When you visit your favorite Thai restaurant, you look forward to sampling savory curry dishes, flavorful stir-fries, crunchy egg rolls, and delicious soups. Every dish features a unique blend of herbs, spices, and vegetables—but what are these delicious ingredients?
Thai Chef Restaurant in Lahaina, HI, has been serving authentic Asian food for more than 30 years. They even grow their own herbs to take advantage of the fresh flavors. Below, they share some of the most common herbs, aromatics, and vegetables found in Thai cooking.
Lemongrass is commonly used in Thai cuisine. This herb imparts a delicate, slightly lemony flavor that brightens soups, curries, stir-fries, and salads.
Many salads and stir-fries also feature Thai basil, a bolder and more pungent cousin of the familiar Italian variety. The herb also lends a mild licorice flavor to noodle dishes and stews
Fans of Mexican cuisine are often familiar with cilantro, or coriander. This leafy herb is also used in Thai restaurants to sweeten salads, soups, curries, and dishes made with chili paste.
Ginger is one of the most versatile ingredients in Thai cuisine. The zesty root is often grated, sliced, or diced, and it can be eaten cooked or raw. Ginger is used in both meat and vegetable dishes and provides a complex flavor that is sweet, spicy, hot, and pungent.
Members of the allium plant family like garlic and shallots are often found in Thai stir-fry dishes. They are also minced and added to curry pastes and sauces. Shallots have a milder, sweeter flavor than onions, so they are used to balance hotter ingredients.
Kaffir lime leaves are used in a variety of dishes including soups, curries, and stir-fries. These aromatic leaves introduce a crisp citrus flavor and can be left whole and used as a flavoring agent while cooking, similar to bay leaves, cooked into the dish as an herb, or sliced thin and used as a garnish.
Though some ingredients in Thai food are unique, there are some vegetables Western diners find familiar. Carrots, potatoes, broccoli, and bell peppers are frequently used in various dishes. Cabbage and lettuce are also commonly found in Thai salads.
Thanks to the increasing popularity of Thai restaurants, bamboo shoots are becoming more familiar to diners. These mild and tender young bamboo plants are sliced thin and used as a vegetable in stir-fries, soups, and curries.
If reading about these flavorful ingredients makes your mouth water, stop by your local Thai restaurant to please your palate. Lahaina diners count on Thai Chef Restaurant to provide the freshest, most authentic cuisine on Maui. Call (808) 667-2814 or visit their website to learn more about their scrumptious dishes.