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Thai fresh ingredients (Herbs & spices)

Chillies (Prig-khee-nuu)  
These bird's eye chillies are small but very hot chillies, which can be green and red in colour. Buy the plump, firm and light red or green ones with fresh stems.
Chilles (Prig-chee-faa)  
Chillies exist in many varieties and colours. These chillies are indicated in Thai cooking. This large chilli is about 3 inches long, which can be red (fresh skin, thick fresh and green stems), green, orange or yellow (it is hotter and smell stronger than the others, preferably used in chilli paste, pickles chilli in vinegar or added to spicy stir-fried dishes).
Thai eggplants (Ma-kheua-praw)  
A greenish white ball shaped and slightly larger than a golf ball. The skin is thinner than a typical purple aubergine and the seeds are a prominently brown colour that contrasts with the white flesh. The seeds and skin are very bitter while the flesh is sweet.
Pea eggplants (Ma-kheua-phuang)  
A tiny green eggplant if you can find them at all - in bunches. They are the size of the pea with very long stems. They have a peculiar bitter taste. Buy the ones with fresh skin and tightly packed in clusters.
Oyster mushroom or Angle mushroom (Hed-nang-faa)  
Looking similar to abalone, but it's colour is off-white to light brown.
Shiitake mushroom (Hed-hom)  
It is called fragrant mushroom in Thai. There are both fresh and dried varieties.
Saw-leave coriander (Pak-chee-farang)  
With long narrow leaves and saw edges, it can be eaten fresh, added in to soup or spicy salad for fresh aroma which is used as a deodorant and aphrodisiac.
Coriander (Pak-chee)  
This plant is grown for its leaves, roots and seeds. This delightful and pungent herb belongs to the carrot or Umbelliferae family, and lends its unmistakable flavour to cuisine as diverse as Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean. Look for healthy dark green leaves that show no sign of yellow or wilting. Buy coriander with their roots still attached.
Chinese celery (Khun-chai)  
Having smaller stalks but stronger flavour than its western counterpart, it is used to bring aroma to the food.
Galangal (Khaa)  
It is an aromatic root used in Thai cooking. A member of the ginger family and has smooth pale creamy white flesh. It has pungency and tang, quite unlike common ginger.
Ginger (Khing)  
two unique forms are used in the Thai cooking, young ginger is used in sliced and sprinkled over the steamed fish or seafood. The other mature one with stronger flavour is best added in stir-fried.
Wild ginger (Kra-chai)  
The fresh plump roots have a strong aroma and are juicy, added to spicy curry or stir-fried to reduce the, meaty flavour (duck, guinea fowl, wild boar and venison).
Lemon grass (Ta-krai)  
lemon grass is an Asian aromatic herb with long plump base and light purple in colour. It is quite woody and usually used for flavouring.
Kaffir lime leaves (Bai ma-krut)  
The leaves and the peel of the fruit are key ingredients for Thai cooking. The skin of the lime is grated and added to Thai curry paste, the dark green leaves are torn or sliced and added to the dish to keep a strong aroma.
Sweet basil (Bai ho-ra-phaa)  
The dark green leaves with red stems have a warm aroma and are less pungent than the other basil.
Holy basil (Bai kra-prao)  
The fresh leaves are excellent for making a soothing tea and for flavouring soup, drink and vegetables. The latter is more fragrant and spicier. It is frequently used in Thai stir-fried dishes.
Green peppercorn (prig-tai-ong)  
The green or young peppercorns are flavourful but not too hot. The whole berries can be used or lightly crushed to give more flavour. It is probably the most often used ingredient in cooking.
Tamarind (Ma-kram-phiak)  
The pods contain dark brown flesh and large black seeds. The flesh is sour but fruity and is used to make drinks, candies and sauces. tamarind contains some fibres and seeds and must be soaked & strained. Thin with water as necessary for the most usual consistency for Thai cooking, in particular for pad Thai and Tom Yum soup.


Dusit Thai Restaurant 49a Thistle Street. Edinburgh. EH2 1DY. T: 0131 220 6846 F: 0131 477 2533 E: