For successful Thai cooking at home

Store cupboardThese are the essentials I have in the cupboard to cook a selection of Thai dishes at home. It’s probably no surprise to hear I buy Thai brands where ‘Product of Thailand’ is written somewhere on the bottles or packaging. I’ve stated which brands I tend to buy below to help.


  • Fish sauce (Squid or Tiparos)
  • Thin light soy sauce (Healthy Boy)
  • Oyster sauce (Maekrua)
  • Tamarind concentrate (Garden Queen)
  • Palm sugar (Maesri or Aroy-D) – look for Thai brands that are 100% palm sugar
  • Shrimp paste
  • Coconut milk (Aroy-D)
  • Dried shrimp (medium sized shrimp about the size of a penny coin are the most universal)
  • Rice – fragrant jasmine is best but whatever you can get your hands on will do
  • Noodles – I tend to use rice vermicelli or glass noodles the most
  • Red curry paste (Mae Ploy or Nittaya) – good to have around if fresh Thai ingredients are scarce, you can adapt a basic shop bought red paste by adding more chillies, more aromatics or even roasted dry spices to suit other purposes
  • Roasted chilli powder – I make my own but please go ahead and see what’s out there on the market
  • Blanched peanuts
  • Dried chillies – Thai bird’s eye and long red chillies for curry pastes
  • Thick dark soy sauce (Healthy Boy)
  • Yellow bean sauce (Healthy Boy)
  • Distilled white vinegar (Golden Mountain)


Fresh produceI tend to stray away from buying too many fresh ingredients that carry lots of airmiles for all the obvious reasons. That being said, it’s difficult to cook Thai food without a certain number of these fresh ingredients that bring soul to the dishes. Here’s a list of ingredients I have knocking around in the fridge or pick up whenever I’m passing by Chinatown.


  • Kaffir lime leaves (fresh or frozen, never dried)
  • Limes
  • Thai chillies – I favour ‘prik ki nu’ and red bird’s eye chillies
  • Coriander roots (these keep well in the freezer)
  • Krachai or finger root (peel and keep in the freezer)
  • Galangal (peel and slice into pound size pieces then freeze)
  • Lemongrass
  • Shallots – smallish round ones ideally, but again use onions if not available
  • Garlic
  • Coriander
  • Mint
  • Kaffir limes (these keep in the freezer for when you need the zest)
  • Pandanus leaf
  • Turmeric (peel and keep in the freezer)