5 Essential Thai Herbs and Spices That Enhance Flavor

June 27, 2022
IN Thai Cuisine

Are you a Thai food junkie?

If so, join the club! After all, there’s really nothing better than a spicy Thai dish to make the most of any occasion. 

The key to making the ultimate Thai recipe at home is to understand the best herbs and spices that can help take your meal to the next level. Fortunately, this article can help.

Here we take a look at five key Thai herbs and spices that every cook needs to know. These are the essential flavors of Thai food that will make your mouth water and keep your family happy. Keep reading to learn more.

1. Coriander Seeds (Look-pak-chee)

When it comes to choosing the most essential flavors of Thai food, every home chef should place coriander at the top of their shopping list. This herb is used all over the planet as a garnish. 

Some cultures use coriander root (also known as cilantro root) for their recipes, but far more take advantage of coriander seeds to add the perfect splash of flavor. Thai food relies heavily on coriander seeds. That’s why you’ll find it included in popular restaurants throughout the United States, including Thai food in Seattle.

Coriander has been around for centuries and is more popular now than ever before, largely due to its unique aroma. It’s great for making curries and marinating red meat.

2. Galangal (Kha)

It’s no secret that chicken is an essential element of Thai food, whether you’re halfway around the world or enjoying your favorite Thai food in Seattle. And when it comes to the perfect herbs and spices for Thai dishes, everything’s better with galangal. 

This root plant has a similar flavor to ginger because the two herbs are related, and yet galangal offers a much mild yet complex flavor.

3. Cumin (Yee-rah)

Cumin is a traditional Thai spice that’s hard to ignore and impossible to forget. That’s because it has a strong and distinct flavor that adds plenty of kick to any recipe.

The aroma cumin provides is another reason this spice is so popular in every corner of the globe, especially in Thai cuisine where chefs love to add roasted cumin seeds to curry paste and other dishes to enhance the flavor as much as possible.

In fact, cumin seeds are considered an essential part of yellow, green, and red curry.

4. Green Peppercorns (Bai ka-prow)

Green peppercorns look like a green berry and pack a lot of heat. They are crunchy and aromatic, making them an ideal addition to various stir-fried Thai food dishes, including choo-chee and phad-kee-mao (drunken noodles).

5. Cinnamon (Ob-choey)

Let’s not forget about cinnamon. After all, this is one of the most popular spices for Thai food. It’s particularly great for soups and stew due to the fact that it offers a touch of sweetness.

A Cook’s Guide to Thai Herbs and Spices

Nothing beats great food, especially when it comes to creating an amazing Thai meal. Fortunately, this guide to the essential Thai herbs and spices will help make your next family feast the most delicious ever.

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