About Thai Food
Herbs and Spicies

Some important herbs and spices
          Thai food is currently enjoying and international vogue. There are numerous Thai restaurant all over the world used essential herbs and spices in Thai cooking. The proper combination of these ingredients is regarded as and art in Thailand, one that required both skill and time. The preparation of single sauce can take hours of grinding, tasting and delicate adjustment until the exact balance of flavors is achieved. Only then, can the true glory of Thai cooking be fully appreciated.

Basil (Horapha, Kaproa)
          Horapha, Kaproa are varieties of sweet basil. Horapha is used here as a vegetable and for flavoring. Fresh leaves can be chew as a breath freshener. Kaproa leaves are narrower and often tied with radish purple.
Cinnamon (Ob choei)
          From the bark of a tree, the type of only one kind, that from the cassia tree. It is used in meat dishes and particularly in massaman curry as garnish.
Bird Chili (Phrik khi nu)
          The smallest of the chilies, of which the called phrik khi nu suan is the hottest. Take care when chopping them, and do not rub your eyes. Chilies stimulate blood circulation and are reputed to help prevent heart disease and cancer.
Chlli (phrik chi fa)
          Phirk chi fa are finger size, growing 9-12 centimeters in lenght and either yellow, red or green, Not as hot as the bird chilli. There is no discernable difference between the colours.
Citron (Som sa)
          Citron (Citrus medica var limetta) is a round dark green fruit. Its thick, very aromatic skin is much used for flavoring. Sour orange juice and orange peel would make the best substitute.
Cloves (Kanplu)
          Cloves (Eugenia aromatica) are the dried flower buds of and evergreen tree native to Malacca Islands. They are almost are expensive as saffron because crops often fail, they are much used in western cooking and the oil is antiseptic. Cloves are used in massaman curry and to chew as relief for toothache.
Coriander (Phak chee)
          The leaves are often chosen for decoration, with stem and roots for seasoning. Heavily used in Asian kitchens, the Thai kitchen is the one to use the roots as well.
Cumin (Yira)
          Seeds look like caraway and fennel, but taste quite different and have to be heated to release their aroma. Only cumin is used in Thai cooking, mainly in the making of curry pastes.
Garlic (Krathiam)
          Thailand is literally overflowing with garlic plants. Whole cloves, smashed garlic and garlic oil are used in almost of every Thai dish. To make garlic oil, chop a handful of garlic, and fry it in plenty of hot oil until golden. The oil and the fried garlic can be stored in a jar for garnishing soup and for tossing with noodles and rice.
Ginger (khing)
          Resembling a flat hand, ginger has over 400 members included in its family. Always choose young fresh ginger if available. Easily grated, it id eaten raw or cooked and is used widely in many Asian cuisines. Young ginger pounded with a little salt, pepper and garlic is good too as a marinate for chicken or beef. Ginger is acknowledged to improve digestion and to counteract nausea and vomiting.
          No English common name of Krachai (Kaempferia pandurata). The tubers of this member of the ginger family look like a bunch of yellow brown fingers. Krachai is always added to fish curries, and peeled and served as a raw vegetable with the popular summer rice dish, Khoa chae.