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March 15, 2021 2 min read

The Basics of Thai Herbs and Spices

Thai cuisine is challenging because it requires many spices & ingredients.  The wide array of spices and herbs is key towards making every dish taste authentic. If you put in the effort to source these ingredients, you’ll be rewarded with depths of flavour. 


Red Chili (prik)


Thai cuisine is all about spice, so red chili gives the perfect kick. Red chili are often used as garnishes, condiments, andused whole or minced to flavor sauces, stir-fries, and pastes.


Galangal (kha)


Galangal is known as the “Thai ginger” - it has similar flavours to Western ginger however it is more earthy and contains a citrusy-piney perfume. This herb is used across many Thai curries and soups.


Sweet Basil (ka prao)


If you want to make a classic red or green curry, you absolutely need basil. Sweet basil, also known as Thai basil, hasanise- and licorice-like flavour with a slight spice. 


Kaffir Lime Leaves (bai makrood)


“Kaffir limes”, or “Makrut limes” leave a strong, pleasant aroma. This fruit’s leaves are slightly sour, but still refreshing.  You’ll find this herb in curries, sauces, Thai seafood sauce, and soups.


Lemongrass (takrai)


Lemongrass is soft and sweet in lemony flavour, where the wood flavours balance its acidic profiles. This herb can be chopped, pounded, cut into long pieces and “bruised” (bent and kneaded or even lightly cut in several places).  Lemongrass is essential for soups and curries, as well ascomplements chicken and seafood satays very well.


Thai herbs and spices are very hard to find in Canada, so we want to make it easy to get these crucial spices! Check out Blue Elephant’s variety of Thai spices  here.



Image Sources:

Red chili -VEGBOX_149_2048x.jpg 

Galangal -Galangal-root-1296x728-header-1296x728.jpg 

Sweet basil -Basilleaf_1200x1200.jpg

Kaffir lime -4256.jpg 

Lemongrass - Lemongrass-towels-how-to-1.jpg

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