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Need recommendation for very basic Thai cookbook

  • l

My 11 year old niece is learning to cook and is progressing very quickly. She loves Thai food so I was wanting to get her a very basic Thai cookbook for Christmas and of course, her mother will help her with the recipes. Does anybody have a basic, beginning book that they can recommend?

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  1. I would recommend "Bangkok to Bali in 30 Minutes." Though it's not just Thai -- it's Southeast Asian -- it's the best treatment of basics and staples of Thai cooking I've found. It doesn't begin to approach the depth or comprehensiveness of David Thompson's Thai Food, and the title is cheesy, but it's ideal for beginners (I'm in that category) who are just learning techniques and ingredients.

    1. I'd recommend Quick & Easy Thai by Nancy McDermott. I have it and it's great.

      1. The Best of Thai and Vietnamese Cooking, by Mai Pham. I love it. It's simple, it always comes out perfectly, and there are explanations of some of the more abstruse ingredients.

        1. I've been using The Original Thai Cookbook by Jennifer Brennan for years. It's full of very easy to follow recipes, and everything I've ever made from it has been a hit.

          1. m
            mary shaposhnik

            I don't know how basic the other books are, but I'd recommend for these circumstances "Thai Home Cooking" by Sompon Nabnian and Robert Carmack. It has a very excellent, well-designed introductory section with very clear photos and descriptions of Thai ingredients and equipment. The other recipes are also attractively done, one per page, each with a photo, so it would be very encouraging to a new Thai cook. The recipes will definitely call for Thai ingredients -- not supermarket substitutions -- but enough of them are straightforward enough that she should be able to start cooking right away. I've used a lot of the recipes for curries, and love the results. Sompon runs a long-standing cooking school for foreigners in Chiang Mai, so his approach to explaining things is very clear (or so I think).

            1. I have about 20 Thai cookbooks. I love "The Original Thai Cookbook" by Jennifer Brennan also. But I would recommend "The Essential Thai Cookbook" by Heather Thomas. Has all of the basic Thai dishes, very simple to prepare, with lots step-by-step pictures which would definately be a bonus for your niece. Beautifully photographed.

              1. Puleeese Chowhounds! How can you omit Nancie McDermott's incredible asian recipe cookbooks:
                Real Thai, The Best of Thailand's Regional Cooking (a classic!); Real Vegetarian Thai; Quick and Easy Vietnamese; The Curry Book, A Celebration of Irresistable Flavors; etc. She lived in Thailand for years and writes beautifully about the food cultures as well as the recipes and ingredients. Check her out on Amazon or her website: www.nanciemcdermott.com/

                1 Reply
                1. re: Linda Mac

                  My cookbooks are packed away, but I have one (excellent) one that's called Real Vegetarian Thai; it may not be by the same author, but the one I have often calls for making a sauce (or a paste, or some other component) in order to make the dish. In many many of the recipes.

                  The results are FAB and I'm a gal who loves cooking and enjoys many different steps, but I would never recommend this as a starter book. So, OP, if you're thinking about this book, read a few of the recipes to make sure they don't include lots of other recipes (also in the book). Or, if it's the same book, make sure your neice is interested enough to do all the various steps.

                2. Schmitz, Puangkram C and Michael J Worman. 1985. Practical Thai Cooking. New York: Kodanshaw International.

                  Perfect for the quick learning 11 year old.

                  1. I was given a nice Thai cookbook as a gift that is pretty good, The Everything Thai Cookbook
                    Jennifer Malott Kotylo -from Pad Thai to Lemongrass Chicken Skewers- 300 recipes. So far I have not been disappointed at all.
                    And the book layout is easy print and easy steps.

                    1. I'll suggest Ken Hom's "Foolproof Thai Cooking" as a good starter for an (obviously precocious) 11-year-old.