Dining the Thai way
What is Thai Food
Thai Herbs

Thai Herbs

Basil - there are two types of basil commonly use in Thai food, each one with a slightly different appearance, flavor and use.
Thai Basil (Horapa) - The most common of all three types. Thai basil has a sweet, anise flavor and looks similar to the western sweet basil. It is mostly used in curry dishes.
Holy Basil (Kaprow) - This variety tastes like cloves, and is just as pungent, which explains its alternative name; hot basil. The leaves release their full flavor only when cooked. It is often used in fish dishes, and sautéed with meat.
Cardamom (Krawan) - Cardamoms have a warm, pungent flavor. It is used in both savoury and sweet dishes. In Thailand, it is one of the flavorings for massaman curry.
Bay Leaf (Bai Krawan) - Thai bay leaf is not the same as the Western bay, both plants belong to the family Lauraceae and have a similar flavor. Thai bay leaves are used in Massaman curry and soups.
Chillies (Prik) - These are such an intrinsic part of the Thai cuisine to five a hot, spicy flavor. Chilli contains capsaicin, a biologically active ingredient beneficial to the respiratory system, blood pressure and heart.
Cilantro (Pak Chee) - The entire plant is used in Thai cooking. Each part, whether roots, stems, leaves, or seeds, has its own unique flavor and specific use. The fresh, delicate leaves are used in sauces, curries, and for garnishes, the roots and stems are crushed and used for marinades, and the seeds are ground to add flavor to various curry pastes.
Cumin (Yira) - The whole seeds of this aromatic spice are not used in Thai cooking, but ground cumin is an important ingredient in curry pastes.
Galangal (Kah) - This is a member of the ginger family and it has a similar appearance. It is slightly harder than ginger, but is used in much the same way. Young galangal has a lemony flavor, and is best used in soups. As it matures, the flavor intensifies and becomes more peppery and is used in curry pastes
Lesser Galangal (Krachai) - The flavor of this spice is a cross between ginger and black pepper and the fresh spice is most often used in jungle curries and fish dishes.
Garlic (Kratiem) - Thais use huge amounts of garlic in their cooking. Thai garlic tends to be smaller and more pungent than most garlic. It typically has a thin pink skin, which is seldom removed before use.
Ginger (Khing) - The roots are used medicinally and for flavoring food. Young roots are used to flavor drinks, use in marinades for meat, and also use in some desserts.
Kaffir Lime (Ma Krut) - The leaves, peel and juice of the Kaffir Lime are used as a flavoring in Thai cuisine. The leaves are often used in soups, and peel is the ingredient in most Thai curry pastes. The major therapeutic benefit of the juice is as an appetizer.
Lemongrass (Ta Krai) - This is one of an essential ingredient in Thai cooking. Lemongrass is a citrus flavored plant and is often used in spicy soups.
Mint (Saranae) - Mint is a popular herb in Thailand. The leaves are often used fresh in spicy salads.
Pepercorns (Prik Thai) - Thai cooks use only two types of peppercorns: white for seasoning and green as a garnish and flavor for jungle curries and stir-fries.
Tamarind (Ma Kam) - Tamarind juice is one of the main souring agents in Thai cooking and is an essential ingredient of several Thai dishes. It is both fruity and refreshing and has a tart and sour flavor without being bitter.
Turmeric (Kamin) - It has unique aromatic characteristics and use to provide yellow coloring for Thai food. In Thailand it often forms part of curry pastes and also in the marinades for meat.

@ The Spice