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Understanding the Spices in Your Favorite Thai Dish

a close up of food ingredients

February 15, 2023

Thai cooking is rich in healthy and flavorful herbs and spices that give it its distinctive taste. From spicy peppers to aromatics, there are many different ingredients you will find. Many of these spices are ground into a paste, which stores well and helps the flavors to develop. Some Thai cooks use a traditional pestle and mortar to make the paste, while others use food processors.  In this post, a thai restaurant in ellicott city maryland breaks down some of these flavors!


Ginger is one of the most beloved spices in Thai cooking. Its strong and spicy flavor works well in Thai dishes and helps amplify the dish. It can also be used as a marinade. Some people even drink ginger tea.


Garlic is one of the primary spices used in many Thai recipes. Everything from soups to salads and curries have ample garlic.


Lemongrass is a type of grass that has a bright and citrusy flavor. It grows in large bushes that can exceed six feet tall. The stalks and roots are used for cooking. They can be used whole, processed, or “bruised” to release its flavor.


Cumin is an essential spice in many traditional Thai dishes. It has an earthy and smoky flavor that’s great in stews and soups. It is also used as a meat rub when making skewers or barbeque

Chili Peppers

Chili peppers come in many varieties. They are what give Thai dishes their spiciness. Some peppers are mild, while others are super hot.


Galangal is a rhizome related to ginger and turmeric. It adds depth and a zing to any dish. It also is rich in nutrition.

Kaffir Lime Leaves

Kaffir lime leaves have a unique citrusy aroma that gives Thai dishes their fresh and tropical aromas.


Turmeric is a relative to ginger. The distinctive yellow root has many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties. It adds a savory flavor.


Basil is a staple in many thai recipes. There are many varieties of basil, including a Thai variety or holy basil (tulsi). You can eat it raw in salads. It’s also cooked in various dishes and soups for a rich flavor. It has many antioxidants and vitamins in it that make it a healthy addition to any recipe.


If you are looking to try some of these spices, or a Thai restaurant in Ellicott City Maryland, look no further than Eattini Thai Kitchen! Eattini has a variety of dishes for you to choose from to start or continue your Thai food journey! Make a reservation today!