With most of us spending more time at home than we normally would, many of us have had to find new hobbies. For those who enjoy spending time in the kitchen, this has meant growing some of the Thai herbs that are used in so many dishes. They are straightforward to grow, and you will get immense satisfaction from seeing the fruits of your work (pun intended!) and then including them in your culinary delights. Here are just a few you could consider.
Let’s face it, there aren’t many Thai dishes that don’t include chilies in them, and while they are inexpensive in the local markets and even supermarkets, they tend not to keep very well. So, why not grow your own so you will have them on hand as and when you need them. They will happily grow in your garden or plant pots on your balcony. Remember to keep trimming and don’t overwater them, and they will come on a treat!
Whether it be Thai Holy Basil or Thai Sweet Basil, basil is another of the frequently used herbs that are very easy to grow. You could plant the remaining stalks after your pad kapow, or you could take the seeds from an existing plant. They are worth keeping in pots regardless of if they are grown in your garden or balcony as similar to other herbs, such as mint, they spread rapidly and can take over.
Coriander or cilantro, depending on where you are from, is another staple of many Thai dishes and is again straightforward to grow from cuttings or seeds. It is worth spreading when you plant them to ensure that you have a constant supply. You won’t need to do this too often as they quickly replenish, but it is worth considering when you first get started.
Lemongrass is used in dishes such as Tom Yum and Laab Moo and has a very distinct lemony flavor. The plants are easy to grow in the garden and have the bonus of helping to keep mosquitoes away if you burn some of the leaves. It can take some time to get established, but you will have one of your favorite herbs continually available once it gets started.
Kaffir Limes bushes are excellent, and once mature, offer both the limes and the leaves, which can be used in cooking. You can start from scratch, in which case it will take 3-4 years before you have a mature tree which can be a continual source of flavoring or if you can’t wait that long, you can usually pick them up relatively cheaply from the market on Sukhumvit Road, opposite the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital.
6.Root crops – Galangal, Ginger & Turmeric
Galangal, ginger, and to a lesser extent, turmeric all feature prominently in Thai cooking. You can grow your own from what you have remaining from a purchase at the market, or alternatively, you could buy the rhizomes from a market selling plant such as the one on Sukhumvit Road.