Thai Basil, Lemon (bai grapow, daun kemangi): A fragrant, lemon-scented herb added at the last minute to keep its flavor, or used as a grarnish.
Cashewnuts: used to add texture and a flavor to many dishes.
Cardamom (kapulaga): The pod has 8-12 fragrant black seeds and is to the east what vanilla is to the west. Try whole pods for maximum flavor, and bruise lightly with the back cleaver to break the pod before adding to dishes.
Chilies Green and Red (Prik Khi cabai, cabe or lombok): Green chilies are the unripe fruit, and have a flovor different from red chilies. Fresh, finger-length red chilies are the most commonly used. Dried chilies also used in some dishes and they should be torn into pieces and soaked in hot water to soften before grinding or blending.
Cinnamon (kayu manis): A thick, dark brown bark of a type of cassia. Again it is a delight to use whole spices instead of powdered ones.
Cloves (cengkeh): A small, brown, nail-shaped spice. Whole cloves are frequently used to flavour cooking liquids for simmering curries.
Coconut (kelapa): The grated flesh of the coconut is frequently added to food. It can also be squeezed in water to make coconut milk. The best substitute for fresh coconut mik is instant coconut powder. Combine this with warm water as directed on the packet. For richer, creamier flavor required for desser and cakes, use canned (unsweetened) coconut cream.
Coriander Seeds (ketumbar): Small straw-colored seeds with a faintly orange flavor. Whole seeds are usually lightly crushed before use.
Cumin (jintan): has a wonderous quality and is strong like oregno.
Fresh Garlic (bawang putih): Adjust the amount to suit your taste.Fresh Ginger (Khing): This pale creamy yellow root adds zest to a dish. Peel befoe using and never substitute powdered ginger as the taste is quite different.
Fish Sauce - In Thai cooking fish sauce is the single, most important flavoring ingredient. This ingredient is used in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma and the Philippines.
Galangal (hea-uh kah): this is a member of the ginger family and it has a very tough but elusively scented root that must be peeled before use.
Krachai - Also spelled kachai. This rhizome is widely cultivated, especially in Thailand, as it gives a subtle, spicy flavour to many popular dishes and is particularly good with seafood.
Lemongrass (takhrai or serai): This is an intensely fragrant herb that is used for soupd, seafood and meat dishers and spice pastes to produce lemony flavor. Cut off the roots and peel off the hard outer leaves, use only the tender bottom portion (6-8 inches).
Kaffir Lime Leaves: the double leaf is often used whole or very finely shredded in cooking.
Palm Sugar (gula jawa): Juice extracted from the coconut flower or aren palm is boiled and packed into molds to make sugar with a faint caramel taste. If palm sugar is not available, substitute with soft brown sugar. To make palm sugar syrup, combine 2 cups of chopped palm sigar with 1 cup of water and 2 pandan leaves. Bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes, strain and store in refrigerator.
Pandan Leaf (daun pandan): The fragrant leaf of a type of pandanus sometimes known as fragrant screwpine, this is tied in a knot and used to flavor dessert and cakes.
Peanuts (kacang tanah): Used raw and ground to make suace, or deep fried and used as a garnish or condiment.
Pepper (merica): Both black and white eppercorns are crushed just before usel ground white pwpper is also used on occasion.
Salam Leaf (daun salam): A subtly flavored lead of the cassia family, this bears no resemblance whatsoever to the taste of a bay leaf, which is sometimes suggested as a substitute. If you cannot obtain dried salam leaf, omit altogether.
Shrimp Paste (kapi or terasi): This ingredient has a strong fragrance; it is always cooked before eating, generally toasted over a fire before being combined with other ingredients. The color of this ingredient range from purplish pink to brownish black.
Soy Sauce: Two types are used the thick (sweeter) and thin soy sauce.
Tianjin Preserved Vegetables (Dtang Chai) – Originating in China, this preserved shredded cabbage with salt and garlic is now common in Thai soups and noodles. Because dtang chai is very concentrated in flavor and saltiness, use only a small amount at a time. Keeps indefinitely in a cool place in the pantry; no need to refrigerate.
Tamarind (asem/lunak): The dark brown pod of the tmarind tree contains a sour fleshy pulp, which adds a fruity sourness to many dishes. Packets of pulp usually contains the seeds and fibers. To make tamarind juice, measure the pulp and soak it in hot water for 5 minutes before squeezing it to extract the juice, discarding the seeds, fiber and any skin.
Turmeric (khamin or kunyit): An essential root in Thai and Indonesian cooking. It imparts its yellow color and pungent taste to many dishes.