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Basic Kitchen Essentials For Thai Cooking - What to Know

When it comes to cooking any cuisine, it is important that you have all the tools you need to do so. When it comes to Thai cooking, there are many cultural cooking essentials that those from the west may have never even heard of or seen in their lives. Here are some essential tools for Thai cooking:

Cooking utensils:

The Thai Wok

When it comes to Thai cooking, you’ll find a lot of stir-fry foods, which cannot be done without a wok. It is also important that you get a flat or round bottom steel wok at least 14 inches across the top for stir-fry. It is crucial that you buy one that is of good quality. Not the cheapest, but the best one you can get for your money.


When it comes to cutting, you want to make sure you have a high-quality, decent chefs knife and a cleaver for chopping through bones. Apparently, a pairing knife might also need to be used in your cooking endeavors.


A staple of Thai dishes is the little decoration of pretty vegetables on the side of your food, otherwise known as a garnish. You can create vegetable carvings of many shapes and sizes using a peeler.

Wok spatula

Using the correct type of wok shovel is important when it comes to traditional Thai cooking. This will be used for stirring, throwing, turning, and serving food.

A sieve

Sieves are commonly used in Thai cooking for fishing things out of a wok, skimming suds off the top of the soup, or even for draining things.

Vegetable steamer

Although you will not need a huge steamer, you’ll be steaming local vegetables, bamboo, and even sticky rice if you’re lucky!

Rice cooker

There is no way that you can eat Thai food without having some freshly steamed jasmine rice. You can find a rice cooker at almost any major outlet for pretty cheap.

Kitchen tongs

Tongs can be used for placing, removing, and even turning food in your wok. Ones with longer handles will be better for safer cooking.

Pestel & Mortar

There are 2 types that are used in Thai cooking. Heavy stone ones are used for pounding curry pastes and other ingredients, however, a good food processor can used as a modern alternative. Clay (with wooden mortar) ones are used for mixing salads such as Som Tum (papaya salad),

Thai ingredient staples:


Most cooks in Thailand will use vegetable or sunflower oil for cooking Thai food. You could technically use any oil you want, but those are the staples that are used in authentic Thai cooking.

Fish sauce

Almost every Thai recipe will have some fish sauce in it, so you’ll definitely need to have this ingredient on hand if you will be cooking authentic Thai food.

Oyster sauce

This is yet another staple in almost every Thai recipe. You should have a bottle of this ready for your Thai cooking night.

Chicken stock

As chicken stock powder is used in many recipes (due to its traditional ingredient MSG), it can also be a healthy alternative to bring out the taste of your dish.

Dried Chilies

You’ll want to grab a pack of dried chilies since they will keep basically forever and can be used for many dishes in Thai cooking.

Fresh Thai chilies

Fresh Thai chilies are some of the hottest chilies in the world. The colors don’t matter, so grab some red or green chilies and get cooking!


Fresh green peppercorns are very popular in Thai dishes. Sometimes you’ll find them whole in some meals and just eat them right off the vines.

Curry paste

There are tons of pre-made curry pastes that are readily available so that you don't have to make your own. You’ll also want to pick up a can of coconut milk while you're at it.

Thai herbs and vegetables

There are some very important and specific vegetables that are a little harder to find in Western countries and are local to Thailand. Sweet Thai basil and holy basil are used very frequently in Thai dishes. They can be hard to find in the west, but it is still important that you find a good supplier. Cilantro roots, kefir lime leaves, and turmeric are also used widely in Thai dishes.

If you're looking to learn how to cook Thai food, get in touch to book one of our classes today!

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