Regular basics

These are my standard bases I use regularly. You will not find measurements in my recipes as I tend to add ingredients according to my whims. Whenever possible, I will provide links so that you may have a better idea of proportions to use. Otherwise, I am certain that you are able to adjust the proportions to suit your own/ family taste buds 😉


  • Onions or shallots (latter said to be more flavourful)
  • Garlic (chopped or minced)
  • Ginger (pounded- used especially for sambals with fish or mutton)
  • Lemongrass (optional)
  • Dried shrimp (a must have for me; though daddy makes very yummy sambal without these)
  • Tomatoes (another must-have or Tomato juice is another flavourful option)
  • Tamarind (soaked in water- another optional as it depends on the type of sambal)
  • Chilli paste or chilli powder (for paste- just soak dried chilli in hot water for an hour and blend them in a grinder. Some add onion/ garlic/ lemongrass/ anchovies/ tomatoes to add flavour to the paste but its really optional)
  • Fish sauce/ soya sauce (optional)


  1. Heat oil. (I use EVOO or palm oil. No more canola). Saute garlic briefly and add dried shrimps and onions.
  2. Once there is aroma and the onions are browned, add lemongrass, if using.
  3. Add chilli powder/ paste and fry for about 5-10 mins.
  4. Add fish sauce, if using
  5. Add chopped tomatoes/ tomato juice. Mix well with the chilli. Cover wok and wait until tomatoes become soft or the juice starts to simmer.
  6. Add tamarind paste, if using.
  7. Soya sauce can be added if sambal is too spicy. Otherwise just add pinch salt if fish sauce has not added the salt taste.


I make stock when I have enough vegetable leftovers or chicken bones. One tip I learnt was to use roots and veg tops (such as carrot tops) to make stock. Though these are usually omitted from cooking, they are still packed with nutrients. This is definitely one way of reducing waste- methinks ;p The following are what I throw in a pot of boiling water to make basic vegatable stock

  • Whole onion
  • Garlic cloves
  • Ginger (sliced- used only for chicken stock)
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Zucchini
  • Spring onion
  • Roots of any green leafy vegetable
  • Coriander roots (when available)
  • Lemongrass (optional)
  • Peppercorns
  • Bay leaf (optional)
  • Dried herbs or any available herb (optional)

For chicken stock, I use the above in bold and chicken bones. One suggestion is to dry fry the bones before adding to boiling water for more flavour.

Besides soups, I use stock when making herbed or vegetable rice, sambal (dhal curry) or any dish requiring liquid.


2 Responses to “Regular basics”

  1. ee lin Says:

    hello! found you!

    pls share what brand of palm oil you use and if you’re using coconut oil, what brand and where to get pls? mucho gracias!

    will be popping by here often so pls update regularly!

    • santhi Says:

      Thank you for taking trouble to locate this and appreciate the ‘pressure’ ;p The draft for phad thai and chicken chops are waiting for the pix to be uploaded.

      I get a Thai brand palm oil from NTUC or rice bran if i cannot get the palm oil. Coconut oil- Country Farm Organics. I used to get the 250ml from the Organic mart near my flat until I saw 500ml in Cold Storage!!! ;D Its more value for money of course!

      let me know how your version of these recipes turn out ok ;>

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