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Coriander Seed or Look pakchee

Benefits: Soothes ulcers, improves the appetite and relieves nausea.Use: Golden – brown seeds are pounded with garlic and pepper to overcome meat odours. Young seeds add spiciness, ideal for making chilli paste. Parched seeds ore more aromatic,

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Garlic or Kratiam

Benefits: Lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, relieves flatulence and urinary problems and helps with menstrual cycles, swellings, bruises and dermatitis. Garlic oil will take away marks left from bug bites. Selenium found in garlic stimulates enzyme production. Use:Garlic is used in all Stir-Fried dishes. Chop and fry the garlic until it is golden brown and use it in noodles, or mix it pounded coriander root and pepper to make an meat marinade,

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Nutmeg or Lookjan

Benefits: Nutmeg has been a key part of traditional medicine. The essential oil improves blood circulation, urinary issues and peptic ulcers, relieves flatulence and diarrhoea and reduces phlegm. It is also a natural laxative. Use: The fruit and flowers are used to season baked items, butter and sausages, Helps preserve food. It is being used in cosmetics too.

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Turmeric or Kamin

Benefits: Relieves flatulence, stomach ache, nausea and diarrhoea and helps the liver and respiratory system. It also relieves swollen joints and rheumatism. The anti-oxidant content lowers the risk of cancer, and it is believed to even slow ageing, Turmeric root contains Vitamins A and C. Use:Turmeric is widely used to season southern dishes like gaeng lueng, gaeng tai pla, gaeng karee and fried chicken – chicken is often coated with turmeric before it is fried.

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Galangal or Kha

Benefits: Relieves flatulence, diarrhoea, asthma and bronchitis and reduces phlegm. Apply mixed, pounded fresh roots mixed with whisky to the skin to stop fungus and ringworm. Galangal contains Vitamins B1 and B2, calcium and phosphorous. Use: It is good in soups like tom yum, tom kha and tom saeb and noodle broth. People in the Northeast add chopped galangal to their spicy salads like laab, while the Chinese add minced galangal to bean paste as a condiment for boiled rice with fish. Chopped galangal is also a common ingredient in curry paste.

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Wild Ginger or Krachai

Benefits: Relieves oral bruises, diarrhoea and flatulence and heals leucorrhea and urinary incontinence. Wild ginger prevents oral fungus. It contains Vitamins A and B12 and calcium. Use: In curries, it overcomes strong fish and meat odours. It adds own pleasant aroma to spicy stir-fries and gaeng pa.

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Pepper or Prik thai

Benefits: Improves digestion, relieves nausea resulted from seafood poisoning and brings down high temperatures. Use: Fresh coriander seeds are also used to overcome meat odours. Pepper is added to wild ginger in spicy stir-fries and spicy clear soup. Young coriander seeds can also be made into the chilli dip namprik prikthai on.

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Bay Leaf or Bai krawan

Benefits: The roots can stem blood flow, relieve flatulence and heal gum abscesses. The skin of the leaves restores physical energy. Improves blood circulation, reduces phlegm and heals dermatitis. The core helps drain off bodily toxins. The leaves relieve flatulence and mouth sores, and refresh your energy. Use: Bay leaves are common in Western cooking Thais use them when grilling chicken and making masman curry.

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Ginger or Khing

Benefits: Relieves flatulence, Intestinal cramps, nausea, headache and stomach ache. The anti-oxidant content lowers the risk of cancer. it will freshen up the mind as well. Ginger contains calcium. Use: “Old” ginger is used to overcome meat odours and give the dish a better aroma. It can be added to curry paste for a dish like Stir-Fried pork with string beans, or boiled to make ginger juice. It can also be sliced for poo ob woonsen, “Young” ginger is often eaten fresh, simply added to Stir-Fried chicken with chilli. Grated ginger is sprinkled over rice porridge. Fresh ginger is good with sour northeastern-style sausage, and can be pickled with grilled duck and thousand-year eggs.

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Red, Yellow, Green Chili Spur Pepper or Prik cheefah daeng, lueng, kiew

Benefits: Prevents bronchitis and colds, heals ulcer bruises, kills bacteria and relieves flatulence. Chilli spur pepper contains protein, Vitamins B1, B2 and C, calclum and iron. Use: Red chilli spur pepper is usually sun-dried and pounded to make curry paste. It can also be parched of roasted to add to tom klong of tom yum. Chilli spur peppers come in green, red and yellow. The yellow variety is the hottest, and is often pounded with garlic for spicy stir-fries. The green and yellow kinds are sliced up for curries and chilli dips, and can be added to vinegar to make a condiment for noodles.

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Chili Pepper or Prik kheenoo suan

Benefits: Improves digestion and appetite, sweats out toxins, clears pores and refreshes the skin. Its anti-oxidants lower the risk of cancer. The pepper contains carbohydrate, protein, calcium, phosphorous, Vitamins A, B1, B2 and C and iron. Use: Fresh chilli peppers green and red can be sliced or pounded as seasoning for pad kaprao, tom yum and tom saeb. Parched fresh pepper is mixed with vinegar as a condiment for kuaytiew nuea (beef noodles in thick soup). Dried green and red chilli peppers are parched and ground into dried chilli, also used as a condiment. The dried ones can be fried to make curry, or eaten with kanom jeen and spicy salad.

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Tamarind or Makham Piek

Benefits: Thanks to its mineral-based acid, tamarind sauce helps the digestion system, including the intestines, and cools the body. it relieves constipation and diarrhoea and prevents phlegm build-up. Use: it is a main ingredient in gaeng som (tamarind soup), pad thai and namprik pao (chilli paste). To extract the juice, soak ripe tamarind in warm water and then squeeze it in a press.

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Lemongrass or Takrai

Benefits: Relieves rheumatic pain, abdominal cramps and nausea, improves digestion, heals leucorrhea and lowers the blood pressure. Lemongrass contains Vitamin A, calcium, iron and phosphorous, Use: It adds aroma to spicy dishes like tom yum and plaa. Place the leaves in boiling water when you are parboiling seafood to make it more aromatic, Deep-fried leaves are a perfect accompaniment to deep-fried fish. This is also one of the most important ingredients in making curry paste.

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Sesbania Flower or Dok kae

Benefits: The grated skin relieves diarrhoea, it is high in tannin, and can be mixed with honey to reduce phlegm. The leaves and flowers relieve cold symptoms when the seasons change. The flowers contain calcium and high iron, protein and Vitamin B. Use:The topmost port of the plant and the young leaves are soft-boiled to be eaten with chilli dips. The young flowers are used in tamarind soup.

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Coriander or Pakchee

Benefits: Relieves flatulence and abdominal and intestinal cramps. The leaves and seeds are sweet to chew and will freshen the breath. Coriander bolsters the appetite and aids blood circulation, and eases cold symptoms, coughs and phlegm. And if you want to sweat, chew on some coriander. Use: Coriander leaves are used to garnish spicy salads and Stir-Fried and deep – fried dishes. The seeds are mixed with cumin, garlic and pepper as a basis for many dishes.

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Lemon or Manao

Benefits: Improves coughs and reducesphlegm, relieves sore throat, swellings and bruises, heals leucorrhea and softens the skin, Oil from the rind contains more Vitamins A and C, calcium and phosphorous than the juice, Use: it is on ingredient in many dishes, not to mention lemonade. Slices of lime garnish alcoholic drinks.

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Kaffir Lime or Magrood

Benefits: Relieves flatulence and nausea and stopsbleeding from the gums and teeth. Kaffir lime contains beta-carotine, Vitamins A, B2 and C and calcium and protein. Use: The aromatic rind is good for making curry paste. The fruit, cut in half, is added to curries. The leaves are used in tom yum, tom kha and tom saeb. Sliced leaves garnish curries and can be added to fishcake mixes. And the juice from a charred kaffir lime will darken and soften your hair!

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Rosella or Krajiab mon

Benefits: Cures gnathostomiasis and improves blood pressure and brain function. It is used as a natural laxative. The jelly soothes peptic ulcers. Rosella contains calcium, which is good for your teeth and blood. Use: Eat fresh or boiled with chilli dips.

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Brinjal or Makuea proa

Benefits: Lowers cholesterol and improves urinary function and kills bacteria. Use: Brinjal is added to curries and spicy soups. Fresh brinjal is also cut into pieces and added to som tum.

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Long Eggplant or Makuea yao

Benefits: The fresh stems and roots cure diarrhoea, athlete’s foot, toothache and gonarrhoea. It also eases urinary and phlegmatic problems. Use: Fresh long eggplants are perfect for a stir-fry or a spicy salad dish. Roasted or battered, they are ideal with shrimp-paste dip.

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Pea Eggplant or Makuea puang

Benefits: Stems Improve digestion and urinary Problems and reduce phlegm. The leaves improve circulation, ease nausea and stop swelling, and relieve cold symptoms and heal diabetes. Crushed fresh leaves and roots are good for the cracked skin on your heels. The aroma of the roasted deeds soothes toothache. Use: Young, light-green pea eggplants are grilled of soft-boiled and eaten with chilli dips. Once cooked, they are much softer and less bitter. The fruit is added to many types of soups and curries, including green curry.

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Wild Bitter Gourd or Mara kheenok

Benefits: Improves the appetite, stimulates the production of breast milk, stems vaginal bleeding after birth and is good for swollen knees and hepatitis. It also balances the digestive system and lowers blood sugar. Wild bitter gourd contains Vitamins A, B1, B2 and C, phosphorous and calcium. Use: The topmost of the gourd and the leaves are soft-boiled and eaten with chilli dips. The fruit is sliced and boiled in salted water and Stir-Fried with eggs.

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Spring Onion or Ton hom

Benefits: Relieves flatulence, sweating and cold symptoms and improves heart function. Regular consumption of fresh leaves helps lower cholesterol and reportedly can prevent cancer. Spring onions contain calcium and phosphorous. Use: The onion shoots and leaves are edible. The leaves improve most dishes’ fragrance. The whole leaves are eaten with rice and barbecued red pork. Chopped leaves are used to garnish dishes and make Stir-Fried dishes.

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Shallot or Hom daeng

Benefits: Relieves cold symptoms, apthous ulcers and eye-socket pain, improves flatulence, urinary and menstrual ailments, digestion and appetite, lowers cholesterol and helps eliminate toxins. Shallots contain selenium and Vitamins D,A and C. Use: Sliced shallots are added to spicy salads like yum, laab and plaa and curries, and can be deep-fried and used to garnish other dishes as well as chilli dips and desserts.

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Onion or Hom hua yai

Benefits: Flavonoid glycosides in onions keep cholesterol from adhering to vein walls. Onion will lower cholesterol and improve blood circulation, soothe rheumatism, asthma and coughs and reduce phlegm. Fresh onion prevents bruises from bug bites and water scalds. Use: The onions are sliced and added to many dishes, from omelettes and spicy salads to fried rice, stews and soups.

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Holy Basil or Kaprao

Benefits: Consuming either the stems pr leaves relieves flatulence, diarrhoea and nausea. Red holy basil in particular helps the stomach digest cholesterol and guards against colic and acute haemolysis. The leaves contain beta-carotine, calcium, iron and phosphorous. Use: Holy basil overcomes strong seafood odours in dishes like the tom yum and poh-taek and the spicy clear soup gaeng pa. It is added to Stir-Fried dishes and the mixture for fishcakes, and can be deep-fried by itself as an accompaniment to other dishes.

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Sweet Basil or Horapha

Benefits: Relieves cold symptoms and abdominal and intestinal cramps, improves digestion and refreshes physical energy, Crushed leaves can be applied to bug bites to soothe and prevent long-term marks. The leaves contain Vitamins A, B1 B2 and C and calcium, iron, phosphorous and beta-carotine. Use: The leaves are used in curries and in dishes like Stir-Fried clams with chilli paste, Sweet basil is also served fresh as an accompaniment to many northeastern spicy salads, like laab, goi and nam tok; and added to jaew hon soup – the “northeastern sukiyaki”, It is a popular side dish as well for Vietnamese treats like naem-nuang, spring rolls and pho,

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Celery or Kuen-chai

Benefits: Glycosides andoil in celerycan balance menstrual periods and improve digestion, lower the blood pressure and relieve coughs. Celery is good for hepatitis and cystitis, prevents varicose vericose veins and improves brain function and memory, the eyesight and the skin, it contains Vitamins A,B can C and beta – carotine. Use: The stems and leaves are made into a juice. The scent of the fresh leaves will overcome meat and fish odours. The leaves are also great in Stir-Fried dishes, especially with pomphet fish. The seeds are used as a spice in sweets and desserts, and can garnish alcoholic drinks.

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Hairy Basil or Maenglak

Benefits: Relieves flatulence and coughs. Increases breast milk for mothers. It can stop dermatosis and bleeding from the gums and teeth. The leaves – which contain Vitamins B2 and C, calcium and iron – can also be used as natural laxative. Use: Young leaves are preferred. They are served fresh as an accompaniment to kanom jeen, and rice vermicelli. Thanks to their spiciness, they are often added to gaeng liang and northeastern-style soups like gaeng hed and gaeng normai, as well as curries. The leaves can also be mixed with syrup in a refreshing drink that helps clear the throat and settles your heart rate.

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Chinese Chive or Kui-chai

Benefits: Essential oil ofChinese chive contains allicin, which helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and the risk of cancer. The high fibre in the leaves improves digestion and prevents colon cancer, haemorrhoids and diabetes. Use: The flowers are Stir-Fried with pork liver. The fresh leaves are eaten with pad thai, mee kati and mee krob and are stuffed in rice cake as kanom kui-chai.

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Mint or Saranae

Benefits: Guards against colic. Mint juice relieves stomach ache and flatulence and dries sweat. Fresh leaves help clean the intestines. Chewing fresh mint leaves freshens the breath. Mint leaves contain Vitamins A, B2 and C and calcium and iron. Use: Fresh mint leaves will overcome the strong odour of meats The leaves are used to garnish drinks and are often added to northeastern spicy salads like yum, laab, plaa and nam tok, it is best to use fresh, dark green leaves.

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lvy Gourd or Bai tumlueng

Benefits: Lowers the body temperature and relieves tired eyes. The stems heal dermatitis and lower blood sugar. The leaves contain calcium and beta-carotine. Use: Both the young, light-green fruit and the leaves can be added to tamarind soup or pickled and eaten with chilli dips and curries. They can also be added to other dishes, including noodlesand spicy salads.

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Pennywort or Bai bua bok

Benefits: Good for the heart, it also refreshes physical energy, soothes allergies and urinary ailments and lowers the blood pressure. Crushed leaves heal bruises and help restore skin tissue. The Juice eases migraines. The leaves contain Vitamins A and B1 and calcium. Use: Fresh leaves are served as accompaniment to laab, pad thai and chilli dip and they can be squeezed to make juice.

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Acacia Leaf or Bai cha-om

Benfits: The top of the stem and the leaves can cool down the body. The roots relieve flatulence. The leaves contain protein, Vitamins B1 and C and beta-carotine. Use: It is eaten fresh or soft-boiled with chilli dips, although some people dislike the scent of the raw leaves. It is more common to mix the leaves in on omelette, or to eat them as on accompaniment to namprik kapi, the shrimp paste dip. In the North it is enjoyed with grilled fish and gaeng kanun on and in the Northeast with gaeng normai.

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Salted Turnip or Hua Chi Poh

Adds a salty flavour to pad Thai. It is also used as main ingredients for the dish such as hua chi poh pad kai (eat with cook white rice or boiled rice).

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Bean Sprout or Tau Ngauk

Young sprouts from green beans. It has crisp texture when eaten fresh. It is popularly eat with pad Thai and noodle dish. It is low in calories, high in minerals and Vitamin B.

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Tofu or Tao Hoo

Soft or hard curds are made from soybeans. They are rich in protein. They are popular ingredients in vegetarian dishes.

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Rice Cracker or Kao Tung

In the past it is made from old, bottom pot rice. Today, it is mass produced into flat round or square patties, ready for frying before eating. It popular menus are kao tung na tung and kao tung mieng lao.

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Herbs and Spices Making Thai Cuisine Distinctive

Thai cuisine changes naturally with the fruits of the seasons, and with the absence of any chemicals in the cooking process, this makes the food highly nutritious and tasty. One of the cuisine’s most unique aspects – the herbs and spices that have their own medical benefits – has ensured its popularity around the globe, There is an important distinction between the samun prai used – the herbs – and the krueng thet, the spices: Herbs, for the purposes in Thai food, are the leaves of annual crops, and are used to season food, Spices can be the roots, blossoms, shoots, seeds or leaves, or the cores of the stalks, invariably indigenous to the tropics and sub-tropics. The use of herbs and spices vary. They can be fresh or dried, depending on the cooking process. Fresh ingredients are mostly used in tom yum, tom kha (the coconut-milk soup) and spicy salads and sometimes just served as accompaniments. Each has a different natural flavour, from sweet, salty and sour to oily, hot, bitter and tannin, but the tastes are usually combined in well-blended Thai dishes. It is important, though, to know your herbs and spices and what they individually bring to a dish. The right amount is crucial: too little or too much can change the flavour or even ruin the dish. The global and ever-increasing popularity of Thai cuisine has made the needed herbs and spices more readily available. What cannot be grown form seed overseas can usually be imported in any quantity from Thailand. Along with original recipes and their modern variations, this book offers a list of the herbs and spices commonly used in Thai dishes, as well as tips on how and where to select the right ones at the right stage of their growth and how to store them.

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Shrimp Paste or Kapi

A popular ingredient throughout South East Asia, shrimp paste should be fried or grilled before using. It adds flavour to curry paste and some spicy dipping sauces.

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Green Papaya or Malagaw Dip

Shredded green (unripe) papaya is the main ingredient in spicy papaya salads (som tum). It is high in Vitamin A & C, potassium and folate, while the papaya enzyme is an excellent aid to digestion.

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Banana Flower or Hua Plee

A flower from the banana tree, eaten with pad Thai, high in Vitamin C.

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Yard Long Bean or Tua Fak Yao

Select only fresh ones which are crispy yet juicy to taste with green and firm pods. These beans are rich in Vitamin A and C. It can be cooked in the dish such as pad prik king, spicy Thai salad, gaeng som, or ate with spicy dishes to balance the tastes.

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Cabbage or Ka Lum Plee

It can be cooked in the dish such as gaeng som, or ate with spicy dishes to balance the tastes. It is high in Vitamin C. In the ancient times, the Roman used cabbage to cure abdominal ulcer.

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Noodles or Sen Kuay Tiew

These Chinese influenced ingredients are made from different ingredients. The flat noodles (sen yai), small flat noodles or thin white noodles (sen lek), vermicelli (sen mee) are made from rice flour, glass noodles (woon sen) are made from mung beans and egg noodles (ba mee) are made from wheat flour and egg. They are well integrated in Thai cooking, offering fast food alternatives to rice dishes. Note that Thai people use chopstick when eating Chinese-style noodle soups, but use spoon and fork when eating Thai-style dishes, such as pad Thai or pad see-iew.

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Straw Mushroom or Hed Fang

Round and white, used as ingredient. It is low in calories and fat, no cholesterol, high in minerals.

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Lime juice or Num Manao

Thai limes are green, the size of a golf ball and very sour. They are used extensively to provide tartness to Thai salads.

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Tamarind Juice or Num Makum Piek

Sour tamarind pulp is mashed in hot water, then squeezed through a cloth to produce tamarind water. It adds sourness to Thai dishes especially curries and soups.

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Coconut Cream or Hua Kati

The grated flesh of mature coconuts Is squeezed to release a creamy liquid (coconut milk). Coconut cream gradually rises to the top of the milk and is scooped off. Although high in cholesterol, it add rich flavor to Thai curries and desserts.

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Dried Shrimps or Goong Hang

Mostly sold in plastic packages, dried shrimps come in different sizes so choose the size most suitable for your specific recipes. They are flavoring agents as well as a prime ingredient in Thai salads, especially green papaya salads (Som Tum).

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Chillies or Prik

Thailand is renowned for the variety and spiciness of its chillies. The golden rule is: the smaller the chilli, the hotter it is. Tiny bird’s eye chillies (prik kee noo) are fiery hit, while larger ones, such as prik chee fah, are milder. Available in red, green and yellow, they add both color and spiciness to Thai dishes. Ground dried chillies (prik pon) are used as a condiment to add spiciness to noodle dishes.

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Curry paste or Nam Prik Gaeng

Formerly Thais made their curry paste fresh for every dish, a time-consuming yet delicious process. Today high quality curry pastes are packaged ready to use, coming in different kinds to prepare the type of curry required. There are pastes for green curries (gaeng kiew wan), red curries (gaeng ped), panang curries (gaeng panang) yellow curries (gaeng garee), sour curries (gaeng som) and etc.

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Palm Sugar or Num Ton Maprao

The sap of the sugar palm is dried into patties, whose colors vary from creamy beige to caramel brown. It is used to sweeten desserts, curries and sauces.

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Fish Sauce or Num Pla

Salty and pungent made from fermented small fish, this condiment is essential to every Thai Kitchen, used in the same way as salt in western kitchens. Premium grade sauce has a rich taste and slight aroma, which disappears during cooking

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