Go Ethnic with a Pleasant Pantry


These are the essential Asian ingredients I always have on hand. This isn’t a definitive guide to an Asian pantry*, it’s just what’s in mine. I’d suggest finding a couple of good Asian and Middle Eastern (Western Asian) grocers. They’ll sell spices in generic bulk packaging instead of fancy glass bottles. The prices will be more affordable than what you’ll find at your local supermarket or gourmet purveyor. This assortment will allow you to effortlessly make your own delicious Thai, Japanese, Indian or Lebanese food.

vegetable(Sunflower/Canola), peanut, sesame, extra virgin olive, olive, chili, mustard & grape oil, ghee/clarified butter

Sauces & Misc.:
thin soy, mushroom flavored soy, oyster, black bean, fish, dashi stock, a variety of vegetable & meat stocks (if you don’t have time to make from scratch), sriracha, honey, palm sugar, capers, pickled mudfish, pickled gherkins, pickled ginger

Vinegars & Essences:
distilled white, rice, mirin, rose water, orange blossom water

shrimp, tamarind, chili, wasabi, miso, tahini

Dried or Canned Goods, Nuts & Seeds:
gomasio, za’atar, cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts, olives, sesame, poppy, nori sheets, (kombu, wakame and hijiki seaweed), bamboo hearts, light & heavy coconut milk, dried coconut flakes, red, green & Massamam curry pastes ~(if you don’t have time to make from scratch), a variety of salts, Sultana raisins, Turkish apricots, Medjool dates, goji berries, grape leaves, rambutan, lychees, preserved lemons, smoked fish, dried shitake and tree ear mushrooms, dried shrimp, variety of green & black teas

Rice, Noodles, Flour, Etc:
Thai white & brown Jasmine long grain, Indian white & brown Basmati long grain, Japanese & Thai white short grain rice, Thai black & red short grain, burghul, cracked wheat, freekeh, barley, spring roll wrappers, corn starch, tempura batter, panko crumbs, (Japanese ramen, soba, somen & udon noodles, Thai vermicelli, mung & rice noodles, Chinese egg noodles), (unbleached all-purpose, Atta whole wheat, rice, besan/chickpea, buckwheat, rye, sorghum, soy and tapicoca flour)

dried or canned kidney beans, soy, green peas, a variety of lentils, chickpeas, mung beans

allspice, asafoetida, anise, bay leaf, caraway, curry leaf, green & black whole cardamom, dried whole chili, cinnamon bark, whole black cloves, ground & whole coriander, ground & whole cumin, dill, fennel seeds, fenugreek, paprika, Kashmiri Red Chili Pepper, Marash & Aleppo Pepper, marjoram, mint, mustard seed, multi- colored selection of whole peppercorns, saffron, sumac, thyme, turmeric, Chinese 5 spice, garam masala, Lebanese 7 spice, (dried galangal, basil, kaffir lime & lemongrass powder~if you can’t find these four Thai herbs fresh~use this only as a backup~fresh is always best)

You may also like:

Asian Stew with Chicken Meatballs, Bitter Melon & Chinese Broccoli

* Note: This list is constantly evolving. I didn’t sort it into different countries since some cuisines use the same ingredients. I also left out the Western ingredients in my pantry. That would require a whole other post.

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