Herbs and spices are an essential part of Thai cooking. Herbs give Thai food its unique and distinctive flavor. There are endless free Thai recipes to be found online but often times they include less familiar herbs. Here’s a rundown of 4 common herbs used in Thai cooking that are typically accessible at Asian grocery stores in your local area.
Lemongrass is used in variety of Thai cooking dishes. It is long and stalky with a lemony scent and is often used to enhance aroma. The lower part of the stalk is where most of the flavor comes from. Sometimes it is chopped and crushed and other times it is cut into long pieces and bent/kneaded to help release the scents and flavors.
Medicinal benefit: Lowers blood pressure, assist in lowering fever and calms the stomach.
Galangal is a member of the ginger family (If you can’t find it at your local Asian store you can substitute this with ginger). It is a root that adds valuable nutrients and flavor to Thai dishes. Galangal tastes different when it is young than as it matures, serving multiple purposes. Young galangal has a lemony flavor and is typically used in soups while aged galangal has a more intense flavor typically used for curry pastes.
Fresh galangal should be peeled before use then sliced or grated, depending on its purpose.
Medicinal benefit: Galangal’s medicinal properties are similar to ginger, which includes stimulating digestion and easing nausea.
A Thai kitchen would not be complete without Thai basil. It is a hallmark of Thai cooking. It has dark green leaves with red stems, with a distinctive flavor that is released during cooking. It is most commonly used in curries and stir fry dishes, especially hot and spicy ones! In addition to cooked food, you may find Thai basil fresh in spring rolls and some appetizers.
Medicinal benefit: Encourages digestion and is anti inflammatory and anti microbial.
Kaffir Lime leaves
The fruit itself is a dark green fruit very similar to the common lime. The juice, peel and leaves are used in a variety of Thai dishes but mainly curry dishes and soups. Generally, it is added towards the end of cooking to retain flavor. The leaves have a strong and fragrant scent, so be careful not to go overboard.
Medicinal benefit: The leaves are said to benefit oral health, have antiviral and anti inflammatory properties, and stimulate the digestive system.
This post was written by Ania from www.livecleannourish.com.
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