Food & Recipes

Must-Have Seasonings in Your Cupboard for Southeast Asian Cooking

Everyone loves Southeast Asian cuisine because of the bold flavors, balance of seasonings, and intense aromas. Whether you’re looking to make Thai, Singaporean, or Filipino dishes, you are sure to have a meal that will leave you wanting more.
At the beating heart of Southeast Asian cooking, you will find the seasonings that are ubiquitous in this region’s cuisine. Using these seasonings, you will not only bring flavor and aroma to the recipes, but also eye-catching color and a depth that you won’t find anywhere else.
The best part is that even though Southeast Asian cuisine tastes so different from one country to another, they all use the same set of seasonings. Simply by mixing them up in different proportions and amounts do you get the unique flavors of each cuisine.
This is also why you need to get the best measuring cup set when making Southeast Asian dishes.
Here are the five essential seasonings you need in your cupboard:

5 Essential Seasonings

  1. Chili

    Photo by Elle Hughes on Unsplash

    Chili is a staple in South East Asian cooking, and you can find them fresh, dried, or ground. Depending on the recipe and the type of chili, you can find them in a wide range of flavors, from mild and sweet, to hot and spicy.

  2. Ginger

    Photo by Lawrence Aritao on Unsplash

    Ginger is used to liven up a dish and give it an earthy and floral flavor. Some recipes use it as a marinade for meat, while others use ginger directly while cooking. You can use ginger fresh, dried, or as a paste.

  3. Soy Sauce

    Photo by GoodEats YQR on Unsplash

    In Southeast Asian cooking, soy sauce is used as both a seasoning and a marinade. It gives a saltiness to the dish, as well as deepens the flavors. It also gives dishes color and a distinct umami flavor.

  4. Fish Sauce
    Since fish sauce also brings saltiness to dishes, you might think that using it in the same recipe as soy sauce might make the food too salty. However, some dishes do use a combination of both seasonings, particularly in Filipino cooking. Fish sauce brings a certain “fishiness” to the dish that soy sauce does not. The key is making sure to follow the cooking directions to prevent adding too much. This is why you need to have the best measuring cup set at hand.
  5. Vinegar
    As many South East Asian dishes have heavy umami and salty notes, vinegar is used to cut through these flavors and brighten up the whole dish. Vinegar is widely used in the region’s cuisine, as it can be used as a marinade, a seasoning, and a condiment.

Is Having a Measuring Cup Set Important?

Yes! When it comes to seasonings, you can have too much of a good thing. If you are not used to cooking South East Asian dishes, you can easily over or under-season the food. For the Filipino adobo, for example, many recipes call for 1 cup of soy sauce. To the untrained eye, this might seem like a lot, and you would hesitate to add the amount that is needed in the recipe.

Having the best measuring cup set at hand makes you more confident in cooking South East Asian food because you can follow recipes exactly.


When you have these five spices and the best measuring cup set in your kitchen, you will be amazed at how many types of South East Asian dishes you can make. In fact, you’ll be able to have a culinary journey all across the region without ever leaving your kitchen!

Want more baking hacks and tips? The pro bakers from Bella Cupcake Couture are happy to help you out. Go to

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *