The Thai Dishes Jet Tila Warms Up With During The Fall And Winter - Exclusive

Even those with only a base-level knowledge of Thai food can recognize the distinct flavor notes that make up the core of this cuisine — sugar, chili, lime, fish sauce, vegetables, herbs, protein, and often coconut milk. It's a lot of bright, hot, and acidic flavors, and given the fact that Thailand is itself a tropical country, it's no surprise that many people think of Thai food as great for summertime meals. Even when it comes to Thai curry, the bright and colorful flavors tend to be on the lighter side — and paired with a tart papaya salad or a rice paper-wrapped spring roll, you've got the perfect lunch for a hot, sunny day or a warm summer night paired with some white wine.

However, any true expert in Thai food will tell you that it is a year-round cuisine with the potential to be adapted and enjoyed in any season. Jet Tila, perhaps one of the most recognizable faces of Thai cooking, would agree. When he's cooking at home in the fall and winter months, he's putting a spin on his favorite Thai dishes with seasonal ingredients that celebrate the time of year while warming us up as the temperatures go down.

Tasting Table caught up with Jet Tila recently for an exclusive interview on his recent projects and his plans for the holiday season. The chef also shared what comes to mind when he thinks of Thai comfort food for the fall and winter months and how he's adapting a go-to dish to savor the season.

Fall veggies make for fantastic fall curries, says Jet Tila

As the weather starts to get cold, Jet Tila says, "We're in the season of rich, dense [foods and flavors]." For him, it's "the season of curry." Tila is all about putting a fall-focused spin on his recipes, featuring harvest produce. "In fall, root vegetables are everything, so it's taking pumpkin and squash and kabocha," he says, adding, "This is the season to tie in hardier starches into bigger dishes." Try adding any one of those veggies to a Thai curry base, or add some roasted root veggies to a batch of Thai fried rice. 

While Tila says curry is always his go-to this time of year, he mentions another spicy favorite he likes to put a fall spin on. "Tom kha, to me, is all year round," says Tila. But when the holiday season rolls around, he likes to adapt the coconut chicken soup by subbing in a turkey broth. "I've done it with turkey bones, and it works out really nicely," adds Tila. This is another dish you could try adding some butternut squash or another fall veggie to, leaning into the season while indulging in your Thai food cravings. 

Keep up with the latest from Jet Tila by following him on Instagram and YouTube.