My Story

July 26, 2016 11 Comments

The author with plate of Som Tam

I grew up in a small village in the north-east of Thailand. Our methods of preparing food were very traditional and I was set to work with the mortar & pestle from a very early age. We would grow most of our ingredients ourselves, raise our own chickens and catch fish in the nearby rivers or rice paddies. Supermarkets had yet to make an appearance and what shopping we did was in local markets.

Although many things have changed since then, a lot of the values remain the same. We have supermarkets selling fresh food and canned goods but the ready-made meals we are so used to seeing in the UK don’t really exist in Thailand. The abundance of cheap eating places and street food is truly astounding, it’s often far more expensive to assemble the ingredients to cook yourself a meal than it is to stop off at a food stall on the way home and pick up a very satisfying dinner. My idea of Thai heaven is to be sitting in a bustling street food area watching the chefs juggling the woks over huge gas burners and creating an amazing variety of dishes, you can keep the beaches!

All that changed when I came to the UK and found out that street food usually consisted of a dodgy hot dog and that Thai restaurants were not only expensive but much westernised. I have a real problem with that, I remember reading a food critic’s review of a restaurant saying “You westernise Thai food and it loses its soul”. How true that is. I’m not just talking about cutting down on the spiciness either but the general muting down of the tastes essential in Thai food, the sour and the sweet and the salt and the spicy that should balance each other.

It wasn't long before I realised that I was going to have to make my own curry pastes to recreate the taste of home. Living in London I was fortunate in that I was at least able to obtain the ingredients in places like Chinatown, sometimes with difficulty, for example it can often be difficult to get hold of enough Coriander root. Coriander easy, but in the UK you mostly find the roots have been cut off, duh, you throw away the best bit!

You’re probably thinking by now that I’m a little short sighted as I must have missed the tubs of Thai curry paste on the shelves in Chinatown and increasingly now in supermarkets. Not at all, I had even seen TV programs about them in Thailand and what a successful export product they were. In fact they export nearly all their production because in the picture below you can see how we buy our curry pastes in Thailand when we are not making them ourselves.

Curry pastes for sale market stall Thailand

You’re looking at freshly mixed pastes. At this stage they are still a work in progress as they are uncooked. We then take them home and cook, continually adjusting the taste with fish sauce or chillies, shrimp paste etc to our own personal taste before adding our meat, fish or vegetables. It’s in cooking the paste where we achieve that final balance of the tastes we need in Thai cooking. For me this is where the factory produced pastes fall down, if you are going to cook with lots of fresh ingredients (not that I am saying they do) you need to be constantly tasting the paste and balancing it as you cook. You can't just cook to a formula, the levels of spiciness, saltiness, sweetness, sourness,change constantly with fresh ingredients. I think this applies to any style of cooking but probably never more so than in Thai food where we are trying to achieve harmony between different ingredients that "logic" tells us shouldn't even be in the same cooking pot.

I prepare and cook these pastes carefully balancing the taste in the hope that you can experience how Thai food should really taste. Hope you enjoy them!

Nitsa.

PS. Many thanks to my husband and daughter for their help with this website. Any mistakes or errors are entirely their fault. :-)




11 Responses

Sandra
Sandra

February 13, 2023

These came up in my online news feed a few times so I decided to give them a go, and ordered a couple to try.
All I have to say is wow! They are so much better than anything you can get in a supermarket.
We had the Bangkok Green Curry last week, and it was lovely!
Last night we had the Jungle Curry and it was superb if you like really hot food, a great combination of tastes.
Just placed my second order, and I think there will be a lot more.
Thanks

Ian McKay
Ian McKay

October 28, 2022

Where to start?

Nitsa’s base pastes are a treasure trove of goodness.

If one’s sole experience of Thai cuisine is based on mass produced pastes made by an automated factory production process, Nitsa’s creations will be a real eye opener….well, a mouth opener as well…

My relationship with the well known high street brands of Thai pastes ran its course a long time ago, so much so, I was making my own pastes…..and that’s tedious!

When I stumbled across ‘my thai curry.com’, I thought “that looks interesting”, so I placed a small ‘try out’ order.

The yellow curry was an instant hit at the dinner table….I made no mention I was trying out new ingredients, but all family members present immediately remarked how good it was, and what did I do differently.

Nitsa’s products are not cheap….but it’s a fact of life you get what you pay for.

So I ask the question….would you rather buy your ingredients based on what you prefer to pay, or what you prefer to eat?

The answer must be obvious……

Ian McKay
Ian McKay

November 21, 2022

Where to start?

Nitsa’s base pastes are a treasure trove of goodness.

If one’s sole experience of Thai cuisine is based on mass produced pastes made by an automated factory production process, Nitsa’s creations will be a real eye opener….well, a mouth opener as well…

My relationship with the well known high street brands of Thai pastes ran its course a long time ago, so much so, I was making my own pastes…..and that’s tedious!

When I stumbled across ‘my thai curry.com’, I thought “that looks interesting”, so I placed a small ‘try out’ order.

The yellow curry was an instant hit at the dinner table….I made no mention I was trying out new ingredients, but all family members present immediately remarked how good it was, and what did I do differently.

Nitsa’s products are not cheap….but it’s a fact of life you get what you pay for.

So I ask the question….would you rather buy your ingredients based on what you prefer to pay, or what you prefer to eat?

The answer must be obvious……

Amanda
Amanda

April 04, 2022

I spend a lot of time in Thailand and every time I use one of your pastes they take me right back there. They are fantastic, keep the recipes coming and the pastes I just want more!

Andy
Andy

August 18, 2021

I tried the Ref Thai Curry and have to say the flavours were amazing.

Joanna
Joanna

May 12, 2021

I also came across your website a few years ago in the comments section of a bbc good food recipe and have been buying your pastes ever since! Also thanks to your advice I now always make sure my coconut milk is at least 70% which makes all the difference

Deb
Deb

October 15, 2019

I found your website whilst Googling a Thai prawn curry recipe that I found the BBC Good Food site (a user highly recommended your pastes). I have ordered a selection of pastes and cannot wait to try them. Every photograph on your site looks mouthwatering.

Sarah Wilde
Sarah Wilde

March 20, 2018

Simply- THE BEST!

Christa Bond
Christa Bond

September 22, 2017

This is amazing :) Just woww

Phillip Perkins
Phillip Perkins

August 04, 2017

I have your Red Thai Curry Paste with chicken, The Best!
your pastes last a long time unopened which is great for storing until special occasion

Richard
Richard

January 20, 2017

wow, wow, wow…what else can I say but wow !! I have now had 3 of your sauces, Thai Green, Red and Chiang Mai and really don’t think I have ever had any better.. also worth mentioning I took your advise and found a coconut milk with 60% milk and that just simply lifted the meals to another level..
I don’t expect to be buying pastes from anyone else for a very long time.. thank you

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