the cheaper, and fattier thigh meat. Try to get the chicken breast and get them to remove the skin from the breast.
The rice included with the meat also has chicken fat mixed in so it’s not as low calorie as you might think and if you pour the sauce that comes with the dish (Khao Man Gai always includes special sauce to pour on) over the rice and chicken you add even more calories to the dish — so skip the sauce if you are worried about that.
The soup (like 99 percent of the soups in Thailand) probably has MSG in it too.
If you want to increase your lean protein to carb ratio, you can request double or triple chicken portions; it’s usually 10 baht more per portion of chicken. If you want even more protein, you can ask for a fried egg or two on top (just say “kai dao” which means fried egg). There is usually two options for the chicken — fried chicken breasts/thighs or non-fried. Go with the non-fried.
Nutritional Information: about 350 calories for the soup + rice + chicken with 20 – 25 grams of protein. If you have a lot of rice and double up the meat portions, you could make it around 500 calories and 40 grams of protein.
2. Gai Yang (Marinated Grilled Thai Chicken)
Cost: 40-100 baht
Find it at: Street Stalls and Local Restaurants
(PROTEIN HEAVY, CARB LIGHT, MODERATE CALORIES)
If you wander among the street stalls, you might stumble across street stall chicken being grilled over cut out oil drums. Ignoring the fact that grilling food over charcoal is probably carcinogenic, this is one of the healthier food options in Thailand.
From what I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot of Thai food options, after three years of living here), this is the best you are going to do in Thailand for a high protein, low carb meal.
What it is: the Thai version of grilled BBQ chicken. The chicken is usually basted/marinated with a sort of salty/sweet sauce (this depends entirely on the street stall) and comes with some Thai sweet orange sugary sauce to dip it in.
Why you should eat it: you can usually pick up a drumstick + thigh, half a chicken, or just the whole chicken breast. Needless to say, you are getting a good amount of protein here – anywhere from 30 grams to a whopping 100 grams if you go for the half chicken option. I usually opt for the grilled whole chicken breast, which is the healthiest option, but also not as tasty as the fattier meat cuts. If you need some carbs added, you can request some sticky rice (10 baht) or a papaya salad (30-50 baht).
Local Eating Tip: for healthiest option choose the chicken breast, if the street stall has it. Some places might only have a drumstick+thigh combo while other stalls might have an entire half or whole chicken available.
Chicken naturally goes with something else as a side. Go with either a papaya salad for a low carb option if you need more than just protein. Or if you don’t mind some carbs, then you can add some sticky rice, which usually sells for 10 baht (30cents) at the same place. Avoid dipping the chicken in the sweet sauce that’s included if you can; it’s often unnecessary as the chicken has flavor already.
Nutritional Information: chicken + thigh, about 350 calories with 30-40 grams of protein. Half Chicken, about 500 calories with about 100 grams of protein. Double breast about 500 calories and 50-60 grams of protein
3. Satay Gai (Braised/Marinated Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce)
Cost: 10-15 baht per skewer.
Find it at: Street Stalls and Local Restaurants
What it is: thin strips of chicken breast, skewered and grilled. Satay Gai is a popular Thai dish and can be found both pretty much any Thai restaurants and at many local (Thai) street food venders (any decent sized night market here in Thailand will have them).
There are two kinds of satay you find on the street: chicken skewers and pork skewers. We are opting for the chicken option here as it’s generally lean chicken breast meat while the pork versions are very fatty, more calorific, high in fat, though a bit cheaper.
Why You Should Eat It: Probably the leanest source of protein you’ll find IF the skewer is chicken breast meat (sometimes, cheaper stalls will sell skewers made from chicken thighs or non-breast meat).
Sometimes, the chicken is pretty thin, so you’ll need to eat them in quantity, but they are so delicious that’s not really going to be a problem.
Unlike the BBQ chicken mentioned above (Kai Yang), Satay Gai are not overly saturated with sweet sauces before being grilled, which make them a bit healthier than Kai Yang. While sometimes they are covered in sauce, sometimes they are not. The majority of the flavoring will come from the calorific peanut sauce dip included with the skewers.
Local Eating Tip: You are probably going to need to eat, depending on how thin they are, 4-6 of these to get your 30-50 grams of protein in. Think of satay gai as your protein source for a meal, but not the full meal itself – you are going to need to eat something else OTHER than just a few satay gai to fill you up!
I usually will order a half dozen of these to get my protein intake in for a meal, then a side dish of sticky rice or papaya salad for the carbs. If you can, avoid the Thai peanut sauce dip which is loaded with sugar and fats.
Nutritional information: depends on the size. Each skewer is probably around 70-80 calories and 7-10 grams of protein.
4. Pla Nueng Manao (Poached Fish with Lime)
Find it at: Restaurants
Cost: 120-200 baht (fish size dependent)
What it is: a steamed whole fish with a lime dressing. Sometimes the fish is boiled in this limey sauce and sometimes it’s poached.
Why you should eat it: poached fish is a great source of lean protein. The fish comes with a nice lemony sauce which is low on calories (it’s not a thick sauce, more like a thin, soup) and it’s usually spicy so you get that metabolic kick from the chili’s. It’s great on its own or on top of some steamed rice.
Eating Tip: this dish can be big or small, depending on the size of the fish. You usually put the fish and the sauce over rice, otherwise, you end up eating this dish as a sort of thin fish stew. This dish is often big enough for multiple people, fish size depending.
5. Som Tam ส้มตำไทย (Papaya Salad)
Cost: 30-40 baht
Find it at: Street Stalls and Restaurants
(PROTEIN LIGHT, CARB LIGHT, LOW CALORIES)
One of the more famous Thai dishes, Som Tam is actually pretty healthy.
What it is: freshly sliced papayas mixed with fish sauce, Thai chilies, and a number of other spices. The standard som tam includes shredded green papaya, tomatoes, string beans, dried shrimp, garlic, and chillies. It may or may not come with shrimps and fish sauce. There are a number of different versions of this salad and every restaurant might have their own house take on it; the Som Tam Thai version is covered in a nice, piquant sauce consisting of fish sauce, cane sugar, lime juice and tamarind juice.
Why you should eat it: because there’s a lot of good stuff in the ingredients. As Thai food goes, it’s one of the healthier options in Thailand. This is one of my go-to sources for fiber intake when I’m in Thailand. Green papayas are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, A, magnesium. This dish is also low in fat. and the Thai chili adds a nice kick to your metabolism as well.
Overall, it’s low calorie, low carb, high in fiber and vitamin C and has a decent amount of protein for a salad (includes tiny little-dried shrimps). And it’s cheap!
Local Eating Tip: You are going to need more than a papaya salad to fill up. I personally use this as my veggie intake for a meal. It’s great when combined with some lean protein (BBQ chicken for example). And you could consider it low carb as well. Some versions of Som Tam are swimming in fish sauce and other version barely have any sauce at all — so don’t eat at one place and assume all the Som Tam’s are the same! I personally prefer the lighter version that has less sauce.
If you want hot, ask for Pet. If you want really hot, ask for Pet Pet. Warning, these dishes can be almost unbearably spicy if the Thai food vendor takes you up on your challenge. Be warned!
Nutritional Information: about 200 calories and 7 grams of protein.
6. Yam Mamuang (Green Mango Salad)
Find it at: Local Restaurants
Cost: 40-60 baht
What it Is: My personal favorite. It’s similar to Som Tam, but instead of shredded papaya, it includes sour green mangoes which is offset by salty fish sauce and a hint of lemon. Sometimes it includes pieces of cashews. It’s a fresh-tasting salad that’s a nice change over the Som Tam.
Why You Should Eat It: Same benefits and nutritional profile as the papaya salad, but different taste. As they like to say in Thailand, same same but different! Personally, I find it a bit more fresh tasting with the green mango, lemony taste, and the sweet nutty cashews (Som Tam has peanuts, not cashews). In my experience, this the Yam Mamuang is not usually swimming in sauce like Som Tam is.
Nutritional Profile: 150-200 calories.
7. Yam Talay ยำทะเล (Seafood Salad)
Find it at: Local Restaurants
Cost: 40-70 baht
(PROTEIN HEAVY, CARB LIGHT, LOW CALORIES)
What it is: basically a mixed seafood salad. You get a Thai sweet and sour sauce (usually fish-sauce base with lemon) poured over prawns and/or squid mixed in with ripe tomatoes, onions, and a few other vegetable garnishings.
Why You should eat it: low calorie, low carb, fresh vegetables topped with a light sauce. It’s also extremely delicious and on most Thai restaurant menus. On its own it’s not enough for a full after training, but it’s a good snack, a side dish, or a means to get your protein in (contains enough protein for a full meal).
Nutritional Profile: about 300 calories with 30-40 grams of protein.
8. Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng ผัดผักบุ้งไฟแดง (Stir Fried Morning Glory with Oyster Sauce)
Find it at: Local Restaurants
Cost: 50-70 baht
What it is: morning glory and chilies stir-fried with oyster sauce and fermented bean past.
Why You Should Eat it. Of the salad options, this is probably among the lesser healthy, seeing that the morning glory is cooked (losses some of the health benefits there) and the oyster sauce is high in sodium and other badish stuff. But if you don’t mind a salad dish that’s a bit saltier and hungering for something…hot instead of cold like the other salad dishes…you can opt for this one. It’s still a low carb and low calories. Very low protein, though.
Nutritional Profile: I’m kind of having to guesstimate for this one, but likely around 200-300 if you eat the whole plate. Protein likely around 7-15 grams. High in iron, vitamin A and Vitamin C, and calcium from the greens though.
9. Kuay Teow Lui Suan (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลุยสวน) (Fresh Spring Rolls)
Find it at: Street Stalls and Local Restaurants
Cost: 15-25 baht a spring roll
What it Is: fresh vegetable spring rolls. Packed with lettuce, basil, and minced meet (chicken, pork, shrimp or mushroom). What makes or breaks this dish is the dipping sauce – usually sour, sweet, a bit tangy and an explosion of fresh flavor.
Why you Should Eat It: while it’s not packed with dense nutritional vegetables (mostly lettuce and basil leaves), it’s low calorie, includes some vegetables, and most importantly, is pretty damn tasty to boot. The sauce, which is usually light, lemony, and spicy, is low calorie too. This is a perfect snack, in between meals, before training, or as a guilt-free appetizer. Definitely not enough for a full meal by itself, however. I used to buy and eat 3-5 full Kuay Teow Lui Suan (spring rolls) + a chicken and rice (khao man gai) as lunch before my afternoon Muay Thai training.
Nutritional Profile: roughly 80-100 calories per spring roll (100 if you dip it in sauce). Protein 3 grams.
10. Nam Phrik (น้ำพริก) (Chili paste with fresh or boiled vegetable)
Find it at: Restaurants
What it is: chili paste with fresh Thai vegetables. The chili paste sometimes has ground up shrimp in it. The vegetables can vary but are usually exotic Thai ones, not your usual carrots, corn, and celery, though some Nam Phrik dishes can come with those types too.
Why you should eat it: fresh, often uncooked, vegetables loaded with vitamins and fiber and healthy low calorie chili paste to dip it in. This dish is healthy to the max. It’s also filling because of the vegetable in your stomach.
Local Eating Tips: Add ”Pla Tu” at the end of the name(Nam Phrik Pla Tu) if you want protein added to the mix for the ultimate low carb meal. The meat version will include a mackerel or two on the side, adding a good amount of protein to them mix, making it pretty much a complete meal.
11. TOM YUM GOONG (prawns) NAM SIGH (Hot and Sour Soup)
Find it at: Restaurants and NightMarket street stalls
Cost: 60-120 baht (location depending)
(PROTEIN HEAVY, CARB LIGHT, VERY LOW CALORIES)
What it is: a hot and sour soup; probably the most famous Thai dish outside of Thailand. There are a number of different varieties of Tom Yum, depending on the meat added and the flavoring (coconut milk added, tamarind sauce, chili paste, milk, etc). There are two main variations of Tom Yum you will order. Tom Yum Nam Kon is the coconut creamy version and Tom Yum Nam Sigh is the clear version that is healthier
We also recommend if you are either watching your calories or want a low-fat dish, is the tom yam (pla) version, which is a clear soup WITHOUT coconut milk and chili paste. It’s basically fish (or prawns or chicken) with ginger, mushrooms, garlic, lemon grass, chilies, and a number of other Thai herbs added.
Why you should eat it: packed with nutrients and high protein, low-calorie meal choice. There are a number of scientific studies right now on the health benefits of Tom Yum. If you opt for the healthier, low-calorie version with no coconut milk.
Local Eating Tip: The most famous Tom Yum would be Tom Yum Goon, which is Tom Yum with prawns added (Goon). You can make it the chicken by asking for Tom Yum Gai or you can op for the fish version, Tom Yum Pla. There are two versions I’ve seen down here, however, the coconut milk + red chili past version (sometimes called Tom Yam Kha) and the non-coconut milk version. I’m not going to lie to you here: the coconut milk version is a hell of a lot tastier and the creamy texture is to die for. This is that standard Tom Yum served in restaurants. However, like most things that actually taste pretty damn good, there’s a lot more unhealthiness to it in the form of a shit ton more calories from the sugar and the coconut milk. The more healthy option does NOT have coconut milk, but as you can expect, doesn’t taste nearly as good.
Also note that many Thai soups have MSG added to them. If you are not an MSG fan (and who is?) then be sure to ask for the no MSG version. Keep in mind, Thai’s don’t like taking the MSG out by choice because the soup really doesn’t taste the same without it. Keep in mind though that the non-coconut, non-MSG Tom Yam version is a pathetic shadow of its former delectable self. Don’t come crying to me if you don’t like it!
Nutritional Profile: 2 full cups (about a bowl) about 200 calories and 25 grams of protein, assuming NO COCONUT OR MILK added
12. Gaeng Pah Curries
Find it at: Restaurants (maybe at a night market stall)
Cost: 40-80 baht (location depending — street stalls/night market for cheapest)
(PROTEIN LOW, CARB LIGHT, MODERATE CALORIES)
What it is: Thailand is famous for its curries — green curries, yellow curries, red curries, massaman curries. However, these curries are often loaded with calories and not exactly a healthy choice due to the high sodium and sugar content, especially if you are watching calories. However, if you love curries, you don’t have to completely skip out on some of Thailand’s best culinary inventions. Opt for Gaeng Pah curries. These are known as “jungle curries” and hail from the northern part of Thailand, where coconuts do NOT grow due to the altitude and jungle canopies. It follows that Gaeng Pah curries are made without coconut milk, creme, or milk. Basically, the low-calorie curry option.
Why you should eat it: since Thailand is a land famous for its amazing curries, why should you suffer a complete absence from this delectable food? Gaeng Pah are the low fat, lower calorie version of some of the tasty curries. Water is used instead of coconut milk in the curries, giving them a thinner, soupy curry base.
Local Eating Tip: just like normal curries, you can order these with different meats: beef, chicken, and pork being the most common. Keep in mind there are different styles of Gaeng Pah depending on the region; the commonality is that water is used instead of coconut milk and they are spicy as hell!
13. Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad)
Find it at: Restaurants
Cost 60-120 baht
(PROTEIN HEAVY, CARB LIGHT, LOW CALORIES)
What it is: a popular northern Thai dish with a fragrant mix of ground chicken, rice powder, cilantro, shallots, green onions, onions, fish sauce, and lime juice. Optionally with fresh chilies.
Why you should eat it: high protein (it’s mostly ground chicken) and low carb, this is one of the most fragrant and tasty Thai dishes out there. Note the chicken may be high in saturated fa, but saturated fat is not the evil people make it out to be, in moderation.
With mostly only chicken and an assortment of Thai herbs and some light vegetable garnishings, it’s a must eat dish for those watching their calories, for those on a low carb diet, or for those who want a nice protein kick. Dammit, this dish is so good I’d eat it even if I didn’t care about health, calories, carbs, or any of that stuff.
As a side note, the worst food poison I had in the three years I’ve been in Thailand has been from a badly cooked dish of Larb Gai. After about a 10 hour date with my toilet, 2 nights of missed sleep, and a marathon puking session, it took me 2 years before I was able to stand the smell and taste of this dish again.
Nutritional Info: 250-300 calories with 35 grams of protein
Gai Pad Mamuang (Stir Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts)
Find it at: Restaurants
Cost: 60-120 baht
What it is: a well-known Thai dish (both in and out of Thailand) that’s one of the more tasty AND healthy choices you’ll find in a Thai restaurant. It’s basically chicken, cashews, and vegetables stir fried. There are variations on this dish, with some having a slightly sweet and sour flavor while other versions opting for a saltier. It goes without saying the saltier versions are less calorific. Why you should eat this: the chicken and cashews give a healthy dose of protein and the cashews themselves are a great source of unsaturated fat. It’s basically just chicken, cashews, and some stir-fried veggies; as meals go, it’s pretty low carb. Keep in mind though that cashews are calorie heavy, so if you keep chowing down, the calories will add up. Local eating tips: one plate gives roughly 2 – 2.5 servings — enough for two people. You can power down a single dish by yourself, but expect to get around 600-800 calories due to the sheer number of cashews in the dish. It’s a dish best enjoyed with two or three people shared. If you want to go low carb, then eat it as is; if you don’t mind some carbs, it goes well with steamed rice. Nutritional Info: about 400 calories per serving and 26 grams of protein
15. Thai Fresh Fruits
Find it at: Street Carts and any grocery store
Thailand is famous for its abundance of fresh fruits. If you want to power up on in a sweet snack, there is nothing that will beat some fresh fruit. Stick to the fruit grown here, not the imported stuff like apples, pears, oranges, grapes, strawberries, and the like.
Here’s a list of the major fruits and some pictures.
- thai mangos
- rose apples
- Custard Apple
Local Eating Tips: Many of these fruits are seasonal and the costs of some of the fruits double or triple when offseason (Mangosteens for example). The cheapest place to buy local fruits is at Super Cheap. The local Super Cheaps usually only stock what’s in season'(the exception being the giant ones), however. If you don’t want to bother cutting the fruits, you can find the more common types at local street carts where you are given a bag of your fruit pick for about 10-20 baht.
Influenced by several Southeast Asian cultures, Thai cuisine is some of the tastiest food for a takeout lover. The tradition of Thai food packs a ton of flavor, but if you’re not careful, it can pack on the calories too. But there are foolproof techniques to help you order Thai right tonight.
- Bring on broth-based soups: Not all Thai soup is created equally; many recipes call for coconut milk. While it’s creamy and delicious, coconut milk is loaded in saturated fat. Be sure to ask what the base of your soup is, and always choose a broth-based dish when possible. I’m partial to tom yum soup, with its hot-and-sour broth made from lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chilies, and lime juice.
- Think fresh, not fried: Fried egg rolls are just not worth the order. What’s actually packed into these treats may not seem that bad, but being fried in heavy oil changes the situation. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to satisfy your taste buds; go for fresh spring rolls or a plate of grilled chicken satay.
- Go veg for the night: Cutting calories with takeout food can be a laborious process since you’re not sure about every ingredient going into the mix, but cutting out meat is an easy way to create a lighter dinner that still offers all the flavors you love. Just make sure to request soft tofu, since many restaurants fry the meat alternative before putting it into a dish.
Keep reading for three more techniques to healthier Thai takeout food.
- Turn up the heat: Thai food is known for its powerful, spicy powers; there’s no better place to turn up the heat. If your palate can handle it, then go for medium to hot spice. It can be a powerful tool in boosting your metabolism by kicking up your body’s temperature and speeding up your body’s fat-burning process.
- Choose carbs wisely: Some of our favorite Thai dishes are based on noodles or offer sides of rice. If you’re going to partake in either of these options, then choose only one. There’s no need to load up on both and find yourself in a Thai food coma.
- Ditch (or share) dessert: Even though there’s typically a fruit in the name, the cakes, puddings, and sticky rice sweets that Thai menus offer are not mindful options. If you just can’t say no, then share one dessert among a party of people, or opt for a plate of fresh fruit or sherbet to end the meal on a healthier sweet note.
Source: Flickr users bochalla, marikoiv, and blue.tofu
Here are 10 of our most popular Thai Recipes to help keep you feeling creative in the kitchen! Inspired by the flavors of South East Asia and specifically, Thailand, many of these simple easy recipes are both vegetarian adaptable and gluten-free adaptable. Pick a couple out this week and give them a whirl and enjoy the warming effects of ginger, lemongrass, lime and spicy chilies on both body and soul. Healing and delicious!
15 Minute Pad Thai! One of our most popular Thai recipes on the blog – this Quick and Easy Pad Thai is made with accessible ingredients that can be made with chicken, shrimp or tofu! Gluten-free, Vegan-adaptable with incredible flavor!
15 Minute Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup is FAST, FLAVORFUL & so EASY! This Thai recipe hails from Northern Thailand, and is called “Khao Soi” – it’s a very adaptable recipe with a rich fragrant broth, and can be made with either shrimp, tofu or chicken!
I love this authentic, warming Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) not only for its flavor but for its adaptability! This flavorful Thai recipe can be made in an instant pot or on the stove-top. Gluten-free and Keto!
Thai Green Curry with vegetables and tofu -a fast and easy vegetarian weeknight dinner! Make this with homemade green curry paste or store-bought green curry! One of my personal favoite Thai recipes!
INSTANT POT THAI CHICKEN CURRY A simple delicious recipe for Instant Pot Thai Curry Chicken, loaded up with your favorite seasonal veggies! This flavorful Thai recipe can be made in 25 minutes! Serve it over black rice, quinoa or even rice noodles – and save the leftovers for lunch!
Authentic Pad Mee! This delicious Thai-style vermicelli noodle recipe is from the Simply Suwanee Recipe site. Simple and delicious! Take a peek!
THAI BROCCOLI SOUP – This comforting bowl of Thai Broccoli Soup is healthy and full of delicious Thai flavor. Simple and easy to make. Vegan-adaptable, keto and Gluten-free.
7.) LAKSA SOUP – Ok, not actually Thai, but close! This Flavorful, authentic Malaysian Laksa Soup can be made with chicken, fish or tofu. Vegetarian adaptable, with and easy “cheater” version ( technically this is actually Malaysian, but such similar flavors and just too good not to include! )
THAI NOODLE SOUP A steaming bowl of healing soup infused with lemongrass and ginger. A healthy, low fat, gluten-free meal, full of amazing Thai flavors that will warm you to your bones!
THAI TURKEY MEATBALLS with fragrant lemongrass coconut sauce – a flavorful, low-carb main that is full of amazing flavor. Healthy and light and keto.
THAI NOODLE SALAD with the BEST EVER Peanut Sauce – fresh and crunchy, this rice noodle salad is loaded up with healthy veggies and is perfect for mid-week lunches. Can be made ahead! Vegan, GF! Hands down the most popular Thai recipe on the blog!
Thai Sweet Potato Soup with coconut milk, lemongrass and ginger… a light and healthy Thai recipe that is Vegan and Gluten free!
Pan-seared Thai Red Curry Chicken – a simple, easy 3 ingredient Thai chicken recipe, using Thai red curry paste as a quick flavorful rub. Flavorful, healthy, fast and delicious!
THAI GREEN CURRY NOODLE SOUP a simple easy dinner recipe loaded up with healthy veggies and your choice of chicken of tofu.
THAI TURKEY BURGERS with crunchy Carrot Cabbage Slaw, Cucumber Ribbons & Spicy Aioli. Light, healthy, Delicious! Easy to make.
Hope you enjoy these flavorul soul-warming Thai Recipes! Let me know your favoites in the comments below!
Take a look at this Printable List What to Buy at the Asian Market!
Have a beautiful inspiring week!
Top 10 Thai Recipes!
Here are my Top 10 Thai Recipes to help take the chill out of winter. Inspired by the flavors of Thailand, these simple easy recipes are healthy, fast, and vegan adaptable!
- Author: Sylvia Fountaine
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6
- Category: Thai recipe
- Method: stovetop, Instant pot
- Cuisine: Thailand
- Green Curry
- Red curry
- yellow curry
- lots of vegetables!
Pick out a few to try this week!
Keywords: best thai recipes, easy thai recipes, thai recipes, thai recipes with chicken, vegetarian thai recipes, thai recipes with tofu, vegan thai recipes,
The homemade curry paste for this Spicy Healthier Red Thai Chicken Curry is easy and packed with flavour!
I love a good curry at the weekend. I’ll often reach for the ready-made curry paste out of convenience, but in fact it only takes 5 minutes more to make your own paste from scratch.
The result is a fresher, more vibrant taste, with the added bonus that you can adjust the heat to whatever level you fancy.
Nearly all of the ingredients are strong in flavour, but they meld together perfectly for a taste explosion!
I’m using reduced fat coconut milk, just to help keep the fat content down a little, but you can use full fat if you prefer.
If you do use the reduced fat coconut milk, it’s important to remember not to boil the curry, as the coconut milk is likely to separate, making it look a little lumpy.
Healthier food really can taste good!
I’m on my last week with my personal trainer this week.
I managed to lose 7 pounds over the 5 weeks, which I’m pretty happy with, as I made a special point of not starving myself (in fact that’s one of my main aims in life).
I probably had a few too many cheat days – otherwise I might have got to my 10 pound target – but I’m determined to get those last 3 pounds off before Easter.
Easy dinner swaps like this have been great in helping to fill me up, without feeling deprived – you know – that feeling were you still need ‘something’ to satisfy your appetite in the evening. I hate that feeling!
If you like this red curry, try my skinny green Thai curry too:
or my slow cooker spicy beef curry:
Add lots of veggies in to up the nutritional value.
You can even serve with cauliflower rice if you’re being really good! The sauciness of the curries soaks into the cauliflower rice, making it really tasty.
I first made this recipe for SuperFood Magazine.
Healthier Red Thai Chicken Curry – without the shop-bought sauce!
The homemade curry paste for this Spicy Healthier Red Thai Chicken Curry is easy and packed with flavour! 5 from 3 votes Pin The Recipe For Later Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 20 mins Total Time: 40 mins Course: Dinner Cuisine: Asian, Thai Servings: 4 servings Author: Nicky Corbishley
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 chicken breasts about 200g (7oz) each, chopped into bite-size chunks
- 2 red bird’s eye chillies roughly chopped
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 5 kaffir lime leaves dried or fresh
- 1 lemongrass stalk finely chopped (or 1 tsp lemongrass paste)
- 4 shallots peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tbsp paprika
- 1 yellow bell pepper deseeded and sliced
- 80 g mangetout (snow peas), sliced in half
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- ½ tsp honey
- 400 ml tin reduced fat coconut milk
- 1 small bunch Coriander leaves
- 1 red chilli finely sliced
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium-to-high heat. Add the chicken, and cook for 5 minutes until sealed.
- Whilst the chicken is cooking, place the red chillies, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, cumin, ground coriander and paprika into a food processor. Blend until the mixture forms into a paste.
- Add the paste to the chicken in the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to coat the chicken.
- Add the yellow pepper, mangetout, fish sauce, lime and honey. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. By this time the chicken should be cooked through (you can check this by cutting the largest piece of chicken you can find in half and ensuring it’s no longer pink in the middle).
- Add the coconut milk and heat through until almost boiling. Don’t let it boil, or it may curdle. *Optional – if you would like the sauce to be a little thicker, mix 1 tbsp of cornflour with 2 tbsp cold water and stir into the sauce.
- Serve the Thai curry with brown rice. Top with fresh coriander leaves and slices of red chilli.
Nutritional information is per serving and does not include rice.
Nutrition Facts Healthier Red Thai Chicken Curry – without the shop-bought sauce! Amount Per Serving Calories 267 Calories from Fat 108 % Daily Value* Fat 12g18% Saturated Fat 7g35% Cholesterol 54mg18% Sodium 543mg23% Potassium 597mg17% Carbohydrates 15g5% Fiber 2g8% Sugar 4g4% Protein 20g40% Vitamin A 855IU17% Vitamin C 92.9mg113% Calcium 36mg4% Iron 2.1mg12% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Tried this recipe?Mention @KitchenSanctuary or tag #kitchensanctuary on Instagram!