The Amazing Spices of Thai Food

Thai cuisine is growing in worldwide popularity for a reason, including authentic Thai cuisine in New Jersey. By blending several Southeast Asian culinary traditions, along with some influence from Western food, Thai cuisine offers a dining experience that is both exotic and familiar, challenging and approachable, and simply delicious.

sweet sour chicken phanaeng curry with chickenKey to what sets Thai apart are the spices used in its signature dishes. Tying together tastes of salt, spice, sour and sweet into a harmonious whole is a balancing act few other ethnic dining experiences can manage, and it all comes down to those spices. Here are a few of the major ones:

Chilies – Whether red, green or otherwise, chilies form the foundation of the sweet and hot chili sauces and Thai curries common in Thai cuisine.

Coriander – Also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, coriander seeds offer a lemony citrus flavor and aroma when crushed, and can also contribute nutty flavors.

Thai chili powder – This is not the same as Western chili powders, which are a blend of ground chilies along with spices like cumin and oregano. Thai chili powder is usually only ground chilies, often a blend of several varieties for differing levels of heat and spice.

Lemongrass – Lemongrass has a wide array of uses, from being a part of curries to being used in soups to accompanying fish and poultry. It offers a citrus-like, grassy flavor and aroma.

Turmeric – Related to ginger, turmeric can be bitter yet peppery. It can be used in the making of curries or sauces.

Kaffir lime– From the leaves to the rind of the Kaffir lime fruit, this plant contributes much to Thai cuisine, especially the leaves. The fruit itself, however, is generally too bitter for use with food.

There are many others, including ginger, galangal (related to ginger), green peppercorns, shallots, garlic, and much more – so many it would be impossible to list them all. The best way to experience them all is to visit Siam Garden in Red Bank and enjoy our authentic Thai cuisine in New Jersey. To learn more, be sure to follow us on Facebook!