“The two most important spices in Thai [cuisine] are white pepper and coriander seed,” says Jarrod Hudson, executive chef and co-owner of Melbourne's Easy Tiger which, sadly, is closing mid-June.
“Then you’ve got cumin in the curries. Thailand’s so close to China so they use cardamom, cassia bark and star anise in master stocks. It’s so close to India as well – Massaman is an Indian curry but the Thai’s adopted it.”
When it comes to cooking Thai at home, Jarrod lists lime leaves, lemongrass, makrut limes, fresh turmeric (yellow and white, if you can find it) as his go-to ingredients.
“And if there’s one ingredient you need more than anything, it’s dried long red chilli,” he adds. “You can rehydrate them for sauce or curry paste; you can fry them; you can roast them for crispy garnishes.”
While a commercial gas burner and wok come in handy at Easy Tiger, Jarrod says home cooks can still achieve authentic flavours from a domestic setting. Asked which utensils are essential, Jarrod replies: “A sharp knife will do it, I reckon. You don’t really need a mandolin – you can do everything with a sharp knife if you’ve got the skills.”