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main thai cooking ingredients

Rice and Thai sauces

So you want to know what you need to start cooking Thai food on a regular basis?
Look no further, because here are the basic Thai ingredients you should have.
So grab this list into your local Asian supermarket and get to buying.

And you know what the best part is? Most of these ingredients can be kept for months without going bad!
The ones with an (*) are less frequently used

  • Rice

  • Now obviously this is a no-brainer. Now there’s no such thing as just rice, the Thai cuisine has many different types of rice1) Thai rice known as Khao Hom (good smelling rice)This is the standard rice used with most Thai dishes. It’s a white type of rice which has a great Jasmin smell to it.2) Sticky rice known as Khao NeeawSticky Thai rice is a treat on itself. It is high in starch which makes it sticky. Mostly eaten in the Isarn region and eaten by hand.

    3) Brown rice known as Khao Dam (black rice) (*)

    This rice had a red/black deep color to it. It comes in regular and sticky form and is higher in fiber because the membrane is intact. So if you’re looking for a rice which is better for your bloodsugar levels, this is where it’s at

    4) Other colors (*)

    There are blue, yellow and geen rices too, however these are less common and mainly used in desserts


  • Noodles

  • Also noodles are of course well know in the Thai cuisine.1) Rice noodles
    There are two types of rice noodles in thai cooking: the wide rice noodles (Sen yai) or the thin rice noodles (sen lek, known for Phad Thai)
    You can get them fresh or in dried form. If you’re not living in Thailad the dried form is your best pick.2) Glass noodles (Woon Sen)
    These are made from mung bean starch3) Thai rice noodle (*)
    These are mainly eaten with curry
  • Coconut milk and coconut cream (Kathi, Hua Kathi)Both are made from the flesh of a ripe coconut. In Thailand they are made by using a specially designed grater. Abroad you will find them mainly canned.The difference is that coconut cream comes for the first “pressing” of the coconut flesh. The coconut flesh is squized to retrieve the moist to achieve the cream. A little bit of water is added.More water is added for a second pressing and that’s how you get the coconut milk.
  • Seasoning

  • Salty sauces
    1) Fish Sauce (Nam Plaa)
    2) Dark Soy sauce (See Eew dam)
    3) Light Soy sauce (See Eew khao)
    4) Shrimp paste (Kapi)
    5) Oyster sauce (Nam man Hoi) which can be replaced by mushroom sauce (Hed Hom) for vegetarians
  • Sweet
    1) White sugar
    2) Palm sugar
  • Spicy
    1) Chili powder (Phrik Pon)
    2) Thai Chili Paste (Nam Phrik Phao)
    3) Roasted Chili Oil (Nam man Nam Phrik PHao) (*)
  • Sour
    1) lime
    2)  White Vinegar
    3) Tamarind paste


  • Curry

So curry is a large part of the Thai Kitchen too, you can usually buy them pre-made from your supermarket. But if you have the time definitely try making them on your own!

The main curries are: green curry, red curry, yellow curries, phanaeng curry and massaman curry

Here you can find some Thai recipes to get started!


If you have any other suggestions about what to add, let me know!


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