Common Thai Cooking Ingredients

My list is in no way comprehensive, but it's a solid overview of typical fresh and dried Thai ingredients.
For a more comprehensive list, check out the Thai Food Ingredients website.
Also, for more elaborate descriptions of specific ingredients, consult one of my favorite resources...The Asian Food Glossary.

Peppercorns on the plant

Kaffir Lime Leaf

(recognized by the double segmented leaf, equal in size)


Like the Kaffir Lime leaf, except this has a lemon essence. Recognized by the double segmented leaf, but the thorns and the 1st leaf segment are shorter.


Galangal (The tall plant with the broad leaves)

The root is used in Thai cooking. It's a strong flavor similiar to ginger.



Fresh red chili known as a "big red" or "finger" chili (mild in flavor)


Kaffir lime leaf
Cherry tomato
Pea eggplant (these have a thick skin and are bitter)
Green Grapes (the dish I prepared had them in the curry)
Fresh green peppercorns
Thai basil


Dry components for Thai red curry paste

Corriander seeds
Cumin seeds
Cardamom pods (yes, really. In the US we have a different variety)
Black peppercorns
Mace (the pale vine-like outer layer of fresh nutmeg)
Long green peppercorns (conical shaped in appearance)
Dried Thai "big red" or "finger" chilies

Fresh Ingredients for Thai red curry paste

Corriander root
Shallot (Thai shallots are much smaller than those typically found in the US)
Kaffir lime peel
Ginza (already minced)
Shrimp paste ("smells like hell, tastes like heaven")

Small Fresh Green Chili, refered to in my class as "rat dropping chili"

This is the hottest Thai chili.

Dried fish


Multiple kinds of rice: Thai long-grain (Jasmine), sticky, and toasted