Yes, keeping a herb garden and a vegetable garden in your backyard is the best way to get the freshest ingredients you need for your Thai recipes.
When you love Thai food as much as I do, you want to try cooking those Thai recipes of your favorite dish that you just had from the Thai restaurant.
Well, with the ever increasing cost of herbs and vegetables in the market, I
decided to start my very own Thai garden. To be truthful, I don't have
much space in my backyard but with the little space I have, I managed to
grow different varieties of herbs and vegetables.
I enjoy gardening so I find tending to my backyard farming a joy rather than a chore and maybe that is why I get such good harvests -- lol ---
So, what do I have in my backyard?
Asian Shallots are small onions that are reddish purple in color. They have a more intense and sweeter and therefore tend to give the dish a more uplifted flavor in taste and are preferred in Thai Salads to the French Shallots. They grow in small cluster bulbs like garlic and I find them very convenient to have in my backyard.
There are 3 types of Basil used as seasoning and garnishing in Thai food. In my backyard however, you will only find Thai Basil or 'horapa' in Thai. Thai basil tastes rather like Italian sweet basil with a hint of anise and is used in curries as well as stir-fries like Basil Chicken. I would encourage you to grow your own as this herb is best used fresh.
What is Thai food without Chillies especially when they are the core ingredients in any Thai food recipes. They are literally indispensable and according to my grandmother, 75 bird's eye chillies are only just for garnishing -- lol! It is not a surprise therefore that I have different varieties of chillies in my herb garden.
I have the fiery small little bird's-eye chillies and I also have the longer and bigger chilles that are moderately hot. With the amount of chillies I have harvested, I am even able to dry some out in the sun so that I can use them to cook dishes like Cashew Chicken.
How well my Chokos grew was indeed a surprised to me. Initially I thought you need a male and a female plant grown together to have any chokos produced. Boy, was I wrong and not only that, the chokos that I have harvested were not only big nice ones but they tasted really good too.
Garlic is a perennial bulb found throughout the world. Known as 'Gratiam' in Thai, the Thai Garlic is usually smaller and less pungent than most other garlic varieties. I like to mince and deep fry some garlic where it is cooled and kept in a bottle so that I always have some in stock to use when needed. This would be my Garlic Oil mentioned in some of my featured recipes.
Garlic Chives is used in Thai recipes for Pad Thai and certain stir-fries. Although they are similar to common chives, these slender and flat (not hollow and round) grasslike stalks have a slight but noticeable edge of garlicky flavor.
You will find that most household in Thailand have a Kaffir Lime growing in their backyard herb garden as this ingredient is used in so many Thai recipes especially in curries like the red and green curry and soups like tom yum and tom kha. Kaffir Lime Leaves are thick, dark green and distinctly shaped. It needs a lot of sunlight so it is best to keep it growing in the Northern aspect of the house.
Lemongrass is a lemon scented stem which grows in clumps. Even though this plant can grow up to a meter in height, in Thai cooking, only the bottom part is used after discarding the outer layers off. You can easily buy lemongrass in markets, Asian supermarkets but I find it surprisingly easy to grow in my backyard although not year round as it will need plenty of sunlight to grow well. In winter, the growth slows.
Believe me -- when you have your own little patch of herb garden in your backyard, you will always have the freshest ingredients at your convenience!
Thai Food Lovers