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One of the challenges to cooking Thai foods away from Thailand is having the right ingredients. The majority of the ingredients are not common to Westerners and tough to find. Just knowing the name of the ingredient sometimes is not enough. You have to know what to look for too. I bring you pictures of the ingredients and background knowledge to help make your shopping for the ingredients less frustrating.

 

Chilli (Phrik)

          There are several varieties are available in Thailand. Fresh chillies come in red, green, and yellow and in various sizes. The smaller the chilli, the hotter it is. Green chillies are hotter than red ones of the same size.

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Dried Chilli (Phrik Haeng)

          Phrik Haeng is red spur chillies dried either in the sun or by smoking. They may be large or small, depending on the variety of spur chilli used. Bright red dried chillies should be selected for the color they lend chilli pastes.

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Garlic (Kra-Thiem)

          It is the major ingredient in all Thai foods, for examples, garlic is in all types of curries as well as of stir-fried, soups, sauces salads.

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Shallot (Hom Lek)

           Shallot or small red onion is a very important ingredient in most Thai dishes. They are used in curry paste, dips and salads.

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Turmeric (Khan-Min)

          Turmeric is a parental plant of the ginger family. The flesh is in a bright carrot orange. A yellow colored rhizome used for flavor and coloring. The dried root is used in curry powder.

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Galangal (Kha)

         Kha is an erect annual plant with aromatic, ginger-like rhizomes, and commonly used in Thai cooking as a flavouring. And also used in curry pastes.

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Lime Leaves (Bai Ma-Krut)

          Lime leaves are one of major ingredient of famous Sour and Spicy Soup. They are also used for garnishing with finely sliced in some of curry dishes and spicy salads.

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Lime or Thai Lemon (Ma-nao)

         It is used principally as a garnish for fish and meat dishes. They are also used for garnishing with sliced in some salad dishes and lime juice is used for salads and soups.

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Lemon Grass (Ta-Khrai)

          It is a highly aromatic plant with a very strong lemon fragrance and flavour. The whole stem is to be bruised with a pestle and cut for making spicy soup, salads and also curry paste.

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Celery (Kheun Chai)

         It has very small stalks (only a few millimeters across) and has a very strong flavour. It is used in seafood stir-fried dishes, salads and is one vital ingredients in Thai soup stock.

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Coriander or Chinese Parsley (Pak Chee)

         There are there parts of coriander are used in Thai cooking. Leaves and stem are eaten fresh and used for garnishing. The roots are also used often pounded with garlic and pepper to make a marinade and curry paste. Coriander seeds are used as an in gradient in making curry paste.

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Holy Basil (Bai Ka-Phrao)

            It is added to stir-fired meat dish, Pad Ka-Phrao, or red curry cooked without coconut milk, Kaeng Pa. If it is unavailable then sweet basil can be substitute but the taste is not the same.

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Bay Leaf (Bai Kra-Wan)

           Bay leaf is about 7 cm long, in grayish green. They are employed as one of ingredients in making curry paste.

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Thai Eggplants (Ma-Kheua)

          There is another type of eggplant which can also be added in  curries, spicy salads, these ones called Ma Kheua Praw. They are in round shape with stripes, about the size of baby green tomatoes.

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Shiitake Mushroom (Het Hom)

          Shiitake mushroom in one of the most highly prized foods in Oriental cuisine. They are also sold dried and must be soaked in water for about 20 minutes before cooking in stir-fried dishes or clear soup.

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Fennel (Yi-Ra)

          It has yellow-brown seeds, about 5 mm in length. They are roasted and ground and employed in curry paste.

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Pandanus Leaf (Bai Toey)

           Pandanus leaf is the long, bright green leaf of a small palm and is used in making sweets for flavor and coloring.

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Taro or Taro Root (Puak)

          There are many types and sizes of taro roots. All are somewhat hairy, dark-skinned and rough textured on the outside. The flesh of some varieties turns from white or grayish to light purple when cooked. Starchy in texture, cooked taro root is sweet and nutty in flavor.

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Truffle or Water Chestnut (Haew)

          It is the tuber of certain kinds of sedges. The skin is dark and the crunchy meat inside is off-white. They are used in making sweets and also used in foods.

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Tamarind Juice (Nam Som Ma-Kham)

             It is obtained by mixing the tamarind pulp with water and squeezing out the juice. Ready made tamarind juice is readily available in Asian food stores.

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Palm Sugar (Nam Tan Puek)

         This type of palm sugar is employed in desserts cooking with coconut milk. Dark brown sugar can be substituted.

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Palm Sugar (Nam Tan Pip)

          It is made by boiling the sap of coconut palms or today palms so that the liquid solidifies into a cake. In Thai cuisine it's preferred for its mild-sweet taste. Dark brown sugar can be substituted.

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Dried Shrimp (Kung Haeng)

          Dried Shrimp are small shrimp which have been dried in the sun. The quality product is plump orange and whitish shrimp with a minimum of debris. They are used for flavour in salads, clear soups and sauces.

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Chilli Sauce (Sauce Phrik)

          There are several commercially prepared bottled sauces. This Thai style chilli sauce is made from chilli, salt, sugar and vinegar that made mixture of hot, sweet and salty flavours.

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Oyster Sauce (Nam Man Hoy)

          The thick brown, salty and strongly flavour, made from oyster and soy sauce. It adds extra flavour to meat, fish, poultry and vegetable dish, particularly stir-fries. the bottle can be stored in the refrigerator for a long time.

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Light Soy Sauce (See-Ieu Khao)

          Made from soybeans, flour, salt and water. It is a clear brown liquid used in much the same way that fish sauce is. Use light soy sauce for shrimp, chicken and pork.

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Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)

          It is a watery, pale brown colour, made from fermented fish or shrimp. The fishes are salted and fermented in jars and then the liquid is collected. It is widely used in Thai cooking for authentic Thai flvours. They are many different brands which are available at Asian stores. They are very in colour from pale to dark brown, some stronger and saltier then others.

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                                               19-12-2000 / Nammi