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Thai Spices – Their Name and usage
Hi guys! It’s the day #4 of Thai Basics with Pana Napa!
Today I will be talking about Thai Spices. How many different kinds are there and how to use them.
The topics that I will cover are:
- What are the main kinds of Thai spices
- What are the dishes that use Thai Spices?
- The differences between Siam Cardamom and the Green Cardamom; Why you can’t substitute one with another.
- How to store spice
<h1>What are the main kinds of Thai spices<h1>
First, I want to break down the spice into 2 main groups:
- Spices that are mainly used in Chinese influenced Thai Dish
- Spices that are mainly used in Indian/ Persian influenced Thai Dish
Note* The very traditional local Thai dish only use herbs. The spices are part of Thai cuisine for a long time ago but they were introduced to the Thais when Chinese, Indian and Persian came to Thailand. That time was also know as Spice Rout or Maritime Silk Road.
Let’s start with the first group. Thai spices from China, What are they?
- Goji berry
- Star Anis
- Sichuan pepper
- Dried Jujube
- Gingo Berry
- Hu Sua
- Luo Han Guo
Most of these spices use in Chinese influenced dish. A lot of stew, soup based and refreshment drinks. They are also use for natural medicine purposes.
Group 2. Thai spices from India and Persia
- Cumin/ Caraway seeds
- Coriander seeds
Lastly, but very important is Thai/ Siam Cardamom
It’s grow and made in Thailand. We will get into it later in this post. Hang on there! 🙂
What are the dishes that use Thai Spices?
There are many dishes that has Thai spices as part of the ingredients. For the first group, the Chinese spices. These spices are used in dishes that involved in stewing/ soup/ refreshment drink. It’s cooked in Chinese-Style but with a Thai touch. Chinese people are very good and cooking meat and stewing meat dishes. Example of popular dishes are: Roasted duck, Chinese spice pork belly and egg soy soup (Kai-Palo) and Chicken-rice (Kao-Man-Kai).
For the second group, Indian/Persian spices Thai dishes are include; Green Curry, Red Curry, Massaman Curry and Panang Curry.
What is the differences between Thai/Siam Cardamom and the green Cardamom?
Thai Cardamom came from the South East Asia country. Thailand in particular. It’s use in many Thai dishes such as Massaman Curry.
The shape of Thai Cardamom seeds look like Chickpea, and it has the same colour but it has a very light weight. Unlike the Green Cardamom, it has a longer oval shape with green colour.
- Green Cardamom, strong and sharp camphoraceous aroma. It’s almost sour in fragrance.
- Thai Cardam, light, nutty, soft and floral aroma.
As you can see that their flavour profiles are quite different, therefore substituting one with another will greatly effect the overall taste of a dish. I did it before wit Massaman Curry and it came out not so well! So if possible, try not the sub them as they both are almost different kinds of spice but share the same “Cardamom” title.
Thai Spices are fun and flavourful to work with. Personally I love to work with herbs and spices and try creating a new dish with a touch of Thai. I hope this post help you to see a big picture of Thai spices, their name and usage. Next time you can try create a dish with these spices and let me know how it goes!