Thai cuisine is renowned all around the world for being delicious and flavorful. There is so much variety that you are sure to find something you like, whether it is a mild, fragrant dish or a spicy, eye-watering one.
Here are nine ingredients that every Thai household keeps in stock:
Most Western Thai food recipes call for bird’s eye chilis. However, there are so many more types of chilis that Thais use in their cooking. The majority of them are much spicier than those commonly available in Western countries, but there are a couple milder ones too.
Garlic is one of the base flavors in every Thai dish. Every household will always have an abundance of garlic, and it is either crushed, chopped, or just thrown in whole with just about every entree.
Sesame is another flavor that is often included in Thai food. Sometimes it is used in the form of oil, and sometimes it is just used for garnish.
Dorg Junn (Mace)
Many curry pastes have mace as a component. Mace is the hard shell surrounding nutmeg, and that yellow Masaman curry you love would not be the same without it. It is what adds the flavor and coloring to the dish.
Ta-Krai (Lemon Grass)
Soups and curries often contain lemon grass for flavor. It is usually crushed a bit for the fragrance to come out. You don’t chew and swallow the lower part of the stalk, but some people do chop and eat the top part in some dishes.
Ma-Grut (Kaffir Lime)
Kaffir lime is a very weird looking fruit, but it makes for some great flavor. You can either use the juice or the peel to add a sour taste in the same way that you would a lemon. The leaves are also often used for flavoring.
Ginger is a base ingredient in quite a few soups and curries. It is either put in to boil with stock or made into a paste and stir fried until fragrant. Depending on how much you use, you could end up with a subtle aroma or a spicy ginger taste.
You’ve probably tasted the light flavor of jasmine tea. This flavor is gotten from jasmine plant flowers, picked in the evening just as they are opening up. It is often used for a light flavoring for desserts or teas, as it also has a pleasant scent. Some people even use it to add a little something to normal rice.
People often don’t taste the cinnamon in Thai dishes, but we can assure you that it’s there. It is included in many curries, meats, and desserts to give a slightly more complex flavor. It is never the main attraction, but it definitely plays a part in the overall taste of the dish.