Thai Ingredients For Cooking At Home

New shelves at my classroom

After your Thai cooking class at Riverside in Khao Lak I really hope you will make loads of delicious Thai food at home. I will be sending you the Thai recipes for everything that was cooked on class day. You will also get my regular newsletter with new recipes and extra tips and tricks for Thai cooking.

Nowadays supermarkets worldwide stock many of the main ingredients you will need for cooking Thai food at home. A few items you may have to find at speciality Asian shops but there’s often an easily sourced alternative. This is my guide to stocking your kitchen so you can cook Thai food whenever you fancy.

The Essential Thai Sauces and Stocks

Thai fish sauce

Fish Sauce

Nam Bplah – น้ำปลา

Fish sauce is use in nearly every Thai dish. It basically replaces salt in Thai cooking whilst adding some extra flavour. Stocking your kitchen for cooking Thai food starts here. For a delicious vegan alternative, contact me for the recipe.

Recipes using Fish Sauce

Thai Oyster and Mushroom sauce

Oyster Sauce

Nam Man Hoi – น้ำมันหอย

Oyster sauce is commonly used in Thai stir fries. It thickens the texture whilst enhancing the taste of the dish. In Thailand there is a sauce made from mushrooms that makes an excellent vegetarian alternative as the texture and taste is similar.

Recipes using Oyster Sauce

Thai Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce

Sauce Tu-a Luang – ซอสถั่วเหลือง

Soy sauce is used in fried rice dishes and many Thai stir fries. It adds flavour where you might want to avoid the fishy taste of fish sauce. Soy sauce is not used in Thai curries.

Recipes using Soy Sauce

Thai coconut milk

Coconut Milk

Nam Kra Ti – กะทิ

Coconut milk is used in most Thai curries and in some Thai soups such as Tom Kha. It adds the creamy taste and texture synonymous with Thai curries.

Recipes using Coconut Milk

Thai palm sugar

Palm Sugar

Nam Tarn Pip – น้ำตาลปี๊ป

Palm sugar adds a more subtle sweet flavour and aroma to your Thai food when compared with normal sugar. It is commonly used in Massaman and green curries as well as Som Tam.

Thai sugar


Nam Tarn – น้ำตาล

Sugar is often used in Thai cooking, especially when the dish is very sour or salty. The sugar softens or neutralises the strong flavours. Most Thai dishes require at least a pinch of sugar.

Stock Powder

Pong Prung Ros – ผงปรุงรส

Stock is used in Thai cooking exactly the same way as with any cuisine. We have our own brands here in Thailand but your usual stocks will do the job just as well. I use pork stock the most at my Khao Lak Thai cooking class, it’s my favourite and you see it in most of my recipes. You can use whatever stock you think will suit your Thai dish best.

Essential Thai Herbs

Thai coriander

Coriander (Cilantro)

Pak Chii – ผักชี

My favourite herb and commonly used in Thai cooking. Many dishes also use the coriander roots, where they are smashed with chilli and garlic to form the initial paste. Coriander leaves are added to Thai dishes at the end of the cooking process and are also used as a garnish.

Thai sweet basil

Thai Sweet Basil

Hoh Rapaa – โหรพา

We use two types of basil in Thai cooking. Both are different from the basil used in Italian cuisine. Thai sweet basil is used in some Thai curries and some stir fries. It is usually added right at the end of the cooking process. Save a few leaves that can be used as a garnish.

Thai basil

Thai Basil

Kraphow – กะเพรา

Kraphow is one of Thailand’s most famous quick dishes. It takes it’s name after this type of basil leaf which is one of the main ingredients. Kraphow can be made with pork, minced pork, belly pork, chicken, minced chicken, shrimp, squid, tofu or pretty much whatever you fancy.

Thai Kafir Lime Leaves

Kafir Lime Leaves

Bai Ma Grod – ใบมะกรูด

Kafir lime leaves are commonly used in Thai curries. They have a very strong flavour, the flavour you always associate with a Thai curry. To use, remove the stalks. In milky curries the leaves are added as two halves, for drier curries you can finely slice the leaves and add at the end.

Thai lemon grass


Ta Kry – ตะไคร้

Lemongrass is used more in spicy and sour Thai dishes such as Tom Yam soups. It adds a lot of flavour but is sometimes tough to eat. In soups it is left in larger pieces and not eaten. If used in zesty Thai salads it is very finely sliced for easier eating.

Red curry paste

Curry Pastes To Try At Home

Sign up for a Thai cooking class here at Riverside in Khao Lak, learn to make a delicious Thai curry and I will include the recipe to make your very own curry paste at home.

Of course Thai curries are famous around the world and it’s not difficult to find curry pastes for sale in many large supermarkets, but home made curry pastes are much more tasty and fragrant.


Thai Curry Pastes

Thai red curry ingredients

One or two Thai curry pastes are a must to have at home if you are planning to regularly make Thai curries. The good news is they will keep a long time in the fridge.

The best curry paste is the one you make yourself and most are made from simple ingredients. Its a time consuming process but well worth it. Alternatively you can take home a decent curry paste from Thailand or find one in your larger supermarket at home.

Green Curry Paste – พริกแกงเขียวหวาน

To make Gairng Keow Wan Gai, Green Curry with Chicken

Red Curry Paste – พริกแกงกะทิ

To make Gairng Kra Tii Muu Sapparot, Red Curry with Pork and Pineapple

Masaman Curry Paste – พริกแกงมัสมัน

To make Masaman Gai, Masaman Curry with Chicken

Penang Curry – พริกแกงแพนง

To make Penang Muu, Penang Curry with Pork

Other Essential Thai Ingredients

Thai Jasmine rice

Jasmine Rice

Khao – ข้าว

Bit of an obvious one, Jasmine rice should possibly have featured right at the top of the page. Your entire Thai cooking plans just wouldn’t work without rice!

Thai rice noodles

Rice Noodles

Sen Lek – เส้นหมี่

Rice noodles come in thin or wide varieties and are dry so can last a long time. You will need the thinner variety for your Riverside Phad Thai recipe.

Thai glass noodles

Glass Noodles

Wun Sen – วุ้นเส้น

A pack of dried glass noodles might come in handy. Its an ideal ingredient if you want to make a spicy Thai style salad.

Thai chilli


Prik – พริก

If you want to cook spicy Thai food you will certainly need some chillies.

Thai lime


Manow – มะนาม

Lime juice is used for more sour Thai dishes and for tangy Thai salads. It is also served with some Thai dishes, cut into segments so you can squeeze your own lime juice to taste. You will need limes for serving Phad Thai and fried rice dishes.

Thai garlic


Kra Teiam – กระเทียม

Garlic is commonly used in most Thai dishes, much the same way as in many other cuisines from around the world. Thai garlic tends to not be as strong as garlic grown in Europe. My Thai recipes specify a lot of garlic, if you are using strong garlic use less accordingly.

Thai spring onions

Spring Onions

Ton Horm – ต้นหอม

Used as commonly as both an ingredient in Thai cooking and as an accompaniment or garnish.

Thai cucumbers


Tairng Gwaa – แตงกวา

In Thailand almost all dishes are served accompanied with a few slices of cucumber. It helps to cool the mouth when eating spicy Thai food.

To Prepare and Cook Your Thai Food

Pestle and mortar

Pestle and Mortar

ครก กับ สาก

A lot of Thai dishes start with a paste. It could be a curry paste or simply some garlic and chilli smashed together. You will need a pestle and mortar for this. A stronger, stone version is better for curry pastes while a wooden pestle is preferred for more delicate ingredients like preparing Som Tam.

Thai wok

A Wok

You can cook most Thai meals simply with a single wok. It’s a versatile addition to your kitchen. It’s shape is ideal for fast, hot frying. Perfect for your stir fries. It can be used like a frying pan and also for deep frying too.

Make a Reservation

If you are interested in my Thai Cooking Class please contact me.
My courses often get booked well in advance so do not delay.