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Guide to vegetables, herbs and roots used in Thai cooking.
(the Thai name is in parentheses). Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3
Thai Holy Basil (Bai Grapow) Thai Basil (bai horapha) Lemon Basil (maengluck)
Holy Basil (Bai Grapow) Peppery is perhaps the best way to describe this type of basil, which is used in stir-fries. Holy Basil is typically not eaten raw and can be frozen or dried for later use. Thai Basil (Bai Horapha) With an anise-like flavor, Thai basil is used in curries and stir-fries. It's also eaten fresh with noodle soup and will not keep for long (it also does not freeze or dry well). Lemon Basil (Bai Maeng-luck) Used in soups and to flavor steamed fish and vegetables, lemon basil has a real citrus-like aroma and flavor. It can be frozen or dried for later use (called e-too in Lao).
Kaffir Lime Leaves (bai makrut) Galanga Root (kah in Thai) Lemon Grass (Ta Khrai in Thai)
Kaffir Lime leaves (Bai Makrut) are used whole in soups and curries and cut-up for salads. They can be preserved in the freezer. Galanga (Kah) is used in soups such as Tom Yum and Tom Kha Gai, curry pastes and is sliced up for use in salads. Lemon Grass (Ta Khrai) is used in soups such as Tom Yum, Thai curries and is sliced for use in salads.
Ginger Root (king in Thai) Young Ginger (king on in Thai) Krachai (rhizome)
Ginger (King) is used in many different dishes. It's spicier than galanga and the skin must be peeled before using. Young Ginger (King On) is picked earlier than ginger and has a more subtle flavor. The skin can be left on for cooking. Krachai (Rhizome), a relative of ginger, is used in Kanom Jeen Numya, a curry dish. It's available frozen or in jars.
Thai Chili (Prik Kee Noo in Thai) Dried Thai Chili (prik hang) Turmeric (kamin in Thai)
Turmeric (Kamin), a relative of ginger, adds yellow color to food and is an integral ingredient in some curry pastes.
Thai Chili (Prik Kee Noo) is used in many Thai dishes and is often eaten raw, too. Phet! (Hot) Dried Thai Chili (Prik Hang) is used in soups, salads and stir-fries and is ground or served whole.
Thai Eggplant (makeua praow) Cherry Eggplant (makeua poo-ung) Chinese Eggplant (makuea muang)
Cherry Eggplant (Makuea Poo-ung) is used in curries and is eaten with Nam Prik. It's very bitter! Chinese or Purple Eggplant (Makuea Muang) is used is used in stir-fries or is steamed.
Thai Eggplant (Makuea Praow) is used in curries, Som Tum, and is eaten raw.
Long Bean (tua fak yaow) Green Papaya (malagaw in Thai) Pickle (tang kwa in Thai)
Long Bean (Tua Fak Yaow) is used in curries, stir-fries, and Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad). They're crunchier than regular green beans. Green Papaya (Malagaw) is shredded to make the famous spicy Thai salad called Som Tum! Green unripe papaya is available in most Asian markets.
Pickle (Tang Kwa) Pickling cucumbers are crunchier than regular cucumbers and are eaten raw or used to make a salad called Tum Tang (it's similar to Som Tum).
Pac Peow (bai prik ma in Thai) Mint (salanae in Thai) Culantro (pak chee farang)
Pac Peow (Bai Prik Ma) is eaten raw with salads or noodles. Pac peow can be found in many Southeast Asian markets Mint (Salanae) is used in Laab and other salads and is served with noodle soup. Culantro (Pak Chee Farang) is usually eaten raw and can also be cut up and added to Laab (Isaan Meat Salad).
Water Spinach (pak boong, ong choy) Krachet (water mimosa plant) Cha-om Thai vegetable
Water Spinach (Pak Boong in Thai and Ong Choy in Chinese) is generally cooked with oyster sauce or soy sauce and is also eaten raw. Krachet is grown in water and the foam-like material covering the stem must be removed before eating.
Cha-om is a very unusual tasting (and smelling) vegetable that is eaten raw or cooked with eggs.
Kowtong (Thai vegetable) Bitter Leaf (Chapoo in Thai) Kayang (Thai vegetable)
Kayang is an herb that is eaten raw (in Northeast Thailand) or used to make Om. Kayang has a very unusual flavor.
Kowtong is eaten raw or can also be used in salads. It has a fish-like flavor. Bitter Leaf (Chapoo in Thai and E-lert in Lao) is eaten raw or used in soup or salads.
Vegetable Guide
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