There are lots of different kinds of herbs we use here in Thailand, and we thought we would introduce some of them to you before you come to one of our cooking classes here at Thai Akha.
All of the herbs you find listed here should be pretty easy to find at your local supermarket back in your home town, and if not, we will list some substitutes for you, because we are helpful like that!
Thai basil is similar to European counterpart on many levels, it’s defining feature is its licorice-like taste, that has been cultivated over many hundreds of years and is distinctive in southeast Asia. Alongside this, you will see that the leaves are more narrow, and it has purple flowers, so it should be pretty easy to find at any local Thai market. When you arrive home, however, it may be a little tricky to find this herb at your local supermarket, you could try at an Asian supermarket, of you could substitute by using regular basil and adding a tiny bit of licorice flavoring by boiling down some licorice root in some water and adding the stock to your dish.
Galangal could be mistaken for ginger if you are new to the substance. It is a root just like ginger and turmeric, the taste however is quite different. Galangal has a subtler gingery taste and a more strong lemongrass-y king of taste to it. It is very popular in Asian cooking and has been used for centuries across the whole of the Eastern world. It has been used as a healing herb as well as a culinary food, it’s astringent property’s will help decongest lungs and improve cardiovascular circulation.
Turmeric is another her or spice from the root family that is used widely all across Asia, and Thailand. It has many uses, and it not just used as culinary food. It is used for its distinctive color as a dye, in many places around the world it is touted as being a wonder plant with many medicinal properties including the treatment of skin lesions, stomach upset and throat infections, it is even said that it may have some potential to positively affect cancers within the human body. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties to it, making this one multi-purpose plant, for sure!
Ginger will almost certainly be one of the plants you will have heard of among this list, it is used throughout the world and heavily used in Thailand. It is part of many dishes, and in almost every curry paste that you come across here in Thailand. Alongside the turmeric, Ginger is also known for its many medicinal uses. Boiled up with lemon, it is known to be a throat soother and decongestant worldwide.
If you have enjoyed our blog on different Thai herbs, maybe you should book a lesson here at the cooking school!