Lemongrass, a long lemon-scented grass is popular for flavouring curries and soups in Southeast Asian cuisine. Only the pale lower portion of the stem with the tough outer layers peeled away, is used for cooking. If lemongrass is unavailable, 2-3 strips of thinly peeled lemon zest can be used as a substitute.

Galangal, is native to Malaysia and Indonesia. It has a delicate flavor and normally used fresh in Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai cooking. When the fresh variety is unavailable, dried or powdered galangal can be used instead. In a recipe, 1 tbsp chopped fresh galangal is equivalent to 1tsp powdered galangal.

Ginger, This freshly rhizome is used in the West to make gingerbread, ginger beer, candied ginger and chocolate ginger. Fresh ginger is basic ingredient in many Asian cuisine. It is usually sliced, finely chopped, pounded or ground and used in savory dishes. Sometimes the juice is extracted and used.

Turmeric, has a tough brown skin and deep orange flesh. It has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian medicine systems. It is distinct and fragrant, with a scent that is mildly hot and gingery. The dried powder is most commonly used in the kitchen, and is a common ingredient in commercially available curry powders. Because of its vivid hues, it is also used to colour food products, ranging from popcorn to cheese or yogurt.

Chilli, both red and green, are used extensively in many Asian cuisines. Generally, the larger the chilli, the milder it is. Of the larger chillies, the red one taste somewhat sweeter than the green ones. Bird’s eye chillies are rarely longer than 5cm (2 inches) and are especially fiery. Both red and green bird‘s eye chillies pack a punch.