top of page
  • Writer's pictureMolly

10 Ingredients You Need to Cook Thai Cuisine at Home

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

thai herbs, including: coriander root, galangal, lemongrass, garlic, kaffir lime and chilies

If you're interested in learning to cook Thai cuisine, likely one of the first questions to pop into your head is: what ingredients do I need to cook Thai food at home? Well, you've come to the right place! I've made a list of the top 10 ingredients to buy to start cooking Thai recipes at home.

List of Common Thai Ingredients

  1. Galangal

  2. Lemongrass

  3. Makrut Limes and Leaves (also called kaffir limes)

  4. Thai Chilies (bird eye chilies)

  5. Shallot

  6. 3 Friends - Coriander root, garlic, white pepper

  7. Shrimp Paste

  8. Fish Sauce

  9. Palm Sugar

  10. Fresh herbs and Thai limes



Galangal is an essential ingredient to most Central Thai curries (green, red, Panang, etc), is the prominent herbal aroma of Tom Kha coconut soup and is essential for Tom Yum soup.

Galangal is a highly aromatic rhizome that looks a little like young ginger, however ginger is never a substitute for galangal. Its aroma and flavor profile are cooling and woodsy and highly unique. There really is no replacement for galangal as an ingredient, so it is best to purchase it when you find it. It can be found at farmers' markets and Asian / Southeast Asian markets in the US. Luckily, it retains most of its aroma when frozen. So if you're living outside of Thailand and want to keep a complete Thai pantry, you can buy galangal in large quantities, wash and slice and freeze it for longer term storage. It should stay in good quality for 3-6 months in the freezer. When preparing galangal, scrape off the skin with the edge of a spoon and cut off the pink shoots. Typically galangal is used to infuse its aroma into a broth, and is eaten when pounded into Thai curries.