Thai spices for cooking

This erect annual plant with aromatic rhizomes and yellow-brown roots, is used as a flavouring. The rhizomes contain approximately 0.8 % volatile oil. The plant has stomachache relieving and antimicrobial properties, and therapeutic benefits as an antitussive and antiflatulence agent.


Greater Galanga is an erect annual plant with aromatic, ginger-like rhizomes, and commonly used in Thai cooking as a flavouring. The approximately 0.04 volatile oil content has therapeutic uses as carminative, stomachic, antirheumatic and antimicrobial agents.

bai dtawng (ใบตอง )Banana leaf wrappers

bai graprow, bai ka phrao, bai kaprao (ใบกะเพรา )
Thai Holy Basil Leaf
Sacred Basil is an annual herbaceous plant that resembles Sweet Basil but has narrower and oftentimes reddish-purple leaves. The fresh leaves, which are used as a flavouring, contain approximately 0.5 % volatile oil, which exhibits antimicrobial activity, specifically as a carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant and stomachic.

bai maeng lak(ใบแมงลัก)Lemon Basil or Hoary Basil Leaf
Hoary Basil is an annual herbaceous plant with slightly hairy and pale green leaves, eaten either raw or used as a flavouring, and containing approximately 0.7 % volatile oil. Therapeutic benefits include the alleviation of cough symptoms, and as diaphoretic and carminative agents.

bai horapah (ใบโหระพา )
Sweet Thai BasilTastes rather like anise, looks like European sweet basil, and is used in red and green curries. Sweet Basil is an annual herbaceous plant, the fresh leaves of which are either eaten raw or used as a flavouring in Thai cooking. Volatile oil content varies according to different varieties. Therapeutic properties are as carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, digestant and stomachic agents.

bai magroot (ใบมะกรูด)Kaffir Lime Leaf

bai toey (ใบเดย)
Pandanus Leaf EssencePandanus leaf essence, also called "dteuy hohm", "bay toey" or screwpine leaf flavoring, is Thailand's equivalent to vanilla flavoring. It has an earthy fragrance and taste and is usually added to coconut milk based sweets.

buap liam(บวบเหลี่ยม)
Sponge gourd, angle gourd, angled luffaAlso known as angle gourd, angled luffa, or Chinese okra. Fruits have raised ridges running from end to end, resembling okra. The ridged fruit is 1-2 ft. long and 2 inches across and is lighter than the Smooth Skin Luffa. This variety is very popular for cooking use in China and Vietnam. Flesh is very tender and delicious.

cha om (ชะอม)
Acacia LeafAcacia pennata. The feathery shoots are used in soups, curries, omlettes, and stir fries.

chaplu, chaploo, shaploo(ชะพลู)
Wild Pepper, Cha-PluPiper sarmentosum. Sometimes wrongly identified as Piper betle, which doesn't have glossy and tender leaves. The leaves are heart-shaped, light green when young and shiny dark green when mature. The upper side of the leaf is smooth while the underside is somewhat rough. The leaf has a pleasant fragrance and a refreshing taste. I once had it served with laab muu as a wrapper for the minced pork.

dton hawm, ton hom(ต้นหอม) Green Onions, Spring Onions

galum-dawk (กะหล่ำดอก) Cauliflower

gratium (กระเทียม)Garlic

guy chaay (กุยช้าย )
Chinese ChiveAllium tuberosum, also known as garlic chives, the flavor is more like garlic than chives, though much milder. Both leaves and the stalks of the flowers are used as a flavoring similarly to chives, green onions or garlic and are used as a stir fry ingredient. In China, they are often used to make dumplings with a combination of egg, shrimp and pork. The flowers may also be used as a spice.

hawm daeng (หอมแดง )Red Shallots

hed fang (เห็ดฟาง)Straw Mushroom

kah min (ขมิ้น )
TumericCurcuma longa, is a small ginger with brown rhizones. Inside the flesh is bright orange.

kao pohd (ข้าวโพด)
CornUsually baby corn (ข้าวโพดอ่อน, literally young corn) is used in Thai cuisine

king (ขิง)
GingerZingiber officinale, grows from underground stems, or rhisome. Mature ginger stems are buff-colored; young or fresh ginger, king awn ขิงอ่อน, is white and is eaten fresh and pickled, as well as cooked.

ma-groot (มะกรูด)Kaffir Lime

makheua fuang(มะเขือพวง)
Pea EggplantSolanum torvum, small pea-sized green eggplants with smooth skin. The young fruit is eaten as a fresh vegetable, put in nam prik, or used in curry, green curry, and gaeng gai.

ma kua poh, makheua pro (มะเขือเปราะ )
Thai EggplantSolanum melongena, also known as Brinjal, Thai eggplants are small and round and a a creamy white color with green stripes. They are eaten as a fresh vegetable with nam prik, or used in curry and in

maprao, ma praao (มะพร้าว )Coconut


ma-naao (มะนาว)
LimeAlso used for lemon which is not commonly available in Thailand.

pak boong thai, phak bung thai (ผักบุ้งไทย )
Thai Water Morning Glory, Thai Water ConvolvulusIpomoea Aquatica. Thai water convovulus is an annual aquatic plant that spreads its stems on the water surface. The stem is succulent, crisp, green in color and segmented. The leaves are heart-shaped and commonly used in kaeng teop, sour spicy soups, fried with pork, used in yen ta fo and eaten as a fresh vegetable with nam prik.

pak chee, pak chi (ผักชี)
CilantroCoriandrum sativum, is of the parsley family. The leaves and stems are eaten fresh and used frequently as a garnish. The root and the seeds are ingredients in many dishes.

pak chi lao (ผักชีลาว)
DillLiterally "Laotian Cilantro". Commonly seen with street food vendors to add a taste to soups.

pak guangdong (ผักกวางตุ้ง)
Cantonese VegetableLiterally, "Guangdong vegetable", Guangdong is located in Canton, Chinese. Also know as yao choy, yu choi, edible rape, green choy sum or sarsun (in India). It has long stalks, skinny leaves, and yellow flowers. It is a little more bitter than bok choy.

pak kanaa (ผักคะน้า)
Chinese broccoli, Chinese KaleBrassica alboglabra, also known as as gai lohn, kai lan, and Chinese kale. The plant resembles regular broccoli, although the leaves appear to be a bit broader and the stems somewhat longer than broccoli. The flowers form first into diminutive heads and then elongate rapidly into flower stalks bearing yellow flowers.

pak wan (ผักหวาน)
Sweet VegetableForest tree, or Melientha suavis Pierre - the leaves and flowers are used, and are slightly sweet. It is usually eaten in soups.

prik (พริก)Chile pepper

sa ra nae (สะระแหน่)
Mint leavesThai mint leaves are round, not thick, hairless, and slightly wavy. The stem tends to be dark red. It is easy to grow, and Thais commonly plant it in pots kept near the kitchen, where it can always be easily gathered.

ta-khrai, takrai (ตะไคร้)
LemongrassCymbopgon citratus, is an aromatic grey-green grass. This erect annual plant resembles a coarse grey-green grass. Fresh leaves and grass are used as a flavouring. Lemongrass contains 0.2-0.4 % volatile oil. Therapeutic properties are as a diuretic, emmanagogue, antiflatulence, antiflu and antimicrobial agent.

tua-lin-dtaw (ถั่วลันเตา)Sugar Pea

tua-ngok, tua-nork (ถั่วงอก)Bean Sprouts

tua-phak-yao (ถั่วฝักยาว) Long Beans, Yard Long Beans

tua-poo (ถั่วพู) Wing Beans


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