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Jan 23, 2001 08:58 AM

Thai cookbooks

  • d

I'm interested in learning more about Thai cuisine--ingredients and their preparation. So here's my question: What Thai cookbooks do you recommend? What's the best? What's the most informative? Which has the most authentic recipes?

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  1. I'm like you Dan. I started to become interested in cooking Thai cuisine last Fall. Someone mentioned on Chowhound a month or two ago a book called Hot Sour Salty Sweet. I bought it on Thursday and Friday night I made Grilled Chicken With Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce and also Stir Fried Eggs With Cellophane Noodles. Both dishes were delicious and consumed by all very quickly. The cookbook is beautiful and includes recipes of Southeast Asia.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nancy Ives

      I agree -- this one's a keeper. Weighs about 80 pounds, too. One downside is that it's so gorgeous you'll spend half your cooking time pushing it away from spills. But everything has been great so far. There is a recipe for grilled pork balls (make the peanut sauce to go with it!) that is just absurdly delicious.

      1. re: John Tracey
        Matthew Amster-Burton

        Hot Sour Salty is simply an incredible piece of work, from the recipes to the photos to the deceptively simple stories. I'm liking it more and more as I use and read it.

        I'd also recommend both books by Kasma Loha-Unchit as mentioned above. Her first book, It Rains Fishes, is mostly text, really good text describing traditional Thai food in accurate detail. It also has lovely watercolors. Her newer effort, Dancing Shrimp, is loaded with seafood recipes which could be easily adapted to other proteins. I took my first trip to Thailand last summer and I don't feel qualified to say Loha-unchit's books are the most authentic, but they're the ones that speak most directly to what I loved about Thai food in Thailand.

        I reviewed Hot Sour and Dancing Shrimp on my web site last month. URL below.


    2. My favorite Thai cookbook is:
      True Thai: The Modern Art of Thai Cooking
      by Victor Sodsook (with Byron & Theresa Laursen)
      It has more typos than I like to see in a published work, but so far every recipe has been simple to make and high on the delicious scale. It contains cultural tidbits of interest and gives substitutions for some of the more obscure ingredients. Also, you have the option of using store-bought ingredients (ie: chili-garlic sauce), but the book also provides recipes for those sauces so you only have to use a shortcut if you want to.

      1. “The Elegant Taste of Thailand: Cha Am Cuisine” by Sisamon Kongpan is a lovely and informative Thai cookbook with an illustrated glossary in the beginning of all ingredients. Sisamon is an experienced Thai cooking instructor and her cookbook has full page photographs of each recipe.



        1 Reply
        1. re: Heather

          I rec'd a pre-publication copy of the first edition as a birthday present a few years ago from my pal, Roger Williams, editor and publisher. Can't say I have tried many of the recipes but I will say the photos are a feast for the eyes.

        2. I'm partial to "Real Thai" by Nancie McDermott. Yes, she is a "falang" (Thai for foreigner) but she lived there for several years, learned about the food and her easy to follow recipes have never failed.


          1. I also recomend "Real Thai" The Best of Thailand's Regional Cooking by Nancie Mc Dermott published by Chronical Books. It's an excellent introduction to Thai Cuisine. Clear, easy to follow descriptions and commentary, good recipies and it's very affordable. I like the fact that it is organized geogrphically by region as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: scottso

              I second this recommendation.