A vegetable fruit with a mildly sweet flavor. Many varieties of aubergine are used in Thai cooking, from tiny pea aubergines, which are added just before the end of cooking, to white, yellow or green aubergines. When these types are unavailable, substitute with the purple variety.
Bamboo Shoots
The edible young shoots of the bamboo plant. Pale to bright yellow when bought fresh. Fresh shoots need some preparation and take quite a long time to cook. When buying canned shoots , look out for the whole ones as they seem to be better quality than the ready-sliced canned bamboo shoots.
Banana Leaves
Glossy, dark green leaves of the banana tree are used to line steamers or to wrap foods such as chicken or fish prior to grilling or baking. They impart a vague flavor of fine tea.

Bean Curd
Most often used in soups and Chinese dishes. It is made from soy beans and is rich in vitamins and minerals . It is usually sold in square blocks packed in water. Bean curd comes in many forms fresh, fried and dried.


Bean Sprouts
Sprouted from mung beans, they are used in salads and stir-fried dishes. Rich in vitamins, protein and iron, bean sprouts are widely available in supermarkets. Look for crisp, firm sprouts with little scent.
Bean Sauce
Made from salted, fermented soy beans , this sauce is a popular flavoring agent in oriental dishes. It is also called yellow bean sauce.
Coconut Milk
This unsweetened liquid made from grated coconut flesh and water , is an essential ingredient of many Thai dishes. It is available in cans, compressed blocks or in powder form.
Curry Paste
This is traditionally made in a mortar by pounding together fresh herbs and spices. There are several kinds. Home-made curry pastes take time and effort to prepare but they taste wonderful and keep well. Ready made pastes, which come in packets or tubs, are a good alternative and enable cooks to make tasty curries quickly.
Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)
The most commonly used flavoring in Thai food. Fish sauce is used in Thai cooking the same way soy sauce is used in Chinese dishes. It is made from salted anchovies and has a strong salty flavor.
Palm Sugar
Strongly - flavored, hard brown sugar made from the sap of the coconut palm tree. Available in Oriental stores. If you have trouble finding it , use soft dark brown sugar instead.

Roasted Ground Rice
Raw glutinous rice grains are dry-fried until brown, then ground to a powder. A traditional ingredient in salads.


Salted Eggs
A traditional way of preserving duck eggs in Asia. You can find them in most Oriental stores, often sold covered in a think layer of charcoal grey ash. Rub off the ash with your finger under running water and then hard-boil the eggs.
Soy Sauce
Made from fermented soy beans, soy sauce is available in light or dark versions and can be quite salty. It is the background seasoning to many stir fried and noodle dishes.
Thais use a mild, plain white vinegar. Cider or Japanese rice wine vinegar can be used instead.

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