I love to make Asian food, and love to meander down the aisles of local Asian markets. I think these sites are a good resource to get an idea of what those jars and cans and packages hold, and veggies -- and how they are typically used.
E.g., this is a primer on Vietnamese herbs:
this is a great portal on herbs, veggies, and "menu reader" for various Asian cuisines:
a thaI vegetable guide:
more asian vegetable information (with helpful photos): http://www.kitazawaseed.com/index.html
-- actually, most of these sites have helpful photos.
If you have other sites of such usefulness, perhaps in your bookmark bar, please share them. Hope you find them all as useful as I have in deciphering recipe requirements!
PLUS, you can get tidbits of wisdom, e.g.,
"Eat some sesame seeds to relieve constipation and to remove worms from the intestinal tract. They're an aid to digestion, stimulate blood circulation, and benefit the nervous system. Sesame oil makes ideal massage oil because of its excellent emollient properties. "