5 Thai Ingredients You Can Grow Yourself in Metro Phoenix
If you love Thai food but lament that pandanus leaves and pineapple can't be grown easily in Arizona, cheer up! A recent trip to some cooking schools in Thailand brought me the revelation that in fact, there are many herbs and ingredients you can grow right in your backyard. Even better news, many of them can be planted or started in the spring. Rejoice, and get planting and cooking.
Kate Crowley Grow many of your own Thai cooking ingredients in your backyard or in containers
See also: 5 Ways to Cook and Bake with Citrus
Lemongrass is a tropical plant that will grow in Phoenix. It grows to about two feet tall, so be sure to plant it near the back or center of a container or raised bed. It can be used in many chicken based recipes or dried and make into a tea. Avoid full afternoon sun and all you need to do when it's time to harvest it pull out the stems. Lemongrass grows fast to be sure to harvest or pull some up periodically to avoid crowding.
Kate Crowley This red curry not only uses Thai basil in the recipe but the flower of the plant is used as a garnish.
This one's easy. Basil typically loves heat and there's no shortage of sun here in the Valley. You'll want to grow many types of basil (like holy basil) to keep up with all sort of Thai recipes, but "Thai Basil" is one of the more common types used. The best part about growing it yourself is that you'll have the flower on top, which is commonly used in fancy garnishes in Thai food as well.
Although you could grow many types of limes here in the Phoenix area, Kaffir limes and especially their leaves are key to many Thai dishes. There's nothing better than the scent of the leaves- to use, be sure to remove the step and either fold the leaf in two and rip or role like a cigarette and chop. They grow well in sandy soils but can be sensitive to frost.