Bamboo shoots:
available canned in various forms-whole, in chunks, sliced, shredded, and in strips. I find the sliced and strips easiest to use and easy to find in all Asian and other supper market.

  Bamboo Shoot Slice

Basil, Thai:
called Bai Hua Ra Pha in Thai, darker in color, stronger in aroma, and spicier in flavor than regular basil, but otherwise interchangeable with it. A sprig of the basil flowers makes a nice garnish.



Basil, Holy:
called Bai Kra Prao in Thai, 2 kinds, red and white (we call it white, but actually it is green) that are used in cooking. I prefer the white variety; this basil has a great flavor and a spiritual scent. When you taste it, you’ll be hooked on it.


  Holy Basil

Basil, Meng Luck:
this basil is very hard to find in the US, you can find it at Thai markets but only in summer season. It doesn’t grow in a cold climate unless you use a plant light bulb. The flavor tastes like medicine, but tasty medicine, and has a strong aroma.



Bean condiment, Salted soybean:
these are the same product with different brands and names. Thaior Chinese varieties are similar; use either. Made from fermented soybeans, this salty condiment combines with other ingredients to create a complex, subtle flavor. Add to stir fry rice noodles or as part of dipping sauce ingredients.


  Salted Soybean

Chili paste, fresh ground red:
gives a spicy, hot flavor. Also know by its Indonesian name, Sambal Oelek. Combine with vinegar to use as seasoning and add to noodles dishes.



Chili paste, Roasted:
important for soups in particular, as well as for many sauces and salad dressings. Made from a combination of ingredients (typically roasted red chilies, garlic, onion, dried shrimp, sugar, fish sauce, and vegetable oil), the paste gives a distinctively tangy, mildly smoky flavor.



Chilies Kee-Noo:
this tiny green or red Thai variety may be very hot, but unlike other kinds of chilies, Kee-Noo chilies impart a great flavor and satisfaction even when your mouth is on fire and you sweat like you just came out of a hot sauna. Also known as Thai Birdseye chilies.



Chilies, Serrano:
small, green, and semi-hot. Jalapenos or other similar hot chilies can be readily substituted. Be careful never to touch your eyes after handling chilies, because the pungent oils will burn them.


  Serrano Chilies

Curry paste, Green:
this combination of fresh green chilies, lemongrass, cilantro root, and galanga has a spicy, refreshing flavor.


  Green Curry Paste

Curry paste, Mussamun:
an aromatic combination of cardamom, lemon grass, cinnamon, cloves, and chilies. This curry is great for lamb.


  Mussamun Curry Paste

Curry paste, Panang:
This is a combination of dried red chilies, shallots, kaffir lime rinds, galanga, lemongrass, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and shrimp paste and coarsely pounded. Panang curry paste can be use to sauté meat and vegetables, make curry sauce, risotto and pasta sauce.


  Panang Curry Paste

Curry paste, Red:
similar to Panang curry paste.


  Red Curry Paste

Daikon sprouts:
these long, slim sprouts have the spicy flavor of radish. Use in sushi rolls, in salads, and for garnish.



Firm brown tofu:
the flavor resembles baked beans, this is used in Pad Thai noodles. Tofu (also known as bean curd) comes in many varieties, but the firm brown kind is always in 3-inch by ½-inch thick squares. I also like to use soft tofu to make soup and stir-fry spicy tofu, Chinese style.



Fish sauce, Thai:
the basic most essential Thai seasoning, this is a salty, very aromatic liquid that provides a distinctive flavor. You can cook Thai food anywhere in the world, never leave home without it.


  Fish Sauce

also known as galingale, kha, and laos, this is a root resembling ginger, but with a distinctive flavor, a more translucent skin, and a tinge of pink when fresh. The flavor is stronger than ginger and it is used in Tom Yum Soup (hot and sour soup), Tom Kha Soup (coconut milk soup) and in Lemongrass Stock.



Green mango:
unripe mango can be used just like green apple; substitute the apple if necessary. Thailand has hundreds varieties of mango. Some mangos are better to eat green and some are good when eaten fully ripe. The most famous Thai dessert is sweet ripe mango with coconut sticky rice. I prefer to have green mango with a dipping sauce, combination of sea salt, palm sugar, and Kee Noo chili.



 Green papaya:
tart and crunchy green papaya is used mainly in Thai Papaya Salad and ripe papaya is used to make sauce or eat as a dessert or snack.



Kaffir lime leaves:
glossy, dark green leaves of the Kaffir Lime tree; they impart a refreshing, mysterious lemon-lime flavor. When my daughters Aisha or Chyna have a stomachache, I always make Kaffir Lime tea with honey and a little sea salt and it's always done the trick.


  Kaffir Lime Leaves

Kra chai:
a long, slender root, related to ginger, with a flavor that suggests a combination of ginger, turmeric, and galanga. It is sometimes available fresh or frozen in Thai markets.


  Kra chai

Lemon grass:
indispensable in Thai cooking, this consists of long, very firm stalks with green tops. The grass has a pronounced lemon flavor and aroma. The stalks will last up to couple months in the refrigerator, and an average-size stalk yields about 4 tablespoons chopped. Dried lemon grass is also available.


  Lemon Grass

Manila clams:
most Manila (Malaysian) clams are farm raised. There are the sweetest, and tenderest clams I’ve ever tasted, and tend to be not at all gritty.



Mushrooms, Enoki:
these pure white mushrooms have long, skinny stems and tiny caps. They’re beautiful to look at in sushi stuffing, salads, sautés, and soups, and they have a delicate buttery flavor.



Mushrooms, Shiitake:
fresh or dried, exceptionally meaty and flavorful mushrooms of which only the caps are used. Great either steamed or sautéed.



Noodles, Mee-Krob:
very thin dried rice noodles, known in Thai as Sen-Mee, other Asians call them Mai-Fun or Bihon. This noodle is wheat free and comparable in thickness to angel hair pasta.


  Mee Krob Noodles

Noodles, Pad Thai:
dried rice noodles, know in Thai as Sen-Chan. I’ve called it Pad Thai noodles after the most famous noodles in Thailand and abroad because it is easy to remember. They are available in narrow, medium, and wide versions. I prefer the medium ones, which are about the width of linguine.


  Pad Thai Noodles

Noodles, Rad Na:
dried or fresh, these are called Hor-Fhun in Cantonese, similar to regular Western noodles, but made with rice flour. Because fresh rice noodles are already steam-cooked when you buy them, they cook very quickly. Purchase only what you need; even in the refrigerator they only last two or three days. The fresh Rad-Na is available in most Asian markets or you can find a dried variety (see how to use it in Basic Easy Recipes chapter) in supermarkets made by 7 Lotus brand.


  Radna Noodles

Nori: dark green or black sheets of dried Japanese or other Asian seaweed, used for wrapping sushi, in soup or as a garnish.



Oyster sauce:
this combination of oyster extract, soy sauce, and starch has a mildly salty fishy flavor. It is a Chinese condiment commonly available in all Asian and other supermarkets.


  Oyster Sauce

Palm sugar:
a coarse brown sugar that is crystallized from the sap of the coconut palm. It is collected much like the sap of maple trees, but the workers have to shinny all the way up to the tops of the palms to do it. The sugar lends a sweet, fruity flavor. If unavailable, substitute with honey.


  Palm Sugar

Pickled ginger:
a hot, sweet-tart condiment that is served with sushi and to refresh the palate between courses.


  Pickles Ginger

Plum sauce:
a fruity, translucent, sweet-sour sauce that is common in Chinese cooking. Use as a dip for egg rolls, wonton, duck, and many other dishes.


  Plum Sauce

Rice vinegar:
a clear, pale straw color, and milder than cider or wine vinegar.


  Rice Vinegar

Salt Free Thai seasoning, Tommy Tang’s Brand:
a combination of garlic, black pepper, white pepper, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. At the restaurant we use this in almost every marinade and in many sauces. Or try brushing French bread with olive oil, sprinkling on the seasoning, and baking it as you would garlic bread-it’s fantastic.



Santa Fe chili powder:
rosy red, with a sweet, spicy flavor superior to that of regular chili powder.



Sausage, Thai:
the same as Chinese sausage, this is a firm pork sausage that resembles a small salami. Made with pork or pork and liver, they are available regular, fatty, or extra-lean.



Sesame oil, Asian:
brown, aromatic oil made from roasted sesame seeds. Don’t substitute the clear, unroasted sesame oil available in natural food stores; it doesn’t have the same rich fragrance or nutty flavor.


  Sesame Oil

Shrimp powder:
made from small shrimp that are dried and coarsely ground; the name “powder” is really a misnomer, but that is how the product is usually labeled. The flavor resembles shrimp in the same way that the flavor of beef jerky resembles beef.


  Shrimp Powder

Skins, Egg-roll:
paper-thin squares or rounds made from wheat flour; similar to wonton wrappers.



Skins or wrapper, Spring roll:
are similar to egg roll skins, but thinner, round or square and made from rice flour instead of wheat.


  Spring Roll Wrapper

Sugarcane juice:
pressed from sugarcane, this sweet liquid can be drunk by itself or added to recipes for marinade and sauce.



Tamarind juice:
a very sour liquid extracted from tamarind paste or the pod of the tamarind tree. If unavailable, substitute half the amount of lemon juice.



Thin soy sauce:
made from yellow soybeans, this is lighter and less salty than regular soy sauce.
I prefer to use 7 Lotus or Golden Boat brand which has no MSG or preservatives.



dried, powdered, green Japanese horseradish, used to give pungency to sushi. Use sparingly; it’s extremely hot.


  Wasabi Paste

Wrappers, Pot-sticker:
this thin round dough is made from either rice or wheat flour.


  Wrappers, Wonton:
dough squares made from wheat flour and starch; slightly thicker than egg-roll skins.
  Wonton Wrappers



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