In Thailand we have a lot of spices, but for me I use some of them that are easy to find in the USA and apply for something else. This is a list of spices modern Thai kicthen should have to cook Thai food in America.
1. Dry Chili: ”Prick Hang”. It’s a dry chili that we use to make curry paste. We also toast and ground it, use in a lab and for seasoning the food after it is cooked. Can be stored in a dry container for a year.
2. Garlic : “Ga-Tuim”.Thai garlic is smaller, but spicier than western garlic. Used for almost everything. Store in a dry place.
3. Shallot : “Hol Hom lak”. It’s a small red onion or called a red pearl onion. Used in curry paste, Thai spicy dip and more. Storage is the same as garlic.
4. Tamarind juice or paste. “Ma-Kham”. It’s a brown fruit from a big tree and tastes very sour. It comes as a skinless fruit after it is processed and sold in stores. You need to put the skinless fruit in hot water and sit for 5-10 minutes. Then you squeeze the seed and fiber out of the fruit. But in the USA I found they have juice that ready to use in a Thai grocery. Use in Pad Thai, sour curry and more. Store in a refrigerator.
5. Dry Turmeric :”Ka-min” It’s in the ginger family having an earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell. Also used in Indian cuisines. Became known as Indian saffron. Used in curry paste, marinades and more. Store in a dry container.
6. Cardamom : “Ka Wan” . Actually we use this for some curry pastes like masaman curry. For myself I did not have it in my pantry because I just don’t use it for anything that much. Store in a dry container.
That’s all I can think of for now, but if I have something else I will add it in the recipe later.