Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thai special herb

In Thailand we use a lot of herb to season our food.  Because everything that we use are everything we can find around our house (just like my house in Thailand I have almost everything in my back yard).  Here’s the list of the herbs (that modern Thai food use often) and how to storage them.

1.       Thai Basil – “Bai-Ho-Ra-Pa”.  It tastes peppery and a little bit spicier than sweet basil.  Thai basil has a purple branch.  Thai basil is used mostly in Curry, cook with mussel in Thailand and in America a lot of time used in Thai basil stir fried or Thai basil roll.  Store in paper towel in a  refrigerator.  For me I use the leaf part of the plant and I leave the stem planted in the ground all summer, so I can have Thai basil to use for the whole summer and fall from the same plant. 
Thai Basil
2.       Holy Basil- “Bai-Ka-Prow”.  It tastes more peppery and spicier than Thai Basil.  Most use in Thai Basil stir fried and wild curry in Thailand.  In the USA most of us find it in the summer (In GA rare to find it).  So for me if I don’t have holy basil, I use Thai basil instead.  Storage is the same as Thai Basil.


3.       Lemongrass-“Ta-Khrai”. It’s the big grass with a lemony aroma, but no taste itself.  Most use it in spicy Thai soup, some spicy salad and to make curry paste.  Also some Thai folk drink as tea. Storage in freezer lasts for 3 months.
4.       Kaffir lime-“Bai-Ma-Krood”.  It’s in the citrus family.  In Thailand we use the leaf for curry and spicy Thai soup.  With the peeled skin of the fruit we use it to make curry paste.  Also used for juice or shampoo.  For me I have never seen the fruit in GA.  I found just the leaves, so when I make paste I use lime peel with the leaf which works well.  Storage in freezer lasts for 2-3 years.
Kaffir lime leaf

5.       Galangal-“Khar”.  It’s a root of galangal.  Looks almost like ginger, but a little bit white, the young one pinker then the old one.  Use in Thai spicy soup, curry paste and more.  In the USA (specially GA) I did not see it fresh, so when I use the frozen one its work just fine.  Storage in the freezer lasts for 2-3 years.
frozen Galangal

6.       Mint :”Bai-Sa-Ra-Nhea”.  It’s a mint.  Mostly used in Thai spicy salad and also in garnish.  Store in a paper towel in the refrigerator.
7.       Dill : “Pak Chee Loas”.  Its used in northeastern foods. Store in a paper towel and leave in the refrigerator.
Thai Chili
8.       Coriander or cilantro: “Pak chee”.  It is used for garnish, marinades, Thai spicy salad and more. Also use seed for some curry pastes.  Store in a paper towel in the refrigerator.
9.       Fresh Thai Chili: “Prick”.  Actually in Thailand we have a lot of kinds of chili “ Prick Yhouk”,”Prick Chee fha” they all are big in size but not that spicy (for Thai folk), so when the recipe calls for those big sized chili’s.  I always use jalapenos instead (for me I think it tastes similar).  But one chili that cannot be substituted is Thai chili or sometimes called bird chili “Prick Kee Nu” The reason is the smell.  This chili is about 5 times spicier than a jalapeno (That’s my estimate).  We use this category of chili for anything that’s spicy.  Storage: my friend told me that it can be put in a freezer and it’s come out OK, but the best is fresh (of course).
That a lot for this time next blog I will talk about spices.

1 comment:

  1. Do you know anything about a Thai basil called "baffalo basil"? I'm trying to find information about it and failing...