ITEMS TO BUY AT AN ASIAN MARKET Keep these items on hand and by the time you read the recipes about them a few times, you’ll feel adventuresome enough to make the delicious, classic tom yum soup.
Stalks of lemon grass. They may be fresh and may be in the freezer and will be wrapped like scallions. They give high lemon flavor as a soup or tea base, and you remove them before eating as they are coarse and woody.
Kaffir lime leaves. These will be in the freezer maybe 25-50 to a bag. They give high lemon flavor as a soup or tea base, and you remove them before eating.
Gangalal. This is a form of ginger. It will be in the freezer in a small tray, probably already cut into small pieces. They give sharp ginger flavor as a soup or tea base, and you remove them before eating.
Chilies or chili peppers. These will be in the freezer in small bags. Most of them are too hot for me; you have to find your own comfort level. I sometimes pop a whole chili in a soup and then take it out and discard it. I do not cut it open. That gives enough heat for me. Remember the high heat is in the seeds, so after handling them wash your hands.
Fish sauce nuoc mam. I use the 3 Crabs brand. A little goes a long way. High flavor, smells hmmm fishy
Chili garlic sauce. in a jar on the shelf. It is hotter than Sriracha sauce.
Sriracha hot sauce. In a twall bottle on the shelf, has a red rooster on the bottle. It is milder than chili garlic sauce.
Nam Prik Pao or Tom Yum Soup paste. In jars on the shelf. Try different brands.
Sesame Oil. Usually not cooked, but added into hot soups and dressings.
Bunches of fresh basil or cilantro. Rinse before last minute adding to soups.
Scallions find them in the refrigerator. Rinse before last minute adding to soups.