Pantry Essentials

Chili Oil, Chinese

A popular Chinese condiment made from vegetable oil that has been infused with chili peppers.

Chinese Spice Packet (LuBao|滷包)

Lu is the Chinese word given to dishes made by braising in a sauce known as a master stock or lu sauce. The main ingredient of the Lu sauce comes from the spice packet which is made of star anise, cinnamon, clove, dried orange peel, cumin, Sichuan peppercorn and fennel.

Curry Paste, red

A popular Thai curry paste that is made from red chili peppers, garlic, shallots, galangal, shrimp paste, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and various prices.


The base for miso, noodle broths, and all purpose umami flavoring made from fermented tuna and kelp. Delicious as a base for a wide range of Japanese dishes.

Garam Masala

A blend of ground spices common in Indian cuisine. The composition of Garam Masala differs regionally in India, but the typical version contains black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, cumin and coriander.


Spicy, vibrant, tangy Tunisian paste made from chili peppers.

Fish Sauce

Staple condiment made from fish fermented in salt. It is commonly used in southeastern Asian cuisine.


A Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as coating for deep-fried food such as tempura. Panko is made of crustless bread, coarse and without seasoning.


A Japanese citrus-based sauce made by simmering yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit that tastes like a combination of lemon, grapefruit and orange), mirin, dashi, kombu (seaweed), and soy sauce. The sauce is commonly used as a dressing or a dip for seafood and grilled meat.

Pepper, Aleppo

Aleppo is a common middle eastern condiment and is named after the Halaby pepper from northern Syrian city of Aleppo. It can just be used like any other dried red pepper.

Sichuan Peppercorn

A commonly used spice in Chinese cuisine. The finely ground powder is one of the ingredients for five-spice powder. Sichuan pepper’s unique aroma and flavor is not hot or pungent like black, white, or chili peppers. Instead, it has slight lemony overtones and creates a tingly numbness in the mouth.

Sambal Chili Sauce

A common hot sauce used in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Singapore. It is usually made from a mixture of a variety of chili peppers with secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, lime juice, and rice vinegar or other vinegars.  I usually purchase the vegetarian version which includes just garlic and chili.


Sriracha is a type of hot sauce or chili sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It’s commonly used in Thai or Vietnamese cuisine. It is also very popular in the US where a lot of recipes restaurants use sriracha as the hot sauce to spice up the food.

Spicy Bean Paste (Chili Bean Sauce|DouBanJian|辣豆瓣酱)

A Chinese spicy and salty condiment which is made from fermented soybeans, salt, rice, various spices and  red chili peppers.

Sweet Chili Sauce, Thai (Nam Chim)

It is a popular chili sauce condiment in Thai, and used as a dipping sauce for fresh vegetables, and deep fried food. It is commonly made with red chili peppers, rice wine vinegar, sometimes garlic, sometimes fish sauce and sweetening ingredient such as fruit or a refined sugar. 


Wasabi is known as Japanese horseradish. It is generally sold fresh either as a stem, which must be very finely grated before use, or as dried powder in large quantities, or as a ready-to-use paste in tubes similar to travel toothpaste.

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